The Missing Cross to Purity


The Journal of George Fox - 1652 - 1655 - 1st Imprisonment and on to London <page 2 >


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And as I was sitting in a house full of people, declaring the word of life to them, I looked at a woman and discerned an unclean spirit in her. I was moved of the Lord to speak sharply to her; and told her, she was a witch. Upon hearing this, the woman went out of the room. Now since I was a stranger there, and I knew nothing of the woman outwardly, the people were amazed by my calling her a witch and told me afterwards that I had a made a great discovery because all the country believed she was a witch. The Lord had given me a spirit of discerning, by which I many times saw the states and conditions of people, and I could try their spirits. Not long before, as I was going to a meeting, I saw some women in a field, and I discerned them to be witches; and I was moved to go out of my way into the field to them, and declare them their conditions to them, telling them plainly they were in the spirit of witchcraft. Later another witch came into Swarthmore hall in the meeting-time; and I was moved to speak sharply to her, and told her she was a witch; and the people said afterwards, she was generally believed to be a witch. At another time a woman came there and stood at a distance from me. I fixed my eye on her, and said, ‘you have been a harlot;’ for I perfectly saw the condition and life of the woman. She answered, many could tell her of her outward sins, but none could tell her of her inward. Then I told her, her heart was not right before the Lord; and that from the inward condition created the outward. This woman was afterwards convinced of God's truth and became a Friend.

From the previously mentioned village we came to Thomas Bewley's, near Coldbeck. I had some service for the Lord at Thomas Bewley's and from there I passed to a market-town, where I had a meeting at the cross. Everything was fairly peaceful and when I had declared the truth to them and directed them to Christ their teacher, some received the truth. Then we passed further, and had another meeting on the borders in a steeple-house yard, to which many professors and contenders came; but the Lord's power was over all; and when the word of life had been declared among them, some received the truth there also.
 
From there we traveled to Carlisle. The pastor of the Baptists and most of his congregation came to the abbey, where I had a meeting and declared the word of life among them. Many of the Baptists and many of the soldiers attending were convinced. After the meeting, the pastor of the Baptists who very opinionated and showy asked me, 'What must be damned?' I was moved immediately to tell him, 'what spoke in him was to be damned.' This stopped his mouth; and the witness of God was raised up in him. I opened to him the states of election and rejection in such a way that he said he had never heard anything like it in his life. Afterwards he was convinced.

Then I went to the castle among the soldiers. They beat a drum and called the garrison together. I  preached the truth among them, directing them to the Lord Jesus Christ to be their teacher, and to the measure of his spirit in themselves, by which they might be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of satan unto God. I warned them all, that they should do no violence to any man, but should show forth a christian life; telling them, that ‘he who was to be their teacher, would be their condemner, if they were disobedient to him.' So I left them, having no opposition from any of them, except the sergeants, who afterwards came to be convinced.

On the market-day I went to the cross. The magistrates had both threatened to arrest me and sent their sergeants to do it; and the magistrates' wives had said, if I came there, they would pluck the hair off my head. Nevertheless I obeyed the Lord God and went upon the cross where I declared to them, 'that the day of the Lord was coming upon all their deceitful ways and doings, and deceitful merchandise; that they should put away all cozening and cheating, and keep to yes and no, and speak the truth one to another; so the truth and the power of God was set over them.' After I had declared the word of life to the people, because the crowd of people was so large, the sergeants could not reach me and the magistrates' wives could not attack me; so I passed away quietly. Many people and soldiers came to me including some Baptists who were bitter contenders. One of their deacons who was an envious man; finding the Lord's power was over them, he cried out in extreme anger. Upon which I set my eyes upon him, and spoke sharply to him in the power of the Lord; and he cried, ‘Do not pierce me so with your eyes, keep your eyes off me.'

