The Missing Cross to Purity


The Journal of George Fox - 1673 - 1677 - To Holland and Back <page 2 >


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Meanwhile the Yearly Meeting of Friends came on, at which I was present; and the meetings were exceedingly glorious, beyond expression; blessed be the Lord!

After the Yearly Meeting, I set forward for Worcester, the sessions drawing on, which were held in the fifth month. When I was called to the bar, and the indictment was read, some scruple arising among the jury concerning it, the judge of the court, justice Street, caused the oaths to be read and presented to me again. I told him, 'I came now to try the traverse, (denial that charges are true), of my indictment; and that his tendering me the oaths anew, was a new snare. I asked him to answer me a question or two; and asked him, ‘whether the oaths were to be tendered to the king's subjects, or to the subjects of foreign princes? 'He said, ‘to the subjects of this realm.' 'Then,' said I, ‘you have not named me as a subject in the indictment, and therefore have not brought me within the statute.' The judge cried, 'read the oath to him.' I said, 'I require justice.' Again I asked him, 'whether the sessions ought not to have been held for the king, and the body of the county? 'He said, ‘yes.’ 'Then,' said I, 'you have left the king out of the indictment; how then can you proceed upon this indictment to a trial between the king and me, since the king is left out?' He said, 'the king was in before.’ But I told him, ‘the king's name being left out, here was a great error in the indictment and sufficient, as I was informed, to quash it. Besides, I told him that I was committed by the name of George Fox, of London, but now I was indicted by the name of George Fox, of Treddington, in the county of Worcester. I wished the jury to consider how they could find me guilty upon that indictment, seeing I was not of the place the indictment mentioned.' The judge did not deny that there were errors in the indictment; but said, 'I might take my remedy in its proper place.' I answered, 'you know that we are a people that suffer all things, and bear all things; and therefore you exploit us, because we cannot revenge ourselves; but we leave our cause to the Lord.' The judge said, 'the oath has been presented to you several times, and we will have some satisfaction from you concerning the oath.' I offered them the same declaration instead of the oath, which I had offered to the judges above; but it would not be accepted. Then I asked whether the indictment was quashed, since they put the oath anew to me? Instead of answering me, the judge told the jury, ‘they might go out.' Some of the jury were not satisfied; whereupon the judge told them, 'they had heard a man swear that the oath was tendered to me the last sessions;' and then directed what they should do. I told him, 'he should leave the jury to their own consciences.' However, the jury, being instructed by him, went out and soon after came in again, and found me guilty. I asked them, 'how they could satisfy themselves to find me guilty upon that indictment, which was laid so false and had so many errors in it?' They could say little; yet one who seemed to be the worst of them, would have taken me by the hand; but I put him aside, saying, 'how now, Judas, have you betrayed me, and now come with a kiss?' So I told him and all of them to repent. Then the judge began to tell me, ‘how favorable the court had been to me.' I asked him, ‘how he could say so? Was ever any man worse dealt by than I had been in this case, who was stopped on my journey when traveling upon my own lawful affairs, and imprisoned without cause; and now had the oaths put to me only for a snare? I desired him to answer me in the presence of the Lord, in whose presence we all are, whether this oath was not presented to me in envy?' He would not answer that; but said, ‘I wish you had never come here, to trouble us and the country!' I answered, ‘I came not here of myself, but was brought, being stopped in my journey. I did not trouble them, but they had brought trouble upon themselves.' Then the judge told me, ‘what a sad sentence he had to tell me.' I asked him, ‘whether what he was going to speak was by way of passing sentence, or for information? For I told him I had many things to say, and more errors to assign in the indictment, besides those I had already mentioned, to stop him from giving sentence against me upon that indictment.' He said he was going to show me the danger of a premunire, which was the loss of liberty and of all my goods and chattels, and to suffer imprisonment for life.' But he said, 'he did not deliver this as the sentence of the court upon me, but as an admonition to me.' Then he told the jailer take me away.' I expected to have been called again to hear the sentence; but when I was gone, the clerk of the peace (whose name was Twittey), asked him, as I was informed, ‘whether what he had spoken to me should stand for sentence?' And he, consulting with some of the justices, told him, 'yes, that was the sentence, and should stand.' This was done behind my back, to save himself from shame in the face of the country. Many of the justices and the majority of the people were moderate and civil. And John Ashley, a lawyer, was very friendly both the time before the court and now; speaking on my behalf, and pleading the errors of the indictment for me; but justice Street, the judge of the court, overruled all. This justice Street said to some Friends in the morning before my trial, 'That if he had been upon the bench the first sessions, he would not have tendered me the oath; but if I had been convicted of being at a conventicle, he would have proceeded against me according to that law; and that he was sorry that ever I came before him.’ Yet he maliciously tendered the oath to me in the court again, when I was to have tried my traverse upon the indictment. But the Lord pleaded my cause, and met with both him and Justice Simpson, who first ensnared me with the oath at the first sessions; for Simpson's son was arraigned not long after at the same bar for murder. And Street, who, as he came down from London, after the judges had returned me back from the king's bench to Worcester, said, 'Now I was returned to them, I should lie in prison and rot;' had his daughter (whom he so doted on that she was called his idol), brought dead from London in a hearse to the same inn where he spoke these words, and was brought to Worcester to be buried within a few days after. People took notice of the hand of God, how suddenly it was upon him; but it rather hardened than tendered him, as his carriage afterwards showed.

