The Missing Cross to Purity

The Journal of George Fox - 1648 - 1652 - Early Ministry <page 1 >

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George Fox at 27 from Holmes's
engraving of Honthorst's
picture painted in 1651

On a First-day in the morning as I went towards Nottingham for a meeting there; when I came on the top of a hill <as I looked upon the town, the great steeple-house struck at my life when I saw it>; and the Lord said unto me, ‘You must go cry against that distant great idol* and against the worshippers inside.’ I said nothing of this to the Friends but went with them to the meeting where the mighty power of the Lord God was among us; in which I left Friends sitting in the meeting and went to the steeple-house.

*Site Editor's Note: The Lord has referred to the church building, the steeple-house, as a great idol. An idol is something people venerate; something they take pride in. The temple in Jerusalem was the only temple God ever wanted or commanded. Church buildings, cathedrals, and such monuments to man's pride are not wanted by God and contemptible in his sight, for the Most High does not dwell in houses and temples made with hands, Acts 7:48-9. He wishes to dwell in you with Christ in his glorious Kingdom — after you are purified. See God Dwells Not in Man-Made Buildings for more.

When I came there all the people looked like fallow ground, and the priest, like a great lump of earth, stood in his pulpit above: he took for his text these words of Peter, 'We have also a more sure word of prophecy, which you do well to heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.' He told the people this was the scriptures, by which they were to try all doctrines, religions, and opinions. Now the Lord's power was so mighty upon me, and so strong in me, that I could not hold; but was made to cry out, 'Oh! no, it is not the scriptures;' and told them what it was, namely, the Holy Spirit, by which the holy men of God gave forth the scriptures, whereby opinions, religions, and judgments were to be tried; for it led into all truth, and so gave the knowledge of all truth. For the Jews had the scriptures, yet resisted the Holy Spirit, and rejected Christ, the bright morning-star, and persecuted Christ and his apostles, and took upon them to try their doctrines by the scriptures, but erred in judgment, and did not try them aright, because they tried them without the Holy Spirit. As I spoke thus among them, the officers came, and took me away, and put me into a nasty, stinking prison; the smell of which got so into my nose and throat, that it very much annoyed me.

Site Editor's Note: So begins the many and often horribly cruel persecutions of Fox and the Early Quakers, whose beliefs differed from the established Protestant religions of the day. John Calvin, was a principal founder of Protestantism. Calvin had Michael Servetus arrested, wrote charges of heresy against him, and testified against him at his trial; Servetus' crime was to have denied the scriptural support of the trinity and infant baptism. Calvin's charges and arrest of him resulted in Servetus being burned at the stake. Jacques Gruet, a known opponent of Calvin, was arrested, tortured for a month and beheaded on July 26, 1547, for placing a letter in Calvin's pulpit calling him a hypocrite. Calvin also had thirty four women burned at the stake as witches accused of being responsible for a plague, while another account credits his theocracy in Geneva with 58 sentences of death. Calvin justified execution of heretics, writing: Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are. There is no question here of man's authority; it is God who speaks, and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity, if not to show us that due honor is not paid him, so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory. The apologists of Calvin spilling blood and forgetting all humanity point out that many other Protestants killed heretics too — (the everybody-did-it defense; better said is: all the great men of God? then were murderers.)

Calvin's Puritan theology affected the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Independent Puritans, [Congregationalists]. Even Luther was slightly influenced by Calvin. Puritans were already a strong influence in government throughout England, and were shortly to seize the crown in their civil war of Parliament Puritans against the King with his Royalist supporters. With their founder advocating murder of those who disagreed with his religious views, the Puritans were predisposed to kill, imprison, and steal from the Quakers.

Another principal founder of Protestantism was Martin Luther, who was full of hate for the Jews. Luther initially advocated kindness toward the Jews, but only with the aim of converting them to Christianity: what was called Judenmission. When his efforts at conversion failed, he became increasingly bitter toward them. He advocated setting synagogues on fire, destroying Jewish prayer books, 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."

The Nazi persecution of Jews in Germany began in massive scale on Kristallnacht, (the Night of Broken Glass), in which 200 synagogues were burned; Jewish books, scrolls, and antiquities were burned; 7500 Jewish businesses storefronts were smashed, (hence the broken glass name); tombstones and graves were uprooted; 30,000 Jews were arrested and taken to concentration camps; at least 100 were immediately murdered; and many homes were looted. A similar pogrom of similar magnitude took place in Vienna, Austria on the same night. These events occurred on November 9-10, 1938: Luther's birthday was November 10. Luther's advice was fulfilled on Kristallnacht to the letter. This was the beginning of the Final Solution and The Holocaust.

