Criticisms of George Fox Answered
There exists a body of sadly believed myths about George Fox, mostly with the modern Quakers. They try to sully their principal founder's reputation, so that they can extinguish the requirement of Christ for salvation, thereby easing their doubts regarding their own next-life's destiny. Their attacks on a dead man, who cannot answer their slanders, are in serious error and the below answers:
1) Criticism: Fox is accused of basically being an uncouth, country simpleton, obviously deluded, who was void of manners and established a religion on superficial tenets such as addressing people as thee and thou, failing to remove their hats in respect, refusing to swear in court or take common oaths of loyalty to the king, and failure to pay their tithe taxes.
Answer: The Quaker religion is rooted in the belief of the light within all men being the covenant of God, the life of man, Christ, which can teach a man how to live pleasing to God, convict him of his sin, and remove the desire to sin from his heart. The repetition of such conviction and removal of sin, resulting in purification, perfection, holiness, union with God, and entrance into his glorious kingdom. Such faith is hardly superficial. The four visible practices referred to above were not the invention of Fox, but the commands of Christ, and were given for the following reasons:
a) Thee and thou — In Fox's time, the use of thee and thou was taught in the schools as proper forms of singular address. Only servants and people of lower class were addressed in the singular, thee and thou. People of the upper class wanted to be addressed in the plural, you, which was to honor them.
The honoring of "important" people with the plural address is what God "laid to the dust." The Lord showed his contempt for respect of persons due to class or position, and so commanded his people also. Showing partiality to certain people is a sin, James 2:9.
b) Failure to remove hats in respect — At this time in England, hats were worn in church,
the clergy preached in them, they were worn at
dinner, and, as a rule, more generally than in modern
times. The few occasions when they were
taken off were more distinctly occasions of respect.
A son must always uncover before his father, every
one uncovered before the king, and uncovered to anyone of class or position such as the nobility.
The Quakers called this the hat-honor, which they refused to give to man, including to judges in court; resulting in their being fined or imprisoned for such failure to uncover in honor.
They removed their hats only in prayer
as an act of worship. Thus they reversed the hat-honor from what society was paying to man and refusing to God, to be paying to God and refusing to man. Showing partiality to certain people is a sin, .
d) Tithes — The priesthood of Aaron and the sons of Levi, which had commandments to take tithes from the people, died with Christ's sacrifice of himself, establishing Christ as the everlasting priest of an everlasting priesthood. So tithing died when the old priesthood died, when the Mosiac Law died. Tithing died with the Levitical priesthood; the only places tithing is referenced in the New Testament is the claim of the self-righteous Pharisee, and the explanation of its death in Hebrews Chapter 7. To demand or pay tithes, denies the sacrifice of Christ, to create his new, everlasting priesthood, nullifying the old. Therefore, anyone who takes tithes is a false prophet, antichrist, and a deceiver; and anyone who continues to pay tithes is denying Christ's priesthood; both are subject to God's condemnation.
The criticism of the early Quaker religion being superficial and based on uncouth country people's ideas, only betrays the snobbish ignorance of the those making the charges. In truth, the Quaker religion re-established the true Church of Christ, showing the way for man to be reconciled to God, restored into his image, restored to the dignity of Adam before the fall, and then to enter into union with Christ and the Father; no one of reasonable intelligence would call this a superficial doctrine.
By refusing to bow, refusing to address important men in the plural instead of the singular (thee and thou), refusing to call them Master, refusing to take off their hats in the presence on important men, the proper and polite society of the world was outraged, often into violence — thus the wolves vs. the sheep were indentified to anyone genuinely looking because the wolves killed the sheep. It also served a further purpose — it was the cross for the Early Quakers to suffer that persecution, which cross brought them to perfection and the kingdom.
Regarding Fox being an uncouth country simpleton: It is true he had no formal education and he grew up in a country setting. However, he was anything but uncouth and simple. William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, speaker of five languages, a friend of both the French and English royal courts, educated at Oxford, and dear friend of George Fox describes him thusly:
He was a man that God endowed with a clear and wonderful depth, a discerner of others' spirits, and very much a master of his own. And though his understanding of worldly matters, and especially his expressions relating to the them, might sound uncouth and unfashionable to nice ears, his center was nevertheless very profound; and the closer one examined him, the greater his qualities showed and taught by example. And as abruptly and brokenly as sometimes his sentences would fall from him about divine things, it is well known they were often used as texts to many fairer declarations. And indeed, it showed beyond all contradiction that God had sent him, and that nothing of man had any share in the matter or manner of his ministry. So many great, excellent, and necessary truths as he preached to mankind, showed nothing of man's knowledge or wisdom to validate them. So that as a man, he was an original, being no man's copy. And his ministry and writings show they are from one who was not taught by man, nor had he learned what he said by study. Nor were his teachings imaginary or speculative. His teachings were sensible and practical truths, tending to conversion and regeneration, and the setting up the Kingdom of God in the hearts of men; and the way of the Kingdom was his work. So that many times I have been overcome in myself, and been made to say with my Lord and master at such times, 'I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent of this world, and revealed them to babes.' For many times has my soul bowed in a humble thankfulness to the Lord, that he did not choose any of the wise and learned of this world to be the first messenger in our age of his blessed truth to men. Instead he took one who was not of high degree, or elegant speech, or learned after the way of this world. He chose so that his message and work, which he sent him to do, might come with less suspicion or jealousy of human wisdom and interest. And so the message might have more force and clearness upon the consciences of those that sincerely sought the way of truth in the love of it. I saw, beholding with the eye of my mind, which the God of heaven had opened in me, the marks of God's finger and hand visibly showing in this testimony. It was evidenced by the clearness of the principle, the power and effectiveness of it in the exemplary sobriety, plainness, zeal, steadiness, humility, gravity, punctuality, charity, and circumspect care in the government of church affairs, which shined in his and their life and testimony that God employed in this work. Thus it greatly confirmed to me that it was of God, and engaged my soul in a deep love, fear, reverence, and thankfulness for his love and mercy therein to mankind; in which mind I remain, and shall, I hope, to the end of my days.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the great poet and philosopher, who along with Wordsworth was one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England, wrote of Fox the following:
"One assertion I will venture to make, as suggested by my own experience, that there exists folios on the human understanding and the nature of man, which would have a far juster claim to their high rank and celebrity, if in the whole huge volume there could be found as much fullness of heart and intellect as bursts forth in many a simple page of George Fox." ( from his Biographia Literaria).
