About the close of 1658, Edward Burrough had met
with a paper circulated for signatures, which purported to
be a free call to William Brunsward to exercise his ministry
at Kendal. On this, Edward had addressed some
queries to the said Brunsward, relative to his call to the
ministry and a few other subjects, concluding with a proposition
to hold a public discussion with him at Kendal.
No notice was taken of this challenge, but Brunsward
soon afterward attempted to revenge himself on Edward,
for the doubt insinuated in the queries as to his true call
to the ministry, by writing a book, entitled: The Quaker- Jesuit; or, Popery in Quakerism. This book was answered
by John Story, in a tract called Babylon's defense broken down, and one of anti-christ's warriors defeated. Edward Burrough added some remarks to
this, publishing the queries he had formerly sent to Brunsward
and renewing the challenge to meet him at Kendal.
He said, "These things I am willing to travel through
in discourse with you, the said William Brunsward, or
any other that shall accept of the propositions, with the
consent of the mayor and aldermen of the town, who may
preserve the place and people in peace and soberness;
also provided, that each of us on both parts may have
full deliberation to speak forth our minds pertinently to
the matter, and that each may have silence from the
other while he is speaking; that all fair and sober dealing
be among us, and the fear of God."
Addressing Brunsward and his party in Kendal, he
says, " I am a lover of your souls, and a friend to righteousness;
and daily travail in the work of the Gospel to
the intent that sinners may be converted to God, and the
saints be strengthened in the faith which gives them
victory over the world; and I wait for Zion's redemption,
and for the overthrow of great Babylon, that has ruled
over the kings of the earth."
About this time an address, signed by sixty-one ministers
of the city of London, was published under the title
of A Seasonable Exhortation; in which they treat on
the present distracted state of the nation, in respect both
to civil and religious affairs. Among the evidences of
the deplorable condition of the nation, they address:
many horrid and hideous errors which for some years past
have abounded, against the authority of Scriptures, the
deity of Christ, the Holy Ghost, Trinity of persons, immortality
of souls, doctrines of repentance, humiliation,
sanctification, resurrection of the dead, and the eternal
recompense of heaven and hell, and the several sects
increasing every day in number and power, and under
the names of Quakers, Ranters, Seekers, etc., impugning
the received doctrine and unquestionable interest of Christ
To these heavy accusations against the society of
Friends, Edward Burrough published a reply, entitled, A return to the Ministers of London, in which he successfully
refutes the accusations, and gives much pertinent
advice to the authors of them. From this essay the following
That many horrid errors have abounded among
you, is very true, as in many particulars might be instanced.
But why do you maliciously charge the Quakers
with opposing the interest of Christ Jesus? The Lord
shall judge you in his day, when He makes it appear to
all the world, that those whom you charge with the contrary,
are the very friends of Christ's interest, and have
been patient sufferers for his name sake, under the wickedness
of your generation. As for the Ranters, Seekers, and
others, whom you have reckoned up with the Quakers,
it is well known that we are in opposition in spirit to
all these, and have given large testimony in the fear of
God against them. What the Seekers, Ranters, Familists,
and the rest mentioned by you, do hold, as in these
things you have charged them with, I will leave that,
for I am not now pleading their cause, but the cause of
God and his people, whom you in scorn call Quakers.
And though you have joined them in accusation with
others, yet I must separate them from others in my
answer, and must tell you in the fear of the Lord, that
you have belied them, and falsely accused them. For
they do not deny the authority of the Scriptures, but give
that authority to them, which the Spirit of God that gave
them forth has formerly given. Neither do they deny
the Deity of Christ, but do say, In Him dwells the fullness
of the Godhead; neither do they deny the Holy
Spirit, nor the Father, Son, and Spirit, but say-there are
three, and these three are one; but as for your Trinity of
Persons, that is language not found in the Scriptures, [an invention of Popery]. We do
affirm the soul is immortal; and as for the doctrines of
repentance, humiliation, sanctification, resurrection from
the dead, the eternal recompense of heaven and hell;
these doctrines are publicly held forth by them in words,
and also in practice, more than by yourselves. Therefore
with what face you could charge them with the
denial of these things, is most amazing. There are
thousands of your congregations that are and have been
sometimes hearing [them] in your city, that shall bear
witness against your accusations, and give evidence that
they have heard them whom you call Quakers, give faithful
witness of and for all these things which you charge
them with the denial of. Do you think that your congregations
are all so blind as to receive for truth what you
have herein spoken; no, I must tell you, some of them
are offended with you because hereof.
On the First-day of the Third Month, 1660, Edward
Burrough being in Oxfordshire, felt a concern that his
brethren should be preserved in the true place of spiritual
safety, amid the tumults, agitations, and fears which were
shaking the nation, at the bringing in of King Charles
II, and addressed them in an epistle which contained
Friends are to mind this, even peace, and union, and
fellowship with the Lord, and the comfort of his presence,
which is the only happiness of the creature, even the enjoyment
of Him that is invisible, who is God infinite over
all, to whom mortal eye cannot approach, neither can the
mortal mind apprehend, but in his own life manifested in
mortal flesh, and by the measure of his own Spirit that
dwells in us is. He is seen, felt, perceived and enjoyed of us.
So mind the immortal life begotten of the Father in you,
that that may live in you, even the heir of God, which is
his image and likeness, for in that alone is covenant with
God made and kept, and in it is the Father's presence
enjoyed, and he worshipped without respect of time, place
or visible thing. If that lives in you, then you in that
will live to God, in all that is answerable to Him.
Your words and works will be accepted of Him, and well pleasing
to Him, even because it is He that works in
you to will and to do all good things. He alone is exalted
in you, and you subjected, and the Maker is become
the Husband, and you married to Him. He lives in
power, and rule, and command, and you live in subjection
to Him, and in fulfilling his will in what He
guides in, by his Holy Spirit. This life is very
Concerning the times and seasons, and the present
confusions and distractions that are among men,
much might be spoken; but certainly the end of all these
things shall he turned for good to us and to all that
do abide in faith and patience to the end. Though the
present times are of a heavy countenance towards us,
like as if we should be swallowed up through the roaring
of the sea, and because wickedness does abound by the
spirit that now is exalted; yet in this let us respect the
Lord, for certain it is, that times and seasons are in his
hand, to change them at his pleasure, and to take them
from one and give them to another when He will. The
day is his, and the victory is in his hand. Oh! let not
mortal men glory against Him; man's time is but for a
moment, and it is our blessing and peace to be still;
and to have a respect to the Lord through all these overturnings.
Although the spirit that now is, is wicked
and abounding in iniquity, yet the Lord will limit its way.
As for all the confusions and distractions, and
rumors of wars, what are they to us? What have we to
do with them? Wherein are we concerned in these
things? Is not our kingdom of another world, even that
of peace and righteousness? Has not the Lord called
us and chosen us into the possession of that inheritance,
in which strife and enmity dwell not? Yes, He has
broken down that part in us that is related thereunto,
and being dead in that nature of strife, bloodshed and
wars, how can we live in strife and contention in the world,
or have fellowship with any therein.
Can we have pleasure in the confusion and distraction
among men, or join in anything with them, if so he we
are quickened in the new life to God, which is a life of
love and peace, and free from such things? If we are
crucified in the life to this world, out of which all strife
and confusion arise, how can we live therein? Therefore
these things are nothing to us, neither are we of one party,
or against another, to oppose any by rebellion, or plottings
against them, in enmity and striving with them by
carnal weapons, nor to destroy any men’s lives even though they are
our enemies; for war not for any, nor against any, for
the matters of this world's kingdom.
As for me, if I were no more, this is the testimony
of my love to the seed of God through these nations,
who am a companion to all that travail after truth and
righteousness and that seek the Lord in their hearts that
He may rule; and these things were upon me, to send
among the flock of God, to be read in all your meetings.
Oxfordshire, the 1st day of the Third Month, 1660.
Charles II was now established as king over Great
Britain, and as many public predictions had been given
out by Friends, plainly foretelling that he would be
brought in, some of his friends wished to know whether
the Quakers could tell if his power was likely to be permanent.
Some one, (Sewel supposes it to have been Lord
Clarendon), drew up several queries addressed to Friends
on this subject. It had this heading: ."To the Quakers:
some Queries are sent to be answered, that all people may
know your spirit and the temper of it, and your judgment
concerning the times and seasons." This was added: Let your answer be directed, Tradite hanc Amico Regis. (Deliver this to the king's friend.)
About the middle of the Third Month, Edward Burrough
replied to this in a work entitled, A visitation and presentation of Love to the King and those called Royalists. In this essay he replies to a number of queries propounded
to the Society relative to the state of affairs in
In the course of his answers he deals with his catechist
in a strain of honest and fearless exposition, not sparing
to reprove their evil practices and warning them faithfully
what must be the consequences if they persist in
allowing wickedness to go unpunished, while the righteous
are persecuted for their conscientious adherence to the
law of their God.