Luther also created the new Protestant doctrine of instant salvation, criticizing and ignoring the books of Hebrews, Jude, Esther, James, and Revelation; his doctrine claimed that anyone who believed in Jesus was saved, a saint, and a son of God, regardless of their subsequent behavior. Shortly after, Luther-inspired religious despots raped, killed, and plundered 100,000 of the nobility and Roman Catholics in the Peasants War in Germany.

The Anglicans, (Episcopalians), were founded by King Henry VIII who had 72,000 people killed, mostly Catholics. Burnings, beheadings, and hangings were common for those who disagreed with the doctrines of the Episcopalian sect.

Many Roman Catholic persecutions (killing 9,000,000 people between 900 and 1400 AD) were justified by Saint? Augustine's famous: Why ... should not the Church use force in compelling her lost sons to return, if the lost sons compelled others to their destruction?" — A classic example of the end justifies the means, which looses sight of the principal command of Christ to "love enemies," not destroy them. Another supposed saint,? Thomas Aquinas wrote: On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but "after the first and second admonition," as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death.

These revered saints? ignore Christ's reply to his disciples when they wished to punish the people who would not listen to him, severely rebuking them with: Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. If someone is violating the standards of the church, (sinning), they are supposed to be warned by one, then warned by two or three, then censured by the whole body of believers, — and if they fail to repent of their error, they are supposed to be expelled and shunned - not killed, or imprisoned, or tortured, or lose their property.

All the Protestant and Catholic sects that killed, (or even approved of killing), those with a different religious opinion were very different from real Christians; in even considering murder, they were following and yielding to their father the devil, who was the murderer from the beginning.

Thus the stage was set for the acts of what Fox called "the most brutal generation of religious persecutors in the history of the earth," all directed at the Quakers who never fought back, never took revenge, prayed for their persecutors, and reasoned with them — but never protested or opposed the five different governments that held power during their persecutions. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven; and so did they receive it. Tens of thousands Quakers were imprisoned; a thousand were killed in prison or murdered by angry Protestant mobs; tens of thousands had their property seized; and several hundred were banished from their country.

But that day the Lord's power sounded so in their ears, that they were amazed at the voice, and could not get it out of their ears for some time after; they were so reached by the Lord's power in the steeple-house. At night they took me before the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs of the town. When I was brought before them, the mayor was in a peevish, fretful temper, but the Lord's power quieted him. They examined me at large; and I told them how the Lord had moved me to come. After some discourse between them and me, they sent me back to prison; but some time after, the head sheriff, whose name was John Reckless, sent for me to his house. When I came in, his wife met me in the hall, and said, 'Salvation is come to our house.' She took me by the hand, and was much wrought upon by the power of the Lord God; and her husband, children, and servants were much changed, for the power of the Lord wrought upon them. I lodged at the sheriffs, and great meetings we had in his house. Some persons of considerable condition in the world came to them, and the Lord's power appeared eminently among them. This sheriff sent for the other sheriff, and a woman they had had dealings with in the way of trade; and he told her before the other sheriff, that they had wronged her in their dealings with her, (for the other sheriff and he were partners), and that they ought to make her restitution. This he spoke cheerfully; but the other sheriff denied it, and the woman said she knew nothing of it. But the friendly sheriff said it was so, the other knew it well enough; and having discovered the matter, and acknowledged the wrong done by them, he made restitution to the woman, and exhorted the other sheriff to do the like. The Lord's power was with this friendly sheriff, and wrought a mighty change in him, and great openings he had. The next market day, as he was walking with me in the chamber, in his slippers, he said, ‘I must go into the market, and preach repentance to the people.’ Accordingly he went in his slippers into the market, and into several streets, and preached repentance to the people. Several others also in the town were moved to speak to the mayor and magistrates, and to the people, exhorting them to repent.

At this points the magistrates grew very angry, ordered me brought from the sheriff's house, and committed me to the common prison. When the assize time arrived, one person was moved to go to it and offer up himself in exchange for me; his body for my body, and yes his life also. But before I could be brought before the judge, the judge had left because the sheriff's man took too long in bringing me to the sessions-house. I understood the judge was offended that he missed me, and said, 'He would have admonished the youth, if he had been brought before him;' for I was then imprisoned by the name of a youth. So I was returned to prison again, and put into the common jail. The Lord's power was great among Friends; but the people began to be very rude; which is why the governor of the castle sent soldiers, and dispersed them. After that the people were quiet. Both the priests and the people were astonished at the wonderful power that broke forth; several of the priests were made tender, and some did confess to the power of the Lord.