After I was returned to prison, several came to see me; among others, the earl of Salisbury's son, who was very loving, and troubled that they had dealt so wickedly by me. He stayed about two hours with me, and took a copy of the errors of the indictment now in writing.

The sessions being over, and I fixed in prison by a premunire, my wife came out of the north to be with me. The assizes was coming in the sixth month, and the state of my case having being drawn up in writing, she and Thomas Lower delivered it to judge Wild. In it was set forth the occasion of my journey, the manner of my being taken and imprisoned, the proceedings of the several sessions against me, and the errors in the indictment by which I was premunired. When the judge had read it he shook his head, and said, ‘We might try the validity or invalidity of the errors, if we would;' which was all they could get from him.

While I lay in prison, it came upon me to state our principle to the king: not with particular relation to my own sufferings, but for his better information concerning our principle, and us as a people.

To the King.

The principle of the Quakers is the spirit of Christ, who died for all, and is risen for our justification; by which we know we are his. He dwells in us by his spirit, and by the spirit of Christ we are led out of unrighteousness and ungodliness. It brings us to deny all plots and contriving against the king, or any man. The spirit of Christ brings us to deny all manner of ungodliness, as lying, theft, murder, adultery, fornication, all uncleanness, debauchery, malice, hatred, deceit, defrauding and cheating whatsoever, and the devil and his works. The spirit of Christ brings us to seek the peace and good of all men, and to live peaceably, and leads us from such evil actions as the magistrate's sword defends against. Our desire and labor is that all who profess themselves Christians may walk in the spirit of Christ; that they through the spirit may put to death the deeds of the flesh; and by the sword of the spirit may cut down sin and evil in themselves. Then the judges and other magistrates would not have so much work in punishing sin in the kingdom. Neither then would kings or princes need to fear any of their subjects, if they all walk in the spirit of Christ, for the fruits of the spirit are love, righteousness, goodness, temperance, etc. If all that profess themselves Christians walked in the spirit of Christ, and by it did mortify sin and evil, it would be a great ease to the magistrates and rulers, and would free them from a great deal of trouble, for it would lead all to “do unto others as they would have others do unto them," and so the royal law of liberty would be fulfilled. For if all called Christians walked in the spirit of Christ; by it to have the evil spirit and its fruits cut down in them, then, not being led by the evil spirit, but by the good spirit of Christ, the fruits of the good spirit would appear in all. For as people are led by the good spirit of Christ, it leads them out of sin and evil, which the magistrate's sword defends against and so would be an ease to the magistrates. But as people err from this good spirit of Christ, and follow the evil spirit, which leads them into sin and evil; that spirit brings the magistrate into a great deal of trouble, to execute the law upon the sinners and transgressors of the good spirit. That spirit, which leads people from all manner of sin and evil, is one with the magistrate's power, and with the righteous law. For the law was added because of transgression, and that spirit which leads out of transgression must be one with that law which is against transgressors. So that spirit which leads out of transgression is the good spirit of Christ, and is one with the magistrates in the higher power, and owns it and them; but that spirit which leads into transgression is the bad spirit, and is against the law, against the magistrates, and makes them a great deal of troublesome work. The manifestation of the good spirit is given to every man to profit from; and no man can profit in the things of God but by the spirit of God which brings to deny all sin and evil. It is said of Israel, Nehem.9. “The Lord gave them his good spirit to instruct them, yet they rebelled against it." If all people would mind this manifestation of the spirit which God has given to instruct them, it would lead them to forsake all manner of sin and evil, enmity, hatred, malice, unrighteousness and ungodliness, and to mortify it. Then in the spirit of Christ they would have fellowship and unity, which is the bond of peace; then would love and peace, which are the fruits of the good spirit, flow among all that are called Christians.

We are a people, who, in tenderness of conscience to the command of Christ and his apostle, cannot swear; for we are commanded in Matt. 5 and James 5 to keep to yes and no, and "not to swear at all; neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath, for fear that we go into evil, and fall into condemnation.” The words of Christ are these: "you have heard that it has been said by (or to) them of old time, you shall not forswear yourself, but shall perform to the Lord your oaths." These were true and solemn oaths, which those who made should have performed in old time; but these Christ and his apostle did forbid in the gospel-times, as well as false and vain oaths. If we could take any oath at all, we could take the oath of allegiance, knowing that king Charles was by the power of God brought into England, and set up king of England, over the heads of our old persecutors; and as for the pope's supremacy, we utterly deny it. And the apostle James having commanded us not to swear, but to keep to yes and no, we dare not break their commands; therefore, many knowing this have put the oaths to us as a snare, so that might make a prey of us. Our denying to swear is not in willfulness, stubbornness, or contempt, but only in obedience to the command of Christ and his apostle; and we are content, if we break our yes and no, to suffer the same penalty as they should that break their oaths. We desire therefore that the king would take this into consideration, also how long we have suffered in this case. This is from one who desires the eternal good and prosperity of the king and of all his subjects in the Lord Jesus Christ.