Although busy with his pen, Edward Burrough still
found time to travel in the work of the ministry as his
Master led him. Soon after writing the foregoing he went
into the west of England. Being in Somersetshire on
the 25th of the Fourth Month, he felt his heart drawn in
love to salute his fellow-believers in London with an
He remained some time laboring among Friends in
the west. On the 4th of the Sixth Month he was at Bristol,
where he had been for several weeks. While at this
place be wrote A presentation of wholesome information to the king of England. This was a defense of the Society
of Friends from an attack made upon them by a
George Wellington, of Bristol, in a work then just published,
entitled: "he thrice happy welcome of king Charles the-Second. Of his labor at Bristol, he says, "I continued about
Bristol two months in many precious services for the Lord,
and Truth had good authority over all, and great acceptance
in the hearts of many. Some were convinced and
some edified and confirmed, as many can witness. Until
after the time of the fair I was not clear of that city, but
immediately after I was free."
A concern had been long on his mind to pay a second
visit to Ireland, and the time now seemed come to fulfill
it. Almost immediately after writing the above answer
to Wellington, he took shipping with Joseph Coale and
others for Cork. In that city he remained for a considerable
time, laboring in the work of the ministry, with
his usual faithfulness and success. On the 21st of the
sixth month he once more addressed an epistle to his beloved
Friends in London.
At the close of this epistle he says,
I am now according
to the will of the Father, in Ireland. It has been several weeks
since I arrived in Cork city, in much peace and safety,
with my dear companions, it having been long upon my
spirit to visit the seed of God in this nation. Of love
have I felt it in me; not of constraint, but of a willing
mind - a free spirit and not of force. After a time of
patience and waiting for many days to see my way clear
for it, the Lord has ordered it and brought it to pass, acceptable to me and many here. This is the time when
this visitation must be effected, for until now my way was
not clear. But that this journey has laid upon me I
should have rejoiced to have been present among you,
either in testimony, by suffering, or otherwise. But this
is the will of God, and it is in my heart to pass through
this nation, and to visit the seed of God, by the love and
word of the Father, as He gives of his life and strength
and opens the way before me. I perceive in this land,
Friends are generally well, and Truth grows in victory
and dominion, and the Lord is adding to the numberless
number of those who must stand on Mount Zion; and
through the rage of men, and above it all, the little flock
is preserved in its beauty, and the seed sown in weakness
and affliction is received and quickened in much power,
which is my joy. I hope in the continuance of the
power and presence of the Lord with me through this work.
In his power I am compelled, even to do and suffer all
things for his name-sake, and that by virtue of his own life
that dwells in me. The Lord preserve all the brethren
like-minded, that the work of the Lord may be fulfilled
and finished by us. Amen.
He traveled throughout Ireland, and for six months
labored abundantly in the defense and promulgation of
the Truth in that nation. Of the particulars of his service
but little information has been preserved.
Towards the close of his visit, he was once more in
Cork. At this time persecution was beginning to rage in
London, and many Friends had been cast into prison.
The account of this stirred up the warm feelings of Christian
love in Edward, and it would seem from the following
eloquent and fervent letter, he had a foresight that he
would speedily suffer, even to death, among them.
MY VERY DEAR AND BELOVED FRIENDS,
My very heart is filled with love to you, and never
was the affection of a brother to his brother more lively,
fervent and full. I am wholly affected with your integrity
and faithfulness. Shall I say, like as a father loves
his children, so do I you, - wishing and desiring with my
whole heart the increase of blessing and peace upon you,
when I am no more, by any outward testimony in this
world. How it shall be [with me], and whether my
testimony must pass the outward world with my blood, I
cannot tell; but if so, I doubt not but to receive great
gain. My witness is with the Lord, that I have served
Him from a child.
I am brimful of deep, serious and weighty contemplation
concerning what has been, what now is, and what
must be not lawful to be declared. Well, as for Friends
in London, my kind and dearest love salutes them all.
Tell those who I am well and that as they are faithful in
God's Truth, it adds to my joy. To my dearly and truly
beloved, G. F. (George Fox), F. H. (Francis Howgill), R. H. (Richard Hubberthorn), and all the rest who know
me; let this be mentioned.
The truth of our testimony and its glorious effects
through the world, for these some years, you know. God
has been with us in a very large measure, and He will
not forsake us to the end. When we are no more, our
memorial shall be precious and our testimony shall not
die. Let me be mentioned to all our Friends who are
in prison in the city and elsewhere. My heart longs
after you - even that you may be faithful to the end. Our
God shall conquer for us; if He were not our strength,
we should be swallowed up quickly. There is great wickedness
hatching against us. Our enemies are thirsting for
our blood. This is so. God has not deceived me; but
his hand can deliver us, if He wills. But if He wills not,
as you have often heard me say, let us not bow to the
devil. My heart is full, but I must cease from writing,
though never from love, nor from being your very dearly
and tenderly beloved,
How shall I mention any by name in the remembrance
of my love? I heartily love all the saints and bid all the
faithful in my soul farewell. I cannot give any particular
account of my peril and sore travail; but all is well as to
Truth in this land, and God has been, is, and let Him
ever be with me."
Cork, the 18th of Eleventh Month, 1660.
From Cork, Edward Burrough appears to have taken
passage to Bristol, from which place, on the 11th of
twelfth month, he addressed an epistle "To his companions in the travail and labor of the Gospel of Christ," in
which he exhorts them to stand faithful amid the sufferings
and trials that attend them, and not to be dismayed
or discouraged, but lift up their heads in humble hope and
confidence in the Lord, and commit themselves wholly
into his hand. He thus concludes:
"It is now eight days since I left Ireland, where my
service has been precious for the Lord, for full six
months; all which time the Lord carried me in much
faithfulness and diligence in his service, to the confirming
of many in the Truth of God, and to the converting of
others. Through and because of the presence of the
Lord, which was with me, I had a very precious time and
was wonderfully preserved through many dangers and
trials. I traveled nearly two thousand miles to and fro
in that land and had very free passage in the principal
cities and towns until my work for the present was fully
ended there, having more time than could be expected to
clear my conscience to all people. It would be too large
to mention every particular transaction, in which I perceived
the eminent hand of God with me, and also many
things I observed concerning the present state of things,
which I shall not now mention; for what have we to do
with the affairs of worldly kingdoms? But as for Friends,
it was well with them, they grow and increase in the blessings
and fullness of the Father. When I came there all
was quiet and very few in prison, though, I suppose, the
tidings of things as they are here will produce the same
sufferings upon them. But I hope they will be bold and
valiant for the Truth, in giving their testimony by faithful
sufferings, until these things are finished.
Thus, I remain in life and death, and when I am no
more, in everlasting remembrance, your dear brother and
companion, by doing and suffering for the name of the
Lord and his Truth. I am well and at liberty as yet.
11th of the Twelfth Month, 1660
The insurrection of the fifth monarchy men, had occasioned
a proclamation from King Charles against the meetings
of the people called Quakers. At Bristol there
were many ready and willing to do all they could to suppress
the meetings in that city. On the 15th of the Eleventh
Month, before the king's proclamation had been
published there, a company of soldiers with their officers,
took sixty-five persons from the meeting at Dennis Hollister's
and carried them to the Guild-hall. Dennis Hollister
and George Bishop being selected from the rest, were
taken before the mayor. He examined them apart and
endeavored to persuade them and to frighten them with
threats from holding religious meetings. Unconvinced by
his arguments and undaunted by his threats, they answered
with Christian courage and boldness, "that they
thought it their duty so to meet, in obedience to the requirements
of the Lord, whom they ought to obey rather
than man. In so doing they had broken no law, not
even the proclamation which had not yet been published."
The mayor then demanded of them sureties for their good
behavior. This they refused to give, because they knew
that the mayor held their attending their religious meetings
to be a breach of good behavior. While speaking
on this subject they told the magistrates, “That they might
as well think to hinder the sun from shining, or the tide
from flowing, as to think to hinder the Lord's people from
meeting to wait on Him, while two of them were left
The mayor, who had respect to persons, sent to prison
all the men arrested, except Dennis Hollister and George
Bishop, who had been great men in that community before
they turned Quakers, and indeed men of influence
through the nation. When the magistrates told these two
that they might go to their own houses, they felt indignant at the perversion of justice, and nobly said, " We
seek not liberty at the hand of those who have ordered
our brethren to prison, nor own it be just to commit poor
men and let us go free."
They were, however, left at liberty, but Dennis Hollister
was the next day committed, and George Bishop two
days after, the last being taken from a meeting at his own
hired house. The first arrest of sixty-five was made on
Third-day; Dennis Hollister on Fourth-day, George Bishop
on Sixth-day, and the next First-day sixty-five more were
committed. Some were arrested at private houses, and
at this time, the 20th, there were one hundred and ninety
in the prison.
On the 24th they were all released in consequence of a
second proclamation of the king, obtained by the efforts
of Margaret Fell, who represented to him the grievous
sufferings his first proclamation had occasioned. When
Edward Burrough arrived in Bristol in the twelfth month,
Friends were generally at liberty, except a few imprisoned
for refusing to contribute towards the charge of the militia
and others for not taking the oath of allegiance.