<When I was a prisoner in the same place [Nottingham jail] a woman with two others came to me in the prison and said that she had been possessed for thirty-two years; and the priests had kept her and had kept fasting days about her, and could not do her any good. She said the Lord said unto her, "Arise, for I have a sanctified people; make haste and go to them, for your redemption draws near." When I came out of prison I told Friends to bring her to Mansfield. At that time our meetings were disturbed by wild people, and both they and the professors and priests said that we were false prophets and deceivers and that there was witchcraft among us. [In our meetings at Mansfield] the poor woman would make such a noise in roaring, and sometimes lying along upon her belly upon the ground with her spirit and roaring and voice, that it would set all Friends in a heat and sweat. And I said, ‘All Friends, keep to your own, lest that which is in her get into you;' and so she frightened the world [away] from our meetings.

Then they said [the priests, professors and wild people of the world that disturbed the Quaker meetings and said they were false prophets] if that [demonic spirit that possessed her] were cast out of her while she were with us, and were made well, then they would say that we were of God. Thus said the world; and I had said before that she should be set free. Then it was upon me that we should have a meeting at Skegby at Elizabeth Hooton’s house; and we had her there. And there were many Friends almost overcome by her with the stink that came out of her; [as she lay] roaring and tumbling on the ground; and that same day she was worse than she had ever been. On another day we met about her, and about the first hour the Life [the Life of God, Jesus] rose in Friends and [the Life] said it was done. She rose up, and her countenance changed and became white; and before it was wan [a sickly hue] and earthly [vile]; and she sat down at my thigh as I was sitting, and lifted up her hands and said, ‘Ten thousand praise the Lord; ’ she did not know where she was, but she was well; and we kept her about a fortnight [fourteen days] in the sight of the world as she worked and did things, and then we sent her away to her friends. And then the world’s professors, priests, and teachers never could call us any more false prophets, deceivers, or witches after, but it did a great deal of good in the country among people in relation to the Truth and to the stopping the mouths of the world and their slanderous aspersions.>

After I was set at liberty from Nottingham jail, where I had been kept prisoner a pretty long time, I traveled as before, in the work of the Lord. Coming to Mansfield Woodhouse, there was a distracted woman under a doctor's hand, with her hair loose about her ears. He was about to let her blood, she being first bound, and many people about her, holding her by violence; but he could get no blood from her. I desired them to unbind her and let her alone, for they could not touch the spirit in her by which she was tormented. So they did unbind her; and I was moved to speak to her, and in the name of the Lord to bid her be quiet and still; and she was so. And the Lord's power settled her mind, and she mended. Afterwards she received the truth, and continued in it to her death; and the Lord's name was honored; to whom the glory of all his works belongs. Many great and wonderful things were produced by the heavenly power in those days; for the Lord made bare his omnipotent arm, and manifested his power to the astonishment of many; through the healing virtue of the power, many were delivered from great sicknesses, and the devils were made subject through his name; of which particular instances might be given, beyond what this unbelieving age is able to receive or bear. Blessed for ever be the name of the Lord, and may it be everlastingly honored, and over all exalted and magnified is the arm of his glorious power by which he has performed gloriously: let the honor and praise of all his works be ascribed to him alone.

While I was at Mansfield Woodhouse, I was moved to go out from the meeting there on a First-day in Mansfield to the steeple-house; and when the priest had done, I declared the Truth to the priest and people. <But the people fell upon me with their fists, books, and without compassion or mercy beat me down in the steeple-house and almost smothered me in it, being under them. I was sorely bruised in the steeple-house, and they threw me against the walls; and when that they had thrust and thrown me out of the steeple-house, as I came into the yard I fell down, being so sorely bruised and beaten among them. I got up again, and then they punched and thrust and struck me up and down. Then they drug me out of the yard, though I was hardly able to stand, and put me into the stocks; and I was hot when they put me in the stocks, where I sat some hours; and they brought dog whips and horsewhips threatening to whip me, but did not. And as I sat in the stocks they threw stones at me, and my head, arms, breast, shoulders, back, and sides were so bruised that I was disoriented and dazed with the blows.>

After some time they took me before the magistrate at a knight's house, <where there were many great persons; and I reasoned with them of the things of God and and his teachings, and Christ's, and how that God that made the world did not dwell in temples made with hands; and several things of the Truth I spoke to them,> and they, seeing how evilly I had been used, set me at liberty. <The rude people were ready to fall upon me with staves but the constable kept them off. And when they had set me at liberty, they threatened me with pistols, saying that if ever I came again they would kill me and shoot me; and they would carry their pistols to the steeple-house. And with threatening I was freed. And I was scarcely able to walk or to stand by reason of their ill-usage. Yet with great effort I got about a mile from the town, and as I was passing along the fields, Friends met me. I was so bruised that I could not turn in my bed, and bruised inwardly at my heart; but after a while the power of the Lord went through me and healed me so that I was well, glory be to the Lord forever.>

That day some people were convinced* of the Lord's truth, and turned to his teaching; at which I rejoiced.