The First-day following I went into the steeple-house: and after the priest was finished, I preached the truth to the people and declared the word of life among them. The priest got away; and the magistrates asked me to leave the steeple-house, but I still declared the way of the Lord to them, and told them that I has come to speak the word of life and salvation from the Lord to them. The power of the Lord was dreadful among them so that the people trembled and shook; and they thought the steeple-house shook; some of them feared that it would collapse on their heads. The magistrates' wives were in a rage and tried very hard to get to me; but the soldiers and friendly people stood thick about me. At length the rude people of the city rose and came with staves and stones into the steeple-house, crying, 'Down with these round-headed rogues:'* and they threw stones. At this point the governor sent a file or two of musketeers into the steeple-house to calm the riotous crowd, and they ordered all the other soldiers out. So those soldiers took me by the hand in a friendly manner, and said they would take me along with them. When we came out on the street, the city was in an uproar. The governor came down, and some of those soldiers were put in prison for supporting me against the town's people. A lieutenant, who had been convinced, came and brought me to his house, where there was a Baptist meeting, and Friends came there also. We had a very quiet meeting; they heard the word of life gladly, and many received it. The next day, the justices and magistrates of the town were meeting together in the town hall; they granted a warrant against me; and sent for me to appear before them. I was then away at a Baptist's, but when I heard of the warrant, I went up to the town hall where many rude people had gathered; some of these people had sworn strange false accusations against me. I had a great deal of discourse with the magistrates; in which I revealed the fruits of their priests' preaching and showed them how they were void of Christianity; and though they were great professors of christianity, (for they were Independents and Presbyterians), they did not possess what they professed. After a long examination, they committed me to prison as a blasphemer, a heretic, and a seducer; though they could not justify any of the charges against me. The jail at Carlisle had two jailers, an upper jailer and under jailer, both of whom looked like men who kept bears. When I was brought into the prison, the upper jailer took me up into a great chamber, and told me that I could have what I wanted in that room. But I told him that he should not expect any money from me, for I would neither lie in any of his beds, nor eat any of his food. Then he put me into another room, where after awhile I got something to lie upon. I stayed there until the assizes came, and then the rumors were that I was to be hanged. The high sheriff, Wilfred Lawson, greatly agitated them to execute me; and said, he would escort me to my execution himself. They were in a rage, and assigned three musketeers to guard me; one at my chamber door, another at the stairs' foot, and a third at the street door; and they would let nobody visit me, except occasionally one person was allowed to bring me some necessary things. At night they would bring up priests to me, sometimes as late as the tenth hour; who were exceeding rude and devilish. There were a company of bitter, Presbyterian Scotch priests who were full of envy and malice and were so foul-mouthed that they were not not fit to speak of the things of God. But the Lord by his power gave me dominion over them all, and I let them see both their fruits and their spirits. Great ladies also (as they were called) came to see the man that they said was to die. While the judge, justices, and sheriffs were plotting together how they might put me to death, the Lord disappointed their designs in an unexpected way. For the judge's clerk, as I was informed, started a question among them, which confounded all their counsels; after which they had not power to call me before the judge.

*round-heads were the name of the Puritans, whose Parliament rebelled against the king and the Church of England.

Anthony Pearson being then in Carlisle, and perceiving they did not intend to bring me upon my trial, wrote a letter to the judges, as follows:

To the judges of assize and jail delivery for the northern parts, sitting at Carlisle.

You are raised up to do righteousness and justice, and sent forth to punish him that does evil, and to encourage him that does well, and to set the oppressed free. I am therefore moved to lay before you the condition of George Fox, whom the magistrates of this city have cast into prison for words that he is accused to have spoken, which they call blasphemy. He was sent to the jail, until he should be delivered by due course of law; and it was expected his case should have been processed in the common law procedures at this assize. The information against him was delivered into court, and the act allows and appoints that way of trial. I shall not now mention how hard and unchristian like he has been treated thus far; but you may consider that nothing he is accused of is difficult to judge. And to my knowledge, he utterly abhors and detests every blasphemous opinion which the law identifies as a punishable act. And he differs as much from those people against whom the law was made, as light from darkness. Though he has been committed to prison, he has not had a trial with judgment, nor has he met his accusers so they can repeat their accusations face to face what they have already charged against him; nor has he heard as to the particulars of their accusation, nor does  it appear that any word they charge against him is within the act. Indeed I have not yet been able to see the information, not even in court, though I desired it both of the clerk of the assizes and of the magistrate's clerk; nor has he had a copy of them. This is very hard; and that he should be so close restrained, that his friends may not speak with him, I know no law nor reason for. I do therefore claim for him a due and lawful hearing, and that he may have a copy of his charge, and freedom to answer for himself; and that rather before you, than to be left to the rulers of this town, who are not competent judges of blasphemy, as by their mittimus appears; who have committed him upon an act of parliament, and mention words as spoken by him at his examination, which are not within the act, and which he utterly denies. The words mentioned in the mittimus he denies to have spoken, and has neither professed nor avowed them.

Anthony Pearson

Notwithstanding this letter, the judges were resolved not to allow me to be brought before them; but reviling and scoffing at me behind my back, left me to the magistrates of the town, giving them what encouragement they could to exercise their cruelty upon me. Upon which, though I had been kept so close in the jailer's house that friends were not allowed to visit me, and colonel Benson and justice Pearson were denied the right to see me, yet the next day, after the judges were gone out of town, an order was sent to the jailer to put me down into the prison among the moss-troopers, [maurading soldiers between Scotland and England], thieves and murderers; which accordingly he did. A filthy, nasty place it was, where men and women were put together in a very uncivil manner, and never a house of office to it; and the prisoners so covered with lice, that one woman was almost eaten to death with them. Yet as bad as the place was, the prisoners were all made very loving and subject to me, and some of them were convinced of the truth, as the tax collectors and harlots were in Jesus's time. They were so convinced that they were able to confound any priest that might come to the grates to dispute. But the jailer was cruel, and the under jailer very abusive both to me and to Friends that came to see me; for he would beat Friends with a great club, {as if he was beating a pack of wool}, who only came to the window to look in upon me. I could get up to the grate, where sometimes I took in my food; at which the jailer was often offended. Once he came in a great rage, and beat me with his club, though I was not at the grate at that time; and as he beat me, he cried, come out of the window, though I was then far from it. While he struck me, I was moved to sing in the Lord's power, which made him rage the more. Then he fetched a fiddler, and set him to play, thinking to vex me; but while he played, I was moved in the everlasting power of the Lord God to sing; and my voice drowned the noise of the fiddle, struck and confounded them, and made them give over fiddling and go their way.
 