On the 11th day of the twelfth month, a petition or
address from the court of Boston, in New England, was
presented to the king. It was an endeavor on behalf of
the rulers in New England to justify their persecution of
Friends, and the taking of their lives. To expose the fallacies
of this address, Edward Burrough was soon ready
with a work, entitled, Some Considerations, in which he
I do testify to the king, and before the whole world,
that we do profess and believe concerning the Father,
Son and Spirit, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the blessed
Gospel, and the Holy Scriptures, I say, we do believe
and make profession in truth and righteousness concerning
all these things, and by our doctrines and instructions
do persuade all people to believe, and not to seduce any
from these truths of the Gospel. As for the Scriptures
being the rule of life, we say, the Spirit of God, which gave
forth the Scriptures, is the rule of life and faith to the
saints and leads not contrary, but according to the
Scriptures, in the belief and practice of whatever the
Scripture said. If these petitioners had made the Scriptures the rule of their lives and practices, for the denial
of which they accuse us, they would not have cut off ears,
banished and put to death for the cause of conscience,
which is contrary to the Scriptures, and proceeds from
another spirit than what gave forth the Scriptures.
Concerning government. We are not enemies to
government itself, as these our accusers do charge us; but
it is our principle and has ever been, and it is our practice
to be subject to whatever government is set up over
us, either by doing or suffering. And neither to vilify nor
rebel against any government or governors, by any malicious
plots and contrivances; but to walk in meekness and
humility towards all, being subject for conscience sake.
As for our doctrines tending to subvert both church
and state, this is also a false accusation and slander for
our doctrines are to convert and not to subvert; even to
convert to God and truth, and righteousness, that men
should live in these things, and forsake all that is
As many things were stated falsely concerning the doctrines
and practices of Friends, Edward Burrough deemed
it right to draw up something more full on some points
than he had yet done. He accordingly prepared A just
and righteous plea, presented to the king of England
and council. In this he treats on "swearing," "meetings
for worship," "tithes," "giving security to live peaceably,"
"concerning government," and "persecution." It
is preceded by an epistle to the king and his council, written
on the 10th of the second month, 1661.
About this time a book came forth anonymously, bearing
the title, "Semper Idem, or a Parallel of Phanaticb."
This was the production of a Roman Catholic, and appeared
as a justification of the burning of those Protestants commonly called martyrs, who are designated ancient
fanatics. To this work Edward replied in a publication
entitled, Persecution impeached, as a traitor against God,
his laws and government; and the cause of the ancient
martyrs vindicated against the cruelty inflicted upon
them by the papists of former days. "Wherein is contained
a relation of the martyrdom of many such as dissented
and opposed the church of Rome; who are in the
said book vilified and reproached by the name and term
of ancient fanatics. This is sent forth as an answer
thereunto, to pursue it and condemn it, as a pamphlet of
calumnies and slanders against the Protestants, both of
former and present days; who are all of them scorned in
the said book, the one as ancient, the other as modern
On the 26th of third month, 1661, Edward again appeared
as a champion of the violated rights of man, in
an address, entitled "The case of Free Liberty of Conscience
in the exercise of Faith and Religion, presented
to the King and both houses of Parliament."
ON the 10th day of the Third Month, 1661, on the
coronation of the king, he, as an act of grace, gave forth
a royal proclamation, by which he discharged from prison
all who were in confinement under the act for refusing
the oath of allegiance, or for meeting for worship, contrary
to his former proclamation. Religious liberty was
not yet heartily approved of by the rulers, and in a few
days after this an attempt was made in Parliament to obtain a special act to crush the Society of Friends.
Edward Burrough says:
The 26th day of the third
month, it was moved by a certain member of the House
of Commons, whose name I shall not now mention, that
whereas the Quakers were a numerous people, and growing
more numerous daily, and upon the king's indulgence
and fair promises towards them, especially that proclamation
for their release out of prisons, were very high and
confident; and met together in great numbers, and were
of dangerous consequence, and prevailed much to the
seducing of the king's subjects; that therefore that House
would he pleased to take into consideration, by what way
and means to proceed to check and restrain their confidence;
and to enact somewhat concerning their refusing
to take oaths, and their great meetings. Whereupon it
was put to the question in the House, and resolved upon
the same, that it should be referred to a committee to prepare
and bring in a bill to prevent the in consequence
to the government, by Quakers, Anabaptists, and other
schismatics, refusing to take oaths, and numerously and
unlawfully convening together, with such penalties as
may be suitable to the nature of those offenses, and profitable
to work upon the humors of such fanatics.
About six weeks after the appointment of this committee
they reported a bill, which being twice read, was committed
again to a committee. To this committee Edward Burrough, George Whitehead, and Richard Hubberthorn
obtained access; and presented to them in writing their
reasons against such a bill being enacted, and also had
liberty to speak of its unreasonableness, and the woeful
consequences which would follow. The committee met
again on the 13th, and Friends again were admitted to
address them. George Whitehead has recorded what he
said to the committee, and one sentiment spoken by his
friend Edward Burrough, which the latter has more fully
given us. Edward says, "The last thing that was said
by one of us was, that if ever this bill now under debate
was finished into an act to be executed, he was so far
from yielding conformity thereunto, that he should,
through the strength of Christ, meet among the people
of God to worship Him; and not only so, but should
make it his business to exhort all God's people everywhere,
to meet together for the worship of God, despite
that law and all its penalties. He desired
this might be reported to the House."
The committee were more moderate with the Friends
at the second opportunity than at the first, and the
spirits of some of them seemed brought down and subjected
under the power of Truth; although one called
Sir John Goodrich inveighed very bitterly at first against
Friends. The bill was finally reported to the House on
the 19th of the month, and the three Friends who had
attended the committee being joined by Edward Pyott of Bristol, presented themselves at the bar of the Commons, requesting permission to give their reasons against"
it, which was granted. Edward Burrough insisted: "That
our meetings were no ways to the terror of the people, as
was suggested in the preamble to the bill, but peaceable,
only for the worship and service of Almighty God, as we
are required by the law of God placed in our hearts and
consciences, which they ought not to make any law
against. No human law ought to be made contrary to
the law of God; for if they did make any such law, it
would not be binding." He quoted their ancient law
book, "Doctor and Student," which he had in his hand,
in which treating of the law written in the heart of man,
it says, "Because it is written in the heart, it may not be
put away, neither is it ever changeable by diversity of
place or time; and therefore against this law, prescriptions,
statute, or custom may not prevail; and if any be brought,
in against it, they be not prescriptions, statutes, nor customs,
but things void and against justice." After reading
this Edward said, " If they made such a law against
our meetings, which are appointed for the worship at
God, it would be contrary to the law of God, and void,
or ought to be void, ipso facto."
The others then each spoke freely their objections to the
bill. Edward, on summing up the whole, said,
Lord opened our mouths, and we showed several sound reasons to the House against the before said bill, and
why it ought not to pass into an act; - first, because of
the falsity and unsoundness of it is its ground;" 2ndly, because of the unreasonableness and injustice it in
itself; and 3rdly, because of the evil effects of it, which
must needs follow if it passed. Many other things were
spoken in the name and authority of the God of heaven,
as concerning our peacefulness, etc., and of the absolute
proper right that belonged to us, both from God and
men, to enjoy the liberty of our consciences in the exercise
of our religion, etc. And we had a good time to
clear our consciences to them as about that bill, showing
how it was contrary to the law of Christ, and to the King's
promises, and destructive to many thousand good people."
The House heard what the Friends had to say with
patience, and afterwards long debated the bill, but at last
they passed it. When the bill came before the House of
Lords, Edward Burrough presented some reasons and
considerations against it. They were the same in substance as he had urged before the Commons, and are
forcibly expressed. The bill did not become a law until
the Third Month of the next year.
About the beginning of the Seventh Month, 1661, information
reached London of the martyrdom of William
Leddra at Boston, and the probability that other members
of the Society of Friends, would shortly suffer the same
fate. On learning this, Edward Burrough, on behalf of
his fellow members in England, whose hearts were
touched with sympathy for their distant brethren, obtained
an audience with King Charles on the subject. He
told the monarch, that a vein of innocent blood was
opened in his dominions, which if not stopped would overrun
all. The king, who, though dissipated in his morals,
was yet good natured, and willing to grant a favor, if it
did not give himself much trouble, replied, "But I will
stop that vein." Edward requested him to act speedily
in the case, "for we know not how many may soon be
put to death." Charles said, "as soon as you will;" then
addressing some one present he said, "call the secretary,
and I will do it presently." The secretary came at the
summons, and at the will of the king drew up a mandamus which was properly and officially executed. A day
or two afterwards Edward called again on the king; the
mandamus had been prepared, but the case slumbered.
Indeed it probably would never have been attended to, if
he had not been further pressed on the subject. In excuse
for delay, the king said he had no occasion to send a
ship to New England. Edward, who knew there were many
chances of getting such a thing conveyed to its destination,
by those who had a heart in the matter, inquired if
he would be willing to grant his deputation to one called
a Quaker. The king answered, "yes, to whom you will."
Edward then named Samuel Shattock, an inhabitant of
New England, banished from there on pain of death,
and the king made him his deputy.
Samuel Shattock was soon ready to sail, for Friends
made an agreement with Ralph Goldsmith, one of their
members, who was master of a good ship, to sail in ten
days, with or without freight. For this they paid him
three hundred pounds. He reached his destination in
safety, and at the height of this mandamus, the proud
rulers of Boston were forced to yield up their prey. All
then in prison were discharged.