*Site Editor's Note: To be convinced, means to have become certain of the way required for salvation; not to receive salvation itself. All of the newly convinced people had previously been devout readers of the Bible, professed that Jesus was the Son of God, had been baptized, attended sect services, etc.; but they were all still captive to sin, and knew there had to be a way to become free of even the desire to sin. When they heard the way proclaimed to become pure, to become free of sin, their hearts bore witness to that truth; so they joined with others seeking to become free of sin, by waiting in silence to hear from the Teacher within, to obey Him, and to receive his changing grace that taught them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and how to live soberly, righteously, godly life in their world then; to be redeemed from all iniquity, and purified — and to then have a zeal for good works energized and prompted by God. This process, from convincement to purity, required them to continue working out their salvation over time with fear and trembling. Because they trembled in the presence of God's Spirit working on their hearts, showing them their sins, convicting them of the secrets in their hearts, they trembled — or quaked — thus they became known as Quakers.

Then I went out of Nottinghamshire into Leicestershire, several Friends accompanying me. There were some Baptists in that country, whom I desired to see and speak with, because they were separated from the public worship. So Oats, one of their chief teachers, and others of the heads of them, with several of their company, came to meet us at Barrow, where we discoursed with them. One of them said, 'what was not of faith, was sin.' Upon which I asked them, what faith was? And how it was created in man? But they turned off from that, and spoke of their baptism in water. Then I asked them, whether their mountain of sin was brought down, and laid low in them? And their rough and crooked ways made smooth and straight in them? They looked upon the scriptures as meaning outward mountains and ways; but I told them, they must find them in their own hearts; at which they seemed to wonder. We asked them, who baptized John the Baptist? who baptized Peter, John, and the rest of the apostles? And put them to prove by scripture, that these were baptized in water: but they were silent.

Site Editor's Note: 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, just as there are no multiple Lords, there are no multiple baptisms.

Paul again: For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: 1 Cor 1:17.

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."

Most sects have "Christening" as a sacrament also, or simply infant baptism, usually for a fee of course (follow the money). There is no scriptural basis for this baptism at all. It is derived from the mistaken belief that one must be baptized in water to be 'saved' and therefore it applies to children also. God is not so unfair as to banish one infant, who has not been sprinkled with water, and embrace another who has been sprinkled or immersed — that makes him a God who judges on a ridiculous technicality or ritual, completely without fairness and justice. It further assumes that infants need "saving," which is further silliness. What sin have infants committed?

Finally, regarding the secondary water baptism, so-called Confirmation: There is not scripture to support this either. It is a total invention of man in the Roman sect, presupposing that the invented infant baptism is not sufficient to keep a maturing person sufficiently saved.

Then I asked them, seeing Judas, who betrayed Christ, and was called the son of perdition, had hanged himself, what son of perdition was what Paul spoke of, that was in the temple of God, exalted above all that is called God? And what temple of God was it, in which this son of perdition sat? And whether he who betrays the Christ within himself, is not one in nature with the Judas who betrayed Christ in Jerusalem? But they could not tell what to make of this, nor what to say to it. So after some discourse we parted; and some of them were loving to us.