The 20th Century leader of the Quakers, Rufus Jones, described Fox as an escapist, because Fox was concerned about the preaching the Gospel of Christ, rather than social reform, like Jones. Since modern Quakers had never experienced purity and the Kingdom as did Fox and tens of thousands of early Quakers, the later so-called Quakers doubted the possibility, dismissing Fox and the rest of their society's founders as deluded. (This phenomena was beginning to occur as early as 1670; see Stephen Crisp's 1670 Letter of warning. )
Thomas Ellwood, who personally knew Fox, summarizes his impression of him as follows:
He was valiant for the truth, bold in asserting it, patient in suffering for it, unwearied in laboring in it, steady in his testimony to it; immovable as a rock. Deep he was in divine knowledge, clear in opening heavenly mysteries, plain and powerful in preaching, fervent in prayer. He was richly endued with heavenly wisdom, quick in discerning, sound in judgment, able and ready in giving, discreet in keeping counsel; a lover of righteousness, an encourager of virtue, justice, temperance, meekness, purity, chastity, modesty, humility, charity, and self-denial in all, both by word and example. Graceful he was in countenance, manly in personage, grave in gesture, courteous in conversation, weighty in communication, instructive in discourse; free from affectation in speech or carriage. A severe reprover of hard and obstinate sinners; a mild and gentle admonisher of such as were tender, and sensible of their failings; not apt to resent personal wrongs; easy to forgive injuries; but zealously earnest where the honor of God, the prosperity of truth, the peace of the church were concerned. Very tender, compassionate, and pitiful he was to all that were under any sort of affliction; full of brotherly love, full of fatherly care. For indeed the care of the churches of Christ was daily upon him, the prosperity and peace of which he studiously sought. Beloved he was of God, beloved of God's people; and, (which was not the least part of his honor), the common butt of all apostates' envy, despite the fact that he earnestly sought their good.
Read a few of his letters yourself. You will realize you are reading words from the Spirit of God, just like Paul's letters. [King Agrippa thought Paul was mad too.]
2) Criticism: Fox was very judgmental, rude, and not loving.
Answer: Fox was critical of sin in unbelievers, but with the patience for them to see the futility of their ways. Here is an an example of how he wrote to the world:
"Take heed of pleasures, and prize your time now while you have it; do not spend it in pleasures or earthliness. The time may come that you will say; you had time, when it is past. Therefore look at the love of God now while you have time; for it brings you to loathe all vanities and worldly pleasures. Oh consider, time is precious; fear God and rejoice in him who has made heaven and earth".
I am moved to warn you to take heed of giving way to your own wills. Love the cross; satisfy not your own minds in the flesh; but prize your time while you have it, and conduct your life in obedience to what you already know, in obedience to God; you will not be condemned for what you don't know, but only condemned for that you know and choose not to obey. Consider before it is too late, evaluate yourselves, see where you are, and whom you serve. For if you blaspheme God, and take his name in vain, if you swear and lie, if you give way to envy, hatred, covetousness, and greediness, pleasures and indulgence, or any other vices, be assured that you serve the devil; but if you fear the Lord and serve him, you will loathe all these things. He that loves God, will not blaspheme his name: but where there is opposing of God, and serving the devil, that profession is sad and miserable. Oh! Prize your time, and do not love that which God forbids; lying, wrath, malice, envy, hatred, greediness, covetousness, oppression, gluttony, drunkenness, whoredom, and all unrighteousness, God does forbid. So consider, evil communication corrupts good manners. Be not deceived, God will not be mocked with vain words; the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness. Therefore obey that which convinces you of all evil, and tells you that you should do no evil: it will lead to repentance, and keep you in the fear of the Lord. Oh! Look at the mercies of God, prize them, and do not turn them into unrestrained behaviors. Oh! Eye the Lord and not earthly things!
Like Jesus, Fox criticized sin, but never the sinner, who did not claim to be a 'saved' Christian.
However, Fox was slightly critical of those who named themselves Christians, but who failed to walk as a Christian. Here is an example:
You follow those who seek their gain from their position, greedy dumb dogs that never have enough, Isa 56:11; and those who bear rule by their status; and hold up the horrible, filthy thing in the land. Take away their status, and they will not rule you through their position. You follow those who are hirelings, and they preach peace to you; but if you fail to put food in their mouths, they will prepare war against you, (as you may read in Micah 3:5). These are like those whom the Lord sent Micah to cry against, and are senseless children, foolish people, wise in doing evil, but have no understanding of doing good, (as you may read in Jeremiah 4:22). These seek for the fleece and devour you; people like the Lord sent Ezekiel to cry against, Eze 34. But, "said the Lord, I will gather my sheep from their mouths; they shall be a prey to them no longer." Here, with the holy men of God, you are judged among those who these holy men cried against. With the light you are all seen, who hold up such men before mentioned, and who men call ministers of Christ, which are found to be among them whom the holy men of God cried woe against. With the light you are all seen, and with the light they are all condemned. So cover you lips and stop your mouths for shame, for ever saying these men are the ministers of Christ; the same type as whom the Lord sent his prophets to cry against. With his son and with the scriptures, they are all proved and seen, and you that support them too; those who receive gifts and rewards, the wages of unrighteousness, which the Lord sent his holy apostles to cry against; those who through covetousness and pretended words have made merchandise of you. Listen. With the light and the life of the scriptures, you and they are seen and condemned by the light, who hate the light, and act contrary to the light, and that profess the scriptures to be your rule. With the light they are all seen to be strangers from the life of God, being among those whom the holy apostles and prophets cried against. You, who follow such men, are like the silly women that are led captive, never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, some still learning twenty, thirty, forty, even sixty years of more; ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, as you may read in Timothy, and Peter, and Jude. You that follow such people, do not hear the son of God...
But, for those who preached and taught in error without the words from the Spirit of God, Fox's criticisms were definitely harsh.
He was critical of religious leaders in hopes of motivating them to stop teaching the words of the Bible, without the words of the Spirit. Here is an example, Fox writing to the Puritan priest of Ulverstone, to which Margaret Fox listened before she became a Quaker.
