The Missing Cross to Purity


Introduction

Site Editor's Preface

There are three versions of George Fox's Journal, now widely available for purchase or reading on the web:

  1. The Nickalls version. A one large volume, still for sale, abbreviated version of the official Ellwood two volume version.

  2. The Official two volume version edited by Thomas Ellwood, and published many times; of limited availability for sale, but available on this site and at the site of the Earlham School of Religion.

  3. The one volume Short Journal, edited by Penney, (with Rufus Jones' negative commentary), and translated into several languages, widely available on the web, and still for sale. But, this is a seriously abridged version and should be avoided.
A fourth version, known as the Cambridge Journal, a two volume reconstruction from Fox's handwritten manuscripts, is only available in libraries and Volume I only in the on-line version of this site. It is very difficult reading, preserving the original 17th Century language. Penney went back to all the original handwritten manuscripts of George Fox and others who assisted. They found considerable material omitted from the official Quaker/Ellwood Journal, and published all in the difficult-to-read original language as the 1911 Cambridge Journal, (see sample).

The Journal on this site is the full two volume Ellwood set published many times. We have modernized the language; but you can view the original text, (see the Image Library that is available for viewing in PDF format for the on-line version of this site also). To make the Journal on this site even more interesting, we have included significant portions of the omitted text found in the Cambridge Journal. When reading the Journal on this site, you will occasionally see, {Text within braces}, denoting text from the Cambridge Journal. We have also included supplementary information from other sources, but they are well marked within.

The history of the Journal, including comments by the publishers of the Cambridge Journal, as they speculate on all the reasons why certain text was changed or omitted, are included in an additional section with links into the Journal where the subject text is found. You may find interesting the three exhibits, including a photograph of one of the handwritten manuscripts of George Fox, also available on the sidebar.

For a short history of the church's departure from the teachings of Christ, up to the time of the beginning of the ministry of George Fox, click here.

A JOURNAL

OR

HISTORICAL ACCOUNT

OF THE

LIFE, TRAVELS, SUFFERINGS,

CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCES AND LABOUR OF LOVE


IN THE


WORKS OF THE MINISTRY


OF THAT


ANCIENT, EMINENT, AND FAITHFUL SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST,



GEORGE FOX


PREFACE

 

Being a summary account of the many dispensations of God to men,
from the beginning of the world to that of our present age,
by the ministry and testimony of his faithful servant George Fox,
as an introduction to the ensuing Journal.

 

By William Penn, George Fox's dear Friend, Brother in Christ, and admirer

William Penn

1644-1718

William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania and West Jersey, was an upper class commoner, highly educated intellectual of his age, who spoke five languages. In settlement of the King's debts to his father, he was granted by the King huge territories in the new world, what is now Pennsylvania and western New Jersey. He wished to name his new colony New Wales, but the King's Council insisted it be named Pennsylvania, despite his pleas.

He established colonies in the new world to escape the religious persecutions that Quakers were experiencing from the Puritan Congregationalists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians in England and Europe; which colonies had a significant influence on the later form of government adopted by the United States of America. His colonies featured full freedom of religion, fair trials, elected representatives of the people in power, and a separation of powers—again ideas that would later form the basis of the American constitution.

Penn chose perhaps the most difficult course possible for a Christian man: a Christian and ruler of government. The fewer decisions, the simpler one's life, the easier it is to remain faithful to your God's requirements. With courage that I cannot imagine, Penn plowed through decisions, negotiations, administration, and government of a region the size of England — with faith in his God and actions that remained true to Christian principles.

From a wilderness, he carved a colony which quickly surpassed their older colonial neighbors, while creating and maintaining a peace with the Indian that was never equaled. He walked the high wire of secular power with Christian humility; few could even approach his secular accomplishments, and scarce would any be able to match his maintaining of Christian virtue all the while. He had the accomplishments of a Caesar, but with the kindness and meekness of the greatest servant to ever live, his Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, he was of a Christian nobility that we many never again see in history.

In France and on the continent of Europe the great men and writers seized upon The Holy Experiment of Pennsylvania as the most remarkable occurrence of the age. To these men, brought up under Roman version of Christianity and accustomed to the atrocities and horrors inflicted by Cortez and Pizarro on the natives of South America, the thought of a Christian keeping his promise inviolate for forty years with heathen Indians was idealism realized. It was like refreshment in a great weary desert. Who was the man, and what strange sort of Christian was he that he kept his word with the heathen; that he had done what had never been done before, and what it was supposed never would be done? Voltaire was delighted, and from that time he loved the Quakers; and even thought of going to Pennsylvania to live among them.

Well ahead of his time, Penn wrote and urged for a Union of all the English colonies in what was to become the United States of America. He was also the first to propose the United States of Europe as a way to avoid the continual wars on the continent.

Penn's father was Admiral Penn, and while Oliver Cromwell was in power, the Penn family was exiled to Ireland. The Admiral was a Royalist, supporting the deposed king's son claim to the crown. He invited a Quaker preacher, Thomas Loe, to come to his home so that they might judge first-hand what the controversial Quaker message was; young William was deeply impressed at 12 years of age. When the crown was returned to power, Admiral Penn's previous support catapulted him back to become Lord of the Admiralty and be knighted through the powerful support from King Charles II and his brother, the future King James II.  At fifteen, Penn went to Oxford where he again heard the Quaker preaching of Thomas Loe, who held some meetings there. He was deeply impressed by their message, and he decided to join the Quakers.

In William Penn's twenty-fourth year he became a Quaker minister, and through a long life faithfully served his Lord and Master in England, Europe, and America. For those of you interested, Penn's writings of No Cross No Crown and Fruits of Solitude and Maxims are on this site, in addition to a complete biography of his life — America's most famous Quaker.

This preface is a wonderful book by itself, in that it not only testifies to George Fox's life in Christ, but also to the Light of Christ within each of us as the power to purify, and to the particulars of the character of the true Church of Christ. He also gives us a history of the true church up to his time. This preface has been updated, simplifying sentence structure and modernizing the language to make it more understandable; while preserving the melodious content of his powerful writing, which also testifies to Penn's own possession of Christ, in measure sufficient to perfection.

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Text in Light Blue or bold Light Blue can be "clicked" for backup in scripture or detail in writings.
When you have clicked to the on-line Bible, you can change and update to see any Bible version that you prefer.

THE PREFACE

MANY have been the dispensations of God since the creation of the world, unto the sons of men; but the great end of all of them has been the renown of his own excellent name in the creation and restoration of man. Man restored, the emblem of himself, as a god on earth, and the glory of all his works. The world began with innocence. All was then good that the good God had made; and as he blessed the works of his hands, so their natures and harmony magnified him their Creator. Then the morning stars sang together for joy, and all parts of his works said Amen to his law. Not a jar in the whole order, (everything was smooth): but man in paradise, the beasts in the field, the fowl in the air, the fish in the sea, the lights in the heavens, the fruits of the earth. Yes, the air, the earth, the water, and fire worshipped, praised, and exalted his power, wisdom, and goodness. Oh holy sabbath! Oh holy day to the Lord!

But this happy state did not last long. For man, the crown and glory of the whole creation, being tempted to aspire above his place, unhappily yielded against command and duty, as well as interest and happiness; and so fell below it, losing the divine image, the wisdom, power, and purity in which he was made. By which, being no longer fit for paradise, he was expelled from that garden of God, his proper dwelling and residence; and was driven out, as a poor vagabond, from the presence of the Lord, to wander in the earth, the habitation of beasts.

Yet God, who made him, had pity on him; for he seeing man was deceived, and that it was not of malice, or an original presumption in him, but through the subtlety of the serpent, which had first fallen from his own state, and by the intervention of the woman, man's own nature and companion, whom the serpent had first deluded. In his infinite goodness and wisdom, God found a way to repair the breach, recover the loss, and restore fallen man again by a nobler and more excellent Adam, promised to be born of a woman. So that by means of a woman, whom the evil one had prevailed upon man, so also by a woman should the nobler Adam come into the world, who would prevail against him, and bruise his head, and deliver man from his power. This was, in a signal manner, by the dispensation of the son of God in the flesh, in the fullness of time, personally and fully accomplished by Him, and in Him, as man's savior and redeemer.

But the manifestation of Christ's power was not limited to that time; for both before and since his blessed manifestation in the flesh, he has been the light and life, the rock and strength of all who ever feared God; he had been present with them in their temptations, following them in their travels and afflictions, and supporting and carrying them through and over the difficulties that have attended them in their earthly pilgrimage. By this power, Abel's heart excelled Cain's, and Seth obtained the preeminence, and Enoch walked with God. It was this power that strove with the old world, and which they rebelled against, and which sanctified and instructed Noah to salvation.