On the First-day following we came to Bagworth, and went to a steeple-house, where some Friends had gone in; and the people locked them in, and themselves too along with the priest. But after the priest had finished speaking, they opened the door, and we went in also, and had service for the Lord among them. Afterwards we had a meeting in the town among several that were in high opinions of their spirituality. Then passing from there, I heard of a people in prison at Coventry for religion. As I walked towards the jail, the word of the Lord came to me saying, ' MY LOVE WAS ALWAYS TO YOU, AND YOU ARE IN MY LOVE.' And I was ravished with the sense of the love of God, and greatly strengthened in my inward man. But when I came into the jail where those prisoners were, a great power of darkness struck at me; and I sat still, having my spirit gathered into the love of God. At last these prisoners began to rant, and brag, and blaspheme; at which my soul was greatly grieved. They said, they were God; but another of them said, we could not bear such things. When they were calm, I stood up and asked them, whether they did such things by motion, or from scripture? They said, from scripture. Then a bible lying by, I asked them for that scripture; and they showed me that place where the sheet was let down to Peter; and it was said to him, what was sanctified he should not call common or unclean. When I had showed them that scripture made nothing for their purpose, they brought another, which spoke of God's reconciling all things to himself, things in heaven and things in earth. I told them I owned that scripture also; but showed them it was nothing to their purpose neither. Then seeing they said they were God, I asked them if they knew whether it would rain tomorrow? They said they could not tell. I told them God could tell. I asked them, if they thought they should be always in that condition, or should change? They answered, they could not tell. Then said I, God can tell, and he does not change. You say you are God; and yet you cannot tell whether you shall change or not. So they were confounded, and quite brought down for the time. After I had reproved them for their blasphemous expressions, I went away; for I perceived they were Ranters. I had met with none before; and I admired the goodness of the Lord in appearing so unto me, before I went among them. Not long after this, one of these Ranters, whose name was Joseph Salmon, published a recantation; upon which they were set at liberty.

From Coventry I went to Atherstone; and it being their lecture day, I was moved to go to their chapel to speak to the priest and people. They were generally pretty quiet, only a few raged and would have had my relations to bind me. I declared largely to them, that God was come to teach his people himself, and to bring them off from all their man-made teachers, to hear his son; and some were convinced there.

Then I went to Market-Bossoth, and there was a lecture also. He who preached was Nathaniel Stevens, the priest of the town where I was born. He raged much when I spoke to him and to the people, and told the people I was mad; though he had said before to colonel Purfoy, there was never such a plant bred in England. He told the people not to hear me; they, being stirred up by this deceitful priest, fell upon us, and stoned us out of the town, yet they did not do us much hurt. Be it as it may, some people were made loving that day; and others were confirmed, seeing the rage of both priests and professors; and some cried out, that the priest dared not stand to prove his ministry.

As I traveled through markets, fairs, and many places, I saw death and darkness in all people, where the power of the Lord God had not shaken them. As I was passing on in Leicestershire, I came to Twy-Cross, where there were tax collectors. I was moved of the Lord to go and warn them to take heed of oppressing the poor; and people were much affected with it. There was in that town a great man that had long lain sick, and was given up on by the physicians. Some Friends in the town desired me to visit him. I went up to him in his chamber, and spoke the word of life to him, and was moved to pray by him; and the Lord was persuaded, and restored him to health. When I had come downstairs into a lower room and was speaking to the servants and others there, a male servant of his came raving out of another room with a naked rapier in his hand, and placed it against my side. I looked steadfastly on him, and said, 'Alas for you, poor creature! What will you do with your carnal weapon? It is no more to me than a straw.' The bystanders were much troubled, and he went away in a rage. But when the news of it came to his master, he turned him out of his service. Thus the Lord's power preserved me, and rose up in the weak man; who afterwards was very loving to Friends. When I came to that town again, both he and his wife came to see me.

After this I was moved to go into Derbyshire, where the mighty power of God was among Friends. I went to Chesterfield where there was a priest named Britland. He saw beyond the common sort of priests; for he had been partly convinced, and had spoken much on behalf of truth before he became the priest there; but when the priest of that town died, he got the parsonage, and choked himself with it. I was moved to speak to him and the people in the great love of God, that they might come off from all men's teaching unto God's teaching; and he was not able to dispute this. But they had me before the mayor, and threatened to send me with some others to the house of correction; and they kept us in custody until it was late in the night. Then the officers, with the watchmen, put us out of the town, leaving us to provide for ourselves as we could.

{Priest Stephens, of Drayton, my native place, preached and told my relations that I was carried up with a whirlwind into Heaven, and after was found full of gold and Silver. And so my relations wrote a letter to me to come and show myself. And so I answered the letter and they showed it to the priest. The priest said, "Any one might write a letter, but where is the man?" My relations did conclude it was so, for, said they, "When he went from us, he had a great deal of gold and silver* about him." Nevertheless they sent for me again; and afterwards I went towards home}. So I inclined my direction towards Derby, having a friend or two with me. On our way we met with many professors; and at Kidsley Park many were convinced.

* Site Editor's Note: Fox previously stated that when he was employed by the grazier, the business was blessed, and a great deal of money passed through his hands; but after he left the job, the owner became destitute. Fox apparently saved a considerable sum which made him independent of any man.