The word of the Lord to you, 0h Lampitt! You are a deceiver, surfeited and drunk with the earthly spirit, rambling up and down in the scriptures, and blending your spirit among the saints' conditions. You had a prophecy, as your father Balaam had; but you erred from it, as your father did. One whose fruit has withered, (of which I am a witness), and many who have known your fruit have seen the end of it, that it is withered; and do see where you are, in the blind world, a blind leader of the blind; a beast wallowing and tumbling in the earth and in the lust; one that is erred from the spirit of the Lord, of old ordained to condemnation. You are in the seat of the Pharisees, are called master by men, stand praying in the synagogues, and have the chief seat in the assemblies; a right hypocrite in the steps of the Pharisees, and in the ways of your fathers, the hypocrites, which our Lord Jesus Christ cried woe against. Such with the light you are seen to be, and by the light are comprehended; which is your condemnation who hate it, and will be so eternally except you repent. To you this is the word of God; for in Christ's way you are not, but in that of the Pharisees, as you may read in Mat 23. All that own Christ's words can see you in the Pharisees way. Christ, who died at Jerusalem, cried woe against your kind; and Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The woe remains upon you, and from under it you can never escape, except through judgment, condemnation, and true repentance. To you this is the word of God. To that of God in your conscience I speak, which will witness the truth of what I write, and will condemn you. And when you are in your torment, (though now you swell in your vanity, and live in wickedness), remember you were warned in your lifetime. When the eternal condemnation is stretched over you, you shall witness this to be the word of the Lord God to you; and if ever your eye should see repentance, you would witness me to have been a friend of your soul. (Notice Fox speaks the words from the Spirit of God, often in the presence of God, in the Kingdom of God; click here to see more examples).
But in his day, Christ was also extremely judgmental of those who taught religion in error. For example, here is what Christ had to say about those preachers and teachers who had not been purified within their hearts:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
You make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within are full of extortion and excess.
You are blind, first cleanse the inside of the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
You are like whitewashed tombs, outwardly beautiful, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
So you also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
You are of your father the devil, and you follow and yield to the lusts of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and did not remain in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of all lies.
See Jesus' Criticisms for many more.
And John the Baptist had this to say about hypocritical religious leaders:
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism,
he said unto them, O GENERATION OF SNAKES, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Yes, Fox was very critical of the religious teachers, priests/preachers, and to a lesser degree, to the professed believers of his day.
But that is because they were false Christians — they had not been changed in heart, purified, crucified of their lusts and affections.
To be a preacher, they must be trained and authorized by Christ himself, with his spirit guiding their words.
Those who taught error were blind guides, leading others into the ditch and to destruction.
By the 1800's on, Quakers in general judged their founder's criticisms and vocal opposition to the Protestant and Catholic sects and priests to be appalling. The later Quakers judged their founders to be intolerant, rude, unloving, judgmental, etc. This is the case of unfinished men of the flesh judging a spiritual man obviously under control of the Spirit of God; likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities, . Fox and many of the early Quakers were in the Kingdom of Heaven, therefore heavenly dignities, deserving of respect. A man of the flesh is without understanding and supremely arrogant to judge a man of the spirit. A man of the flesh cannot comprehend the degree to which false prophets are held in contempt by God, and therefore spared no extent of verbal lashing, especially when in a debate with others listening who might have been misled.
Further, Paul said: if any man preaches any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed, ; and For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake; . (They preached for money, against the commands of Christ and command of Peter.) Preaching a false formula for salvation, which is a false gospel, immeasurably damages the work of Christ; and must be vigorously opposed — as Fox did. Babylon has sinned, all
you that bend the bow, shoot at her; spare no
arrows, for she has sinned,
So, Fox was doing his duty to God by being critical of those who talked the scriptures, but did not walk according to the same spirit that wrote the scriptures. To talk of religion, while continuing in sin — is being a hypocrite. To say Fox was not loving and judgmental, is to say Jesus, Peter, Paul, and Jude were judgmental and unloving. Such critics do not know the scriptures.
3) Criticism: Fox was a dictator, telling people in the Society what they could and could not do, insisting on certain conduct and ways of worship, that violate the individual human conscience. Even today, there are books being sold, written by a Quaker Universalist, that make this exact charge against Fox; and this classic hit-piece further spins him as a hypocrite in first saying everything is up to the individual's conscience, and then reversing himself to insist on standards within the church.
Answer: Fox was frequently criticized similarly in his day. Here is what Fox said regarding the charges against him:
All that deny regulations without prescriptions may as well deny all the scriptures, which were given forth by the power and spirit of God. For do they not prescribe how men should walk towards God and man, both in the Old Testament and in the New? Yes, from the very first promise of Christ in Genesis, what people ought to believe and trust in; and all along until you come to the prophets? Did not the Lord prescribe to his people by the fathers and then by his prophets? Did he not prescribe to the people how they should walk, though they turned against the prophets in the old covenant for declaring or prescribing to them the way how they might walk to please God, and keep in favor with him? In the days of Christ, did he not prescribe and teach how people should walk and believe? And after him, did not the apostles prescribe unto people how they might come to believe, and receive the gospel and the kingdom of God, directing unto that which would give them the knowledge of God, and how they should walk in the new covenant in the days of the gospel, and by what way they should come to the holy city? And did not the apostles send forth their decrees by faithful chosen men (that had hazarded their lives for Christ's sake), to the churches, by which they were established? So you, that deny prescriptions given forth by the power and spirit of God, do thereby oppose the spirit that gave them forth in all the holy men of God. .. This spirit cries, "We must not judge conscience, we must not judge matters of faith, we must not judge spirits, or religions." ..There is a loose spirit that cries for liberty, and against prescriptions, yet is prescribing ways, both by words and writings. The same spirit cries against judging, and would not be judged, yet is judging with a wrong spirit.
Here is what Jesus said about those who sinned in the church:
If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.
But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he pays no attention to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17
Here is what Paul says about discipline in the church:
But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to anything that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. You must not so much as eat with such a person. 1 Cor 5:11
Fox clarifies what Paul wrote above:
So the apostle here does not speak of the fornicators, and covetous idolaters, and extortionists of the world, which were outside of the church; for God judges such. But the saints, the apostles, and the true church were to judge those that practiced such things within the church, showing the true christian's church had a power; and not to keep company nor to eat with such, professing Christ, that were of such practices, knowing that the unrighteous should not inherit the kingdom of God, nor drunkards, nor fornicators, thieves, railers, extortionists, nor covetous idolaters; they that lived in these evils, were not like to inherit the kingdom of God; for they were defiled, unwashed, and not sanctified nor justified, etc. So that if the saints did keep company, or did eat with such unwashed, unsanctified, unjustified persons, or have fellowship with them, they took the members of Christ and joined them to an harlot; for he that is joined to an harlot, is one body; ‘for two,’ said he, ‘shall be one flesh.’
And from Fox's Letter 251:
And all such as cry, 'Away with your laws, we will have none of your laws.'
