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George Fox's journal

Thus the work of the Lord went forward, and many were turned from darkness to light, within the compass of these three years, 1646, 1647, and 1648. Divers meetings of Friends, in several places, were then gathered to God's teaching, by his light, spirit, and power: for the Lord's power broke forth daily more and more wonderfully.

Now was I come up in spirit, through the flaming sword, into the paradise of God. All things were new, and all the creation gave another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter. I knew nothing but pureness, innocency, and righteousness, being renewed up into the image of God by Christ Jesus; so that I was come up to the state of Adam, which he was in before he fell. The creation was open to me; and it was showed me, how all things had their names given them, according to their nature and virtue. I was at a stand in my mind, whether I should practise physic for the good of mankind, seeing the nature and virtues of the creatures were so opened to me by the Lord. But I was immediately taken up in spirit, to see into another or more steadfast state than Adam's in innocency, even into a state in Christ Jesus, that should never fall. And the Lord showed me, that such as were faithful to him, in the power and light of Christ, should come up into that state in which Adam was before he fell; in which the admirable works of the creation, and the virtues thereof may be known, through the openings of that divine word of wisdom and power by which they were made. Great things did the Lord lead me into, and wonderful depths were opened unto me, beyond what can by words be declared; but as people come into subjection to the spirit of God, and grow up in the image and power of the Almighty, they may receive the word of wisdom that opens all things, and come to know the hidden unity in the Eternal Being.

George Fox's journal

Coming to Derby, I lay 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 go up to them.

When they had done, I spake to them what the Lord commanded me; and they were pretty quiet. But there came an officer, and 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 afternoon that we came before them.

They asked me, why we came thither? 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 till 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. Then they asked me, if I had no sin? I answered, Christ, my saviour, 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 hath given us. They temptingly asked, if any of us were Christ? I answered, nay, we were nothing, Christ was all. They said, if a man steal, is it no sin? I answered, 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 whereof here followeth:


...

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,

"Nay, he would have my leave; 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 house had been plagued for my sake."

So I suffered 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 thereof 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 bid them tremble at the word of the Lord. This was in the year 1650.

George Fox's journal

At length they were made to turn me out of jail, about the beginning of winter, in the year 1651, after I had been a prisoner in Derby almost a year, -six months in the house of correction, and the rest of the time in the common jail.

Being again at liberty, I went on, as before, in the work of the Lord, passing through the country into Leicestershire, having meetings as I went; and the Lord's Spirit and power accompanied me.

As I was walking with several Friends, I lifted up my head and saw three steeple-house spires, and they struck at my life. I asked them what place that was. They said, "Lichfield." Immediately the Word of the Lord came to me that I must go thither. Being come to the house we were going to, I wished the Friends to walk into the house, saying nothing to them of whither I was to go. As soon as they were gone I stepped away, and went by my eye over hedge and ditch till I came within a mile of Lichfield, where, in a great field, shepherds were keeping their sheep.

Then was I commanded by the Lord to pull off my shoes. I stood still, for it was winter; and the Word of the Lord was like a fire in me. So I put off my shoes, and left them with the shepherds; and the poor shepherds trembled, and were astonished. Then I walked on about a mile, and as soon as I was got within the city, the Word of the Lord came to me again, saying, "Cry, 'Woe to the bloody city of Lichfield!'" So I went up and down the streets, crying with a loud voice, "Woe to the bloody city of Lichfield!" It being market-day, I went into the market-place, and to and fro in the several parts of it, and made stands, crying as before, "Woe to the bloody city of Lichfield!" And no one laid hands on me.

As I went thus crying through the streets, there seemed to me to be a channel of blood running down the streets, and the market-place appeared like a pool of blood.

When I had declared what was upon me, and felt myself clear, I went out of the town in peace, and, returning to the shepherds, I gave them some money, and took my shoes of them again. But the fire of the Lord was so in my feet, and all over me, that I did not matter to put on my shoes again, and was at a stand whether I should or no, till I felt freedom from the Lord so to do; then, after I had washed my feet, I put on my shoes again.