But the outward dispensation that followed the darkened state of man, after his fall, especially among the patriarchs, was generally that of angels; as the scriptures of the Old Testament express in many places, such as to Abraham, Jacob, etc. The next dispensation was the law by Moses, which as the apostle tells us was also delivered by angels. This dispensation was external, and suited to a low and servile state; called therefore, by the apostle Paul, that of a schoolmaster, to point out and prepare that people to look and long for the Messiah, who would deliver them from the servitude of a ceremonious and imperfect dispensation, by knowing the realities of those mysterious representations in themselves. In this time the law was written on stone, the temple was built with hands, attended with an outward priesthood with external rites and ceremonies that were shadows of the good things to come. These shadows were only to serve until the seed came, ( the more excellent and general manifestation of Christ). The seed, Christ, being the promise to all men, in whom it always was 'yes and amen'; even life from death, to immortality and eternal life.

This the prophets foresaw, and comforted the believing Jews in the certainty of this promise. Christ succeeded the Mosaic dispensation, which ended in John's ministry, the forerunner of the Messiah. For John's ministry was finished in Christ, the fullness of all. God, who at various times in several ways in the past had spoken to the fathers by his servants the prophets, now spoke to men by his son Christ Jesus, ‘who is heir of all things.’ Christ being the day of good news, which is the dispensation of sonship to God. Christ brought a nearer testament and a better hope, even the beginning of the glory of the latter days, and of the restitution of all things; yes, the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.

Now the spirit, which had been more sparingly communicated in former dispensations, began to be 'poured forth upon all flesh,' according to the prophet Joel, and the light that shined in darkness, only dimly before, the most gracious God caused to shine out of darkness, and the day star began to arise in the hearts of believers, giving unto them the knowledge of God in the face (or appearance in them) of his son Christ Jesus.

Now the poor in spirit, the meek, the true mourners, the hungry and thirsty after righteousness, the peacemakers, the pure in heart, the merciful, and the persecuted, came more especially in remembrance before the Lord, and were sought out and blessed by Israel's true shepherd. Old Jerusalem with her children became obsolete, and into demand came the new Jerusalem, the mother of the sons of the gospel day. For which reason, God will no longer be worshipped above other places at old Jerusalem or at the mountain of Samaria; for, behold, he is, by his own son, declared and preached a spirit, and he will be known as such, and worshipped in the spirit and in the truth. He will come nearer than of old time, and he will write his law in the heart, and put his fear and spirit in the inward parts, according to his promise. Then signs, types, and shadows disappeared; the Day having discovered their insufficiency, in not reaching to the inside of the cup, to the cleansing of the conscience; and all elementary services expired, in and by him, who is the substance of all.

And the apostles testified to this great and blessed end of the dispensation of the son of God; those apostles whom he had chosen and anointed by his spirit, to turn the Jews from their prejudice and superstition, and to turn the Gentiles from their vanity and idolatry, to Christ's light and spirit that shined in them; that they might be made alive from the sins and trespasses in which they were dead, to serve the living God in the newness of the spirit of life, and walk as children of the light, and of the day, even the day of holiness. For they are those who 'put on Christ,' the light of the world, 'and make no more provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts of it.' So that the light, spirit, and grace that come by Christ, and appear in man, were that divine principle from which the apostles ministered, and to which they turned people's minds, and in which they gathered and built up the churches of Christ in their day. To realize this grace, they advised them not to stifle the spirit, but to wait for the spirit, and speak by the spirit, and pray by the spirit, and walk in the spirit too; for such actions controlled by the spirit showed them to be the truly begotten children of God,  ‘born not of flesh and blood, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God;’ by doing his will, and denying their own; by drinking of Christ's cup, and being baptized with his baptism of self-denial; this was the way and path that all the heirs of life have always trod to blessedness. But alas! Even in the time of the apostles, (those bright stars of the first magnitude of the gospel light), some clouds, (foretelling an eclipse of this primitive glory), began to appear; and several of apostles gave early warning to the Christians of their time; that even then there was, and later more and more, a falling away from the power of godliness and the purity of that spiritual dispensation, by those who thought to be godly in the flesh, avoiding the hardship of the cross. In consolation, they saw beyond the falling away to more a glorious time than ever, to the true church. Their sight was true, and what they foretold to the churches, gathered by them in the name and power of Jesus, came so to pass; for Christians degenerated into outward observances: in days, and meats, and various other ceremonies. And which was worse, they fell into strife and contention about them, separating one from another. They envied each other, and as they obtained power, they persecuted one another, to the shame and scandal of their common christianity. Such persecution became a grievous stumbling block and offended the heathen; the Lord having so long and so marvelously preserved the Christians among the heathen. When the Christians at last got the worldly power into their hands, by kings and emperors embracing the Christian profession, they changed the concept of the  kingdom of Christ, which is not of this world, into a worldly kingdom; or at least styled the worldly kingdom that was in their hands as the kingdom of Christ. Thus they became worldly, and not true Christians. Human innovations and novelties, both in doctrine and worship, were quickly and massively introduced into the church. The door was opened to these novelties by the grossness and carnality that appeared then among the generality of Christians, who had long since left the guidance of God's meek and heavenly spirit, and given themselves up to superstition, will-worship, and pretended humility. And as superstition is blind, so is it violent and furious; for all must bow to its blind and boundless zeal, or perish by it. In the name of the spirit, the very appearance of the spirit of God in others was persecuted and opposed; the same which they resisted in themselves, namely the light, grace, and spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was always done through the mistaken accusation of innovation, heresy, schism, or some such plausible name. Although christianity allows of no excuse or pretense whatever for persecuting of any man for matters of religion, so called christians persecuted other men. True Christianity's very nature is meek, gentle, and forbearing, and consists of faith, hope, and charity; of this no persecutor can claim. Man cannot believe well, or hope well, or have a charitable or tender regard to another, while violating another's mind or persecuting another's body for matters of faith or worship towards that person's God.

Thus the false church sprang up, and mounted the throne. But though she had lost her nature, she would try to keep her good name as the Lamb's bride, which is the true church and mother of the faithful. This false church forced all to receive her mark, either in their forehead or right hand; that is, publicly or privately. But in deed and in truth she was mystery Babylon, the mother of harlots; mother of those who, with all their show and outward ;religion, had adulterated and gone from the spirit, nature, and life of Christ; and had grown vain, worldly, ambitious, covetous, and cruel, which are the fruits of the flesh, and not of the spirit.

Now the true church fled into the wilderness; from superstition and violence to a retired, solitary, and lonely state. There the true church was hidden and out of sight of men, though not out of the world. In the judgment of the Holy Ghost, her usual visibility was not essential to the being of a true church. She was just as true a church in the wilderness, though not as visible and lustrous, as when she was in her former splendor of profession. In this state she made many attempts to return, but the waters of the world were yet too high, and her way was blocked. Many of her excellent children, in several nations and centuries, fell by the cruelty of superstition, because they would not deviate from their faithfulness to the truth.

The reformation of the last age did slightly return to the true church, both as to doctrine, worship, and practice. But their practice quickly failed, for wickedness quickly flowed among the professors of the reformation, because wickedness existed in the church they attempted to reform. They were not distinguished by the fruits of their conduct. And the children of the reformers, if not the reformers themselves, fell very early to use earthly policy and power to uphold and continue their reformation, which had been begun with only spiritual weapons. I have often thought that their use of earthly power and policy was one of the greatest reasons the reformation made no better progress towards the life and soul of religion. For while the reformers were lowly and spiritually minded, and trusted in God, and looked to him, and lived in his fear, and consulted not with flesh and blood, nor sought deliverance in their own way, there were daily added to the church those who, one might reasonably say, should be saved. [Penn is using the words of Acts 2:47 should be saved, to indicate that being saved is not instantly done by saying one believes in Jesus and joining the church]. These were careful to avoid persecution, rather than to be faithful and inoffensive under it. Instead of being more concerned to spread the truth by their faith and patience in tribulation, they focused on taking the worldly power out of the hands of those who inflicted suffering upon them;* and it will be well, if the Lord does not let them fall by the very same way they chose to stand, through world power shifts. In doctrine they were in some things short; in other things, to avoid one extreme, they ran into another. And as for their worship, generally it was derived more from man than from God. Indeed they owned the spirit, inspiration, and revelation and grounded their separation and reformation upon the sense and understanding they received from the spirit, in the reading of the scriptures of truth; and this was their plea: the scripture is the text, the spirit the interpreter, and it was left for everyone to interpret for himself. But yet there was too much of human invention, tradition, and art that remained both in praying and preaching. There was also too much of worldly authority and worldly greatness in their ministers, especially in England, Sweden, Denmark, and some parts of Germany. God was therefore pleased to transfer the people in England from one sect to another. And the next change in sect was characterized by a humbled ministry, so that they were more strict in preaching, devout in praying, and zealous for keeping the Lord's day, and catechizing of children and servants, and repeating at home in their families what they had heard in public.