To such as come to the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus,
which makes free from the law of sin and death,
and puts down that authority;
which life was before death and sin were, and remains when they are gone;
and in the life in Christ Jesus,
is the saints' fellowship and unity and bond of peace.
All such as cry against laws so much, are the sons of Belial,
and would be without the yoke of the law of the son of God.
Such always were the stirrers up of mischief and schism from the body,
and they took liberty to say anything;
as you may read in the book of Kings,
in the days of Jezebel, and in the days of Stephen;
and yet these that cry so much against laws,
yet they live themselves in the law of sin and death;
which they obey when they do evil;
who are without the understanding of the righteous law,
which the righteous live in and see.
Therefore, such must be exhorted and reproved,
if they go under the name of Quakers, and are not in the life.
Here is what William Penn, who knew him well, had to say about Fox's supposed heavy hand within the Society:
In all these occasions, though George Fox was the target of this discontent, he bore all their weakness and prejudice, and did not return harshness and accusation for what he received from them. Instead, he forgave them their weak and bitter speeches, praying for them that they might have a sense of their hurt, and see the subtlety of the enemy to rend and divide, and return into their first love that thought no ill.
And truly, I must say, that though God had visibly clothed him with a divine preference and authority, and indeed his very presence expressed a religious majesty, yet he never abused it, but held his place in the church of God with great meekness, and a most engaging humility and moderation. For upon all occasions, like his blessed master, he was a servant to all, holding and exercising his eldership in the invisible power that had gathered them, with reverence to the Head and care over the body. His eldership was received only in that spirit and power of Christ, as the first and chief elder in this age. He was therefore worthy of double honor, so for the same reason it was given by the faithful of this day; because his authority was inward and not outward, and that he got it and kept it by the love of God and power of an endless life. I write of my own knowledge and not hearsay, and my witness is true, having been with him for weeks and months together on many occasions; and those occasions being close to him in most difficult of circumstances. And that by night and by day, by sea and by land, in this and in foreign countries; I can say, I never saw him out of his place, or not a match for every service or occasion.
For in all things he acquitted himself like a man; yes a strong man, a new and heavenly-minded man. A divine, and a naturalist, and all of God Almighty's making. I have been surprised at his questions and answers in natural things; that while he was ignorant of useless and sophisticated science, he had in him the grounds of useful and commendable knowledge, and cherished it everywhere. Civil beyond all forms of breeding in his behavior; very temperate, eating little and sleeping less, though a bulky person.
Almost every early Quaker referred to George Fox as Dear George Fox. The testimonies of Penn, Ellwood, and thirty others on this site regarding the humility, honesty, and sincerity of Fox, come from men who had a deep faith in Jesus Christ, who were committed to absolute honesty, who went to harsh prisons, (Fox for six and one-half years, some up to twenty years), in fear of God for refusal to swear, or for refusal to remove their hats in court, or for refusal to pay tithes to the geographic parishes, or who met to worship not in accord with the Anglican Liturgy, or who traveled on the first (Sabbath) day of the week; knowing the judgment of God was against all untruth. Contrast the early Quakers' commitment to truth compared to today's Quaker Universalist critics, who don't see any need for Jesus Christ in their next life, and who have a disdain for their founder's, (Fox's), confirmation as Jesus being the only way to salvation through the inward cross of self-denial. Since there are two different reports of Fox's character: the first from eye witnesses, who lived in the fear and awe of God; and a second from Universalist, armchair critics 300 years later, who have no fear of God — which is more believable?
4) Criticism: Fox was not sufficiently forgiving of James Naylor, when he fell. When Naylor was severely punished by Parliament, far beyond what his silly lapse of judgment deserved, Robert Rich, a merchant of London, held his hand during and kissed his wounds after. Fox critics say Rich exhibited true forgiveness, while Fox himself should also have been there helping Naylor.
Answer: They fail to understand that Robert Rich was one the fawning admirers, (per Sewel* ),whose flatteries contributed to Naylor's original decline; and for any Quaker to have continued to associate with him, would only have continued to blacken the reputation of the Quakers. More importantly, at this point Naylor had yet to arrive at repentance, continuing to try to justify his actions, even during his trial and interviews afterwards. After his gruesome, undeserved punishments and while in solitary confinement at Bridewell prison, (per Sewel), the scales fell from his eyes; he could see his grievous error. Naylor himself said then, "My heart is broken for the offense I have occasioned God's truth and people." Sewel also reports that Robert Rich went on to ally himself with John Perrot, a Quaker who left the Society and became a severe enemy of Quakers, writing two critical books against Quakers, ( The Spirit of the Hat and Tyranny and Hypocrisy Detected), and
was even caught forging Edward Burrough's name to a scandalous document, and who later severely persecuted Quakers in America for failure to swear. Fox critics are wrong again.
*Sewel's The History of the Quaker, Vol 1., pp.178-194. This work was published in 1695, thirty years after the incident with interviews of eye witnesses, including one of the group of Naylor's fawning admirers, particularly Hannah Stranger, who had since been restored to unity of the Spirit. Sewel is considered the definitive historian of the early Quaker movemenSewel's report of Naylor's lack of repentance is confirmed by two letters from Richard Hubberthorne to Margaret Fell, after visiting Naylor in prison. Quoting his report from the letter: (From Friends Library, Vol. XI, 1847, page 338.)
London, 25th of Ninth month, [eleventh mo.] 1656
Upon sixth day, I was with James. The power of darkness in the women rules over him, as I wrote to you at first. Many people come daily to them, both of the world, and also such as are convinced; and they wonder at the imitations that are acted among them; as they will often kneel before him, &c. James speaks pretty much to Friends as in justifying all their actings as innocent. I was moved to speak to him when I was with him, — but he was not willing to hear me open the truth to anything to the people...all the counsel of the brethren to him is rejected in the present state in which he is, though bowels of tenderness have been extended towards him. ...Some that are unstable think there is a great power among them; but though as a cloud darkens some at the present, — being risen out of the earth, — at the end of the days of limitation, it will fall to the earth again, the sun will shine over it.
[In a letter dated London, 22nd of Twelfth month, second month 1657,] he writes thus ;—]
As for James Nayler he remains in Bridewell, and is kept close; they will not allow any Friends to come at him, but his wife gets to him sometimes. He is still in the separation from Truth and from Friends; but the work of God goes on and prospers. Alexander Parker is here; Edward Burrough is in Essex; and Francis Howgill in Kent.
From the same source in a later letter from Richard Hubberthorne, he reports that Naylor's women followers appointed public meetings at the places where Naylor was previously punished, bringing a great offence to the way of the Truth here for the present.