Justice Benson's wife was moved of the Lord to come to visit me, and to eat no food but what she ate with me at the bars of the prison window. She was afterwards herself imprisoned at York, when she was great with child, for speaking to a priest; and was kept in prison, and not allowed to go out when the time of her child's birth had come. So she delivered her child in the prison. She was an honest, tender woman, and continued faithful to the truth until she died.

While I was in prison at Carlisle, James Parnell, a little lad about sixteen years of age, came to see me, and he was convinced of the truth. The Lord quickly made him a powerful minister of the word of life, and many were turned to Christ by him, though he did not live long. For traveling into Essex in the work of the ministry, in the year 1655, he was Committed to Colchester castle, where he endured very great hardships and sufferings; being put by the cruel jailer into a hole in the castle wall, called the oven. The wall was so high from the ground that he went up to it by a ladder, which being six feet too short, he was obliged to climb from the ladder to the hole by a rope that was fastened above. And when Friends would have given him a cord and a basket in which to have drawn up his food, the inhuman jailer would not allow it. The jailer forced him to go up and down by that short ladder and rope to get his food, (which for a long time he did), or else he might have famished in the hole. After some time his limbs were very numb from lying in that place. He was still required to go down to obtain food, and as he came up the ladder again with his food in one hand, and reached for the rope with the other, he missed the rope and fell down from a very great height on the stones. The fall so wounded in his head, arms, and body, that he died in a short time after. When he was dead the wicked professors, to cover their cruelty, wrote a book of him, and said, 'he fasted himself to death!' which was an abominable falsehood, and was shown to be so by another book, wrote in answer to that called, 'The Lamb's Defense against Lies.'

When I saw that I was not likely to be brought to a public hearing and trial, (although I had previously answered in writing the particular matters charged against me at the time of my first examination and commitment), I was moved to send the following paper, as a public challenge to all those that lied about me behind my back, to appear and make good their charge.

If any in Westmoreland, Cumberland, or elsewhere, that profess christianity, and pretend to love God and Christ, are not satisfied concerning the things of God, which I, George Fox, have spoken and declared, let them publish their dissatisfaction in writing, and not backbite, lie, and persecute in secret. This I demand of you all in the presence of the living God, as you will answer for it to him. This letter is written for the exaltation of the truth, and the confounding of the deceit. To that of God in your consciences I speak. Declare or write your dissatisfaction with anything I have spoken or declared to any of them whom you call Quakers; that truth may be exalted, and all may come to the light, with which Christ has enlightened everyone that comes into the world; that nothing may be hid in darkness, in prisons, holes, or corners; but that all things may be brought to the light of Christ, and by it may be tried. This I am moved of the Lord to write, and publish, to be set upon the market crosses in Westmoreland and elsewhere. To the light of Christ in you I speak, that none of you may speak evil of the things of God, which you do not know; nor none act contrary to the light that gave forth the scriptures, for fear you be found fighters against God, and the hand of the Lord be turned against you.    

George Fox

While I lay in prison under the before mentioned conditions, the report raised at the time of the assizes, 'that I should be put to death,' was circulated widely; so much so that the parliament then in session, which I think was called the little parliament, heard that a young man at Carlisle was to die for religion, and instructed a letter to be sent to the sheriff and magistrates concerning me.

Note: Because of the death of James Parnell in prison, Parliament was motivated to try to prevent another similar occurrence that might be about to happen to another young man in prison for religion that the authorities were rumored to wish to die; that man was George Fox, sent to prison with the magistrates bragging that he would die there. From Ruth S. Murray's Valiant for the Truth:

The Little Parliament summoned by Cromwell, consisting mostly of members of his own choice, heard that at Carlisle a young man was imprisoned who was to die for his religion. The Parliament caused a letter to be sent down, inquiring into it. Two of the justices who were friendly to George Fox also wrote a letter to the magistrates, condemning their course, and the prisoner, from his dungeon, sent out a stirring appeal to all who denounced him to come forth and make good their accusations against him. The governor soon after came to the prison, and finding such a noisome place, censured the magistrates for allowing this treatment, and put the under jailer, who had been so cruel, into the same prison. Soon after this those who imprisoned George Fox, being somewhat afraid of the consequence of their actions, set him at liberty and he resumed his labors.