After this a deep consideration came upon me, for what reason I should be sent to cry against that city, and call it the bloody city! For, though the Parliament had had the minster one while, and the King another, and much blood had been shed in the town during the wars between them, yet that was no more than had befallen many other places. But afterwards I came to understand, that in the Emperor Diocletian's time a thousand Christians were martyred in Lichfield

1652

Bill Samuel on Pendle Hill 22.6.1998 George Fox's journal

As we travelled we came near a very great hill, called Pendle Hill, and I was moved of the Lord to go up to the top of it; which I did with difficulty, it was so very steep and high. When I was come to the top, I saw the sea bordering upon Lancashire.

From the top of this hill the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered. As I went down, I found a spring of water in the side of the hill, with which I refreshed myself, having eaten or drunk but little for several days before.

At night we came to an inn, and declared truth to the man of the house, and wrote a paper to the priests and professors, declaring the day of the Lord, and that Christ was come to teach people Himself, by His power and Spirit in their hearts, and to bring people off from all the world's ways and teachers, to His own free teaching, who had bought them, and was the Saviour of all them that believed in Him. The man of the house spread the paper abroad, and was mightily affected with the truth. Here the Lord opened unto me, and let me see a great people in white raiment by a river side, coming to the Lord; and the place that I saw them in was about Wensleydale and Sedbergh.

The next day we travelled on, and at night got a little fern or bracken to put under us, and lay upon a common. Next morning we reached a town, where Richard Farnsworth parted from me; and then I travelled alone again. I came up Wensleydale, and at the market-town in that Dale, there was a lecture on the market-day. I went into the steeple-house; and after the priest had done I proclaimed the day of the Lord to the priest and people, warning them to turn from darkness to the Light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they might come to know God and Christ aright, and to receive His teaching, who teacheth freely. Largely and freely did I declare the Word of life unto them, and had not much persecution there.

Afterwards I passed up the Dales, warning people to fear God, and preaching the everlasting gospel to them. In my way I came to a great house, where was a schoolmaster; and they got me into the house. I asked them questions about their religion and worship; and afterwards I declared the truth to them. They had me into a parlour, and locked me in, pretending that I was a young man that was mad, and had run away from my relations; and that they would keep me till they could send to them. But I soon convinced them of their mistake, and they let me forth, and would have had me to stay; but I was not to stay there.

...

The next First-day I came to Firbank chapel in Westmoreland, where Francis Howgill and John Audland had been preaching in the morning. The chapel was full of people, so that many could not get in. Francis said he thought I looked into the chapel, and his spirit was ready to fail, the Lord's power did so surprise him: but I did not look in. They made haste, and had quickly done, and they and some of the people went to dinner; but abundance stayed till they came again. John Blakelin and others came to me, and desired me not to reprove them publicly; for they were not parish-teachers, but pretty tender men. I could not tell them whether I should or no, though I had not at that time any drawings to declare publicly against them; but I said they must leave me to the Lord's movings.

While others were gone to dinner, I went to a brook, got a little water, and then came and sat down on the top of a rock hard by the chapel. In the afternoon the people gathered about me, with several of their preachers. It was judged there were above a thousand people; to whom I declared God's everlasting truth and Word of life freely and largely for about the space of three hours. I directed all to the Spirit of God in themselves; that they might be turned from darkness to Light, and believe in it; that they might become the children of it, and might be turned from the power of Satan unto God, and by the Spirit of truth might be led into all truth, and sensibly understand the words of the prophets, of Christ, and of the apostles; and might all come to know Christ to be their teacher to instruct them, their counsellor to direct them, their shepherd to feed them, their bishop to oversee them, and their prophet to open divine mysteries to them; and might know their bodies to be prepared, sanctified, and made fit temples for God and Christ to dwell in. In the openings of heavenly life I explained unto them the prophets, and the figures and shadows, and directed them to Christ, the substance. Then I opened the parables and sayings of Christ, and things that had been long hid.

Now there were many old people who went into the chapel and looked out at the windows, thinking it a strange thing to see a man preach on a hill, and not in their church, as they called it; whereupon I was moved to open to the people that the steeple-house, and the ground whereon it stood were no more holy than that mountain; and that those temples, which they called the dreadful houses of God were not set up by the command of God and of Christ; nor their priests called, as Aaron's priesthood was; nor their tithes appointed by God, as those amongst the Jews were; but that Christ was come, who ended both the temple and its worship, and the priests and their tithes; and that all should now hearken unto Him; for He said, "Learn of me"; and God said of Him, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him."