[See for Fox's letter (very kind, but strong) to Naylor, even before he was arrested].
And finally, consider Fox's words themselves as his defense against this charge. Fox writing in his Journal:
"When Naylor came to London, he resisted the power of God in me and the truth that was declared to him by me; this became one of his greatest burdens. But he finally came to see his error in going out, and to condemn it; and after some time he repented; as in the printed relation of his repentance, condemnation, and recovery may be more fully seen.
James Naylor was a monument of human frailty. His gift in the ministry was eminent; his experience in divine things truly great. He fell through dropping his watchful guard against deceitful spirits, but was restored through deep sufferings and unfeigned repentance. His own writings are the most clear and lively description of the various dispensations he underwent; some of them deserve to be transmitted to the latest posterity."
Despite Naylor's actions resulting in massive persecutions of Quakers, thus Fox has recorded his Christian forgiveness of Naylor and even recommends his writings to posterity; yet in 2006 is still heard the false charge from modern Fox critics: "Fox never forgave James Naylor for his error!" Further, William Dewsbury reports he arranged and attended a meeting of reconciliation, between Fox and Naylor, along with Edward Burrough, Francis Howgill. Dewsbury writes of the meeting:
laid it much upon me, that dear George Fox and James Naylor might
meet together. My travail was great in spirit, until
the Lord answered; which, in the day he determined,
was done. Mighty was his [the Lord's] majesty among
his people, in the day he healed up the breach, which had been so long to the sadness of the hearts
of many. The Lord clothed my dear brethren, George Fox,
Edward Burrough, Francis Howgill, with a
precious wisdom; his healing Spirit did abound
within them, with the rest of the Lord's people
there that day, according to their measure
of the Lord's Spirit in all, reached
to embrace it with gladness of heart.
This criticism is totally without the facts.
5) Criticism: Fox's marriage to Margaret Fell was not on the up and up.
Answer: This is a popular, current slander among the modern Quakers. Let's examine the facts, of which his critics are not aware:
a) Their marriage was eleven years after the death of Margaret's first husband, Judge Fell. This certainly exceeds the before-remarriage, customary grieving period of one year .
b) Fox was commanded by Christ to marry Margaret. He thought marriage was beneath his state, and was surprised to be asked to do so, only doing so without any desire on his part. From the Cambridge Journal:
Walter Newton, a neighbor of my relatives, who had been an ancient Puritan said he had heard I was married, and he asked me why I had gotten married? I told him, it was a testimony that all might come up into the marriage, as it was in the beginning, and as a testimony that all might come up out of the wilderness to the marriage of the lamb. And he said, he thought marriage was only for the procreation of children. I told him: I never thought of any such thing, but married only in obedience to the power of the Lord; I judged such things to be below me. [marriage and children]. I had foreseen this marriage in the seed, yet I had no command to marry until six months ago, though people had long talked about my possible marriage. Some peoples' minds were jumbled (mixed up, confused) about the marriage, but the Lord's power came over all and laid all their spirits to rest, which some after confessed.
c) And, the degree to which he sought the protection of her children's wishes and property rights was beyond anything of the time. From the Journal:
After a meeting in Gloucestershire, we traveled until we came to Bristol; where I met with Margaret Fell, who was come to visit her daughter Isabel Yeomens. I had seen from the Lord, a considerable time before, that I should take Margaret Fell to be my wife; and when I first mentioned it to her, she felt the answer of life from God thereunto. But though the Lord had opened this thing to me, yet I had not received a command from him for the accomplishing of it then. Therefore I let the thing rest, and went on in the work and service of the Lord, according as he led me; traveling up and down in this nation and through Ireland. But now being at Bristol, and finding Margaret Fell there, it opened in me from the Lord that the thing should be accomplished. After we had discussed the matter together, I told her, 'if she also was satisfied with the accomplishing of it now, she should first send for her children:' which she did. When the rest of her daughters arrived, I asked both them and her sons-in-law, 'if they had anything against it, or for it?' desiring them to speak; and they all severally expressed their satisfaction with the proposal. Then I asked Margaret, 'if she had fulfilled her husband's will to her children?' she replied, ‘the children knew she had.' At this point I asked them, 'whether, if their mother married, they should not lose by it?' and I asked Margaret, ‘whether she had done anything in difference to it, which if so she might speak about it to the children?' the children said, 'she had answered it to them, and desired me to speak no more of that. I told them, 'I was plain, and would have all things done plainly; for I did not seek any outward advantage to myself.' So our intention of marriage was laid before Friends both privately and publicly, to their full satisfaction, many of whom gave testimony to it, for it was of God. Afterwards, a meeting being appointed for the marriage in the public meeting-house at Broad Mead, in Bristol, we took each other in marriage; the Lord joining us together in the honorable marriage, in the everlasting covenant and immortal seed of life. During the joining, living and weighty testimonies were stated there by Friends, as they were moved of the heavenly power which united us together. Then was a certificate, relating both the proceedings and the marriage, openly read, and signed by the relations, and by most of the ancient Friends of that city; besides many others from several parts of the nation.
Note: In confirmation of this, and showing the justice and conscientiousness that characterized George Fox, in regard to property, and of his opinions being in advance of those then prevailing on the subject, the following circumstances, related in his Journal, will serve to illustrate. Being prosecuted for tithes against his wife’s estate at Swarthmore, William Mead, Margaret Fox's son-in-law, appeared before the court, “when,” he says, "William Mead told the judges that I had engaged myself never to meddle with my wife's estate. The judges could hardly believe that any man would do so; whereupon he showed them the writing under my hand and seal; at which they were amazed." (The writing where he gave up any claim to his wife-to-be's estate; the forerunner of today's pre-nuptial agreements.)
George Fox and Margaret Fell's marriage was beyond proper, without a hint of scandal, widely approved by thousands within the Society. Fox married Margaret Fell in a state that placed him well above lust for any woman; it was truly a marriage made in heaven, as commanded by the King of the Angels, Christ himself.
6) Criticism: George Fox and Margaret Fell were in Lancaster prison together before they were married, implying something was going on between them.