*Site Editor's Comments: The true church will always be persecuted. But as it was then, he who was born after the flesh persecuted him who was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Gal 4:29Indeed, all who are determined to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Gal 3:12. As Cain killed Abel because his sacrifice was not accepted, so did the Jews kill Jesus because he said their sacrifice was not enough; so did the Jews kill Stephen; so did the Romans slaughter the early church in the ten persecutions; so did the Protestants of England and America kill the early Quakers. The religious people still in the flesh, when told their sacrifice is not accepted by God, rise up to persecute the messengers — messengers sent by God. Why does God allow this? Because through this suffering of his people, he brings many to perfection — suffering is required to be finished with sin and to reach perfection. In addition, thinking people realize that the sheep do not kill wolves; and so when they see professing Christians being persecuted, they are able to recognize the true sheep vs. the wolves in sheep's clothing. Thus persecution of true Christians serves to increase their numbers; as Penn said they "spread the truth by their faith and patience in tribulation." However, Penn further relates how the reformers from Catholicism avoided persecution, seeking protection from worldly powers.

Martin Luther received protection from the Catholic persecutors, and then Luther gave his sanction to an alliance between the Church and the State in Saxony. The Elector of Saxony assumed the supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs. The objectives of the powers of the earth are always in somewhat conflict with the objectives of Christ's church; and should the church join with the powers of earth, the church eventually compromises their principles. The greatest example of this adulteration of the church is the Roman faith mixing with the Roman emperors and kings of Europe — to become the Whore of Babylon that martyred the saints of Jesus, shortly followed by the Protestants, (such as John Calvin's theocracy executing 58 people for witchcraft and heresy), martyring many who had differing opinions.

Luther was a virulent hater of Jews, advocating setting synagogues on fire, destroying Jewish prayerbooks, forbidding rabbis from preaching, seizing Jews' property and money, smashing up their homes, and ensuring that these "poisonous envenomed worms" be forced into labor or expelled "for all time;" he also seemed to sanction their murder, writing "We are at fault in not slaying them." Martin Luther also was selective in his beliefs of the scriptures. Luther rejected the authenticity of the books of Esther, Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation. He called the Epistle of James "an epistle of straw," believing it conflicted with belief in Christ's salvation by just believing. Yet, James was an Apostle, a natural brother of Jesus, and a pillar of the church in Jerusalem along with John and Peter; all of which made him much greater in Christ than Luther. But, like many unregenerated founders of sects, Luther built a doctrine of salvation on subsets of the scriptures, ignoring or discounting scriptures that did not support his opinion. In contrast, the early Quakers found all the scriptures to be wholly compatible with their understandings and beliefs.

But even as this sect grew into power, they were not only for forcing some out of the temple, but for forcing others into the temple. And they appeared rigid in their spirits, rather than strict in their lives; and stood more for a sect, than for piety. This gave rise to another people, who were even more retired and select. They would not communicate at large, or in common with others; but formed churches among themselves of those who could testify of some manner of conversion, at least of very promising experiences of the work of God's grace upon their hearts,* and under mutual agreements and covenants of fellowship, they kept together. These people were somewhat of a softer temper, and seemed to promote religion by the virtues of its love, mercy, and goodness, rather than by the terrors of its judgments and punishments; by which the previous sect would have terrified people into religion.

* These were the Puritans. But it is not enough to have an experience with God; it is not enough to have heard his voice, or seen his light; such is God's call to seek Him: the beginning, not the end. For Christ said: "When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, [they had heard the word of God, opened the door and supped with him] and You taught in our streets, [they had heard him teach them]. ’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity." You have to persevere in great patience, waiting on him in silence, listening, hearing, and obeying — before you reach freedom from sin, even the inclination to sin.

For a more detailed history (in one page) of the church's departure from the teachings of Christ, up to the time of the beginning of the ministry of George Fox, click here.

They also allowed greater liberty to prophesy than those before them; for they allowed any member to speak or pray in addition to their pastor, whom they always chose rather than chosen by the government. If anyone had anything pressing upon them to pray or speak, they had liberty to speak in assembly, even without the distinction of clergy or laity; including persons of any trade, however low or mechanical. But, alas! Even these people suffered great loss; for in tasting of worldly empire, and the favor of princes, and the resulting gain, they degenerated too much. They had cried down national churches, and ministry, and their maintenance. But when it was their own turn to be tried, some of them fell under the weight of worldly honor and advantage, having gotten into profitable parsonages too much, and outlived and contradicted their own principles. Still worse, some of them turned absolute persecutors of other men for God's sake, who before had been persecuted themselves. Those being persecuted rebelled against their persecutors to a new salvation-formula, and that was into the water: another baptism; believing they were not scripturally baptized, and hoping to find the presence and power of God, in submitting to this watery ordinance, which they desired and wanted.

* These were the Baptists. In the beginning of the early Church, they (Peter particularly) maintained Jewish circumcision, dietary law, and the Jewish custom of water purification rites — known by Christians as John's water baptism. Peter even forced these practices on the Gentiles, until: the Holy Spirit corrected him on food, Paul corrected him, and the Apostles Council issued different guideline for Gentiles. Since both Christ and John the Baptist spoke of a better baptism, this baptism was later eliminated from Christian practice and the faith maintained one baptism, the baptism of fire or of the Holy Spirit.

John said: I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Mat 3:11
Jesus said: For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. Acts 1:5
Paul said: There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  One Lord, one faith, one baptism, Eph 4:4-5
Clearly the one baptism needed is the fire of the Holy Ghost, which circumcises the heart, by plunging down sin and iniquity, and puts off the body of death and sins of the flesh so that we are without sin. Although to be avoided as an unnecessary ritual, water baptism is not harmful, unless you think it somehow makes you righteous, thereby being prevented from your seeking righteousness, which is Christ's top priority command " Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness."

These people also denied human learning as qualification to the ministry, by renouncing or censuring any qualification other that the help and gifts of the Spirit of God,  and those gifts naturally common to men; and for a time they seemed like John the Baptist of old, a burning and a shining light, to other societies.

They were very diligent, plain, and serious, strong in scripture, and bold in profession, bearing much reproach and opposition. But what others fell by, also proved to be source of their failure. For worldly power also spoiled them, who had enough of it to try them, to show what they would do if they had more; and they also relied too much upon their water dispensation, instead of passing on more fully to that of the fire and holy ghost, which was His baptism who came with a 'fan in his hand, that he might thoroughly (and not in part only) purge his floor,' and take away the dross and the tin of his people, and make a man finer than gold. Therefore, they grew high, rough, and self-righteous, opposing further attainment; loosing sight of their infancy and littleness, which had given them something of a real beauty.

So many people left them, as well as all visible churches and societies, to wander up and down as sheep without a shepherd, and as doves without their mates, seeking their beloved. But they could not find him, as their souls desired to know him, whom their souls loved above their greatest joy. These people were called Seekers by some, and the Family of Love by others. When they became aware of one another, they sometimes met together; but not formally to pray or preach, at appointed times and places, in their own wills, as they were accustomed to do in times past; but instead, they waited together in silence, and as anything rose in any of their minds that they thought came from God, they would sometimes speak. After an abundance of revelation, some of these people, not keeping in humility and the fear of God, were exalted above their measure; and for want of staying their minds in a humble dependence upon him that opened their understandings to see great things in his law, they ran out in their own imaginations, [they started preaching and teaching before they were authorized and finished by the Teacher]. Mixing their imaginations with their divine openings, they brought forth a monstrous birth; to the scandal of those who feared God, and who waited daily in the temple, not made with hands, for the consolation of Israel; the Jew inward, circumcised in spirit.

This people obtained the name of Ranters from their extravagant discourses and practices. For they interpreted Christ's fulfilling the law for us, to discharge us from any obligation and duty the law required of us. Instead of faith and repentance replacing the law, they believed it was no sin to do what before had been a sin to commit. They believed the slavish fear of the law was taken off by Christ, and anything that man did was good, if he believed so. So many fell into gross and massive evil; pretending as an excuse, that they could commit the same act which was sin for others; thereby making intention the judge of sin or not. This increased sin by the increase of grace, and turned the grace of God into a lack of restraint from evil, licensing a safer way of sinning than before; as if Christ had come, not to save us from our sins, but to save us while still sinning; not to take away sin, but that we might sin more freely at his cost, and with less danger to ourselves. This appealed to many, and brought them to an complete and sad loss in their eternal state; and they grew very troublesome to responsible people. They also gave people, who practiced sin, an excuse for their evil behaviors.