I declared unto them that the Lord God had sent me to preach the everlasting gospel and Word of life amongst them, and to bring them off from all these temples, tithes, priests, and rudiments of the world, which had been instituted since the apostles' days, and had been set up by such as had erred from the Spirit and power the apostles were in. Very largely was I opened at this meeting, and the Lord's convincing power accompanied my ministry, and reached the hearts of the people, whereby many were convinced; and all the teachers of that congregation (who were many) were convinced of God's everlasting truth.


1657 George Fox epistle 149.- To Friends, to know one another in the light.

All Friends everywhere,

Meet together, and in the measure of God's spirit wait, that with it all your minds may be guided up to God, to receive wisdom from God. That you may all come to know how you may walk up to him in his wisdom. That it may be justified of you, and you in it preserved up to God, and be glorified. And Friends meet together, and know one another in that which is eternal, which was before the world was. For knowing one another only in the letter and flesh, differs you little from the beasts of the field; for what they know they know naturally. But all knowing one another in the light which was before the world was, this differs you from the beasts of the field, and from the world's knowledge, and brings you to know one another in the elect seed which was before the world was. And if you turn from this light you grow strange; and so neglecting meetings you grow cold, and your minds run into the earth and grow weary and slothful, and careless, and heavy, and sottish, and dull, and dead. You may speak then of things which were opened once from the light, though now you be turned from it! but with the light in which is the unity, is all that condemned. In which (light) is the fellowship with the son, from where the light comes, which keeps in the liveliness, which keeps from slothfulness, and all those things before mentioned, which are contrary to the light; which who turns from, turns into. Therefore in the light wait and walk, that you may have fellowship one with another. I charge you all, in the presence of the Living God, that none boast yourselves above your measure of light; if you do you will be buffeted. For such run into presumption, and so into reproof. Which reproof that spirit will not take patiently, but gets up into presumption; which is to be condemned with the light, in which is the unity, which keeps from desperation and presumption. They who go from the light, the enemy comes into them, and the envy, and the murderer gets up within and slays the man; and no such one has eternal life abiding in him, for he is turned from the light which comes from Christ Jesus, the life. All who dwell in the light which comes from Christ, come to receive the eternal life. And here the love of God is shed abroad in the heart; and dwelling in love you dwell in God, and from the life the eternal love does flow, which life comes from the Father of life, whose love does not change. And so with the light (you dwelling in it which leads to the life) you will come to witness the faith unfeigned, and the humility unfeigned, and the faith which works by love, which purifies the heart; waiting in the light which comes from Christ Jesus, this is received from him. For with the light man sees himself, which (light) comes from Christ, who is the author and finisher of his faith; which faith gives him the victory over that which he sees to be contrary to the light and to the word. And this is the one faith; and here the first Adam and the second Adam are known and seen.



1667

4.3.1667 Isaac Penington to Friends in Amersham
Written from Aylesbury.

Friends,

Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another; but praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand, if there has been any slip or fall; and waiting till the Lord gives sense and repentance, if sense and repentance in any be wanting. Oh! wait to feel this spirit, and to be guided to walk in this spirit, that ye may enjoy the Lord in sweetness, and walk sweetly, meekly, tenderly, peaceably, and lovingly one with another. And then, ye will be a praise to the Lord; and any thing that is, or hath been, or may be, amiss, ye will come over in the true dominion, even in the Lamb's dominion; and that which is contrary shall be trampled upon, as life rises and rules in you. So watch your hearts and ways; and watch one over another, in that which is gentle and tender, and knows it can neither preserve itself, nor help another out of the snare; but the Lord must be waited upon, to do this in and for us all. So mind Truth, the service, enjoyment, and possession of it in your hearts; and so to walk, as ye may bring no disgrace upon it, but may be a good savor in the places where ye live, the meek, innocent, tender, righteous life reigning in you, governing over you, and shining through you, in the eyes of all with whom ye converse.

Your Friend in the Truth, and a desirer of your welfare and prosperity therein.

I. P.

4th of Third Month, 1667



1679 George Fox epistle

"If there happen any difference between Friend and Friend, let them speak to one another, and if they will not hear, let them take two or three of the meeting they belong to that they may end it if they can. Or they that are at difference may choose three friends, and the meeting choose three more, and let them stand to their judgment."

See Through the flaming sword for other material on gospel order.









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Index

1648

1650

1651

1652

1657

1661

1667

1671

1676

1679