Edward Burrough, after seeing the deputy with the
mandamus in a way to be speedily forwarded, set out to
visit Friends in the north of England. While in Westmoreland
he appears to have found various manuscript essays written by him at different times, which on reading
over he now concluded to publish, and called his book a Discovery of Divine Mysteries. The preface bears
date the 25th of the seventh month. While still in the
north he addressed another general epistle to the saints.
He continued laboring about the place of his nativity
for some time, and on the 28th of the eighth month, addressed
another epistle to Friends of the Truth in and
We have no further account of the labors of Edward
Burrough, until we find him in the latter part of the
tenth month, or the beginning of the eleventh month
in Oxfordshire, visiting Thomas Ellwood, then sick of the
smallpox. From Oxfordshire he went to his old field of
labor, the city of London. Here in the twelfth month
he wrote an epistle to the rulers in the Christian world,
as a preface to a new work he was about publishing, entitled Anti-christ's government justly detected of injustice, unreasonableness, oppression and cruelty."
About this time John Perrot began to lay claim to
greater spirituality than his brethren, and to be elevated
with spiritual pride and self conceit. He does not appear
ever to have been qualified for, or called to much service
in the church. Yet when he was humble, he was without
doubt accepted in that little which his heavenly
Father required. Now, however, being puffed up, he put
on, to draw attention and admiration, the appearance of
great sanctity. He declared himself not easy to take
his hat in the time when any of his fellow ministers engaged
in public prayer, unless he felt a particular sense
of duty thus to uncover his head. This began to create
some diversity of feeling among Friends, and some unpleasant
scenes in their meetings. Edward Burrough was
favored to see the root, from where the affected singularity
of John Perrot in this particular had its rise, and as one
instructed in the ways of righteousness, administered to
him a sharp rebuke.
Edward Burrough once more felt his mind drawn to
visit Friends about Bristol. He was but a young man,
and in years and bodily strength was in the prime of
life, yet he felt as if his day's work was nearly over. In
his ministerial labors in several meetings, and while
parting with particular friends, he bade them farewell
with unusual solemnity, saying many times that he did
not know that he should see their faces any more, and
exhorting them to faithfulness and steadfastness, in that
in which they had found rest to their souls. His last
words to some were: "I am going up to the City of London
again, to lay down my life for the Gospel, and suffer
among Friends in that place." London had ever had a
strong hold on his affections, and he had said to his
friend Francis Howgill, at a time when persecution was
hot there, "I can freely go to the City of London, and lay down my life for a testimony to that Truth, which I
have declared through the power of the Spirit of God."
Thus, under a sense of the near approach of death, he
came up to London. Soon after arriving there, about the
close of the third month, being at a meeting at the Bull
and Mouth, which Francis Howgill says "the people of
the Lord had kept for many years, to hear and speak of
the things of God to edification," he was arrested while
preaching. Those who arrested him violently pulled
him down and carried him to the guard, and from there
before Alderman Brown, who committed him to Newgate.
He was taken to the sessions in the Old Bailey, and his
accusers, and those who had personally abused him, were
the sole witnesses against him. His case was before the
court at two or three sessions, and at last he was fined,
and sentenced to lay in prison until the fine was paid.
Many Friends were in Newgate at that time, shut up
among felons, and not having sufficient room to accommodate
them, and being in filthy places, their health and
strength gave way. Richard Hubberthorn, arrested
shortly after Edward Burrough, soon grew sick; and
about the time he had been two months in prison, his
spirit was released. He had been in a holy state of waiting,
looking for his change, and lifted up above all the
pains of nature. To some Friends who visited him he
said, "There was no need to dispute matters, for he knew
the ground of his salvation, and was satisfied forever in
his peace with the Lord." Of this Friend, Edward
Burrough wrote a memorial. Although confined in prison,
he was busy with his pen. One of his productions
is entitled, "A testimony concerning the beginning of the
work of the Lord, and the first publication of Truth, in
this City of London; and also concerning the cause, end,
and service of the first appointment and setting up of the
Men's Meeting at the Bull and Mouth; that it may be
known to all perfectly, how the Lord has begun and
carried on his work to this day."
King Charles, who appears to have entertained much
respect for Edward Burrough, hearing of the crowded
condition of the prison, and the number who were sick or
dying in it, sent a special order for the release of Edward
Burrough and some others of the prisoners. This order,
however, the cruel and persecuting alderman, Brown, and
other London magistrates, contrived to thwart; and Edward,
who had become quite weak and sickly, from the
pestilential air of the jail, rapidly grew worse. It soon
became evident that this faithful and devoted servant of
Christ, was hastening to the close of his labors on earth,
to enjoy the crown immortal in heaven. The same meek,
enduring and fervent spirit which had shown forth in his
active and useful life, was apparent in the approach of
death. As his sickness increased, he abounded in patience
and composure, and the spirit of supplication rested richly
upon him. By night and by day he poured out his
prayers to God, for himself and for his people. His heart
being replenished with grace, he uttered many expressions
indicating the heavenly frame of his soul, greatly
to the comfort of his surviving friends. At one time he
said, "I have had the testimony of the Lord's love to me
from my youth up; and my heart has been given up to
do his will."
He was kept there in prison about eight months, with six or seven score prisoners beside, upon the same account. But they were so crowded, that for want of room their natures were suffocated. [He died of jail fever, probably typhus, spread by lice in cold, unsanitary conditions]. Many other Quakers in that prison had also grown sick and died. And thus Edward Burrough continued prisoner, though his sickness increased. During the time of his weakness, he was very fervent in prayer, as well for his friends as for himself; and many consolatory and glorious expressions proceeded from his mouth. Once he was heard to say, 'I have had the testimony of the Lord's love to me from my youth: and my heart, 0 Lord, has been given up to do your will. I have preached the gospel freely in this city, and have often given up my life for the gospel's sake; and now, O Lord, rip open my heart, and see if it is not right before you' Another time he said, 'There is no iniquity that lies at my door; but the presence of the Lord is with me, and his life I feel justified.' Another day he was thus heard in prayer to God, 'you have loved me when I was in the womb; and I have loved you from my cradle; and from my youth to this day; and have served you faithfully in my generation.' And to his friends that were about him, he said, 'Live in love and peace, and love one another.' In the Cambridge Journal, he is also quoted as saying, 'if he [George Fox] had been with me but an hour, I would be well.' (Fox was away from London at the time). And at another time he said, 'The Lord takes the righteous from the evil to come.' And praying for his enemies and persecutors, he said, 'Lord, forgive Richard Brown, if he may be forgiven.' And being sensible that death was approaching, he said, 'Though this body of clay must turn to dust, yet I have a testimony that I have served God in my generation; and that spirit which has lived and acted, and ruled in me, shall yet break forth in thousands.' The morning before he departed this life, he said, ‘Now my soul and spirit is centered into its own being with God; and this form of person must return where it was taken.' And after a little season he gave up the ghost.
This was the exit of Edward Burrough, who, in his flourishing years, that is, about the age of twenty-eight in an unmarried state, changed this mortal life for an incorruptible, and whose youthful summer flower was cut down in the winter season, after he had very zealously preached the gospel about ten years. About the nineteenth year of his age, he first came to London with a public testimony, and continued almost eight years together to preach the word of God in that city; with great success; so that many came to be convinced, and great addition was made to the church there. In his youth he surpassed others of his age in knowledge. He was not skilful in languages, yet he had the tongue of the learned; and in his public ministry was very fluent, and elegant in speech, even according to the judgment of learned men. His enemies now began to rejoice, for they seemed to imagine that the progress of that doctrine, which he so powerfully and successfully had preached, by his decease would have been stopped or retarded; but they thought wrong.
About the middle of the ninth month he addressed
the following letter to some of his friends in the country:
DEAR AND BELOVED FRIENDS:
The lively remembrance of you dwells always with
me, praying for the increase of peace and blessing to you
from the Father. I know you have learned Christ, and
are acquainted with the teachings of his grace and
spirit, which leads you into all Truth, and is a comforter
to you in all conditions - which is present with you,
and in you, in all times and places - even the Spirit of
the Holy God, which is given you because you are children
of Him who is God, blessed over all!
Dearly beloved, my heart is filled with fervent love
towards you at this time, and the lively sense of the Lord's
suffering people rests upon my spirit, with the dear embraces
and salutations in the same love with which I am
loved of Christ Jesus my Lord, whom I hope you have so
learned as never to deny his Name and Truth. I am
persuaded concerning you, that the greatest tribulations,
afflictions and sufferings, can never move or shake your
hope or confidence in God, nor separate you from his love,
life and peace, which many of you have had large manifestations
of and some the assured possession of for evermore; and I hope nothing can separate you from that
love which is of God, or divide you from it in the absence
of the Father's presence, which is full of joy and peace.
Nothing, I say, can be able to break our fellowship with
the Lord, but that He is ours, and we are his, whatever
wars, actions or tribulations may pass upon our outward
man. I write to the faithful, and I need not say to
you, 'know the Lord;' but I may say, 'stand fast, faithful
and valiant to death' - for the knowledge of God
which you have received; and give yourselves to be destroyed,
rather than to renounce or deny Christ before
men, or to cease from the exercise of your consciences in
what his Holy Spirit persuades your hearts in the
Friends here are generally well in the inward and
outward man, and the presence of the Lord is manifest
with us through great trials, and sore afflictions, and
grievous persecutions, which we have met withal this last
half year. It would be too large to relate, and piercing
to your hearts to hear, the violence and cruelty which
Friends have suffered in this city in their meetings, and
in prisons; it has been very hard to bear the persecution
inflicted every way, though the Lord has given strength
and boldness, and his power alone has carried through;
else many would have fainted, and not have been able to
stand. Many have given up their lives in faithfulness in
this place; and their faithfulness in keeping meetings,
and in patiently enduring many tribulations and cruel
exercises, is a crown upon Friends in this city. Here are now near two hundred and fifty of us prisoners in Newgate,
Bridewell, Southwark and New Prison. In Newgate we are so extremely thronged, that if the mercy of the
Lord had not preserved us, we could not have endured.