Coming to Derby, I spent the night at a doctor's house, whose wife was convinced; and several more in the town. As I was walking in my chamber, the bell rung; and it struck at my life at the very hearing of it So I asked the woman of the house, what the bell rung for? She said there was to be a great lecture there that day, and many officers of the army, priests, and preachers, were to be there, and a colonel, that was a preacher. Then was I moved of the Lord to join them. When they had finished speaking, I spoke to them what the Lord commanded me; and they were pretty quiet. But an officer took me by the hand, and said, I must go before the magistrates, and the other two that were with me. It was about the first hour after noon that we came before them. They asked me, why we came there? I said, God moved us so to do; and told them, 'God dwells not in temples made with hands.' I also said, all their preaching, baptism, and sacrifices would never sanctify them; and bid them look unto Christ in them, and not unto men; for it is Christ that sanctifies. Then they ran into many words; but I told them they were not to dispute of God and Christ, but to obey him. The power of God thundered among them, and they did fly like chaff before it. They put me in and out of the room often, hurrying me backward and forward, for they were from the first hour until the ninth at night in examining me. Sometimes they would tell me in a deriding manner that I was taken up in raptures. At last they asked me, whether I was sanctified? I answered, yes; for I was in the paradise of God.*

* Site Editor's Note: George Fox had been translated into the paradise of God where he then lived; but Fox still walked the earth too, resurrected with Christ in him, guiding his every word and deed. From the Word of the Lord within: "You can live in heaven and still walk the earth. I will come again to the elect; I will be a crown to lead and guide them."

Then they asked me, if I had no sin? I answered, Christ, my savior, has taken away my sin; and in him there is no sin. They asked how we knew that Christ did abide in us? I said, by his spirit that he has given us. They temptingly asked, if any of us were Christ? I answered, no, we were nothing, and Christ was all. They said, if a man steal, is it no sin? I answered that all unrighteousness is sin. When they had wearied themselves in examining me, they committed me and one other man to the house of correction in Derby for six months, as blasphemers; as may appear by the mittimus, a copy of which follows:

To the master of the house of correction in Derby, greeting.

We have sent you here the bodies of George Fox, late of Mansfield, in the county of Nottingham, and John Fretwell, late of Staniesby, in the county of Derby, husbandman, brought before us this present day, and charged with the declared uttering and broaching of various blasphemous opinions, contrary to a late act of parliament; which, upon their examination before us, they have confessed. These are therefore to require you immediately, upon sight hereof, to receive them, the said George Fox and John Fretwell, into your custody, and to safely them keep during the space of six months, without bail or mainprise, or until they shall find sufficient security to be of the good behavior, or be delivered from there by order from ourselves. In this you are not to fail. Given under our hands and seals this 30th day of October, 1650.


Now did the priests bestir themselves in their pulpits to preach up sin for term of life; and much of their work was to plead for it; so that people said, never was the like heard. After some time, the person committed with me, not standing faithful in his testimony, got in with the jailer, and by him made way to the justice to have leave to go see his mother; and so got his liberty. It then was reported, that he said I had bewitched and deceived him; but my spirit was strengthened when he was gone. The priests, professors, justices, and the jailer, were all in a great rage against me. The jailer watched my words and actions, often asking me questions to ensnare me; and sometimes he would ask me such silly questions, as, whether the door was latched or not? Thinking to draw some sudden, unadvised answer from me, from which he might take advantage to charge sin upon me; but I was kept watchful and chaste, so that they could get no advantage of me; which they admired.

Not long after my commitment, I was moved to write to the priests and magistrates of Derby, and first to the priests.

Oh Friends,

I was sent unto you to tell you, that if you had received the gospel freely, you would minister it freely without money or price; but you make a trade and sale of what the prophets and apostles have spoken; and so you corrupt the truth and the power. As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so you resist the truth; being men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But you shall proceed no further; for your folly shall be made manifest to all men, as theirs was. Moreover, the Lord sent me to tell you, that he looks for fruits. You asked me, if the scripture was my rule? It is not your rule, to rule your lives by, but to talk of in words. You are the men that live in pleasures, pride, and wantonness, in fullness of bread and abundance of idleness; see if this is not the sin of Sodom. Lot received the angels; but Sodom was envious. You show forth the vain nature; you stand in the steps of them that crucified MY SAVIOR, and mocked him. You are their children; you show forth their fruit. They had the chief place in the assemblies, and so have you; they loved to be called rabbi, and so do you.

George Fox

I wrote to the magistrates who committed me, to this effect.