It was about that very same time, as you may see in the following writings, that the eternal, wise, and good God was pleased, in his infinite love, to honor and visit this unenlightened and confused nation with his glorious day-spring from on high. God provided a most sure and certain sound of his word of light and life, through the testimony of a chosen vessel, [the man made a new creature in Christ, George Fox]. This testimony was effective and blessedly purposeful, of which many thousands can say, Glory be to the name of the Lord forever!

For as this testimony reached the conscience, and broke the heart, it brought many to a sense and search. What people had been vainly seeking without, with much pain and cost, by this ministry they found within what they wanted and sought: the right way to peace with God. For they were directed to the light of Jesus Christ within them, as the seed and leaven of the kingdom of God; near all, because it is in all, and God's talent to all. The light of Christ within them being a faithful and true witness and just monitor in every heart. The light of Christ being the gift and grace of God to life and salvation, that appears to all, though few regard it. The traditional christian despised this light as a low and common thing, or opposed it as a novelty, under many hard names and terms. Because of the traditional christian's conceit in himself, and being strong in his own will and self-righteousness, and overcome with blind zeal and passion; he denied, in his ignorant and angry mind, any fresh manifestation of God's power and spirit in man in these days, though it was never more needed to make true christians. This denial was similar to those Jews of old, who rejected the son of God at the very same time that they blindly professed to be waiting for the Messiah to come; because he had not appeared among them as their carnal minds had expected.

This reliance on the light of Christ brought forth many abusive books, which filled most people with envy, and some with rage. To those who received the light of Christ, this rage and envy made the way and progress of this blessed testimony strait and narrow indeed. However, God owned his own work; this testimony did effectually reach, gather, comfort, and establish the weary and heavy laden, the hungry and thirsty, the poor and needy, and the mournful and sick of many maladies, who had spent all upon physicians of no value, and waited for relief from heaven, their only help from above. After seriously trying all things, these people saw that nothing else could help but Christ himself, the light of his countenance, a touch of his garment, and help from his hand. The only real help was from he who cured the poor woman's issue, raised the centurion's servant, the widow's son, the ruler's daughter, and Peter's mother. And, like her, they no sooner felt his power and effectiveness upon their souls, but they gave up to obey him in a testimony to his power; obeying him with resigned wills and faithful hearts, through all mockings, contradictions, confiscations, beatings, imprisonments, and many other jeopardizes that they faced for his blessed name's sake.

And truly, their troubles were very many and very great; so that in all human probability they should have been swallowed up quickly by the proud and boisterous waves that swelled and beat against them, except the God of all their tender mercies was with them in his glorious authority, so that the hills often fled, and the mountains melted before the power that filled them; working mightily for them, as well as in them, one ever following the other. By which they saw plainly, to their exceeding great confirmation and comfort, 'that all things were possible with Christ.' And the more that God required, which seemed to cross man's wisdom and expose them to man's wrath, the more God appeared to help and carry them through all opposition to his glory. God's help was so great that if ever any people could say in truth, 'You are our sun and our shield, our rock and sanctuary, and by you we have leaped over a wall, and by you we have run through a troop, and by you we have put the armies of the aliens to flight,' these people had a right to say it. And as God had delivered their souls of the wearisome burdens of sin and vanity, and enriched their poverty of spirit, and satisfied their great hunger and thirst after eternal righteousness, and filled them with the good things of his own house, and made them stewards of his manifold gifts; so they went forth to all quarters of these nations, to declare to the inhabitants of it, what God had done for them. They declared to all what they had found, and where and how they had found it: the way to peace with God; inviting all to come, and see, and taste for themselves, the truth of what they declared to them.

And their testimony was to the principle of God in man, the precious pearl and leaven of the kingdom, as the only blessed means appointed of God to make alive, convince, and sanctify man. They explained to them what the spirit of God in man was, and why it was given to them, and how they might know it from their own spirit, and the subtle appearance of the evil one. And they explained what it would do for all those, whose minds should be turned from the vanity of the world, and its lifeless ways and teachers. The explained how to adhere to this blessed light in themselves, which discovers and condemns sin in all its appearances, and shows how to overcome it, if minded and obeyed in its holy manifestations and convictions. They showed how the light gave power to avoid and resist those things that do not please God, and to grow strong in love, faith, and good works. The actions of the light providing man, whom sin had made as a wilderness, overrun with briers and thorns, the opportunity to become as the garden of God, cultivated by his divine power, and replenished with the most virtuous and beautiful plants of God's own right hand planting, to his eternal praise.

But these, who had experienced the operations of the light and were preachers of glad tidings of God's truth and kingdom, could not run when they chose, or pray or preach when they pleased; but only when Christ their redeemer had prepared and moved them by his own blessed spirit, for which they waited in their services and meetings, and spoke as the spirit gave them utterance. Their speaking was as those having authority, and not like the dreaming, dry, formal Pharisees. And so it was plainly evident to the serious minded, whose spiritual eye that the Lord Jesus had opened in any measure. To one was given the word of exhortation, to another the word of reproof, to another the word of consolation; and all by the same spirit and in its good order, to the convincing and edifying of many.

And truly they grew strong and bold through faithfulness; and by the power and spirit of the Lord Jesus became very fruitful. In a short time thousands were turned to the truth through testimony of their ministry and sufferings. So in most counties, and many of the considerable towns of England, meetings were settled; and daily there were added those as should be saved. [Penn is using the words of Acts 2:47 should be saved, to indicate that being saved is not instantly done by saying one believes in Jesus and joining the church]. For they were diligent to plant and to water, and the Lord blessed their labors with an exceeding great increase; despite all the opposition made to their blessed progress, by false rumors, slander, and bitter persecutions. This opposition came not only from the powers of the earth, but from everyone who wished to injure and abuse them; so that they seemed to be as poor sheep appointed to the slaughter, and as a people killed all the day long.

It would take a volume rather than a preface to repeat the contents of their cruel sufferings, from "christians" as well as from the irreverent, and from magistrates as well as the rabble. It may well be said of this abused and despised people that they went forth weeping, and sowed in tears, bearing testimony to the precious seed, the seed of the kingdom, which stands not in words, (words that not even the finest and highest that man's intellect can provide), but in power. The kingdom stands in the power of Christ Jesus, to whom God the Father has given all power in heaven and in earth, that he might rule angels above, and men below. Christ empowered them, as their work witnessed, by the many that were turned through their ministry from darkness to the light, and out of the broad way into the narrow way of life and peace. This brought many people to a weighty, serious, and godly conversation; the practice of the doctrine which they taught.

(Note: Of his true followers, Jesus said: 'No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.' (John 15:20). In Penn's time, there were six governments in England: Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Charles II, James II, William and Mary, and Queen Anne. During the reign of Charles II alone, 13,562 Quakers were imprisoned; 338 died from injuries inflicted in meetings or imprisonment, and 198 were sent into slavery over the seas. (Source: Catholic Encyclopedia). Under all the kings, Besse's Sufferings counts 869 Quakers who died in prison. Countless others had their personal property seized as 'spoils' for the taking by the courts; after conviction for refusal to swear, failure to remove their hat in court, traveling on Sunday, failure to attend state-approved religious services, failure to pay tithes to the state approved parsonages, and for meeting in groups larger than five in number. Per Fox in his Journal:   "Friends never feared their acts, prisons, jails, houses of correction, banishment, nor seizure of personal property; no, nor the loss of life itself; nor was there ever any persecution that came, but we saw how it would result in good; nor were there ever any prisons that I was in, or sufferings, except it was for the bringing multitudes out of prison; though they who imprisoned the truth, and quenched the spirit in themselves, would imprison and quench it without them; so that there was a time when so many were in prison, that it became as a by-word, 'truth is scarce any where to be found but in jails.'" The suffering of the early Quakers is weighty testimony to the authenticity of their faith, for Christ has told us that his disciples will always meet with the hatred of the world, particularly the professed religious of the world. )

There is no quickening and regenerating of dead souls without this secret, divine power. So the lack of this generating and begetting power and life is the cause of the little fruit that the many other ministries produce, both now and in the past. Oh! that both ministers and people were sensible of this! My soul is often troubled for them, and I have sorrow and mourning for their sakes. Oh! that they were wise! Oh! that they would consider and lay to heart the things that truly and substantially make for their lasting peace!