There are near a hundred in one room on the common
side among the felons, and their sufferings are great; but
the Lord supports. For about six weeks the meetings
were generally quiet in the city, but these last three weeks
they have fallen on more violently than ever, and imprisoned
many Friends. But through all this, Truth is of
good report, and the nobility of it gains place in many
hearts, which are opened in pity and compassion toward
innocent sufferers, and Truth is increased through all
trials. Our trust is in the Lord, and not in man; and
we desire the same Spirit may dwell and abide in you
also; that you may be like-minded with us, and we all of
the mind of Christ, who seeks men's salvation, and not
His deep interest in the City of London, and the prosperity
of the Society of Friends there, continued with
him; and on one occasion he exclaimed, "I have preached
the Gospel freely in this city, and have often given up
my life for the Gospel's sake." "There is no iniquity lies
at my door, but the presence of the Lord is with me, and
his life, I feel justifies me." His heart overflowing with
the love of God, and with a precious sense of God's love
extended to him, he seemed borne above his weakness
and sufferings, already enjoying a foretaste of that heavenly
rest and peace, into which he was soon to enter.
In addressing his heavenly Father, he would say, "I have
loved you from my cradle-from my youth to this
day; and have served you faithfully in my generation."
Filled with a lively sense of the preciousness of that
love, which is the fulfilling of the law, he exhorted his
friends to "love one another, and to live in love and
peace." He prayed for Richard Brown, one of his principal
persecutors, by name; thus showing forth the spirit
of his Divine Master, who, when suffering on the cross
for the sins of mankind, interceded for his murderers
in this. affecting language: "Father, forgive them; for
they know not what they do." Thus calmly and peacefully
he drew toward the close of life, the spirit of his
Lord and Master being in dominion in him, and his
faculties bright and clear, despite the violence
of his disorder. Sensible that his death was near, he
said, just before it occurred,
Though this body of clay
must return to dust, yet I have a testimony that I have
served God in my generation; and that Spirit which has
acted and ruled in me shall yet break forth in thousands."
Thus sustained by the power of God, in the faith and
hope of the Gospel of Christ, he closed his life, a martyr
for the name and testimony of the Lord Jesus, on the 14th
day of the Twelfth Month, 1662, aged about 28 years.
Those who have followed this undaunted soldier in the
Lamb's army, through his life of laborious dedication to
the Gospel, and his peaceful and triumphant death, can
subscribe to the language of George Fox respecting him:
His name is chronicled in the Lamb's book of life, a
righteous spirit, pure, chaste and clean. Who can tax
him with oppressing them, or burdening them, or being
chargeable to them, who through suffering has finished
his course and testimony; who is now crowned with the
crown of life, and reigns with the Lord Christ forever
and ever. In his ministry in his life-time he went through sufferings
by bad spirits. [He] never turned his back on
the Truth, nor his back from any out of the Truth. A
valiant warrior; more than a conqueror, who has got the
crown through death and sufferings. Who is dead, yet
lives among us.
CONCERNING EDWARD BURROUGH, DECEASED.
IN a testimony given forth concerning him by Francis
Howgill, his companion and fellow traveler in the ministry
of the Gospel, we find the following:
Shall days, or months, or years, wear out your name, as though you had no being! Oh no!
Shall not your noble and valiant acts, and mighty works which you have wrought
through the power of him that separated you from the womb, live in generations to come! O yes!
The children that are yet unborn, shall have you in their mouths,
and your works shall testify of you, in generations, who yet have not a being, and shall count you blessed.
Did your life go out as the snuff of a candle? O no!
You have penetrated the hearts of many, and the memorial of the just shall live forever;
and be had in renown among the children of men forever.
For you have turned many to righteousness,
and shine as a star of God in the firmament of God's power, forever and ever;
and those who are in that, shall see you there, and enjoy you there,
though you are gone away from here, and can no more be seen in mutability;
yet your life and your spirit shall run parallel with immortality.
Oh Edward Burrough!
I cannot but mourn for you,
yet not as one without hope or faith,
knowing and having a perfect testimony of your well-being in my heart, by the Spirit of the Lord;
yet your absence is great, and years to come shall know the want of you.
Shall I not lament as David did for a worse man than you, even for Abner;
when in wrath he perished by the hand of Joab, without any just cause, though he was a valiant man?
David lamented over Abner, and said, did Abner die as a fool dies?
(Oh No! He was betrayed of his life.)
Even so have you been bereaved of your life by the hand of the oppressor, whose habitations are full of cruelty.
Oh your soul, come not you within their secret,
for your blood shall be required at the hands of them who thirsted after your life;
and it shall cry as Abel's who was in the faith;
even so were you, it shall weigh as a ponderous millstone upon their necks,
and shall crush them under, and be as a worm that gnaws, and shall not die.
When I think upon you, I am melted into tears of true sorrow;
and because of the want that the inheritance of the Lord has of you, my substance is even as dissolved.
Shall I not say as David did of Saul and Jonathan,
when they were slain in mount Gilboa,
the beauty of Israel is slain upon the high places;
even so were you stifled in nasty holes, and prisons, and many more who were precious in the eyes of the Lord:
and surely precious were you to me, oh dear Edward;
I am distressed for you my brother, very pleasant have you been to me,
and my love to you was wonderful, passing the love of woman:
Oh you whose bow never turned back, nor sword empty from the blood of the slain;
from the slaughter of the mighty;
who made nations and multitudes shake with the word of life in your mouth.
You were very dreadful to the enemies of the Lord, for you did cut like a razor.
And yet to the seed of God brought forth, your words dropped like oil, and your lips as the honeycomb.
You will be recorded among the valiants of Israel, who attained to the first degree,
through the power of the Lord, that wrought mightily in you in your day,
and were worthy of double honor, because of your works.
You were expert in handling your weapon,
and by you the mighty have fallen,
and the slain of the Lord have been many.
Many have been pricked to the heart through the power of the word of life;
and coals of fire from your life came forth of your mouth,
that in many a thicket, and among many briers and thorns it came to be kindled,
and did devour much stubble that cumbered the ground, and stained the earth.
Oh how certain a sound did your trumpet give!
And how great an alarm did you give in your day,
that made the host of the uncircumcised greatly distressed!
What man so valiant, though as Goliath of Gath, would not your valor have encountered with,
while many despised your youth!
And how have I seen you with your sling and your stone, (despised weapons to war with), wound the mighty!
And what had seemed contemptible to the dragon's party, even as the jaw bone of an ass,
with it you have slain the Philistines heaps upon heaps, as Samson.
You have put your hand to the hammer of the Lord,
and have often fastened nails in the heads of the Lamb's enemies, as Jael did to Sisera;
and many a rough stone have you polished and squared, and made it fit for the buildings of God;
and much knotty wood have you hewed in your day, which was not fit for the building of God's house.
Oh, you prophet of the Lord,
you shall for ever be recorded in the Lamb's book of life, among the Lord's worthies,
who have followed the Lamb through great tribulations,
as many can witness for you from the beginning;
and at last have overcome,
and been found worthy to stand with the Lamb upon mount Zion, the hill of God;
as I have often seen you,
and your heart well tuned as a harp, to praise the Lord, and to sound forth his great salvation;
which many a time has made glad the hearts of those who believed,
and strengthened their faith and hope.
Well, you are at rest, and wound up in the bundle of life;
and I know tears were wiped away from your eyes, because there was no cause of sorrow in you:
for we know you witnessed the old things done away, and there was no curse,
but blessings were poured upon your head as rain, and peace a mighty shower,
and trouble was far from your dwelling;
though in the outward man trouble on every side,
and have had a greater share in that, for the gospel-sake, (though a youth), in your time, than many besides;
but now you are freed from that, and have obtained a name through faith, with the saints in light.
Well, had you more to give up than your life for the name of Jesus in this world? No;
and to seal the testimony committed to you with your blood,
as you have often said in your day, which shall remain as a crown upon you forever and ever.
And now you are freed from the temptations of him who had the power of death;
and from your outward enemies, who hated you because of the love that dwelt in you;
and remains at the right hand of God, where there is joy and pleasure for ever more in the everlasting light;
which you have often testified to, according to the word of prophecy in your heart,
which was given to you by the Holy Ghost;
and you are at rest in the perfection thereof, in the beauty of holiness;
yet your life and your spirit I feel as present, and have unity with it, and in it,
beyond all created and visible things, which are subject to mutation and change;
and your life shall enter into others, to testify to the same Truth, which is from everlasting to everlasting;
for God has raised, and will raise up children to Abraham, of those who have been as dead stones;
his power is Almighty, great in his people in the midst of their enemies.'