George Fox

About this time I had a fit of sickness, which brought me very low and weak in my body; and I continued so a little while, so that some Friends began to doubt my recovery. I seemed to myself to be among the graves and dead corpses; yet the invisible power secretly supported me and conveyed refreshing strength to me, even when I was so weak that I was almost speechless. One night as I was lying awake upon my bed in the glory of the Lord which was over all, it was said unto me, 'That the Lord had a great deal more work for me to do for him, before he took me to himself.'

Endeavors were made to get me released, at least for a time until I should grow stronger; but the way of effecting it proved difficult and tedious (for the king was not willing to release me by any other way than a pardon, being told he could not legally do it otherwise; and I was not willing to accept a pardon, which he would readily have given me, because I did not look upon that way as suitable to the innocence of my cause.) Edward Pitway, having occasion to speak with Justice Parker upon business, asked him to give an order to the jailer, 'That in consideration of my weakness, I might have liberty to go out of the jail into the city. Upon which Justice Parker wrote the following letter to the jailer, and sent it to the Friend to deliver.

Mr. Harris,

I have been much entreated by some Friends of George Fox, to write to you. I am informed by them, that he is in a very weak condition, and very much indisposed; what lawful favors you can do, for the benefit of the air for his health, pray show him. I suppose, the next term they will make application to the king. I am, Sir,

Your loving Friend, ‘Henry Parker.'
Evesham, the 8th of Octob. 1674.'

After this, my wife went to London, and spoke to the king; 'laying before him my long and unjust imprisonment, with the manner of my being taken, and the justices' proceedings against me, in tendering me the oath as a snare, by which they had premunired me; so since I was now his prisoner, it was in his power and at his pleasure to release me; which she desired.' The king spoke kindly to her and referred her to the lord keeper; to whom she went, but could not obtain what she desired; for he said, 'The king could not release me except by a pardon;' and I was not free to receive a pardon, knowing I had not done evil. If I would have accepted freedom by a pardon, I need not have remained in jail so long; for the king had been willing to give me one long before. He  told Thomas Moore, 'That I need not doubt the correct basis of being released by a pardon, for many a man that was as innocent as a child had had a pardon granted him;' yet I could not consent to accept one. For I would rather have stayed in prison all my days than come out in any way dishonorable to the truth; therefore I chose to have the validity of my indictment tried before the judges. Having first gotten the opinion of a counselor upon it, (Thomas Corbet of London, with whom Richard Davis of Welchpool was well acquainted, and recommended to me), an habeas corpus was sent to Worcester, to bring me up once more to the king's bench bar, for the trial of the errors in my indictment. The under sheriff and I set off traveling to the court in London on the fourth of the twelfth month; traveling in the coach with us was the clerk of the peace and some others. The clerk had been my enemy all along and now sought to ensnare me in discussion; but I realized this and thus shunned him. He asked me, 'What I would do with the errors in the indictment?' I told him, 'They should be tried, and every action should terminate the indictment.' He quarreled with me for calling their ministers priests. I asked him, 'If the law did not call them so?' He asked me, 'What I thought of the church of England? Were there no Christians among them?' I said, ‘They are all called so, and there are many tender people among them.' We came to London the eighth of the twelfth month, and on the eleventh I was brought before the four judges at the king's bench, where counselor Corbet started a new plea. He told the judges, ‘they could not imprison any man upon a premunire.' Upon which the chief justice Hale said, ‘Mr. Corbet, you should have come sooner, at the beginning of the term, with this plea.' He answered, ‘We could not get a copy of the return and the indictment.' The judge replied, ‘You should have told us, and we would have forced them to have made a return sooner.' Then said judge Wild, ‘Mr. Corbet, you speak upon general terms; and if it is as you say, we have committed many errors at the Old Bailey, and in other courts.' Corbet was positive that by law they could not imprison upon a premunire. The judge said, 'There is summons in the statute.' ‘Yes,' said Corbet, ‘but a summons is not imprisonment, for a summons is in order to have a trial.' 'Well,' said the judge, 'we must have time to look in our books, and consult the statutes.' So the hearing was put off until the next day.

The next day they chose to let this plea fall and begin with the errors of the indictment; and when they were opened, they were so many and gross, that the judges were all of opinion that the indictment was quashed and void, and that I should have my liberty.' There were that day several great men, Lords and others, who had the oaths of allegiance and supremacy tendered to them in open court just before my trial came on; and some of my adversaries moved the judges that the oaths might be tendered again to me, telling them, ‘I was a dangerous man to be at liberty.' But judge Hale said, 'he had indeed heard such reports; but he had also heard many more good reports of me;' so he, with the rest of the judges, ordered me to be freed by proclamation. Thus after I had suffered imprisonment a year and almost two months, for nothing, I was justly set at liberty upon a trial of the errors of my indictment, without receiving any pardon, or coming under any obligation or engagement at all; and the Lord's everlasting power went over all, to his glory and praise. Counselor Corbet got great fame by it; many of the lawyers told him, ‘he had brought that to light which had not been known before, as to not imprisoning upon a premunire;' and after the trial a judge said to him, 'you have obtained a great deal of honor by pleading George Fox's cause so in court.'