About the same time I also wrote to the justices at Carlisle, who had cast me into prison, and persecuted Friends at the instigation of the priest for tithes, reasoning the restraint of their conduct as follows:

Friends, Thomas Craston and Cuthbert Stadholm,

Your noise has been heard in London by the sober people. What imprisoning, what gagging, what havoc and spoiling the goods of people, have you made within these few years! You act as though you had never read the scriptures, or had not minded them! Is this the end of Carlisle's religion? Is this the end of your ministry? Is this the end of your church and of your profession of Christianity? You have shamed it by your folly, madness, and blind zeal. Was it not always the work of the blind guides, watchmen, leaders, and false prophets, to prepare war against them that would provide food for their mouths? Have not you been the priests' packhorses and executioners? When they spur you up to bear the sword against the just, do not you turn against those who refuse to support the hypocrites that the scriptures testify against? Yet you will lift up your unholy hands, and call upon God with your polluted lips, and pretend a fast, when you are full of strife and debate. Did your heart never burn within you? Did you never come to question your conditions? Are you wholly given up to do the devil's lusts to persecute? Where is your love of enemies? Where is your entertainment of  strangers? Where is your overcoming evil with good? Where are your teachers, who can stop the mouths of preachers for profit, convince and convert such preachers and any who oppose them? Have you no ministers of the spirit, no soldiers with spiritual weapons, displaying Christ's colors? Instead you have the dragon's colors, the murderer's, the persecutor's arm of flesh, Cain's weapons, chief priests taking counsel, Judas and the multitude with swords and staves, Sodom's company raging about Lot's house, like the priests and princes against Jeremiah, like the dragon, beast, and great whore, and the false church, which John saw should cast into prison, kill, and persecute! Whose weapons are you bearing? Does not the false church, the whore, make merchandise of cattle, corn, wine, and oil, even to the very souls of men? Has not all this happened since the true church went into the wilderness? Read Revelation the 12th, with the Rev 18: do you not read and see what a spirit you are of, and what a bottomless pit you are in? Have you not dishonored the place of justice and authority? What turned your sword backward, like madmen, who are a praise to the evil doer, and would be a terror to the good, with all force and might to stop the way of justice! Do you think the Lord does not see your actions? How many have you wronged? How many have you imprisoned, persecuted, and put out of your synagogues? Are you those who must fulfill the prophecy of Christ? Mat 23:34 and John 16:1-3. Read the scriptures, see how different you are from the prophets, Christ, and his apostles, and what a countenance you have, like those that persecuted the prophets, Christ, and the apostles. You are found in their steps, wrestling with flesh and blood, not with principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness. Your teachers imprison and persecute for outward things, you being their executioners; the likes of which has not been in all the nations. The havoc that has been made, the seizure of people's property, taking away their oxen and fatted beef cattle, their sheep, corn, wool, and household goods; and giving them to the priests that have done no work for them. You are more like moss-troopers, [marauding soldiers who infected the border area between Scotland and England], than ministers of the gospel. You take property from Friends, bring them in your courts, and fine them because they will not break the command of Christ; that is, because they will not swear. Thus you act against those who do not lift up a hand against you, and as much as you turn against them, you turn against Christ. But he is risen who will plead their cause, and you cannot hide. Your works have come to light, and the end of your ministry is seen for what it is for, profit. You have dishonored the truth, the gospel; and you are of those that take money for it. You have lost your glory. You have dishonored yourselves. Persecution has always been blind and mad. Read what the apostle Paul said of himself when he was Saul in your nature. Exaltation and pride, and your lifting up yourselves, has brought you to this; not being humble, not doing justice, not loving mercy. When those who you have been beaten and bruised by your rude company, (to whom you are a praise and encouragement), have come and stated their pleas before you hoping for justice and for you to preserve and keep the peace; you, knowing they could not swear, required them to take an oath. This has been your trick and cover so that you could be unjust to the just; but by this means you go on still further to encourage the evil doer. But the Lord sees your hearts! If you were not men past feeling, you would fear and tremble before the God of the whole earth; who is risen, and will stain your glory, mar your pride, deface your beauty, and lay it in the dust. Though for a time you may swell in your pride, glory in your shame, and make a mock of God's messengers who have become your prey for reproving sin in the gate; you will feel the hand of God and his judgments at the last. This is from a lover of the truth, of righteousness, and of your souls; but a witness against all such as make a trade of the prophets', Christ's, and the apostles' words, and are found in the steps of them who persecuted the prophets', Christ's, and the apostles' life; who persecute those that will not support you, put food in your mouths, and give you profit. Tithes were before the law, and tithes were in the law; but tithes, since the days of the apostles, have been only since the false church arose. Christ, who came to end the law, and to end war, redeems men out of the tenths (1/10 of your income was required), and out of the nines also. The redeemed of the Lord shall reign upon the earth, and know the election which was before the world began. Since the days of the apostles, tithes have been required by the Papists, and by those that went from the apostles into the world; set up by the false church that made merchandise of the people, since the true church went into the wilderness. But now the judgment of the great whore comes; the beast and false prophet (the old dragon) shall be taken and cast into the fire, and the Lamb and his saints shall have the victory. Now Christ has come, who will make war in righteousness, and destroy with the sword of his mouth all these inventors and inventions that have been set up since the days of the apostles, and since the true church went into the wilderness. And the everlasting gospel, which is the power of God, shall be preached again to all nations, kindreds, and tongues, in this the Lamb's day; before whom you shall appear at judgment. You have no way to escape for he has appeared who is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the ending, the Alpha and the Omega; he that was dead is alive again, and lives forevermore!