This same Edward Burrough was born in the Barony of Kendall, in the County of Westmoreland, of honest parents, who had a good report among their neighbors for upright and honest dealing among men,who brought up Edward in his youth in learning and as good an education as the country does afford. He was a very understanding boy in his youth, and his knowledge and understanding did far exceed his years. He had the spirit of a man when he was but a child; and I may say, gray hairs were upon him when he was but a youth; for he was clothed with wisdom in his infancy, for I had perfect knowledge of him from a youth. He was inclined from his youth upwards to religion and the best way, always minding the best things, and the best and nearest way or worship to the scriptures of Truth, and always did accompany the best men, who walked in godliness and honesty, insomuch I have often admired his discreet carriage, and his great understanding of the things of God. He was never known to be addicted to any vice or malignity, or bad behaviour, neither followed any evil course of life from his childhood but feared the Lord, and walked uprightly according to the light and knowledge received in all things. In his natural disposition he was bold and manly, dexterous and fervent; and what he took in hand, he did it with his might; loving, kind and courteous, merciful and flexible, and easy to be entreated. His whole delight was always among good people; and to be conferring and reading the scriptures, and little to mind any sports or pastimes, (to which there is an inclination in youth); but his very strength was bended after God, and separated, (I may say), from his mother's womb, and fitted for the Work's sake, to which he was later called.
And when it pleased the Lord to raise up unto us the ancient Horn of Salvation among us, who were known in the north parts of England, even as the outcasts of Israel, and as men destitute of the great knowledge, which [destitution] some seemed to enjoy; yet there was more sincerity and true love among us, and desires after the living powerful Presence of Cod, than was among many in that day, who seemed to make a great show running into heaps and forms, but leaving the cross behind them, and indeed they were strangers to it. God out of his everlasting love did appear unto us, according to the desire of our hearts, who longed after him; when we had turned away from hireling-shepherds' tents, we found him whom our souls loved; and God out out his great love and great mercy sent one unto us immediately by his power, a man of God, one of ten thousand, to instruct us in the Way of God more perfectly, who laid down the pure foundation and declared the acceptable year of the Lord; who indeed made the mourners to rejoice, and the heavy-hearted glad, which yet was terrible to all hypocrites and all normal profession; which testimony reached unto all our consciences and entered into the innermost part of our hearts, which drove us to a narrow search and to a diligent inquiry concerning our state, which we came to see through the Light of Christ Jesus, which was testified of, and found it to be even what it was testified of [the light testified of the light]; and of the Lord; and as we waited upon him in pure silence, our minds out of all things, his dreadful power, and glorious majesty, and heavily presence appeared in our assemblies, when there was no language, tongue, or speech from any creature, and the kingdom of heaven did gather us and catch us all, as in a net; and his heavenly power at one time drew many hundreds to land [from the sea of the world's nations], that we came to know a place to stand in, and in what to wait in; and the Lord appeared daily to us to our astonishment, amazement, and great admiration, insomuch that we often said unto one another with great joy of heart, What, is the kingdom of God come to be with men? And will he take up his tabernacle among the sons of men, as he did of old? And what shall we, that were reckoned as the outcast of Israel, have this honor of glory communicated among us, which were but men of small parts, and of little abilities, in respect of many others, as among men. However, thus it seemed good unto the Lord, to choke the weak things, and the foolish things of this world, as to the aspect of men, that no flesh might glory, that no man because of his parts might glory, or because of his strength or wisdom might glory; but that the glory which is his, might only be given to him, Unto whom be the glory of all his works forever and ever, Amen.
And from that day forward our hearts were knit unto the Lord, and one unto another, in true and fervent love, not by any external covenant, or external form; but we entered into the covenant of life with God, and that was a strong obligation or bond upon all our spirits, which united us one unto another, and we met together in the unity of the spirit, and of the bond of peace; treading down under our feet all reasoning, questioning, debating, and contending about religion, or any part or parts, or practice or practices thereof, as to any external thing; and we waited at time and times, as God did grant us opportunities; and the more we had and could obtain from our necessary occasions of this present life, the better we were in the more we were confirmed and strengthened in our hope and faith; and holy resolutions were kindled in our hearts, as of fire, which the life kindled in us, to serve the Lord while we had a being; and to make mention of his name and power while we waited live; and to hold forth that testimony which was committed to us, in the sight of men and nations, by doctrine, by patients, by a holy conversation; and mightily did the word of God grow among us; and the desires of many were after the name of the Lord. Oh happy day! O blessed day! The memorial of which can never pass out of my mind; and thus the Lord, in short, did form us to be a people for his praise in our generation
However, after all this and much more which time would fail me to write, (neither is the purpose of my spirit bent that way at this time), we did come through very great tribulations, extreme difficulties, great perplexity, and passed out oftentimes hungry and hard put to it, both within and without; yet such was our love to the Lord, and such fervency in our hearts, that we rather chose to die and to undergo every difficulty than to dishonor or deny the name of Christ in the midst of suffering, because of that taste that we had of his goodness and immortal life revealed in our hearts. This young man, of whom I am speaking, had his share, though but a youth at the time, of 16 or 17 years of age. Because of the truth which crossed all the worlds ways, his nearest relations, even his own parents, cast him off as an alien and turned him out of their house as not to have any part or portion therein, as a son, no not so much as a hired servant; which this young man bore very patiently, without murmuring or complaining, having a taste of that then which was better than all the world; and through conversing with his people, and among them, the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and the spirit of wisdom and understanding entered into his heart, and the spirit of knowledge and sound judgment came to be seated in his rains, and the spirit of prophecy came upon him, like as it did upon many more, through the Holy Ghost's power and operation; and he spoke of the wonderful things of God among them that believed; and was one of the first among us which the Lord opened the mouth of, to show forth his praise and to speak of the things of his kingdom to his many as he met with, who waited for the consolation of Israel, for the riches of the Gentiles, and to his many as desired and hope after eternal life. At last the Lord singled him out, and commanded him to go into countries unknown to him, and he did some more besides, upon whom he laid a necessity to preach the gospel freely, without money, without price, without tithes, augmentations, gifts or rewards; and in that he was as faithful a man, none exceeding him in his generation; for those things were an abhorrence to his heart; and where he met with any such hireling shepherds, and deceitful workers that had deceived the nations, and cheated the people for dishonest gain, and kept them in blindness, the indignation of the Lord was kindled in his heart, and the sword of the Lord, (words spoken by the mouth of the Lord), was very sharp in his hand; and whoever he met with, who walked after this sort, they were sure to feel the weight of his weapon and the force of his blow, by which many have been so deeply wounded that they have snarled like dogs on him, as greedy dogs indeed, because of their present wound and blow that he gave them; and though he was but young in years, yet he was full of fortitude and true valor. The Lord oftentimes, when he exercised him in such war as this, has filled his quiver full of polished shafts, and made his bow to abide in strength, and he was as dexterous and ready-handed, as any that I knew in his day, against the dragon and his power, against the beast and his followers; and indeed he was very evenhanded, and had a specially good arm, and seldom missed the mark. God had filled his mouth with arguments, so that he was often successful in the face of many opposers.
It was my lot, (which I cannot but say fell in a good ground), to be his companion and fellow laborer in the work of the gospel, whereunto we were called for many years together. And Oh my heart is broken when I consider how sweetly we walked together for many months and years! In which we had perfect knowledge of one another's hearts, and perfect unity of spirit, not so much as one crossword, or one hard thought of discontent ever rose, (I believe), in either of our hearts for ten years together; but our souls were bound up in unity and peace, having the frame of our hearts a bent after one and the self same thing, namely the propagation of that truth by which liberty was obtained, and salvation received through Jesus Christ, the true light of the world, seeing through his light the whole world to lie in wickedness; a necessity lay upon this person of whom I am speaking, being constrained by the spirit of the Lord, by which he was made an able minister of the everlasting Gospel, to preach repentance, conversion, salvation, and remission of sins; and accordingly he went forth in the name and power of the Lord Jesus, the Savior of mankind, and was an able minister of the glad tidings of salvation, in many, or most parts of this land; and also he traveled through again and again, the whole nation of Ireland; and in some part of Scotland, and some part of Flanders; and his ministry was made effective through the almighty power of God in turning many from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God; there are many thousands who are living in the body, and alive in the truth, who can in the spirit of the Lord bear testimony to the power and truth of his ministry, in many countries where he traveled; for he labored much in many places, even in the heat of the day, though he began early in the morning; and in the beginning of his travels and labors, it was his fate to break up rough places, and untilled ground, and to walk among many briars and thorns, which scratched, and pricked, and tore; and traveled with some other, not without great opposition; and he often trod the paths and ways that had not been occupied in the truth; but where darkness had the dominion, and was as a covering, he broke through as an armed man, not minding the opposition, but the victory, and the good of all souls, though to my knowledge his sufferings and trials have not been small, nor his exercise a little, on the right hand, and on the left; and travels often, oftentimes buffeted, sometimes knocked down by unreasonable men, who had not faith; loaded with lies, slanders, calumnies, and reproaches; often in weakness, yes in deaths often, in watching, fastings and temptations often; in straits and necessities; in perils among rude multitudes; in perils in idol temples; in perils in streets and markets, where the Lord did move him often to go in the beginning of his time; besides the exceeding weight of service from weeks end to weeks end, insomuch that he seldom had many hours of repose; and often suffered by those spirits who lost their first love and rose in opposition. He was very diligent and faithful, true hearted and valiant, and the yolk at last came to be easy to him, though no ease at all in the body, as to the outward man; for he made the work of the Lord his whole business, without taking so much liberty unto himself, or about any outward occasion in this world, as to spend one week to himself, (to my knowledge), these 10 years. He had pictured himself often, for the body's sake; and a great care I know was in his heart, that then that he had ministered unto, and others that had believed in the same truth, might thrive and prosper, and might walk as becomes the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He was of a manly spirit in the things of God; he had engaged himself often upon the Lord's account singly in great disputes, when there were many opposers; he has stood in the door, and in the gap, against all of his enemies, for the worthy name of God, and taken the whole weight of things upon his own shoulders, that others might be east, though often to the weakening, and almost destroying of the outward man; yet doing all in the love to the Lord and for his people's sake. He did it with cheerfulness, and it was a grief to him if any opportunity was missed of doing good. He was a man of no great learning in natural tones, which men so much applause; yet indeed his heart was full of matter, and his tongue was as the hand of a ready scribe; and yet he had the tongue of the learned, having had experience of the work of the Lord, and being acquainted with many conditions which God had carried him through, he could speak a word in season unto all who declared their conditions unto him; or other ways in his public ministry he was very plausible and elegant in his speech, and indeed had the tongue of a learned orator to declare himself to the understandings and consciences of all men with whom he conversed, by which many received great profit, and their understandings came to be opened; for his words ministered grace to the hearers and his words were forcible and very pleasant, as apples of gold in pitchers of silver.