During the time of my imprisonment in Worceste, (despite my lack of health, and being so often hurried to and fro to London and back), I wrote several books for the press, one which was called, 'A warning to England;' another was, 'To the Jews, proving by the prophets, that the Messiah is come;' another, 'Concerning inspiration, revelation, and prophecy;' another, 'Against all vain disputes;' another, ‘For all bishops and ministers to try themselves by the scriptures;' another, ‘To such as say, we (Quakers) love none but ourselves;' another, entitled, 'Our testimony concerning Christ;' and another little book, 'Concerning swearing,' being the first of those two given to the parliament. Besides these, I wrote many papers and epistles to Friends, to encourage and strengthen them in their services for God, which some, (who made profession of truth, but had given way to a seducing spirit, and were departed from the unity and fellowship of the gospel, in which Friends stand), tried to discourage them from; especially in their diligent and watchful care for the well-ordering and managing the affairs of the church of Christ.

Being at liberty, I visited Friends in London; and having been very weak, and not yet well recovered, I went to Kingston. Having visited Friends there, I returned to London, wrote a paper to the parliament, and sent several books to them. A great book against swearing had been delivered to them a little before; the reasonableness of which had so much influence, that it was thought they would have done something towards our relief if they had sat longer. I stayed in and near London until the Yearly Meeting, to which Friends came from most parts of the nation, and some from beyond sea. A glorious meeting we had in the everlasting power of God.

This meeting over, and the parliament session over, (in which nothing was done for or against Friends), I was clear of my service for the Lord at London. And having taken my leave of Friends there, and having had a glorious meeting with some of them at John Elson's in the morning, I traveled towards the north with my wife and her daughter Susan by coach, (for I was not able to travel on horseback), many Friends accompanying us as far as Highgate, and some to Dunstable, where we lodged that night. We visited Friends and were visited by them at Newport-Pagnel, Northampton, and Cossel. Among others, came a woman, who brought her daughter so I could see how well she was doing. She reminded me that when I was there before, she had brought her to me much troubled with the king's evil (kidney disease), and had then asked me to pray for her which I did, and she was healed; praised be the Lord! From Cossel we went by John Simcock's and William Gandy's to Warrington, Preston, and Lancaster.

I had not been in Lancaster since I was taken prisoner from there by the under-sheriff and jailer to Scarborough castle in Yorkshire. I found the town full of people; for it was fair-time, and the local militia regiments were having a general muster. Many Friends were also in town from several parts of the county, because the Quarterly Meeting was to be held there next day. I stayed two nights and a day at Lancaster and visited Friends both at their men's and women's meetings, which were very full, large, and peaceable; for the Lord's power was over all, and none interfered with us. Here we met with Thomas Lower and his wife, Sarah Fell, James Lancaster, and Leonard Fell. The next day after the meeting, the twenty-fifth of the fourth month, we went over the Sands with several other Friends to Swarthmore.

After I had been awhile at Swarthmore, several Friends from various parts of the nation came to visit me, and some out of Scotland. From these I understood, that four young students of Aberdeen were convinced there this year, at a dispute held by Robert Barclay and George Keith with some of the scholars of that university.

Among others, colonel Kirby paid me a visit, who had been one of my great persecutors; but now he said he came to bid me welcome into the country and carried himself in appearance very lovingly. Yet before I left Swarthmore he sent for the constables of Ulverstone, and ordered them to tell me, ‘that we must have no more meetings at Swarthmore; for if we did, they were commanded by him to break them up, and would come the next first-day to see if we complied.' That day we had a very precious meeting, the Lord's presence was wonderful among us, and the Constables did not come to disturb us. The meetings have been quiet since, and have increased.

The illness that I got in my imprisonment at Worcester had so much weakened me, it was long before I recovered my natural strength again. For which reason, and as I had many things that lay upon me to write for public and private service, I did not stir much abroad during the time I now stayed in the north; but when Friends were not with me, I spent much of my time writing books and papers for truth's service. While I was at Swarthmore, I gave several to be printed:  

One, ' Concerning swearing.'
Another showing, 'That none are successors to the prophets and apostles, but those who succeed them in the same power and holy ghost that they were in.'
Another showing, 'That possession is above profession; and how the professors now do persecute Christ in spirit, as the professing Jews did persecute him outwardly in the days of his flesh.'
Another little book, ‘To the magistrates of Dantzick.'
Another called, 'Cain against Abel; or, an answer to the New England men's laws.'
Another 'To Friends at Nevis, concerning watching.'
Another, 'A general epistle to all Friends in America.'
Another, 'Concerning Cesar’s due, and God's due.'
Another, 'Concerning ordering of families.'
Another, entitled, ‘The spiritual man judges all things.'
Another, 'Concerning the higher power.'