Two things are to be briefly touched upon: 1) the doctrine they taught, and 2) the example they led among all people. I have already touched upon their fundamental principle, which is the cornerstone of their fabric; and indeed their characteristic, or main distinguishing point or principle: the light of Christ within each man who comes into the world, as God's gift for man's salvation. This, I say, is the root of the goodly tree of doctrines that grew and branched out from it, which I shall now mention in their natural and experienced order.

First, repentance from dead works to serve the living God, which comprehends three operations:
   1) a sight of sin,
   2) a sense and godly sorrow for it, and
   3) a change for the future.

This was the repentance they preached and pressed, and a natural result from the principle they turned all people to.
   For by the light came sight of the sin;
   And with the sight of the sin, a sense and sorrow resulted;
   And with a sense and sorrow about the sin revealed by the light, came a change of life from then on — repentance.

Which doctrine of repentance leads to justification; that is, forgiveness of past sins through Christ, the sole propitiation; and the sanctification or cleansing of the soul from the defiling nature and habits of sin; which is justification in the complete sense of the word: comprehending both justification from the guilt of the sins that are past, as if they had never been committed, through the love and mercy of God in Christ Jesus; and the creature's being made inwardly just through the cleansing and sanctifying power and spirit of Christ revealed in the soul, which is commonly called sanctification.

From here sprang a second doctrine they were led to declare, as the mark of the prize of the high calling to all true Christians: perfection from sin, according to the scriptures of truth, which testify it to be the end of Christ's coming, and the nature of his kingdom, and for which his spirit was and is given. But they never held a perfection in wisdom and glory in this life, or from natural infirmities or death, as some have with a weak or ill mind imagined and insinuated against them. They called this a redeemed state, regeneration, or the new birth; teaching everywhere, according to their foundation, that unless this work was known, there was no inheriting the kingdom of God.

Thirdly, this leads to an understanding of eternal rewards and punishments. Of this they obviously believe. Otherwise of all people, they must be the most miserable, who for above forty years have suffered greatly for their profession; and in some cases treated worse than the worst of men — yes, as the refuse and off-scouring of all things.

This was the purpose of their doctrine and ministry, which, for the most part, is what other professors of Christianity pretend to hold in words and forms, but not in the power of godliness. Which, generally speaking, has been long lost by men departing from that principle and seed of life that is in man, and which man has not regarded, but has lost the sense of it. Only by this seed of life can he be quickened in his mind to serve the living God in newness of life. For as the life of religion was lost, most people lived and worshipped God according to their own wills, and not according to the will of God, nor the mind of Christ, which stood in the works and fruits of the holy spirit. So the Quakers did not express opinions but testified from experience, nor did they express a form of religion, but instead displayed godliness. They were sensible in themselves, through the work of God's righteous judgments, and that without holiness no man should ever see the Lord with comfort.

Besides these doctrines, and out of them as the larger branches, there sprang forth several particular doctrines, that did exemplify and further explain the truth and effectiveness of the general doctrine before observed in their lives and examples as follows:

I. Communion and loving one another: This is a noted remark of all sorts of people concerning them: 'They will meet, they will help and stick together.' Where it is common to hear some say, ' Look how the Quakers love and take care of one another.' Others less moderate will say, 'The Quakers love none but themselves.' And if loving one another, and having an intimate communion in religion, and constant care to meet to worship God and help one another is any mark of primitive Christianity, they had it in abundance, blessed be the Lord.

II. To love enemies: This they both taught and practiced; for they never sought revenge for injuries done to them, and condemned revenge as of an unchristian spirit. But they did freely forgive, yes, help and relieve those who had been cruel to them. They forgave and helped, even when it was in their power to take revenge; of which many examples might be disclosed; endeavoring, through patience, to overcome all injustice and oppression, and preaching this doctrine as Christian for others to follow.

III. They thought it sufficient to always speak the truth, following Christ's own command of words: let your yes be yes, and no, no. They followed Christ's express prohibition, 'swear not at all,' Mat 5:34. Being under the tie and bond of truth in themselves, there was both no necessity for an oath, and it would be a reproach to their Christian honesty to guarantee their truth by such an extraordinary way of speaking. At the same time they offered to be punished for false speaking, the same as others for perjury, if they were ever guilty of it. They excluded all profane swearing, for which the land did and does mourn, and the great God was, and is not a little offended with it.

IV. Not fighting, but instead suffering, is another testimony peculiar to this people. They affirm that christianity teaches people 'to beat their swords into plough shares, and their spears into pruning hooks, and to learn war no more, that so the wolf may lie down with the lamb, and the lion with the calf, and nothing that destroys be entertained in the hearts of people;' exhorting them to employ their zeal against sin, and turn their anger against satan, and no longer war one against another; because all wars and fighting come of men's own hearts' lusts, according to the apostle James, and not of the meek spirit of Christ Jesus, who is captain of another warfare, and which is carried out with other weapons. Thus, as speaking the truth cancelled swearing, so faith and patience cancelled fighting, in the doctrine and practice of this people. Nor should they be obnoxious to civil government for this, since if they cannot fight for it, neither can they fight against it, which is no small security to any state; nor is it reasonable that people should be blamed for not fighting for others when they cannot fight for themselves. And christianity set aside, if the costs and fruits of war were well considered, peace, with its inconveniences, is generally preferable. But though they were not for fighting, they were for submitting to government; and not only for fear, but for conscience sake, where government does not interfere with conscience, believing it to be an ordinance of God, and where it is justly administered, a great benefit to mankind. Though it has been their lot, through blind zeal in some, and interest in others, to have felt the strokes of it with greater weight and rigor than any other persuasion in this age; while they, of all others, (religion set aside), have given the civil magistrate the least occasion of trouble in the discharge of his office.

V. Another characteristic of this people is their refusal to pay tithes or to support to a national ministry. They refuse for two reasons: 1) they believe all compelled maintenance, even to gospel ministers, to be unlawful, and expressly contrary to Christ's command, 'Freely you have received, freely give;' believing that at least the maintenance of gospel ministers should be free and not forced; and 2) because those ministers are not gospel ones, in that the holy ghost is not their foundation, but instead is human learning and principles. Their refusal is not because of  bad humor or surliness, but pure conscience towards God. They cannot help to support national ministers where they dwell; for such national ministers have too much and too visibly become a part of the ways of worldly advantage and preferment.

VI. Not to respect persons was another of their doctrines and practices, for which they were often beaten and abused. They affirmed it to be sinful to give flattering titles, or to use vain gestures and compliments of respect. They did honor virtue and authority, but in a plain and homely manner. Their manner was still sincere and substantial, remembering the examples of Mordecai and Elihu; but more especially the command of their Lord and master Jesus Christ, who forbids his followers to call men rabbi, which implies Lord and master. They also denied and refused the fashionable greetings and salutations of those times; so that self-love and honor, to which the proud mind of man is inclined in his fallen estate, might not be indulged but instead rebuked.

At this time in England, hats were worn in church, the clergy preached in them, they were worn at dinner, and, as a rule, more generally than in modern times. The few occasions when they were taken off were more distinctly occasions of respect. A son must always uncover before his father, every one uncovered before the king, and uncovered to anyone of class or position such as the nobility. The Quakers called this the hat-honor, which they refused to give to man, including to judges in court; resulting in their being fined or imprisoned for such failure to uncover in honor. They removed their hats only in prayer as an act of worship. Thus they reversed the hat-honor from what society was paying to man and refusing to God, to be paying to God and refusing to man.

VII. They also used the plain language of thou and thee to a single person, whatever was his position among men. And indeed, the wisdom of God was much seen, in bringing forth this people in so plain an appearance; for it was a close and distinguishing test upon the spirits of those with whom they encountered; exposing what was within them and what predominated, whatever their high and great profession of religion. To many of them, this language was harsh, and they were so affected that they would say, 'Thou me! thou my dog? If thou thouest me, I'll thou your teeth down your throat;' forgetting the language they use to God in their own prayers, and the common style of the scriptures, and that it is an absolute and essential propriety of speech. And what good had their religion done them, who were so sensibly touched with indignity for the use of this plain, honest, and true speech? 

Thee and thou were also taught in the grammar books of the day as the proper form of singular address; and those of  'importance' demanded the plural you address instead; only servants and inferiors were addressed in the singular. Since this is no longer taught as correct, the use of thee and thou is no longer a testimony against the honor demanded by man.

VIII. They recommended silence by their example, having very few words upon all occasions. They were at a word in dealing; and their customers' many words could not tempt them from it; having more regard to truth than custom, to example than gain. They sought solitude; but when in company, they would neither use nor willingly hear unnecessary or unlawful discussions. Thus they preserved their minds pure and undisturbed from unprofitable thoughts and diversions. They also refused to use the customary 'Good night, Good morning, and God speed.' For they knew the night was good, and the day was good, without wishing of either; and that in the other expression, the holy name of God was too lightly and unthinkingly used, and therefore taken in vain. Besides they were words and wishes of course, and had little meaning; as there is no love and service in the custom of putting your cap to your knee and bowing. These excessive customs and words, as well as in other things, was burdensome to them; and therefore they not only declined to use them, but denounced them.