This young man of whom I'm speaking, was one of the first, (with some others), who came to the city of London, where he met with no small opposition both from professors of several forms, and profane people, who heeded no religion at all; and the way of truth seemed contemptible, and without form or comeliness to them all; which made the opposition so great, and the labor so hard, that notwithstanding it pleased the Lord to reach into the consciences of many, and many were pricked to the heart, so that they cried out, what shall we do to be saved? God made his ministry very effective, whereby a great change was wrought in the hearts of many, and many hundreds brought to know the Lord their teacher, which are seals unto the word of life through him unto this day. And many hundreds, I may say thousands, heard the lively Word of God declared by him, and were convinced of the way of truth, though still remaining in the disobedience to that of God in their own hearts unto which he declared; and many have lost their day which they had of hearing and receiving things of God; for now he is taken away which might have been a help unto them while they had time; and all such are not worthy of him. He continued in this city very much at times and times, between eight and nine years together, preaching the word of God, and speaking of the things of his kingdom to all that looked after it; and great watchings, travel, and exercise in the work of the Lord; and his earnest desire was, that all might have come to know God's salvation, and the redemption of their souls. His great diligence was known unto many, that his only rejoicing was in the prosperity of the work of the Lord, and the increase of faith among them that did believe. His heart was much drawn towards this city, and often times has he said to me when sufferings did come for the gospel's sake, which he knew would come, "I can freely go to that city, and lay down my life for a testimony of that truth which I have declared through the power and spirit of God;" Which in the end indeed came to be his share, and will forever be his crown, who loved not his life unto death for the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the same year 1662, being pressed in his spirit to go visit them who were begotten into the faith of God's elect at the city of Bristol, and in several other counties, at several meetings, and several particular friends, he took his leave of them, saying to the many, that he did not know he should see their faces anymore; exhorting them all to faithfulness and steadfastness in that wherein they had found rest for their souls; and said to some, "I am going up to the city of London again, to lay down my life for the gospel, and suffer among friends in that place;" as having some sense of his sufferings before.
A little after his return to the city, at a public meeting, which the people of the Lord had kept these many years, to hear and speak of the things of God to edification, at Bull and Mouth, (the name of the Quaker meeting house in London), near Aldersgate, by certain soldiers, under the command of Richard Brown, then General of the city of London, he was violently plucked down, and hailed away in a barbarous manner, and carried to the guard, and so committed to Newgate Prison; not for evil doing, but for testifying unto the name of the Lord Jesus, and for the worship of God; as though this had become a great crime, worthy of bonds, and at last, death. He was taken to the sessions in the Old Bailey, (a court), and his accusers were witnesses against him, and those that had abused him violently, their testimony was received as good proof against him. At last after two or three sessions, he was fined by the court 100 marks, which at last was reduced to 20 marks,* and to lie in prison until payment was made; where he continued a long season, about eight months, with six or seven score prisoners besides, upon the same account; many being shut up among the felons, in nasty places, and for overcrowding of prison rooms, the natures of many were suffocated and corrupted with disease; till at last many grew weak, sickened, and died.
* Twenty marks then is about about 2000 pounds today, ($3000), which is a considerable sum; but it might have been paid if so many Quakers had not imprisoned at the same time. Also, the Quakers were convinced that if they paid the penalty demanded, their actions would lend validity to the unjust charges laid against them; and if they paid the fine, they would bring dishonor the truth — which to prevent, they were willing to die.
At last the same young man grew weak; and though a special order from the King was sent to the then Sheriffs of London, for the release of him, and the rest that were left in prison; yet such was the enmity of some of the rulers of the city, that they did what in them lay to obstruct the execution of that order, that he should not be released. So weakness grew up on him daily, though in much patience he was carried through all. In the time of his weakness he was very fervent in prayer, (and that often, oath day and night), unto the Lord, as concerning himself, and also his people; and it several times he spoke several precious words from the sensible feeling of God's Spirit in his heart and said, "I have had the testimony of the Lord's love unto me from my youth, and my heart has been given up to do your will." He said, "I have preach the gospel freely in the city, and have often given up my life for the gospel's sake; and now Lord rip open my heart, and see if it is not right before you." Another time he said when he had a little ease, "there is no iniquity that lies at my door; but the presence of the Lord is with me, and his life I feel justifies me." Another day afterwards he said, "you have loved me when I was in the womb, and I have loved you from my cradle, and from my youth unto this day, and have served you faithfully in my generation." He spoke to friends that were about him, "to live in love and peace and love one another." And at another time he said, "the Lord takes the righteous from the evil to." He prayed for his enemies, and for his persecutors, and said, "Lord forgive Richard Brown, may he be forgiven." Although the distemper and the disease was violently upon him yet he was preserved sensible. In the morning before he departed this life, being sensible of his death, he said, "now my soul and spirit is centered into its own being with God; and this form of person must return from where it was taken." After a little while he gave up the ghost and died a prisoner, and shall be recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life as a martyr for the Word of God, and the testimony of Jesus, for which only he suffered and gave up his life, his death being precious in the eyes of the Lord. But now he ever lives with God, and his work follows him, and his labors shall testify of him in generations to come; and thousands beside myself can bear witness: his life and death was to the praise, honor, and glory of the grace of God; unto whom be the glory of all his works forever, Amen.
Oh, City of London! You who have been a professing city of the name of God and Christianity so many years, must it be said of you as Christ said of Jerusalem that a prophet cannot perish outside of you? Oh, how many warnings have you had? And how do you remain in obdurateness and impenitence! Oh, you are not worthy of the heavenly tidings of salvation that had been proclaimed in the midst of you these many years by this faithful messenger of God deceased, with many more, who are taken away in judgment unto you, because many of your inhabitants despised and set at naught that in which the blessedness of all nations consist. Oh how has your gold become dim! And how has your glory been stained! How has your countenance been marred! How has all your profession become dead, and become a withered tree without sap! The symptoms of death are upon you; your sun has set, your glory has passed away, night is coming, and darkness is surrounding you; and you shall have enough of darkness, your paths and ways shall be filled with it because you have hated the light and would not have him who is the light of the world to rule your hearts; but you have chosen darkness rather than light because your deeds are evil, and in the end you shall be made to see that you have chosen lying vanities, have taken pleasure in the flesh, and have forsaken your own mercies.
Repent, repent, (if any man can find a place), while it is called today, least you be shut up in everlasting darkness, and truth be hidden from your eyes for ever. Take warning, cease from your persecution and afflicting the Lord's people, who desire to live quietly and peaceably, and to worship God in truth and righteousness, with a pure heart. It is too much that you have already done; the suffering and death of many innocent righteous men, who have suffered the winters past, will lie as a load upon your city in summers to come. Remember what God did to Amalek, and the misery of Moab. We will gladly walk on our way to see the promise land that belongs to the saints in light, we will eat our own bread, and drink our water, and what we needed, thus to keep our conscience clear, (in our generation we must), to that which God has promised; and if we cannot have a way, God will make one for us; and that you who set yourselves against the Lord in the end shall be sure to know and feel, though we shall never lift up carnal weapons, nor draw a sword, neither use bow nor spear; for God has taught us to love our enemies; and out of these things we have come, and to the end of wars, and so be for it. Yet God's purpose shall be fulfilled, and he has ways enough to plead the cause of his people; and he will do it, and we to all their enemies. Do you cry out against Popery because of cruelty and persecution? Will you be found in the same footsteps and in the same nature? Oh! But it never be said nor thought, that ever the Church of God or true Christians did drink the blood of the saints, or cast them into prison; for this is Babylon, the Mother of Harlots, that does so. Therefore be informed and warned: set not briars and thorns in battle against the Lord, neither stubble for devouring fire; for if you do a consumption will come upon you, and your name and memorial shall rot, die, wither, and melt away, as do snails; and glory shall rest with, and upon the heads of, the sufferers of Christ forever.