Besides these; I wrote several letters to Friends both in England and beyond the seas; and answers to various papers concerning the 'running out of some who had opposed the order of the gospel.' This had stirred up a great deal of strife and contention in Westmoreand. Therefore I was moved to write a few lines particularly to Friends there.

This is for Friends in Westmoreland:

All live in the power of God, in his light and spirit, which did first convince you; that in it you may keep in the ancient unity, in humility, in the fear of the Lord, and his gentle and peaceable wisdom, which is easy to be entreated. That in the same power, light, and spirit of God you may be serviceable in your men's and women's meetings in the possession of the gospel-order. Which gospel, the power of God, has brought life and immortality to light; that in this you may see over him that has darkened you. In this power no apostates can come; for the power of God was before apostates were, or the fall of man and woman was, or the devil either, and will be when he is gone. Therefore praise God in the eternal fellowship of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ, which is not of man, nor by man. And all Friends in Westmoreland keep in the power of God, which will and must preserve and cover you, if you are preserved. Let your faith stand in the power of God, and not in the wisdom of men's words, so that you do not fall. In God's power you have peace, life, and unity; and for failing to keep in God's power, in his righteousness and Holy Ghost, all this strife has come among you.   

George Fox

I also wrote the following general epistle to Friends at the Yearly Meeting in London:

My dear Friends and brethren,

Whom the Lord has preserved by his eternal power to this day, over and through many troubles, storms, tempests, and prisons: Let everyone's faith stand in the power of God, which is over the devil, and was before him. Your faith standing in the invisible power of God, it stands in what does not change; and the faith that Christ Jesus, the power of God, is the author of, must stand in the power of God. So then your faith stands in what is over all, in which all Christians are established. This the apostle brought the church, the true Christians, to; and so all the true Christians' faith now, which Christ is the author of, is to stand in the power of God, in which the everlasting kingdom stands. As everyone's faith stands in this power, it keeps all in the power of godliness.

For as it was in the days of the apostles, when some were crying that they had been convinced by Paul or Apollos, and so forth, he judged them as carnal; and exhorted and admonished them that their faith should not stand in men, nor in the words of man's wisdom, but in the power of God. He said, "He would not know the speech of them, but the power among them, for the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”1 Cor 4:19-20. So it is to be now. Everyone's faith must stand in the power of God, and not in men, nor their speeches upon the good words. For we have seen by experience, what happens when people begin to follow men, and their faith stands in them. Those who would have people's faith to stand in them, love popularity, and do not bring people's faith to stand in the power of God. Such cannot exalt Christ; and when they fall, they draw a great company after them. Therefore the apostle would not know any after the flesh, but those who were in the power and spirit; and struck down everyone's faith that stood in the words of man's wisdom, that they might stand in the power of God. So it must be now. They, whose faith does not stand in power, cannot exalt his kingdom that stands in power. Therefore everyone's faith must stand in the power of God.

The apostle denied popularity, when he judged the Corinthians, (for looking at Paul and Apollos), to be carnal; such are carnal still. Therefore all should know one another in the spirit, life, and power, and look at Christ; this keeps all in humility. Those whose faith stands in men will make sects; as in the days of James Naylor, John Perrot and others. Christ is not the author of the faith of such; or if he has been, they have erred from it, and made shipwreck of it. All who are in the true faith that stands in the power of God will judge them as carnal, and judge down that carnal part in them that cries up Paul or Apollos; that their faith may stand in the power of God, and that they may exalt Christ, the author of it. For everyone's eye ought to be to Jesus, and every just man and woman may live by their faith, which Christ is the author and finisher of. By this faith every man may see God, who is invisible; which faith gives the victory, and thereby he has access to God. So every one's faith and hope standing in the power of God, all have unity, victory, and access to God's throne of grace; in which faith they please God. By this faith they are saved, obtain the good report, and subdue all the mountains between them and God.

This power has preserved Friends over their persecutors, over the wrath of men, above the seizure of their property, and imprisonment; as seeing God that "created all, gives the increase of all, and upholds all by his word and power." Therefore, let everyone's faith be in his power. In this no schism or sect can come, for it is over them, before they were, and will be when they are gone. But perfect unity is in the truth, in the spirit, that circumcises the body of death, puts off the sins of the flesh, and plunges it down with the spirit. In the spirit of God there is perfect fellowship; and Christ is the minister of the circumcision and baptism.

This is upon me from the Lord to write unto you, that every one of you, whose faith Jesus is the author of, may stand in the power of God. From the Lord I warn you, and all everywhere of the same; for if a star should fall, which has been a light, either the earth or the sea receives it: that is, the earthly mind, or the foaming, raging people. Though neither the seed, light, power, nor truth ever fell, nor the faith itself, the gift of God; but men going from it become unsavory.

Adam, while he kept in truth and obeyed the command of God, was happy; but when he disobeyed the Lord, he fell under the power of satan, and became unhappy. Though he might talk after of his experiences in paradise; he had lost his image, and his power and dominion that God created him in.