Answer: George Fox was imprisoned in solitary confinement in outer Lancaster castle, in a room exposed to the winter storms without heat, in smoke so thick, he could not see the light of a candle, and which threatened his suffocation. As described by an independent writer from Margaret Fox's Memoir:
"Fox's room was
in the dungeon, and the window of what was his residence
during many long, dreary months is conspicuous
over the greater part of the ancient town. It was
evidently, at one period, a room of considerable size,
but in Fox's day it was old and ruinous. He could
scarcely walk across his apartment, because of the
dilapidated state of the floor. The smoke that came
from the other prisons was so dense, that sometimes
a burning candle was scarcely visible, and he was in
imminent danger of being choked; and the jailer
was with difficulty persuaded to unlock one of the
upper doors, in order to let out the smoke. In wet
weather [winter included] it rained upon his bed. The inconveniences
of his prison affected Fox to such a degree, during a
cold and prolonged winter, that his body became
swollen, and his limbs benumbed. When he was
brought up at the March assizes, 1665, he was so
weak that he could scarcely stand or move."
As further described by an independent writer in the same memoir of Margaret Fox, Margaret was imprisoned in a collective room for Quakers, called the Quaker's room.
"Nor were Fox's friends in this neighborhood
allowed to escape. Many of his followers, and among
them Margaret Fell, at whose house he had been apprehended,
were also confined in the castle, [Lancaster], where an
apartment exists, still called the Quaker's room, because
it was the scene of the sufferings of many of
these oppressed and unresisting Christians."
The slanderous criticism is totally without possibility, and only serves to show the bitterness of his critics; 300 years after his death, he is still the object of envy and resentment — such being evidence of the scripture: He that is born of the flesh persecutes him that is born of the spirit.. It started with Cain's envy of Able's favor by God, and continues today. And why did he murder him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's were righteous. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
7) Criticism: Fox supposedly wrote a paper advocating that Parliament pass many laws to require the destruction of all paintings, sculptures, music, and abolishing the speaking of a foreign tongue, among many other ridiculous demands to enforce a beyond-Puritanical religion on the whole of England. This paper was "discovered" in 2002 and gleefully published by Quaker Universalists, who are critics of Fox because he clearly stated a faith in Christ is necessary for salvation. The paper was titled: Fifty nine Particulars laid down for
the Regulating things, and the
taking away of Oppressing
Laws, and Oppressors,
and to ease the Oppressed. Attempting to explain its obscurity, the Quaker Universalists' spokesman further accuses Fox and the early Quakers of a conspiracy to suppress the evidence of the paper.
Answer: In Fox's detailed Journals, there is absolutely no mention of this paper, nor of Fox ever approaching Parliament on it; neither in the official Ellwood Journal, or the Cambridge Journal, the unedited version constructed from Fox's handwritten original manuscripts by Penney in 1905. Neither does Penney mention of any page torn from the original manuscripts the period of 1659, when this paper supposedly took place; yet he does point out pages that were missing or torn in other time periods. Further, Fox's Journal details his conversations with Cromwell, with Cromwell's guards, with ministers, with other friends, etc.; and the Journal included several letters from Fox to the Parliaments, which consistently appealed to them to stop persecutions, criticizing them for public fasts, instructing them to the true gospel, etc. In fact, this alleged documuent appears to be a clear plagarism, with ridiculous exaggerations added, of his Letter to Parliament from Volume Four of The Works of George Fox, which you can read on this site. In 1659, the Quakers had already been massively persecuted by the Puritan Parliament. Quakers were going to Parliament to issue severe warnings of their demise; Parliament was driving them away. So this suspect paper, not only does not exist in Fox's detailed accounts of meetings and letters, but is totally incongruous with the events and attitudes of Parliament at the time. I quote from page 334 of the Volume 1 of the Cambridge Journal, in the time of 1659:
And many friends, being in prison at this time, several were moved to go to the several parliaments, sometimes 2-300 at a time, to offer up themselves to lie in the same dungeons where their friends lay, that they were in prison might go forth and not perish in the stinking dungeons and jails. This we did in the love of God and our brethren, that they might not die in prison; and in love to them [the Parliament] that they might not bring blood on their own heads; which [blood] would cry to the Lord and bring his wrath and vengeance and plagues on them.
And then the Parliaments would be in a rage and sometimes send them word that they would whip them [the Quakers] and send them home again. And many times soon after the Lord would turn them [Parliament] out and send them home who had not power to do good in their day, [the Lord overturned Parliament and sent the members home, who had not used their power in their day to do good].
(Also see Early Quaker Letters for confirmation of this threat to whip the Quakers out of Parliament's hallway back to their homes — in the same year that this suspect letter of outrageous demands was delivered to Parliament. )
This was no time to submit requests to Parliament. Particularly when the Quakers were warning Parliament that they were going to be removed, with the restoration of the monarchy to shortly come.
Some of the positions stated in this accused paper are not supported by any other Quaker writing of record and seriously conflicts with the general message of all Early Quakers of that time, as stated below: (from Memoir of Edward Burrough)
[that] the coming of Christ in his kingdom, is not by might,
nor power, nor pomp, nor glory from without; nor by any
law which is in the will of man. Our desires are that
there should be no law upon [the subject of] religion, for
it needs no law to protect it. Pure religion and undefiled
is this; to loose the bands of wickedness, to set the oppressed
free, and to take off every yoke. We are none
of those who despise government, and defile the flesh;
who pull down others to exalt themselves.
Fox repeatedly warned the early Quakers not to meddle with the powers of the world. See his Journal and his Letters. Also see the General Meeting's advice to all the assemblies, which echoes the advice to stay out of meddling with the outward powers. This was fundamental because, (as predicted in Revelation), they had seen how the Roman Catholics mixed with the emperors and kings , and how Martin Luther, having received protection from the Catholic persecutors, gave
his sanction to an alliance between the Church and
the State in Saxony — such mixtures being fornication with the kings of the earth. William Penn stated that the great mistake of the Protestants reformers was: rather than patiently suffer persecution for their beliefs, they ran to the powers of the earth for protection — resulting in a compromise of principles.
From Sidney Fisher's The True Penn, p. 71: "the Quakers as a class kept out of political life......"
This is in harmony with Paul's advice in 2 Timothy Chapter 2:4 says “a good soldier does not get entangled in civilian affairs; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.” and Peter's command in 1 Peter 2:3-4
"Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him top bring punishment and justice to those who do wrong, and to encourage those who do good service.
Some of the particular positions, as stated in this presented paper, are in direct contrast to what George Fox and the rest of the early Quakers taught and wrote.
a) The suspect paper calls for the removal and burning of all paintings and sculptures from all public buildings and private residences, by government order. Fox never advocated such a practice in any of his hundreds of other writings, in which he was not shy in mentioning anything he felt should be called to the early Quakers' attention, i.e. fashion, swearing, drunkenness, lying, stealing, fornication, adultery, cheating in business, going into debt, covetousness, greed, abusing servants, unjust judicial punishments of minor crimes, serving too much alcohol in pubs, looseness of school teachers, blindness of
priests and professors, etc.