I mentioned before that Gervase Benson and Anthony Pearson, though they had been justices of the peace, were not permitted to come to me in the prison; whereupon they jointly wrote a letter to the magistrates, priests, and people at Carlisle, concerning my imprisonment, thus:

He who is called George Fox, who is persecuted by rulers and magistrates, by justices, priests, and people, and who suffers the imprisonment of his body at this present time as a blasphemer, a heretic, and a seducer, him do we witness, (who in measure are made partakers of the same life which lives in him), to be a minister of the eternal word of God, by whom the everlasting gospel is preached; by the powerful preaching whereof the eternal Father of the saints has opened the blind eyes, unstopped the deaf ears, let the oppressed go free, and has raised the dead out of the graves. Christ is now preached in and among the saints, the same that ever he was; and because his heavenly image is borne up in this his faithful servant, therefore fallen man, (rulers, priests, and people), persecutes him. Because he lives up out of the fall, and testifies against the works of the world, that the deeds of that are evil, he suffers by you magistrates, not as an evil doer. Thus it was ever where the seed of God was kept in prison under the cursed nature, that nature sought to imprison them in whom it was raised. The Lord will make him to you as a burdensome stone; for the sword of the spirit of the Almighty is put into the hands of the saints, which shall wound all the wicked; and shall not be put up until it has cut down all corrupt judges, justices, magistrates, priests, and professors; until he has brought his wonderful thing to pass in the earth, which is to make new heavens and a new earth, wherein shall dwell righteousness; which now he is about to do. Therefore fear the Lord God Almighty, you judges, justices, commanders, priests, and people; you that forget God, suddenly will the Lord come and destroy you with an utter destruction, and will sweep your names out of the earth, and will restore his people judges as at the first, and counselors as at the beginning. And all persecutors shall partake of the plagues of the whore, who has made the kings of the earth and the great men drunk with the wine of her fornications, and has drunk the blood of the saints; and therefore shall you be partakers of her plagues. We are not allowed to see our friend in prison, whom we witness to be a messenger of the living God. Now, all people, mind whether this is according to law, or from the wicked, perverse, envious will of the envious rulers and magistrates, who are of the same generation that persecuted Jesus Christ: for he said, "as they have done to me, so will they do to you." And as he took the love, the kindness, and service that was showed and performed to any of his afflicted ones in their sufferings, and distress, as done unto himself; so the injuries and wrongs that were done by any to any of his little ones, he resented as done unto himself also. Therefore you, who are so far from visiting him yourselves in his suffering servant that you will not suffer his brethren to visit him, you must depart, you workers of iniquity, into the lake that burns with fire. The Lord is coming to thresh the mountains, and will beat them to dust; and all corrupt rulers, corrupt officers, and corrupt laws, the Lord will take vengeance on, by which the tender consciences of his people are oppressed. He will give his people his law, and will judge his people himself, not according to the sight of the eye and hearing of the ear, but with righteousness and equity. Now are your hearts made manifest to be full of envy against the living truth of God, which is made manifest in his people, who are condemned and despised of the world, and scornfully called Quakers. You are worse than the heathens who put Paul in prison, for none of his friends or acquaintance were hindered to come to him by them: therefore they shall be witnesses against you. You are shown to the saints to be of the same generation that put Christ to death, and that put the apostle in prison, on the same pretence as you act under; in calling truth error, and the ministers of God blasphemers, as they did. But the day is dreadful and terrible that shall come upon you, you evil magistrates, priests, and people, who profess the truth in words outwardly, and yet persecute the power of truth and them that stand in and for the truth. While you have time, prize it, and remember what is written, Isa 14:17.

GERVASE BENSON,
ANTHONY PEARSON.

Not long after this the Lord's power came over the justices, and they were made to set me at liberty. But some time before I was set at liberty, the governor and Anthony Pearson came down into the prison to see the place where I was kept, and understand what usage I had. They found the place so bad, and the savor so ill, that they cried shame of the magistrates for suffering the jailer to do such things. They called for the jailers into the prison, and required them to find sureties for their good behavior; and the under jailer who had been such a cruel fellow, they put into the prison with me among the moss-troopers, [marauding soldiers who infected the border area between England and Scotland].