The Jews, after they received the law, as long as they kept the law of God, which was just, holy, good, and perfect, it kept them good, just, holy, and savory; but when they turned their backs on the Lord, and forsook his law, they came under the power of darkness, under the powers of the earth, and were trodden under as unsavory.

The christians were called a "city set on a hill, the light of the world, and the salt of the earth;" but when they forsook the power of God, and their faith stood in words and men, and, not in the power; then their walls fell down, though the power in itself stood; and they lost their hill, their saltiness, and their shining. And as Christendom now confesses, they are not in the same power and spirit the apostles were in, so they are not in the same salt, nor upon the same hill. So they came to be trod under, and the beast, the whore, and the false prophet are uppermost, the unsavory. Their dead faith is in men, and in words; therefore they are full of sects, and one against another.

And now the everlasting gospel, the power of God, is preached again, which was before the devil was, who darkened man. And by this power of God, life and immortality has come to light again; therefore, everyone's faith is to stand in this power that has brought life and immortality to light in them, and so to be heirs of the power of God, the gospel. In this all have a right to the power of God, which is the authority of men's and women's meetings, and of all other meetings set up by God's power.

As the gospel is preached again, if your faith does not stand in the power, but in men, and in the wisdom of words, you will grow carnal; and such are for judgment who cry up Paul or Apollos, and not Christ, the author of your faith. Those who love to be popular would have people's faith stand in them; such do not preach Christ, but themselves. But those who preach Christ and his gospel would have every man and woman to be in the possession of it. And every man's and woman's faith to stand in Christ, the author of it. And in the power of God, in which, as their faith stands, nothing can get between them and God. For if any should fall among us, as too many have, that leads its followers either into the waters [raging peoples of the world] or into the earth [the earthly mind].

 If any should go from the spirit of prophecy, that opened things to them, and from the power, they may speak of those experiences the power opened to them formerly. So might Adam and Eve speak of what they saw and enjoyed in paradise; so might Cain and Balaam, of what they saw; and also the Jews, Korah, and Dathan, who praised God on the banks, saw the victory over Pharaoh, ate  the manna, drank of the rock, came to mount Sinai, and saw the glory of the Lord. So might the false apostles speak of their experiences, and all those false christians that turned from the apostles and Christ. So may such do now, that err from the spirit, that are come out of spiritual Egypt and Sodom, and have known the raging of the Sodomites, as Lot did the outward; and the pursuit of the spiritual Egyptians, as the outward Jew did the outward Egyptian. Yet if they do not walk in the spirit of God, in the light, and in the grace, which keeps their hearts established, their words seasoned, and their faith in the power of God, in which the kingdom stands, they may go forth like the false christians, like the Jews, like Adam and Eve, Cain, Korah, and Balaam, and be wandering stars, trees without fruit, wells without water, and clouds without rain; and so come to be unsavory, trodden down, and as Adam who lost paradise, and the Jews who lost the holy land, not walking in the law, and keeping the command of God; and as the christians who lost the city, the hill, the salt, and the light, since the apostles' days, and came to be unsavory, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Therefore, let everyone's faith stand in the Lord's power, which is over all, through which they may be built upon the rock, the foundation of God, the seed Jesus Christ. So all in Christ may be ever fresh and green; for he is the green tree that never withers, all are fresh and green that are grafted into him, abide in him, and bring forth heavenly fresh fruits to the praise of God. And though Adam and Eve fell from paradise, the Jews fell from the law of God, many of the christians fell from their prophecies, erred from the faith, the spirit, and the grace; and the stars have fallen, as was spoken in the Revelation; yet the spirit, grace, faith, and power of God remains.

I have seen many such states within these past twenty-eight years; though there is a state that shall never fall, nor be deceived, in the elect before the world began, who are come to the end of the prophecies, and are in him, where they end, renewed up into the image of God, (by Christ), which man was in before he fell, in that power, where he had dominion over all that God made. And not only so, but "attain to a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ," who never fell. In him is the sitting down in life eternal, where their feet stand sure and fast in the gospel, his power. Here their bread is sure; and he that eats this bread lives for ever.

And all friends and brethren, that declare God's eternal truth and word of life, live in it, be seasoned with grace and salted with the heavenly salt, that your lives and conversations may preach wherever you come; that there be no rawness, nor quenching of the spirit, nor despising prophecy either in men or women. For all shall meet in the faith that Jesus is the author of, and in the light that comes from him, and be so grafted into the life, that you may have knowledge of one another in Christ. And that none may be slothful, or sitting down in earthly things, minding them, like Demas of old, so that you do not clothe yourselves with another clothing than you had at first; but all keep chaste, for the chaste follow the Lamb.

And Friends that are ministers possess as if you did not; be married as if you were not; be loose to the world in the Lord's power; for God's oil will be on top of all visible things, which makes his lamps burn, and give light afar off. Let none strive nor covet to be rich in this world, in these changeable things that will pass away; but let your faith stand in the Lord God, who changes not, created all, and gives the increase of all.