By one who has chosen rather to suffer with the people of God called Quakers than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season or to be thought a Prince among the uncircumcised,
Reading the 22nd of the 12th month ,1662
Thomas Ellwood, the editor George Fox's Journal,
and a great Quaker poet, laments Edward Burrough's death.
Edward Burrough was the person who first convinced Thomas Ellwood of the Truth, preaching in Isaac Penington's home. Regarding Burrough's death, Ellwood says: "the resulting high affection for him,
did so deeply affect my mind that it was
some pretty time before my passion could prevail to express
itself in words, so true I found those of the tragedy:
Light griefs break forth, and easily get vent,
Great ones are through amazement closely pent.
At length, my muse, not bearing to be any longer mute, broke
forth in the following acrostic, [ a poem in which the first letter in each line, has a message also - which is ELLWOOD'S LAMENTATION FOR HIS ENDEARED EDWARD BURROUGH] which he called-
A PATHETIC EULOGY ON THE DEATH
OF THAT DEAR AND FAITHFUL
SERVANT OF GOD,
Who died 14th of the Twelfth Month, 1662.
And thus she introduced it:-
How long shall grief lie smothered? ah! how long
Shall sorrow's signet seal my silent tongue?
How long shall sighs me suffocate, and make
My lips to quiver and my heart to ache?
How long shall I with pain suppress my cries,
And seek for holes to wipe my watery eyes?
Why may not I, by sorrow thus oppressed,
Pour forth my grief into another's breast?
If that be true which once was said by one,
That" He mourns truly who does mourn alone:”
Then may I truly say, my grief is true,
Since it has yet been known to very few.
Nor is it now mine aim to make it known
To those to whom these verses may be shown;
But to assuage my sorrow-swollen heart,
Which silence caused to taste so deep of smart.
This is my end, that so I may prevent
The vessel's bursting by a timely vent.
Who can forbear, when such things spoke he hears,
His grave to water with a flood of tears ?
E cho you woods, resound you hollow places,
L et tears and paleness cover all men's faces.
L et groans, like claps of thunder, pierce the air,
W hile I the cause of my just grief declare.
O that mine eyes could, like the streams of Nile,
O verflow their watery banks;
and thou meanwhile
D rink in my trickling tears, oh thirsty ground.
S o might you henceforth fruit fuller be found.
L ament, my soul, lament; your loss is deep,
A nd all that Zion love sit down and weep
M ourn, O you virgins, and let sorrow be
E ach damsel's dowry, and, (alas, for me!)
N 'er let my soul and sighs have an end
T ill I again embrace my ascended friend;
A nd until I feel the virtue of his life
T o console me, and repress my grief:
I nfuse into my heart the oil of gladness
O need more, and by its strength remove that sadness
N ow pressing down my spirit, and restore
F ully that joy I had in him before;
O f whom a word I willingly would stammer forth,
R ather to ease my heart than show his worth:
H is worth, my grief, which words too shallow are
I n demonstration fully to declare,
S ighs, sobs, my best interpreters now are.
E nvy begone; black Momus quit the place;
N ever more, Zoilus, show your wrinkled face.
D raw near, you bleeding hearts, whose sorrows are
E qual with mine; in him you had like share.
A dd all your losses up, and you will see
R emainder will be naught but woe is me.
E ndeared lambs, you that have the white stone,
D o know full well his name - it is your own.
E ternitized be that right worthy name;
D eath has but killed his body, not his fame,
W hich in its brightness shall forever dwell,
A nd like a box of ointment sweetly smell.
R ighteousness was his robe; bright majesty
D ecked his brow; his look was heavenly.
B old was he in his Master's quarrel, and
U ndaunted; faithful to his Lord's command.
R equiting good for ill; directing all
R ight in the way that leads out of the fall.
O pen and free to every thirsty lamb;
U nspotted, pure, clean, holy, without blame.
G lory, light, splendor, luster, was his crown,
H appy his change to him; the loss our own.
Virtue alone, which evidence ought to have,
Does make men happy, if beyond the grave.
While I had thus been breathing forth my grief,
In hopes thereby to get me some relief,
I heard, I thought, his voice say, "Cease to mourn:
I live; and though the veil of flesh once worn
Be now stripped off, dissolved, and laid aside,
My spirit's with thee, and shall so abide.”
This satisfied me; down I threw my quill,
Willing to be resigned to God's pure will.
GEORGE WHITEHEAD SAYS RESPECTING EDWARD BURROUGH :
As for Edward Burrough, our dear brother and companion
in travel, suffering and consolation for the everlasting
Gospel's sake in his day, his testimony lives with us;
he was a preacher of righteousness and one who travailed
for the redemption of the creature from under the bondage
of corruption. He proclaimed liberty to the captives
in the power and authority of God. Therein he was a
true witness against oppression and all the anti-christian
yokes imposed in the night of apostasy upon the persons
and consciences of people. Truly and valiantly he
held forth the liberty of conscience and vindicated it to
the great men of the earth, in things pertaining to God
in matters of religion and worship, against persecution
and compulsion which had their original and rise from
the power of the beast, which has made war against the
righteous seed, that men might be left free to the guidance of the infallible Spirit of God, which is not to be
limited in these matters, and not be compelled or brought
under the corrupt wills of men, nor their fallible judgments
nor invented forms in these cases.
The name of this minister of righteousness is written
in the Lamb's book of life; and all the enemies of his
life can never be able to blot it out nor extinguish his
memorial. The remembrance of his integrity, uprightness
and sincerity, has a deep impression upon my heart;
and that tender love and affection in God's Truth that
he was filled with towards all the upright, who are lovers
of peace and unity in the Lord, is never to he forgotten
by us, who are yet remaining in the work of the Lord. He has left a glorious
testimony of the everlasting Gospel, the glory of which shall never be extinguished,
but thousands shall praise the Lord our God
To live was to him Christ, and to die was gain. Although in his time many were the sufferings and afflictions
which he underwent, and his upright spirit suffered by,
both from his open enemies and persecutors in the world,
because of his valor and courage for the Truth of God,
and from deceitful and transforming exalted spirits which
burden the holy seed; yet now his life is caught up above
them all and is out of their reach in the transcendent and
unspeakable glory, in the everlasting habitation of God's
power, where he has shined, and does shine among the
stars that have kept their habitations, as one that has
turned many to righteousness and has overcome by
the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony.
Although he is ceased from his labors, his works
follow him, which will be in living remembrance and
precious esteem among the upright.
They, who in a prejudiced spirit of enmity, are lifted
up because of his decease, are not worthy of him, nor of
his testimony. They have cause to mourn and lament
among those who have pierced the just and slighted
and despised the messengers of Truth and righteousness,
whom God has therein honored; and God will debase
such and their vain glory to the dust and exalt the testimony
and life of his faithful witnesses over all their
But we, who have been well acquainted with the deep
suffering of the righteous seed, and with the worth of true
unity, in the weighty body and Spirit of Christ, and
therein do behold the glory and completeness of the city of
our God, which is at peace within itself, cannot but prize
the ministers of righteousness and every member of the
same body. How blessed and precious is the memorial of
the righteous in our eyes! How deeply is my soul
affected with that comfortable communion, and those
many and living refreshments that we have enjoyed one
with another, even with him and others, who have finished
In this I am satisfied, that though we are left in travail
and our days have been days of affliction and suffering,
for Christ and the Gospel's sake, as in the world; yet in
Him, whom the prince of this world has nothing in, we
have peace; being come into communion with the spirits
of just men, who are the family of God, written in heaven
and called by one name both in heaven and earth.
London, the 12th day of the First Month, 1663
George Fox's Reassurance to Burrough's Friends :
Burrough's death was such a blow to Friends that George Fox in his Journal writes:
I did not stay long in London, but went into Essex and on to Norfolk, having great meetings. When I came to captain Lawrence's at Norwich, there was a great threat of disturbance; but the meeting was quiet. Passing from there to Sutton and on into Cambridgeshire, I heard of Edward Burrough's death. And being aware of how great a grief and distress it would be to Friends to part with him, I wrote the following lines for the staying and settling of their minds.
Be still and quiet in your own conditions, and settled in the seed of God, that does not change; that in that you may feel dear Edward Burrough among you in the seed, in which and by which he fathered you to God, with whom he is. And that in the seed you may all see and feel him in which is the unity with him in the life; and so enjoy him in the life that does not change, which is invisible.
Fox is alluding to the fellowship still possible with Burrough, with the spirits of men past made perfect, dwelling in heaven, living in the Light:
But you are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.
Perhaps Edward Burrough's most widely read work, was his outstanding Testimony and Introduction, available on this site for reading, which prefaced George Fox's The Great Mystery of the Great Whore Unfolded and Antichrist's Kingdom Revealed.
So Ends the Beautiful, Fruitful, Faithful, Loving Life of Edward Burrough, sent by the Lord at 18 to Preach the Word of Life, Dead at 28, Father to Thousands, and Still Watching in the Cloud of Witnesses
- those Who Follow in His and His Master's Footsteps
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.