After I was set at liberty I went to Thomas Bewley's, where a Baptist teacher came to oppose me; who was convinced. Robert Widders being with me was moved to go to Cold beck steeple-house, and the Baptist teacher went along with him the same day. The people fell upon them, almost killed Robert Widders, and took the Baptist's sword from him and beat him sorely. This Baptist had the inheritance of an impropriation [an entitlement of revenue from the area] of tithes, and he went home and gave it up freely. Robert Widders was sent to Carlisle jail, where having stayed awhile he was set at liberty. William Dewsbury also went to a nearby steeple-house, and the people almost killed him, they beat him so; but the Lord's power was over all and healed them again. In that day many Friends went to the steeple-houses to declare the truth to the priests and people; and they underwent great sufferings, but the Lord's power sustained them.

Now I went into the country, and had mighty great meetings. The everlasting gospel and word of life flourished; thousands were turned to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his teaching. Several who had taken tithes as their right denied the receiving of them any longer, and delivered them up freely to the parishioners. Passing into Westmoreland I had many great meetings. At Stricklandhead I had a large meeting, where Henry Draper, a justice of peace out of Bishoprick, came; and many contenders were there. The priests and magistrates were in a great rage against me in Westmoreland, and had a warrant to apprehend me; which they renewed from time to time. Yet the Lord did not allow them to serve it upon me. I traveled among Friends, visiting meetings until I came to Swarthmore, where I heard the Baptists and professors in Scotland had sent a request to have a dispute with me. I sent them word that I would meet them in Cumberland at Thomas Bewley's, where accordingly I went, but none of them came. I underwent some dangers at this time in my travels. Going through Wigton on a market-day, the people of the town had set a guard with pitchforks; and though some of their own neighbors were with us, they kept us out of the town and would not let us pass through it, under pretence of preventing the sickness, which there was no occasion for. However, they fell upon us, and almost injured us and our horses; but the Lord restrained them so that they did not hurt us much; and we passed away. Another time, as we were passing between two Friends' houses, some rude fellows lay in wait in a lane, and then stoned and abused us exceedingly; but at last, through the Lord's assistance, we got through them, and did not have serious injuries. But this showed the fruits of the priests' teaching, which shamed their profession of christianity.
 
After I had visited Friends in that county, I went into Bishoprick, having large meetings by the way. I had a very large meeting at Anthony Pearson's, where many were convinced. From there I passed through Northumberland to Derwentwater, where we had large meetings; and the priests threatened they would come, but none came. The everlasting word of life was freely preached, and freely received; hundreds being turned to Christ, their teacher.
 
In Northumberland many came to dispute. Some pleaded against perfection; to whom I declared, 'that Adam and Eve were perfect before they fell: and all that God made was perfect; and that the imperfection came by the devil and the fall: but Christ, who came to destroy the devil, said, "Be you perfect.' One of the professors alleged that Job said, 'Shall mortal man be more pure than his Maker? The heavens are not clean in his sight. God charged his angels with folly.' I showed him his mistake, and let him see, 'it was not Job that said so, but one of those who contended against him; for Job stood for perfection, and held his integrity; and they were called miserable comforters.' These professors said, the outward body was the body of death and sin. I discovered their mistake in that also, showing them, 'that Adam and Eve had each of them an outward body, before the body of death and sin got into them; and that man and woman will have outward bodies, [here on earth] when the body of sin and death is put off again; when they are renewed up into the image of God again by Christ Jesus, which they were in before they fell.' They ceased at that time from opposing, and glorious meetings we had in the Lord's power.

Then we passed to Hexam, where we had a great meeting atop of a hill. The priest threatened he would come and oppose us, but he did not come; so all was quiet: and the everlasting day and renowned truth of the ever living God was sounded over those dark countries, and his son exalted over all. It was proclaimed among the people, that the day had now come, wherein all that made a profession of the son of God, might receive him; and that to as many as would receive him, he would give power to become the sons of God, as he had done to me. It was further declared, 'that he who had the son of God, had life eternal; but he that had not the son of God (though he professed all the scriptures, from the first of Genesis to the last of the Revelation) had no life.' So after all were directed to the light of Christ, by which they might see him, receive him, and know where their true teacher was, and the everlasting truth had been largely declared among them, we passed through Hexam peaceably, and came into Gilsland, a country noted for stealing and thieves.