But he never called for legislation from Parliament for any of the above mentioned.
A painting of Margaret Fox's first husband, Judge Fell of
Swarthmore Hall, the residence of George Fox in his later years, still exists, (a photo of it is to the right).
If this was his position, he surely would have destroyed it; he obviously didn't.
There are even paintings of George Fox still in existence, several shown on this site's Journal; two of which were painted by S. Chinn (one to the left) and then engraved, and one painted by Sir Peter Lely. There is also a portrait of William Penn, in his armor on this site; obviously Penn did not destroy his portraits either.
Fox strongly wrote against possessing art as highly valued idols or possessed in vanity or pride. (But art is not a problem, unless it is a displayed by an individual with pride; so objects of art are a matter of individual conscience.) Since the leading Quakers owned art, it is ridiculous to believe they would advocate art's removal and burning from all public, and private buildings and homes by force of law. Someone is obviously trying to discredit Fox with false, outrageous demands. This proposal alone would have destroyed support for Quakers throughout the nations.
b) The paper also called for speaking in an unknown tongue to be outlawed.
Per Sewel, Fox himself, at his own expense published a book in Dutch on the life of William Caton and distributed it; and he also published a book, Battledore, with 25 different languages' illustrations of how each language provided the singular and plural address to persons, distributing it to the king and all the ecclesiastic authorities of the day. Under examination by a judge regarding his authorship of the book Battledore, the judge asked him if he understood the twenty-five languages written in the book; Fox answered, "sufficient for myself." Fox also spoke Welsh; and when in London, he daily worked in the world headquarters for Quakers, reading and corresponding with foreigners throughout Europe and the world. He spent two years in Holland and Germany, immersed in those countries. A bailiff's son came to Scarborough prison to debate with Fox, speaking in Hebrew with him; Fox answered in Welsh.
So to accuse him of seeking to ban the speaking of foreign languages in England, as the author of the statement: "Let no man speak in an unknown tongue," is naive. A similar statement by Fox, taken from the King James Bible in 1 Corinthians 14:27, was made in his Letter #320, where Fox quoted Paul's referring to speaking in an unknown foreign tongue, not earthly languages. (Paul telling the members of the Church to not speak in an unknown tongue, unless someone could interpret for the rest of the members to understand what he was saying; making the point that it would not be of benefit for anyone to speak what could not be understood. It appears someone extracted a phrase from Fox's letter, where he was quoting Paul, regarding tongues in a worship service, not foreign tongues in England.
Fox criticized the use of Latin in the churches, courts, and government, leaving many unable to understand the proceedings. This is a ridiculous demand, and is attributed to Fox in an attempt to discredit him, who wrote in many, spoke in several, and understood many languages.
c) The paper called for the banning of music, fiddlings, and ballad-singing. Fox was against Quaker participation in music that was not to the glory and praise of God; but he even encouraged singing in the Spirit during worship, and he sang himself. There was even a group of people that separated from the Quakers because he encouraged singing from the Spirit in meetings. In his other writings, I find no record of him ever advocating the elimination of music from the secular world; this would have been most controversial, and generated a great outcry and papers from Quakers critics denouncing their extremism. Regarding pubs, he was very vocal in speech and writing against owners of pubs who served the patrons too much to drink, (click to read), severely warning them of God's judgments for leading people to drunkenness by serving them too many drinks, but he never complained or warned them about their music. This is a ridiculous twist of one his statements in the letter where he was mentioning the evils of too much drink, that led to calling the fiddler, that led to calling the whores. Fox even called a meeting of vintners and tavern owners where he read the referenced letter of warning to them, and they acknowledged its truth.
Fox did not advocate banning the fiddlers by law, which is a ridiculous charge; he only warned against too much drink, not the fiddlers.
d) Fox and many other Quakers wrote to the rulers of England and Parliament constantly — but with the themes of salvation, with pleas and warnings to stop persecuting the Quakers for following their conscience regarding tithes, oaths, etc. They would never have diluted their pleas with some of the ridiculous demands for legislation in this paper. If Parliament had ever passed the provisions within this scandalous paper, it would have incensed the entire population against the Parliament and the Quakers. The paper basically called for legislating a completely new morality on the English nation — which if they had ever actually advocated, would have damaged the Quaker cause immeasurably. Rather than legislation of morality, Fox and the early Quakers pointed people to Christ the light as their teacher; which light would show a man his sins, and then take them away from his heart, one at a time, while abiding in Christ, the light. This extract from one of his letters below reflects his attitude towards government: stay out of any concerns about government, other than relief of their innocent sufferings:
From George Fox's Letter 359
And keep out of the restless, discontented,
disquieted spirit of the world about the government:
for you know it as been always our way to seek the good of all,
and to live peaceably under the government,
and to seek their eternal
and happiness in the Lord Jesus Christ,
and to lay our innocent sufferings
Remember this: there were many, many bitter enemies of Fox in his day, who hated him intensely, enough for many attempts on his life. If Fox had published the subject paper as it is presented in his day, the outcry across the nation would have generated a boat load of papers denouncing this ridiculous set of demands; and the paper trail would still be available today in mass — but, there is nothing else to be found. Forgeries, attempting to discredit the hated Quakers, were common in Fox's time. I suspect someone took many of his sayings and writings; and added a few ridiculous demands, to discredit Fox. In fact, this alleged documuent appears to be a clear plagarism, with ridiculous exaggerations added, of his Letter to Parliament from Volume Four of The Works of George Fox, which you can read on this site. If written in the 17th Century, it was written by their bitter enemies, the Ranters; or by an ex-Quaker, John Perrot, who wrote two anti-Quaker tracts: The Spirit of the Hat and in Tyranny and Hypocrisy Detected; and was caught in a forgery attributed to Edward Burroughs. As it is presented today, it was certainly never published with distribution, (unless it had been clearly identified as a forgery at the time), because:
- If Fox had truly written this paper, as it is presented today, with it being published, Fox would have been laughed out of England. Click here to read a real paper submitted by Fox to Parliament; you will find nothing outrageous in it.
- There is no recorded outcry from the many, many vocal critics, never hesitant to massively print even lies about Quakers. If it had been published in Fox's time, it would have been immediately discredited, but there would be a record of initial outcry and a clear record of its repudiation. If it was published, it was immediately denounced as a forgery, of which many occurred. Most forgeries would be destroyed, but a few would naturally survived; and should an undestroyed copy be discovered in later years, it could be thought to be genuine.