I am forced in tender love to your souls, to write to you, and to beseech you to consider what you do, and what the commands of God call for. He requires justice and mercy, to break every yoke, and to let the oppressed go free. But who calls for justice, or loves mercy, or contends for the truth? Is not judgment turned backward? Does not justice stand afar off? Is not truth silenced in the streets, or can equity enter? Do not they who depart from evil make themselves a prey? Oh! Consider what you do, in time, and take heed whom you imprison; for the magistrate is set for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. I entreat you, in time, take heed what you do; for surely the Lord will come, and make manifest both the builders and the work. If it is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, nothing will overthrow it. Therefore, I desire and pray that you would take heed and beware what you do, lest you be found fighters against God.

George Fox

Having thus far cleared my conscience to them, I waited in the holy patience, leaving the event to God, in whose will I stood. After some time I was moved to write again to the justices that had committed me, to lay their evils before them that they might repent. One of them, Nathaniel Barton, was a colonel, a justice, and a preacher.


You spoke of the good old way, which the prophet spoke of; but the prophet cried against the abominations, which you hold up. Had you the power of God, you would not persecute the good way. He that spoke of the good way was set in the stocks. The people cried, “away with him to the stocks," for speaking the truth. Ah! Foolish people who have eyes and see not, ears and hear not, without understanding! “Fear you not me, said the Lord, and will you not tremble at my presence?" Oh! Your pride and abominations are odious in the eyes of God! You that are preachers, have the principal place in the assemblies, and are called of men, master. Such were and are against my Savior and Maker. They shut up the kingdom of heaven from men; and neither enter in themselves, nor help others through. Therefore you, who have their places and walk in their step, shall receive the greater damnation. You may say if you had been in the days of the prophets or Christ, you would not have persecuted them. Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves, that you are the children of those, seeing you now persecute the way of truth. Oh! Consider; there is a true judge that will give everyone of you a reward according to your works. Oh! Mind where you are, you that hold up the abominations that the true prophet cried against! Oh! Come down, and sit in the dust! The Lord is coming with power, and he will throw down everyone that is lifted up, that he alone may be exalted.

As I had thus written to them jointly; after some time I wrote to each by himself. To justice Bennet in this manner:


You who profess God and Christ, in words, see how you are to follow him. To take off burdens, to visit those who are in prison, to show mercy, clothe your own flesh, and deal your bread to the hungry; these are God's commandments. To relieve the fatherless, to visit the widows in their afflictions, and to keep yourself unspotted of the world, this is pure religion before God. But if you profess Christ, and follow covetousness and earthly mindedness, you deny him in life, deceive yourself and others, and take him for a cloak. Woe be to you greedy men and rich men; weep and howl for your misery that shall come! Take heed of covetousness and extortion. God forbids that. Woe be to the man who covets with evil covetousness, that he may set his nest on high, and cover himself with thick clay. Oh! Do not love what God forbids. You are the servant of what you obey, whether it is of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness. Think upon Lazarus and the rich man; the one fared sumptuously every day, the other was a beggar. See if you are not the rich man? Be not deceived, God is not mocked with vain words. Evil communication corrupts good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not.

George Fox

That to justice Barton was in this manner:


You who preach Christ and the scriptures in words. When any come to follow what you have spoken of, and to live the life of the scriptures; those of you who preach the scriptures, but do not lead their lives according, persecute them. Mind the prophets, Jesus Christ, and his apostles, and all the holy men of God; what they spoke was from the life; but those who did not have the life, but only the words, persecuted and imprisoned those who lived in the life that those had backslidden from.

George Fox

Having written to the justices and the priests, it was upon me to write to the mayor of Derby also; who, though he did not sign the mittimus, had a hand with the rest in sending me to prison. To him I wrote after this manner:


You are set in place to do justice; but, by imprisoning my body, you have done contrary to justice, according to your own law. Oh! Take heed of pleasing men more than God, for that is the way of the scribes and Pharisees; they sought the praise of men more than God. Remember who said, "I was a stranger, and you took me not in; I was in prison, and you visited me not." 0h Friend! Your envy is not against me only, but against the power of truth: I had no envy to you, but love. Oh! Take heed of oppression; "for the day of the Lord is coming, that shall burn, as an oven; and all the proud, and all that do wickedly, shall be as stubble; and the day that comes shall burn them up, said the Lord of hosts: it shall leave them neither root nor branch." Oh friend! If the love of God were in you, you would love the truth, hear the truth spoken, and not imprison unjustly. The love of God bears and suffers and envies no man. If the love of God had broken your hearts, you would show mercy; but you show what rules you. Every tree does show forth its fruit; you show your fruits openly. For drunkenness, swearing, pride, and vanity rule among you, both in teacher and people. Oh friend, mercy, true judgment, and justice, are cried for in the streets: oppression, unmercifulness, cruelty, hatred, pride, pleasures, wantonness, and fullness are in your streets; but the poor is not regarded. Oh! Take heed of the woe. "Woe be to the crown of pride! Woe be to them that drink wine in bowls, when the poor are ready to perish." Oh remember Lazarus and the rich man! One fared deliciously every day, the other was a beggar. Oh friend, mind these things, for they are near; and see whether you are in the rich man's state.