Here a Friend saw the priest and went to speak to him, and he came to our inn where the town's people gathered around us. The priest said he would prove us deceivers out of the bible, but could find no scripture for his purpose. Then he went into the inn, and after awhile come out again, and brought some broken sentences of scripture that mentioned the doctrines and commandments of men,  such as "and touch not, taste not, for they perish with the using." All of which, poor man! was his own condition; for in our condition, we were persecuted because we would not taste, or touch, or handle their doctrines and traditions which we knew perished with using. I asked him, what he called the steeplehouse? 'Oh,' said he, 'The dreadful house of God, the temple of God.' I showed him, and the poor dark people, 'that their bodies should be the temples of God, and that Christ never commanded these temples, but ended that temple at Jerusalem which God had commanded.' While I was speaking, the priest left; and afterwards the people acted as if they feared we would take their purses, or steal their horses; judging us like themselves, who were naturally given to stealing.
 
The next day we came into Cumberland again, where we had a general meeting of thousands of people atop of a hill near Langlands. A glorious and heavenly meeting it was; for the glory of the Lord did shine over all; and there were as many as one could speak over and be heard, the multitude was so great. Their eyes were turned to Christ their teacher; and they came to sit under their own vine; so much that Francis Howgill, coming afterwards to visit them, found they had no need of words; for they were sitting under their teacher Christ Jesus; in the sense of which he sat down among them, without speaking anything. A great convincement there was in Cumberland, Bishoprick, Northumberland, Westmoreland, Lancashire, and Yorkshire; and the plants of God grew and flourished, the heavenly rain descending, and God's glory shining upon them; many mouths were opened by the Lord to his praise; yes, to babes and sucklings he ordained strength.

After my release from Carlisle prison, {I went into the Abbey Chamber, and there came in a mad woman that sometimes was very desperate. And she fell down of her knees and cried, "Put off your hats, for grace, grace hangs about thy neck." And so the Lord's power ran through her that she was sensible of her condition, and after came and confessed it to Friends.}

{And I came to another place in Cumberland, where a man's wife was distracted and very desperate, attempting at times to kill her children and her husband. But I was moved of the Lord God to speak to her; she kneeled down of her bare knees and cried, and she said she would walk on her bare knees if she might go with me. The Lord's power wrought through her and she went home well.}

{And in Bishoprick, while I was there, they brought a woman, tied behind a man, that could neither eat nor speak, and had been so a great while. And they brought her into the house to me to Anthony Pearson's. And I was moved of the Lord God to speak to her, that she ate and spake and was well; and got up behind her husband without any help and went away well.}

{And as I came out of Cumberland, one time, I came to Hawkshead, and stopped at a Friend's house. Young Margaret Fell and William Caton were with me. Since it was a very cold season, we stopped, and the servant-girl there made us a fire, her master and his wife being gone to the market. There was a boy lying in the cradle which they rocked, about eleven years old. He was swollen to almost double normal size. I cast my eye upon the boy; and seeing he was dirty, I told the girl to wash his face and his hands, and get him up and bring him unto me. So she brought him to me, and I told her take him and wash him again, for she had not washed him clean. Then was I moved of the Lord God to lay my hands upon him and speak to him, and so bid the girl take him again and put on his clothes. And after we passed away.}

{And sometime after I called at the house, and I met his mother, but did not dismount from my horse. "Oh! stay," she said, "and have a meeting at our house, for all the country is convinced by the great miracle that was done by you upon my son. For we had carried him to Wells and the Bath, and all doctors had given him over, for his grandfather and father feared he would have died and their name have gone out, having, but that son; but presently, after you were gone," she said, "we came home and found our son, playing in - the streets. Therefore," she said, "all the country would come to hear," if I would come back again and have a meeting there. When she told me of this, it was about three years afterwards, and he had grown to be a straight, full youth then. So the Lord have the praise.}

I was moved to go to priest Wilkinson's steeple-house again; and having entered before him, when he arrived, I was declaring the truth to the people, though they were but few; for the most and best of his hearers were turned to Christ's free teaching; and we had a meeting of Friends nearby, where Thomas Stubbs was declaring the word of life among them. As soon as the priest came in, he opposed me; and there we stayed for the most part of the day. When I began, he opposed me; so if any law was broken, he broke it. When his people were dragging me out, I manifested his fruits to be like those Christ spoke of, when he said, ‘They shall expell you from their synagogues;' and then he became ashamed, and they released me. He stood there until it was almost night arguing and opposing me; and would not go to his dinner, for he thought to have tired me out. But at last the Lord's power and truth came so over him that he left with his people. When he was gone, I went to the meeting of Friends, who were turned to the Lord, and established by his power upon Christ, the rock and foundation of the true prophets and apostles.