IX. For the same reason they refused toasting, (drinking to people), or drinking first and offering the cup to another, as the manner of the world is. Practices they judged not only unnecessary, but evil; because they encouraged drinking more than was beneficial to people, as well as being vain and heathenish.

X. Their way of marriage is peculiar to them, and shows a distinguishing care above other societies professing christianity. They say that marriage is an ordinance of God, and that God only can rightly join man and woman in marriage. Therefore they use neither priest nor magistrate, but the man and woman concerned take each other as husband and wife in the presence of a number of credible witnesses, 'promising unto each other, with God's assistance, to be loving and faithful in that relation until death shall separate them.' But, prior to marriage, they first present themselves to the Monthly Meeting for the affairs of the church where they reside; there declaring their intentions to marry, providing the meeting has nothing to object against it. They are asked the necessary questions, such as if the parents or guardians have consented with their intention. The method of the meeting is to record their declared intention, and to appoint proper persons to inquire of their conversation and clearness from all others, and whether they have discharged their duty to their parents or guardians. These investigators make their report to the next Monthly Meeting with the intended couple present. In case it appears they have proceeded orderly, the meeting approves their proposal, and so records it in their meeting book. And in case the woman is a widow and has children, due care is there taken that provisions are made for her children before the re-marriage. They then advise the parties concerned to appoint a convenient time and place, and to give fitting notice to their relations, and such friends and neighbors as they desire should be the witnesses of their marriage. In the meeting they take one another by the hand, and by name promise reciprocal love and fidelity as previously expressed. A narrative certificate is made to which those married first sign, thereby making it their act and deed; and then the relatives, spectators, and auditors sign their names as witnesses of what the couple said and signed. This certificate is afterwards registered in the meeting's official record where the marriage was solemnized. After this method of marriage had been disputed and contested for lack of the accustomed formality of priest and ring, as it deserves, it was judged in courts of law to be a proper marriage. This society refuses ceremonies of ring and priest based on conscience, reasonably supported in scripture's examples, showing that the priest had no part in marriage other than to be one of the witnesses, before whom the Jews used to take one another in marriage. This people look upon the necessity of a priest in marriage as an imposition to advance the power and profits of the clergy. They considered the use of the ring, to be a heathen and vain custom, which was never in practiced among the people of God, Jews, or primitive Christians. The words of the usual form, as 'With my body I worship you,' etc. are hardly defensible. In short, their method is more careful, exact, and regular than any form now used, and it is free of other method's inconveniences. Their care and checks are so many that no clandestine marriages can be performed among them.

XI. I shall make mention of their births and burials, which too many so called christians attend with much pomp and solemnity. For births, the parents name their own children, which is usually some days after they are born, in the presence of the midwife, (if she can be there), and those that were at the birth, etc. These witnesses afterwards sign a prepared certificate of the birth and name of the child or children, which is recorded in a proper book of the Monthly Meeting to which the parents belong, all done without the accustomed ceremonies and festivals.

XII. Their burials are performed with the same simplicity. If the corpse of the deceased is near any public meeting place, it is usually carried there, for the more convenient reception of those that accompany it to the place of burial. While the meeting is gathering for the burial, occasionally some have a word of exhortation, for the sake of the people in attendance. After which the body is carried away by the young men, or those of their neighborhood, or those closest to the deceased party. The body is placed in a plain, simple coffin without any covering or sculpture upon it. At the burial ground, they pause some time before lowering the coffin into its grave, permitting anyone that has the inclination to exhort the people to not be disappointed. This allows the relatives to be more reserved and solemn as they take their last leave of the body of their departed kindred. This occasion also allows the spectators to have a sense of mortality and to reflect upon their own later end. Otherwise, they have no set rites or ceremonies. Neither do the kindred of the deceased ever wear mourning clothing, which they look upon as a pompous worldly ceremony. They consider the only proper Christian mourning to be of the mind, sensible to the loss, and the love they had for them, and remembrance of them. This mourning was to be outwardly expressed by a respect to their advice, and care of those they have left behind them, and their love of those they loved. Such conduct of theirs, though unfashionable, leaves nothing important neglected or undone. Since they aim for simplicity in life, this is what they observe with great satisfaction, though it was sometimes mocked by the vain world they live in. 

These practices appeared to be rough and disagreeable with most people, who thought them to be radical, as indeed in some sense they were; but no more than Paul was so charged, namely to bring things back into their primitive and right order again. For these and such like practices of theirs were not the result of humor, as some have fancied, but a fruit of inward sense, which God, through his fear, had created in them. They did not consider how to contradict the world, or distinguish themselves; such was none of their business, and such was not their interest. It was not their purpose to declare or recommend schism or novelty. But God, having given them a sight of themselves, they saw the whole world through the same glass of truth; and sensibly discerned the affections and passions of men, and the rise and tendency of customs that gratified 'the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, which are not of the Father, but of the world.' These and other vain customs sprang from the affections and passions of men, who were in that night of darkness and apostasy which has been over people, through their degeneracy from the light and spirit of God. Such vain customs are seen by the heavenly day of Christ, which draws in the soul, to recognize them as wrong, or to suffer the pain of their practice. And though these things seemed trivial to some, and made this people stingy and conceited in such persons' opinions, there was and is more conceit in those who judge them so than they were aware of. It was not very easy for our primitive Friends to make themselves sights and spectacles, and the 'Scorn and derision of the world;' which they easily foresaw would be the result of their unconventional practices. But in the foolishness of these things to the world, was the wisdom of God seen.

First: That they discovered the satisfaction and concern that people had in and for the fashions of this world; any disappointment about them failing to observe fashion made them unwelcome despite their greatest honesty, virtue, wisdom, and ability.

Secondly: Their practices opportunely and profitably halted conversation; by making their company uneasy to their relatives and acquaintances, it gave them the opportunity of more retirement and solitude, where they met with better company, even the Lord God their redeemer. They grew strong in His love, power, and wisdom, and were better qualified for His service; and their success abundantly showed it; blessed be the name of the Lord.

And though they were not great and learned in the esteem of this world, (for then they had not wanted followers to their own credit and authority), yet they were generally the most sober of the several occupations they were in, and had the greatest reputation for being religious. Many of them were of good position, substance, and reputation among men.

Some among them neither wanted for riches, learning, or estate. Though as in times of old, not many wise or titled were called, or at least accepted the heavenly call, because of the cross of Christ, a requirement to those who sincerely professed such beliefs. But neither do riches nor learning make men the better christians, though they can make men better orators and arguers. It is the ignorance of people about the divine gift of cleansing that causes that vulgar and mischievous mistake of profession in the uncleansed flesh. Theory and practice, speculation and enjoyment, words and life, are two things. Oh! It is the penitent, the reformed, the lowly, the watchful, the self-denying, and holy soul that is the Christian; and that frame is the fruit and work of the spirit, which is the life of Jesus. Whose life, (though hid in the fullness of it), in God the Father, is shed abroad in the hearts of them that truly believe. Oh! That people only knew this to cleanse them, to circumcise them, to quicken them, and to make them new creatures indeed! Re-created and regenerated after Christ Jesus unto good works; that they might live to God, and not to themselves. So they might offer up living prayers, and living praises, to the living God, through his own living spirit, in which he only is to be worshipped in this gospel day. Oh! That they who read this could but feel me; for my heart is affected with this merciful visitation of the Father of lights and spirits to this poor nation, and the whole world, through the same testimony. Why should the inhabitants reject it? Why should they lose the blessed benefit of it? Why should they not turn to the Lord with all their hearts, and say from the heart, 'Speak, Lord, for now your poor servants hear?’ Oh! that your will may be done, your great, your good and holy will, on earth as it is in heaven! Do it in us, do it upon us, do what you will with us; for we are yours, and desire to glorify you, our Creator, as our Creator and because you are our Redeemer. For you are redeeming us from the earth, from the vanities and pollutions of it, to be a peculiar people to you. Oh! this would be a brave day for England, if she could say this in truth. But unfortunately, the case is otherwise. Resulting in some of England's inhabitants, Oh land of my nativity, mourning over you with bitter wailing and lamentation. Their heads have been indeed as waters, and their eyes as fountains of tears, because of your transgressions and stiffneckedness. Because you will not hear, and fear, and return to the Rock, even your Rock, Oh England, from which you were hewn.