I wrote also to the Court of Derby thus:

I am moved to write unto you, to take heed of oppressing the poor in your courts, or laying burdens upon poor people which they cannot bear; and of imposing false oaths, or making them take oaths which they cannot perform. The Lord said, "I will come near to judgment, and will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the false swearers, and against the idolaters, and against those that oppress widows and fatherless;" therefore take heed of all these things while you have time. The Lord's judgments are all true and righteous, and he delights in mercy. So love mercy, dear people, and consider in time.

George Fox

Likewise to the ringers, who used to ring the bells in the steeple house called St. Peter's, in Derby, I sent these few lines:


Take heed of pleasures, and prize your time now while you have it; do not spend it in pleasures or earthliness. The time may come that you will say; you had time, when it is past. Therefore look at the love of God now while you have time; for it brings you to loathe all vanities and worldly pleasures. Oh consider, time is precious; fear God and rejoice in him who has made heaven and earth.

George Fox

While I was there in prison, many professors came to discourse with me. I had a sense before they spoke, that they came to plead for sin and imperfection. I asked them, whether they were believers, and had faith? They said, yes. I asked them, in whom? They said, in Christ. I replied, if you are true believers in Christ, you are passed from death to life; and if passed from death, then from sin that brings death: and if your faith is true, it will give you victory over sin and the devil, purify your hearts and consciences, (for the true faith is held in a pure conscience), and bring you to please God, and give you access to him again. But they could not endure to hear of purity, and of victory over sin and the devil. They said, 'They could not believe any could be free from sin on this side the grave.' I bid them give over babbling about the scriptures, which were holy men's words, while they pleaded for unholiness. At another time a company of professors came, who also began to plead for sin. I asked them, whether they had hope? They said, yes: God forbid that we should have no hope. I asked them, what hope is it that you have? 'Is Christ in you the hope of your glory? Does it purify you, as he is pure?' But they could not abide to hear of being made pure here. Then I bid them stop talking of the scriptures, which were the holy men's words; for the holy men that wrote the scriptures pleaded for holiness in heart, life, and conversation here; but since you plead for impurity and sin, which is of the devil, what have you to do with the holy men's words?

The keeper of the prison, being a high professor, was greatly enraged against me, and spoke very wickedly of me; but it pleased the Lord one day to strike him so, that he was in great trouble, and under much terror of mind. And as I was walking in my chamber, I heard a doleful noise; and standing still, I heard him say to his wife, 'Wife, I have seen the day of judgment; and I saw George there, and I was afraid of him; because I had done him so much wrong, and spoken so much against him to the ministers and professors, and to the justices, and in taverns and alehouses.' After this, towards the evening, he came into my chamber, and said to me, ' I have been as a lion against you; but now I am come like a lamb, and like the jailer that came to Paul and Silas trembling.' And he desired he might lodge with me; I told him, I was in his power, he might do what he would: but he said, 'No, he would want my release; and he could desire to be always with me, but not to have me as a prisoner.' He said, 'He had been plagued, and his entire house had been plagued for my sake.' So I allowed him to lodge with me. Then he told me all his heart, and said, he believed what I had said of the true faith and hope to be true; and he wondered that the other man, who was put in prison with me, did not stand to it; and said, 'That man was not right, but I was an honest man.' He confessed also to me, that at those times when I had asked him to let me go forth to speak the word of the Lord to the people, when he refused to let me go, and I laid the weight of that upon him, that he used to be under great trouble, amazed, and almost distracted for some time after, and in such a condition that he had little strength left him. When the morning came, he arose and went to the justices, and told them, 'That he and his house had been plagued for my sake.' One of the justices replied, (as he reported to me), that the plagues were upon them too for keeping me. This was justice Bennet of Derby, who was the first that called us Quakers, because I told them to tremble at the word of the Lord. This was in the year 1650.

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