About this time the priests and professors fell to prophesying against us again. They had said long before, that we should be destroyed within a month; after that, they prolonged the time to half a year; but since that time was long ago expired, and we had mightily increased in number, they now predicted that we would impoverish one another. For after meetings, many tender people, having a long way to go to return home, stayed at Friends' houses near the way home; and sometimes there were not enough beds to lodge in; so that some have slept on the haystacks. This frightened the professors and world's people because they were fearful that when we had used up the Friends' food and provisions, we would all come to be maintained by the parishes and be chargeable to them. But after awhile, when they saw that the Lord blessed and increased Friends, as he did Abraham, both in the field and in the basket, at their goings forth and comings in, at their risings up and lyings down, and that all things prospered with them; then they saw the falsehood of all their prophecies against us; and that it was in vain to curse where God had blessed. At the first convincement Friends could not put off their hats to people, nor say you to a single person, but thee and thou; nor could they bow, or use flattering words in salutations, nor go into the fashions and customs of the world. Because of these practices many Friends, that were tradesmen, lost their customers; for the people were shy of them and would not trade with them; so that for a time some could hardly get money enough to buy bread. But afterwards, people came to experience Friends' honesty and faithfulness, and found that their yes was yes, and their no was no; that they kept their word in their dealings, and that they would not cozen and cheat them. And that if they sent a child to their shops for anything, it was as if they had gone themselves; and the lives and conversations of Friends did preach, and reached to the witness of God in the people. Then things changed so much that all the inquiry was, 'Where was a draper, or shopkeeper, or tailor, or shoemaker, or any other tradesman that was a Quaker' so much that Friends had more business than many of their neighbors; and if there was any trading, they had a great part of it. Then the envious professors changed their tune, and began to cry out, 'If we let these Quakers alone, they will take the trade of the nation out of our hands.' This prospering was the Lord's work to and for his people! And my desire is that all who profess his holy truth may be truly kept sensible of it; and that they all may be preserved in and by his power and spirit, faithful to God and man. Faithful first to God by obeying him in all things; and then to do to all men what is just and righteous, in all things that they have to do or deal with them in; that the Lord God may be glorified in their practicing truth, holiness, godliness, and righteousness among people, in their lives and conversations.
 
Since Friends had grown very numerous in the northern parts of this nation, and various young convinced ones came in daily among us, I was moved of the Lord to write the following epistle, and send it among them, for the stirring up the pure mind, and raising a holy care and watchfulness in them over themselves, and one another, for the honor of truth.

*To you all, Friends everywhere, scattered abroad.

In the measure of the life of God wait for wisdom from God from whom it comes. And all of you, who are children of God, wait for the living food from the living God to be nourished up to eternal life from the one fountain from where life comes. So that you may all be guided and walk in order; servants in your places, young men and young women in your places, and rulers of families; that everyone, in your respective places, may adorn the truth in the measure of it. With it let your minds be kept up to the Lord Jesus, from where it comes; that you may be a sweet savor to God, and in wisdom you may all be ordered and ruled; that you may be a crown and a glory to one another in the Lord. And that no strife, bitterness, or self-will may appear among you; but all that may be condemned with the light in which is the unity. And that everyone in the unity may see to and take care of the ordering and ruling of their own family. That in righteousness and wisdom their family may be governed. May the fear and dread of the Lord reside in everyone's heart. May everyone come to receive the secrets of the Lord. May you come to be stewards of his grace; to dispense it to everyone as they have need. And so in savoring and right discerning you may all be kept; that nothing contrary to the pure life of God may be brought forth in you, or among you; but all that is contrary to it, may by it be judged. That in light, in life, and love you may all live; and all that is contrary to the light, life, and love, may be brought to judgment, and by that light be condemned. And that no fruitless trees be among you; but all cut down, condemned by the light, and cast into the fire; that everyone may bear and bring forth fruit to God, and grow fruitful in his knowledge and in his wisdom. And that none may appear in words, beyond what they are in the life that gave forth the words. Here none shall be as the untimely figs; none shall be of those trees whose fruit withers; such go in Cain's way, from the light; and by it are condemned. Let none of you boast yourselves above your measure; if you do, you are excluded out of God's kingdom; for the boasting part raises the pride and the strife which is contrary to the light that leads to the kingdom of God; which the light gives an entrance to the kingdom and an understanding of the things that belong to the kingdom. In the kingdom everyone receives the light and life of man and receives Him who was before the world was and by whom it was made; who is the righteousness of God, and his wisdom. To whom belongs all glory, honor, thanks, and praise - who is God, blessed forever. Let neither image nor likeness be made; but wait in the light, which will bring condemnation on that part which would make images; for what makes images prisons the just. Do not yield to the lust of the eye or lust of the flesh; for the pride of life stands in the lust which keeps out the love of the Father; and upon pride his judgments and wrath remain, where the love of the world is sought after, and a crown that is mortal is sought. In this ground the evil enters, which is cursed; which brings forth briers and thorns, where death reigns, and tribulation and anguish are upon every soul, and the Egyptian tongue is heard; all which by the light is condemned. There is the world, which must be removed. By the light the world is seen, and by the power the world is removed, and out of its place the world is shaken; to which the thunders utter their voices, before the mysteries of God are opened, and Jesus revealed. Therefore all of you, whose minds are turned to this light, wait upon the Lord Jesus for the crown that is immortal, and that fades not away.  

George Fox

This is to be sent among all Friends in the truth, the flock of God, to be read at their meetings

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