But be warned, Oh land of great religious profession — to receive Him into your heart. Behold, it is he that has stood so long knocking at the door, but you will have none of him. Oh! Be awakened, lest Jerusalem's judgments swiftly overtake you, because of Jerusalem's sins that abound in you. For Jerusalem abounded in formality, but made void the weighty things of God's law, as you do.

Jerusalem withstood the son of God in the flesh, and you resist the son of God in the spirit. He would have gathered her, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and she would not! So would he have gathered you out of your lifeless religious profession, and have brought you to inherit substance; to have known his power and kingdom, for which he has often knocked within, by his grace and spirit, and without, by his servants and witnesses; but you would not be gathered. But, on the contrary, as Jerusalem of old persecuted the manifestation of the son of God in the flesh, and crucified him, and whipped and imprisoned his servants; so have you, Oh land, crucified to yourself afresh the Lord of life and glory, and acted with malice to his spirit of grace. You have slighted the fatherly visitation by persecuting the blessed dispensers of the visitation by your laws and government officials. And you have persecuted them, even though they have previously and lately pleaded with you in the power and spirit of the Lord, in love and meekness, that you might know the Lord, and serve him, and become the glory of all lands.

But you have treated them evilly and retaliated against them. You have ignored all their counsel, and would have none of their reproof, as you should have had. Their appearance was too strict, and their qualifications were too lowly for you to receive them, who like the Jews of old, that cried, ‘Is not this the carpenter's son; and are not his brethren among us; which of the scribes, of the learned (the churches) believe in him?' You have prophesied their elimination in a year or two, and have made and executed severe laws to bring it to pass, by trying to terrify them out of their holy way, or destroying them for abiding faithful to it. But you have seen how many governments that rose against them, and determined their downfall, which have been overturned and extinguished. They are still preserved, and have become a great and a considerable people among the middle class of your numerous inhabitants. And despite the many difficulties, without and within, which they have labored under, since the Lord God Eternal first gathered them, they are an increasing people. The Lord is still adding to their number, in various places, such as shall be saved, if they persevere to the end. And to you Oh England, have they been and are they lifted up as a standard, and as a city set upon a hill, and to the nations around you. Lifted up, so that in their light you may come to see light, even in Christ Jesus, the light of the world; and thus see your light and life too, if you would but turn from your many evil ways, and receive and obey the light. For 'in the light of the lamb must the nations of them that are saved walk,' as the scriptures testify.

Remember, Oh nation of great profession, how the Lord has waited upon you since the days of reformation, and the many mercies and judgments with which he has pleaded with you; and awake and arise out of your deep sleep, and yet hear his word in your heart, that you may live.

Let not this your day of visitation pass over your head, nor neglect so great a salvation as this which has come to your house, Oh England! For why should you die, Oh land that God desires to bless? Be assured it is he that has been in the midst of this people, in the midst of you; and this is not a delusion, as your mistaken teachers have made you believe. And this you shall find by their marks and fruits, if you will consider them in the spirit of moderation. For:

I. They were changed men themselves before they went about to change others. Their hearts were ripped open as well as their garments changed, and they knew the power and work of God upon them. This was seen by the great alteration it made, and their stricter course of life, and more godly conversation that immediately followed upon it.

II. They did not go out or preach in their own time or will, but in the will of God. They did not speak from having studied scripture, but spoke as they were opened and moved by the Spirit of God, with which they were well acquainted in their own conversion; which cannot be expressed to carnal men with any intelligible account; for to such it is, as Christ said,' like the blowing of the wind, which no man knows when it comes, or where it goes.' Yet this proof and seal went along with their ministry. So that many were turned from their lifeless professions, and the evil of their ways, to an inward and experiential knowledge of God and a holy life, as thousands can witness. And as they freely received what they had to say from the Lord, so they freely administered it to others.

III. The direction and effort of their ministry was conversion to God, regeneration, and holiness; not schemes of doctrines and verbal creeds, or new forms of worship. Instead they abandoned the unnecessary in religion, and reduced the ceremonious and ritualistic part. They emphasized the substantial, the necessary, and profitable part to the soul; as all upon a serious reflection must and do acknowledge.

IV. They directed people to a principle, by which they asserted, preached, and exhorted others to the same. So it was known by them through experience to be true; which is a high and distinguishing mark of the truth of their ministry; both that they were certain by experience what they said, and they were not afraid of being tested. Because they were bold from certainty, they did not require any human authority’s sanction. They relied upon the conviction of experiential certainty, which they claimed they owned, and directed others to the same, so they too might examine and prove their reality, as it was revealed and worked in man. And this is more than the many ministries in the world pretend to. Others talk of religion; they say many things true in the recorded words of God, Christ, and the spirit, regarding holiness and heaven; that all men should repent and amend their lives, or they will go to hell, etc. But what other religion speaks of their own knowledge and experience directly from the Spirit; or ever directed men to a divine spirit placed in man by God, to help him; or directed men as to how to know the Spirit and wait to feel its power to work that good and the acceptable will of God in them?

Others indeed have spoken of the spirit, and the operations of it to sanctification, and performance of worship to God. But it was still a mystery as to where and how to find it, and wait in it to perform our duty to God. A mystery reserved for our further degree of reformation. So that this people not only in words, pressed repentance, conversion, and holiness, but did it with knowledge and experience; and directed those to whom they preached to a basic principle, and told them where it was, and by what evidences they might know it, and which way they might experience the power and effectiveness of it to their soul's happiness. This is more than theory and speculation, upon which most other ministries depend; for here is certainty: a base upon which man may boldly appear before God in the great day of account.

V. They reached to the inward state and condition of people, which is evidence of the virtue of their principle, and of their ministering from it; and not in their own imaginations, polished words, or comments upon scripture. For nothing reaches the heart but what is from the heart, or pierces the conscience but what comes from a living conscience. It has often happened, that people have under secrecy revealed their state or condition to some close friends for advice or ease; later their states were addressed so specifically by ministers of this people, that they have challenged their friends with discovering their secrets, and disclosing their states to the ministers. The very thoughts and purposes of the hearts of many have been so plainly detected, that they have, like Nathaniel, have cried out of this inward appearance of Christ, 'You are the son of God, you are the king of Israel.' And those who have embraced this divine principle, have found this mark of its truth and divinity, that the woman of Samaria did of Christ when in the flesh, to be the Messiah. 'It had told them all that ever they had done;' showed them their insides, the most inward secrets of their hearts, and completely judged them with depths of righteousness; of which thousands can witness today. The power and virtue of this heavenly principle has been affirmed by this people, for those who turned to it, found it to be true, and more; they found twice more than they had been told to expect of the power, purity, wisdom, mercy, and goodness of God in this.

VI. The accomplishments of this principle fitted even some of the poorest of these people for their work and service. It furnished some of them with an extraordinary understanding in divine things, and an admirable fluency and captivating way of expression. This gave occasion for some to wonder, saying of them, as was said of their master, 'Is not this person not just a mechanic's son? How could he know so much?' Some even suspected and insinuated they were Jesuits in disguise, who have had the reputation of knowledgeable men in the age past, though the Jesuit's knowledge was not the least true.

VII. They were lowly, and despised and hated, as were the primitive Christians, without the help of worldly wisdom or power, as former religious reformations in part have benefited. But most of all, it may be said this people emerged from the cross, in a contradiction to the ways, worship, fashion, and customs of this world; yes, against wind and tide, so that no flesh might glory before God.

They had no  fleshly desire for this work: to expose themselves to scorn and abuse, to spend and be spent; leaving wife and children, house and land, and all that can be accounted dear to men, with their lives in their hands. They were daily in jeopardy, to declare this primitive message, (1 John 1:5), revived in their spirits by the good spirit and power of God: 'That God is light, and in him is no darkness at all; and that he has sent his son a light into the world, to enlighten all men in order to salvation; and that they that say they have fellowship with God, and are his children and people, and yet walk in darkness, (in disobedience to the light in their consciences, and after the vanity of this world), they lie and do not the truth. But that all such as love the light, and bring their deeds to it, and walk in the light, as God is light, the blood of Jesus Christ his son should cleanse them from all sin.'

VIII. They suffered for their testimony with perseverance and patience, in all the manners of persecution; sometimes unto death, by beatings, bruisings, long and crowded imprisonments, and noisome dungeons. Four of them in New England were hung by the hands of the executioner, purely for preaching among that people. They suffered banishments, and excessive plunders, and seizing of their goods and estates, almost everywhere. Such suffering is not easily expressed, and less easily endured, except by those who have the support of a good and glorious cause; refusing deliverance by any immoral ways and means, as often as it was offered to them.

IX. They not only did not show any disposition to revenge, even when in their power to exact, but forgave their cruel enemies, showing mercy to those that had no mercy for them.