Now Friends, concerning faithful men's and women's meetings, which were set up in God's counsel. Whoever opposes them, opposes the power of God, which is the authority of them. They are no ministers of the gospel, nor of Christ, that oppose his power, which all are to possess. For the true ministers of Christ, that preach his gospel (which is to be preached to all nations) as deceit has gone over all nations, and all nations have drunk the whore's cup, and she has them in her cage, her unclean power from the beast and dragon, out of the power of God, and out of truth and the spirit of God, the apostles were in; the power of God must come over all this again; and all true ministers, that preach the gospel, must bring people into the possession of it again. I say, whoever preaches the gospel of Christ and him to people and nations, those people and nations receiving the gospel, they receive the power of God that brings life and immortality to light in them; and they see over the devil that has darkened them, and the beast, the whore, and her cage. So by the power of God, life and immortality is brought to light in them; then these men and women, being heirs of this power, the gospel, are heirs of authority and power over the devil, beast, whore, and dragon.

It is their possession and portion, and they are to labor in their possession and portion, to do God Almighty's business and service in the possession of the power of God, the gospel, which is a joyful, glorious, everlasting order. Here is the authority of our men's and women's meetings, and other meetings in the name of Jesus, the gospel of Christ, the power of God, which is not of man, nor by man. In this are all to meet, and to worship God. By this are all to act, and in this have all fellowship, a joyful fellowship, a joyful and comfortable assembly. All faithful men and women in every country, city, and nation, whose faith stands in the power of God, the gospel of Christ, who have received the gospel, and are in the possession of it, have a right to the power in these meetings, for they are heirs of the power, which is the authority of the men's and women's meetings.

So here is God's choice (and not man's) by his power, of his heirs; and they have all freedom to go to the meetings, the men to the men's, and the women to the women's, for they are heirs of the power, which is received in the holy ghost; and they see over enmity [of man to God], and before it was, by the light, the life, and immortality, which is brought to light in them.

The devil, the author of enmity, cannot get into this authority, power, order, nor fellowship of the gospel, nor life, nor light, nor into the unity of the faith, which gives victory over him that has separated man from God. Into the unity of this faith the serpent cannot come, nor into the worship of God in spirit and truth the devil cannot come, nor any enmity. And they that are in this are in unity over him. Therefore, let everyone's faith stand in the power of God, the glorious gospel; all walk as becomes the gospel and the order of it. As everyone has received Christ Jesus, the Lord, so walk in him, and let him be their Lord and orderer. For the preaching of the gospel of Christ Jesus is to the intent that all might come to be heirs of the gospel, into the possession of it, to be heirs of Christ and of his government, to the increase of which there is no end. Who is over all in his righteousness, and over all in his light, life, power, and dominion. Therefore know one another in his power, his gospel; know one another in Christ Jesus, who is able to restore man out of the state of the fall into the image of God, and into that power and dominion that man had before he fell, and into him, that never fell, where they will no more go forth. Here is the rock and foundation of God that stands sure.

And, Friends, be tender to the tender principle of God in all. Shun the occasion of vain disputes and arguments, both among yourselves and others; for many times that is like a blustering wind, that hurts and bruises the tender buds and plants. For the world, though they have the words, are out of the life; and the apostle's disputing with them was to bring them to the life. And those disputers among the Christians about genealogies, circumcision, the law, meats, drinks, and days, came to be the worst sort of disputers, whom the apostles judged; for such destroyed people from the faith. Therefore did the apostles exhort the churches that everyone's faith should stand in the power of God, and to look at Jesus the author of it. There every graft stands in Christ, the vine; quiet, where no blustering storms can hurt them; there is the safety. There all are of one mind, one faith, one soul, one spirit, baptized into one body with the one spirit, and made all to drink into one spirit, one church, one head, that is heavenly and spiritual. And one faith in this head, Christ, who is the author of it, and has the glory of it; one Lord to order all, who is the baptizer into this one body. So Christ has the glory of his faith out of every man and woman; and the Father through him has his glory, the Creator of all in his power, the gospel that has brought life and immortality to light in them. And their faith standing in it, they know the immortal God, serve and worship him in his spirit and in his truth; by which they are made God's free men and women, from him that is out of the truth.

Now, Friends, you who have been ancient laborers, and have known the dealings of the Lord these twenty years, (more or less), as I have often said to you, draw up what you can of what the Lord has carried you through by his power, the passages and sufferings, and how by the Lord you have been supported from the first; so that he may be exalted by his power now, and in ages to come. Who has been the only support, defense, and stay of his people all along, over all to himself; to whom be all glory and praise for ever and ever. Amen. He deserves it in his church throughout all ages, from his living members, who return the praise to the living God, who lives and reigns over all, blessed forever; who is the life, strength, health, and length of the days of his people. Therefore let there be no boasting, but in the Lord, in his power and kingdom; that keeps all in humility.