- This paper was addressed to Parliament. Had it been published and sent to Parliament as it is alleged, it would have generated an inquiry of Parliament, with a subsequent paper from Parliament of the inquiry's proceedings being distributed throughout England to discredit the Quakers. This is exactly how Parliament seized on Naylor's lapse of judgment and used a rather silly incident, in an attempt to destroy the Quakers. In December 1656, Naylor was tried by this same Parliament for the greatly exaggerated charge of blasphemy; he was sentenced to being publicly whipped, while drug behind a cart in both London and Bristol, to have his tongue bored through with a hot iron, and to have a B branded in his forehead, followed by life imprisonment. Parliament, whose arm had already slain so many of the faithful and the just, hated the Quakers, and would have seized upon this opportunity to discredit the Quakers and halt their growth, which threatened the Puritans, Baptists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians that sat in Parliament. At the time of this publication which Fox allegedly presented to Parliament, the early Quakers were hated by Parliament; thousands were in jail, and the Quakers were issuing dire warnings to Parliament. The facts of the time deny the possibility of Fox addressing Parliament with these ridiculous demands.
- To explain the paper's obscurity, today's Quaker Universalists accuse Fox and the early Quakers of a successful conspiracy to have it hidden, supposedly fearing embarrassment and criticism. But the Universalists also allege it was delivered to Parliament, so it could not have been hidden; the only logical explanation for its obscurity is, that it was never published. Since logs exist of Parliaments proceedings, including the receipt of letters presented to them, I challenge the Quaker Universalists to produce the evidence that this paper was ever presented to Parliament.
The document, which Fox is accused of writing, despite most of its provisions being publicly advocated by Fox, the several that are not, along with absence of and record of criticism, indicate it a clear forgery. Forgeries were common in that time.
Summary : Many people find it hard to believe that anyone other than the apostles of the early church could possess the same spirit as the apostles, speaking the Word of God, and demonstrating the power of God — as did George Fox's record show, (see Miracles). Since they are not in the Kingdom themselves, standing in the presence of God, fellowshipping with Christ and the Father, and speaking as commanded by God, they find it hard to believe George Fox could be in that state, (see Fox in the Lord). Since they are not in paradise, (in the Kingdom of God's spiritual dimension), they find it had to believe Fox was. (see his record, and Margaret's confirmation).
Finding themselves unable to accept someone else might have achieved what they cannot accept as even possible, such people begin searching for some reason for the claims to be false, searching for faults in the person making the claims, seizing on anything that might excuse their lower state as justified. For if they admitted someone else had a spiritual attainment greater than themselves, then they would be forced to remedy their deficiency; therefore, they excuse their own shortcomings by finally concluding anyone claiming to be pure and in the Kingdom must be deluded.
From another great early Quaker, Stephen Crisp's writes in one of his Letters to the Church :
So they grow up to speak evil of dignities, and are unruly, and dare to speak against heaven, and those that dwell and inhabit in it, whom God makes to shine as stars in the firmament of his power. But alas! for them. My soul pities them, when I see how they diminish themselves with their own deceits; but the day of the Lord is among his people, which has and does make them and their spirit manifest, and their fruits have also made them manifest.
The critics of Fox have made the basic mistake of assuming they are just as enlightened as Fox; so their opinion is just as sound as Fox's teachings, because they have Christ too. But Isaac Penington, a great worthy of the Lord, buries such logic in an extract from one of his letters.
And Friends, you that are weak, bless God for the strong; you that have need of a pillar to lean upon, bless God, that has provided pillars in his house; and, in fear and the guidance of his Spirit, make use of these pillars; who are faithful, and have ability from God, in his power and glorious presence with them, to help to sustain his building, even as they had ability from the Lord to gather unto him. He that despises him that is sent, despises Him that sent him; and he that undervalues any gift, office, or work, that God has bestowed upon any person, despises the wisdom and disposal of the Giver. Are all fathers? Have all overcome the enemy? Are all grown up in the life? Are all stars in the firmament of God's power? Has God made all equal? Are there not different states, different degrees, different growths, different places, etc.?
Then, if God has made a difference, and given degrees of life, and gifts different, according to his pleasure; what wisdom and spirit is that, which does not acknowledge this, but would make all equal? Oh my Friends! Fear before the Lord; honor the Lord in his appearances, and in the differences which he has made among the children of men, and among his people. He gave prophets of old, and the rest of the people were not equal with them. He gave evangelists, apostles, pastors, teachers, etc., and the other members of the churches were not equal with them. He has given fathers and elders now, and the babes and young men are not equal with them. Thus it is, in truth, from the Lord; and what is of God in you, will so acknowledge it.
Therefore watch, everyone, to feel and know his own place and service in the body, and to be sensible of the gifts, places, and services of others; that the Lord may be honored in all, and everyone owned and honored in the Lord, and not otherwise.
One would think, as the great men of God revealed the mysteries of the scriptures and the Kingdom, that the younger would be humble and respectful, deferring to their wisdom and greater measure of Christ. But pride is blind; so we have 300 years of prideful, immature Quakers, in doubt of the existence of a glorious paradise or Kingdom, disparaging George Fox, George Whitehead, Francis Howgill, Margaret Fox, etc., these true saints of God, as deluded zealots — just like many modern Protestants incorrectly look upon the Apostle Paul as a very uptight, stuffy person.
This is sad. I don't understand a reluctance to accept someone else's position in Christ to be above what that person can claim. I can easily admit, 'My state is lower than George Fox's.' Yet I do not envy him. I only admire him, and am thankful for his record, giving me hope, that through Christ, I too can someday enjoy the fellowship of Christ and the Father, in the Kingdom of Heaven, walking and speaking in a way that honors and brings glory to my Master, and to my Father in Heaven; but my seeking is like the Lord said to me once: "imagine a place where everyone runs the race to their utmost ability, but strives to come in last." Fox was the most humble of all; for the more of Christ's measure possessed, the more humility is possessed. I will add, that my faith is certain for what I hope, as evidenced by the changes Christ is making in me on the journey.
To those, who hate Fox because of his testimony to Jesus as the only Way, I will not argue that. Instead, I suggest they read on this site of the twenty five other Quakers' identical testimony; and then read the hundreds of prophecies fulfilled by Christ's life, and those that testify to Jesus' divinity. Beyond that, I yield to Jesus to show anyone with a sincere desire to know, following the below words of Jesus himself:
If anyone chooses to do God's will,
he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
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.