X. They spoke frankly to those in authority, not unlike the ancient prophets. Without fear they told them to their faces of their private and public sins, and they prophesied to them of their afflictions and downfall, when these authorities were at the top of their glory and power. They also prophesied of some national judgments, such as of the plague and fire of London; and likewise they had particular prophecies to various persecutors, which as predicted occurred; and which were very notable by those in the region where they lived. In time these fulfilled prophecies may be made public for the glory of God. (Note: there was a book published regarding the judgments of God to the persecutors of the Quakers, describing the frequent early deaths and ruins of family and estates of the many persecutors of Quakers.)

Thus reader, you see this people in their rise, principles, ministry, and progress, both their general and particular; by which you may be informed how they became so considerable a people. (Note: by 1700 there were 650,00 in England alone.) It remains next that I show also their care, conduct, and discipline, as a Christian and reformed society, that they might be found living up to their own principles and profession. They have suffered both from the unjust charge of error and by the false accusation of disorder. Such slander, indeed, has always followed true reformation, and under which accusations, none suffered more than the primitive Christians themselves, who were the honor of Christianity, and the great lights and examples of their own and succeeding ages.

As this people increased daily both in town and country, a holy care fell upon some of the elders among them for the benefit and service of the church. And the first business in their view, after the example of the primitive saints, was the exercise of charity, to supply the necessities of the poor, and relieve similar needs. For which reason collections were early and liberally made for that and several other services in the church, and entrusted with faithful men, fearing God, and of good report, who were not weary in well-doing; often adding significant funds themselves, which they never recorded or desired should be known, much less repaid to them, that none might want, nor any service be slow or lacking.

They were also very careful that everyone that belonged to them behaved as they professed among men upon all occasions; that they lived peaceably, and were good examples in all things. They recorded their sufferings, and services as well as marriages, which they could not perform in the usual methods of the nation, but only among themselves. They took care neither of the intended to be married had any obligations not addressed between themselves or any others. It was then rare that any one entertained such inclination to marry unless he of she had communicated it secretly to some very weighty and eminent Friends among them, so that they might have a sense of the matter; looking to the counsel and unity of their brethren as of great importance to them. The responsibility for the poor, the number of orphans, marriages, sufferings, and other matters multiplied, and the churches had need of some way and method of proceeding in such affairs between them, to the end they might the better correspond, upon occasion where a member of one meeting might have something to do with one of another. It pleased the Lord in his wisdom and goodness to open the understanding about a good and orderly way of proceeding to an elder; and he felt an holy concern to visit the churches in person throughout this nation, to begin and establish communication and cooperation among them. And by his epistles this was also done in other nations and provinces abroad, which he also afterwards visited and helped in that service, as shall be observed when I come to speak of him.

Now the care, conduct, and discipline, I have been speaking of, and which is now practiced among this people, is as follows:

This godly elder, (George Fox), in every county where he traveled, exhorted them, that some out of every meeting of worship should meet together once a month, to confer about the wants and happenings of the church. As required, those Monthly Meetings were fewer or more in number in every respective county; four or six meetings of worship usually making one Monthly Meeting of business. And accordingly the brethren met him from place to place, and began the Monthly meetings, for the poor, orphans, orderly walking, integrity to their profession, births, marriages, burials, sufferings, etc. In each county, these Monthly Meetings should make up one Quarterly Meeting, where the most zealous and eminent Friends of the county should assemble to communicate, advise, and help one another, especially when any business seemed difficult, or a Monthly Meeting was reluctant to resolve a matter.


Also that these Quarterly Meetings should digest the reports of the Monthly Meetings, and prepare one for the county to go to the Yearly Meeting, in which the Quarterly Meetings bring their business for resolve. This Yearly meeting is held in London, where the churches in this nation and other nations and provinces meet, by chosen members of their respective counties, both mutually to communicate their church affairs, and to advise and be advised in any unresolved issue leading to improvement. They also meet to provide funds for the discharge of general expenses for general services in the church, not needed to be here explained.

At these meetings any of the members of the churches could come, if they please, and speak their minds freely in the fear of God to any matter; but the mind of each Quarterly meeting is delivered by the persons chosen and authorized from each meeting.


During their Yearly Meeting, to which the Quarterly meetings have referred certain issues for resolution, care is taken by a select number, for that service chosen by the general assembly, to draw up the minutes of the meeting including the several matters that have been under consideration, so that the respective Quarterly and Monthly Meetings may be informed of all proceedings, together with a general exhortation to holiness, unity, and charity. In all proceedings of the Yearly, Quarterly, and Monthly Meetings, due record is kept by someone appointed for that service, or who has voluntarily undertaken it. These meetings are opened, and usually concluded, in their solemn waiting upon God, who is sometimes graciously pleased to answer them with similar notable evidences of his love and presence, as in any other of their meetings for worship.

It is further noted that in these solemn assemblies for the church's service, no one presides among them as is the manner of the assemblies of other people; only Christ is their president, as he is pleased to appear in life and wisdom in any one or more of them. Whatever their capacity or rank, the rest listen with a firm unity, not of authority, but conviction, which is the divine authority and way of Christ's power and spirit in his people; making good his blessed promise, ‘That he would be in the midst of his, where and whenever they were met together in his name, even to the end of the world.' So be it.

Now it may be expected I should mention what authority is exercised by this people upon members of their society, whose lives do not correspond with their profession, being out of this good and wholesome order settled among them. This society has not wanted the reproach and suffering from some tongues and pens regarding such misbehavior.

The power they exercise is what Christ has given to his own people to the end of the world, in the persons of his disciples: to ‘oversee, exhort, reprove,' and after long suffering and waiting upon the disobedient to repent, to disown them from their society; which expulsion results in them no longer being charged in the sight and judgment of God or men with their conversation or behavior as one of their assembly. This authority  is exercised: first, relative to the community's common and general virtue; and, secondly, about those things that more strictly refer to their own character and profession and distinguish them from all other professors of christianity. This authority is exercised while avoiding two extremes upon which many split: persecution and immorality. Persecution being a coercive power to whip people into the temple; while those who will not conform, though against faith and conscience, being persecuted and personally punished or by loss of property. Immorality being the other extreme: leaving all free to do anything, unaccountable to any but God and the magistrate. This is done with reservation that nothing is worse than the abuse of church power by those who allow their passions and private interests to resort to outward force and corporal punishment: a practice they have been taught to dislike by their extreme sufferings, as well as their known principle of a universal liberty of conscience.

On the other hand they equally dislike an independence in society; one that is unaccountable in practice and conversation to the terms of their own assembly, and to those who are the members of it. They distinguish between: 1) imposing any practice that immediately regards faith or worship, which is never to be done, nor suffered, nor submitted to; and 2) requiring Christian compliance with those methods that only respect church business in its more civil part and concern, and that regard the discreet and orderly maintenance of the character of the society, as a sober and religious community. Their use and limit of church power is to assure that their members practice what they preach, live up to their own principles, and not be at liberty to be hypocrites without rebuke; all done for the promotion of holiness and charity. They compel none to join them, but oblige those that are of them to walk suitably, or they are denied by them; that is all the mark they set upon them, and the power they exercise, or judge a Christian society can exercise upon those that are the members of it.

The way of their proceeding against those who have lapsed or transgressed is this: He is visited by some of them; and the facts are presented to him, be it any evil practice against known and general virtue, or any branch of their particular testimony, which he professes with them in common. They labor with him in much love and zeal for the good of his soul, the honor of God, and reputation of their profession, to admit his fault, and condemn it, in a sufficient manner to redress the evil or scandal created by him; which for the most part, is performed by some written testimony under the party's hand. And if it so happen that the party prove obstinate, and is not willing to clear the truth they profess from the reproach of his or her evil doing or unfaithfulness, they, after repeated entreaties, and due waiting for a token of repentance, give forth a paper to disown such behavior, and the person offending; recording the same as a testimony of their care for the honor of the truth they profess.

And if he or she shall clear their profession and themselves, by sincere acknowledgment of their fault, and godly sorrow for so doing, they are received, and looked upon again as members of their communion. For as God, so his true people criticize no man after repentance.

This is the account I had to give of the people of God called Quakers; as to their rise, appearance, principles, and practices in this age of the world, both with respect to their faith and worship, discipline, and conversation. And I judge it very proper in this place, because it is to preface the Journal of the first blessed and glorious instrument of this work. This account is a testimony to him in his singular qualifications and services, in which he abundantly excelled in this day. These practices are worthy to be set forth as an example to all succeeding times, to the glory of the Most High God, and for a just memorial to that worthy and excellent man, his faithful servant and apostle to this generation of the world.

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