And Friends, in the Lord's power and truth, what good you can do for Friends in prison, or sufferers, by informing or helping them, everyone bend yourselves to the Lord's power and spirit, to do his will and his business; and in that all will have a fellow-feeling of one another's conditions in bonds, or in whatever trials or tribulations. You will have a fellow-feeling with one another, having one head, one Lord, and being one body in him. For God's heavenly threshing rod has brought out his seed, his heavenly plough has turned up the fallow ground, his heavenly seed is sown by the heavenly man, which brings forth fruits to the heavenly sower, in some fifty, sixty, and a hundred fold in his lifetime; and such in the world without end will have life everlasting. Oh! Therefore all keep within; let your lights shine, and your lamps burn, that you may be wells full of the living water, and trees full of the living fruit of God's planting, whose fruit is unto holiness, and whose end is everlasting life.

The Lord God of power preserve you all in his power. Let your faith stand in that, so you may have unity in the faith, and in the power; and by this faith and belief you may all be grafted into Christ, the sure root and rock of ages, where the eternal Sun of righteousness shines, in the heavenly and eternal day, upon his plants and grafts. This Sun never goes down, and the heavenly springs of life, and showers are known to water and nourish the grafts, plants, and buds, that they may always be kept fresh and green, and never wither. Bringing forth fresh, green, and living fruit, which is offered up to the living God; who is glorified, when you bear much fruit. The Lord God Almighty keep you, and preserve you all in his power, light, and life, over death and darkness; that you may spread his truth abroad, and, be valiant for it upon the earth, answering that of God in all. That with it the minds of people may be turned to God, so that with it they may come to know Christ Jesus in the new covenant, in which the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth, as the waters do the sea. His life must go over death, his light must go over darkness, and the power of God must go over the power of satan.

So all you that are in the light, life, and power, keep the heavenly fellowship in the heavenly power, the heavenly unity in the heavenly divine faith, and the unity of the spirit, which is the bond of the heavenly Prince of princes' peace; who bruises the head of the enemy, the adversary, and reconciles man to God, and all things in heaven and earth. A blessed reconciliation! Let everyone's faith stand in the power of God, which Jesus Christ is the author of; that all may know their crown of life. For all outward things, without the substance, the life, the power, are as the husk without the kernel, and do not nourish the immortal soul, nor the new-born babe. But what nourishes is the milk of the word, where all grow in the heavenly life, strength, and wisdom. The gospel is not of man, nor by man, but is the power of God, and answers the truth in all. All the possessors of it are to see that all walk according to it; which everlasting order is ordained of God already, and all the possessors of him possess their joy, their comfort, and salvation. My love unto you all, with him that reigns, and is over all, from everlasting to everlasting.

Dwell in the love of God, which passes knowledge, and edifies the living members of the body of Christ; which love of God you come to be built up in, and in the holy faith. This love of God brings you to "bear all things, endure all things, and hope all things." From this love, which you have in Christ Jesus, nothing will be able to separate you, neither powers nor principalities, heights nor depths, things present nor things to come, prisons nor seizures of property, death nor life. The love of God keeps above all what would separate from God, and makes you more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Therefore in this dwell, that with the same love you may love one another, and all the workmanship of God; that you may glorify God with your bodies, souls, and spirits, which are the Lord's. Amen.

George Fox

All Friends sit low in the life, the Lord's power. Keep your place in it, until the Lord and master of the heavenly feast tells you"sit higher;" for fear that you take the highest place, and be put down with shame. He that has an ear, let him hear.

George Fox

Postscript

Friends, take heed of speaking the things of God in the words that men's wisdom has taught; for those words will lift up the foolish that go astray from the spirit of God. These words and wisdom of men are for condemnation, along with what is lifted up by them, and they that speak the things of God in them. So that old house, with its goods, must be thrown under the foot of the new birth.

And Friends, I ask that you may all keep the holy order, which is in the gospel, the glorious order in the power of God, which the devil is out of; which was before all his orders were, and before any orders of the world.

This joyful order keeps all hearts pure to God in everlasting peace, unity, and order. Feel it, and keep it, both men and women, and come to be heirs of the gospel, which brings life and immortality to light, and to see over that power of darkness, by him who was before the power of death was. In this is the holy order in love and peace. So keep in this that keeps you always pure; whatever men and women do in this, they do in what will stand when the world is gone.

There has been some uneasiness about men's and women's meetings. Men and women in the gospel are heirs of the power, which was before the devil was; heirs of this, then enter into the possession of it, and do the Lord's business there. Everyone take care of God's honor, and keep all things in righteousness and holiness, which becomes God's house. When those meetings were set up for men and women, who are heirs of the gospel, and have right to the gospel order, it comforted me because their righteousness and holiness honored God. Then take your possessions, practice in it, be not talkers only, but live and walk in the gospel, the power of God which is the authority of your meetings.

George Fox

Swarthmore, the 28th of the 2d month, 1676

Read at the Yearly Meeting in London, the 17th of the third month, 1676.

From Valiant for the Truth: Well would it have been for the church he loved so well, if his earnest, loving counsel had been attended to. In the two hundred years since this was written, there have been disputes about points analogous to the meats and drinks, and days and times, which disturbed the early Christians; disputes, too, carried on without the loving spirit he recommends, which have brought confusion into her borders, and crippled her usefulness.

 

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