Page images
PDF
EPUB

large meeting. A great convincement there was all through that country; many meetings we had, and the Lord's power was over all; many were turned, by the power and Spirit of God, to the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for them, and came to sit under his free teaching.

From thence we went to John Dander's, where we had another precious meeting. The Lord's power was over all, and many were convinced of God's eternal truth. Contention was raised by professors and Baptists in some places, but the Lord's power came over them. From thence we came to Edward Pyot's house near Bristol. It was the Seventh-day at night that we came thither; and it was quickly noised over the town that I was come. I had never been there before.

On First-day morning I went to the meeting in Broadmead at BrisTOL; which was large and quiet. Notice was given of a meeting to be in the afternoon in the orchard. There was at Bristol a rude Baptist, named Paul Gwin, who had before made great disturbance in our meetings, being encouraged and set on by the mayor, who, it was reported, would sometimes give him his dinner to encourage him. Such multitudes of rude people he gathered after him, that it was thought there had been sometimes ten thousand people at our meeting in the orchard. As I was going into the orchard, the people told me, that Paul Gwin, the rude jangling Baptist, was going to the meeting. “I bid them never heed, it was nothing to me who went to it.” When I was come into the orchard, I stood upon the stone that Friends used to stand on when they spoke; and I was moved of the Lord to put off my hat, and to stand a pretty while, and let the people look at me; for some thousands of people were there. While I thus stood silent, this rude Baptist began to find fault with my hair ; but I said nothing to him. Then he ran on into words; and at last, " Ye wise men of Bristol,” said he, “I strange at you, that you will stand here, and hear a man speak and affirm that which he cannot make good.” Then the Lord opened my mouth (for as yet I had not spoken a word), and I asked the people, “whether they ever heard me speak; or ever saw me before :" and I bid them “ take notice what kind of man this was amongst them that should so impudently say, that I spoke and affirmed that which I could not make good; and yet neither he nor they had ever heard me or seen me before. Therefore that was a lying, envious, malicious spirit, that spoke in him ; and it was of the Devil, and not of God. I charged him in the dread and power of the Lord to be silent: and the mighty power of God came over him, and all his company. Then a glorious, peaceable meeting we had, and the word of life was divided amongst them; and they were tarned from darkness to the light,—to Jesus their Saviour. The Scriptures were largely opened to them; and the traditions, rudiments, ways, and doctrines of men were laid open before the people; and they were turned to the light of Christ, that with it they might see them, him to lead them out of them. I opened also to them the types, figures, and shadows of Christ in the time of the law; and showed them that Christ was come, and had ended the types, shadows, tithes, and oaths, and put down swearing; and had set up yea and nay instead of it, and a free ministry; for was now come to teach people himself, and his heavenly day was springing from on high.” For many hours did I declare the word of life amongst them in the eternal power of God, that by him they might come up into the beginning, and be reconciled to him. And having turned them to the Spirit of God in themselves, that would lead into all truth, I was moved to pray in the mighty power of God; and the Lord's power came over all When I had done, this fellow began to babble again; and John Audland was moved to bid him repent, and fear God. So his own people and followers being ashamed of him, he passed away, and never came again to disturb the meeting. The meeting broke up quietly, and the Lord's power and glory shone over all: a blessed day it was, and the Lord had the praise. After a while this Paul Gwin went beyond the seas; many years after I met with him again at Barbadoes : of which in its place.

and see

From Bristol we returned to Edward Pyot's, where we had a great meeting. The Lord's power was over all

, truth was declared and spread abroad, and many were turned to Christ Jesus, their life, their prophet to teach them, their shepherd to feed them, and their bishop to oversee them. After the meeting, I had reasoning with some professors; and the Lord's truth and power came over them.

From Edward Pyot's we passed to SLATTENFORD, where we had a very large meeting (Edward Pyot and another Friend being still with me); great turning of people there was to the Lord Jesus Christ, their teacher : and people were glad that they were brought to know their way, their free teacher, and their Saviour, Christ Jesus.

The First-day following we went to Nathaniel Crips's house, who had been a justice of peace in Wiltshire, where it was supposed there were between two and three thousand people at a meeting; and all was quiet. The mighty power of God was manifest, and people were turned to the grace and truth in their hearts, that came by Jesus Christ, which taught them to deny all ungodliness and worldly lust, and to live soberly and godly in this present world; so that every man and woman might know the grace of God, which had appeared to all men, and which was saving, and sufficient to bring their salvation. This teacher, the grace of God, would teach them how to live, what to do, and what to deny; it would season their words, and establish their hearts. This was a free teacher to every one of them; that they might come to be heirs of this grace, and of Christ, by whom it came;

who hath ended the prophets, and the priests that took tithes, and the Jewish temple. And as for the hireling priests that take tithes now, and their temples (which priests were made at schools and colleges of man's setting up, and not by Christ), they, with all their inventions, were to be denied. For the apostles denied the true priesthood and temple, which God had commanded, after Christ had put an end thereto. The Scriptures, and the truths therein contained, were largely opened, and the people turned to the Spirit of God in their hearts; that by it they might be led into all truth, and understand the Scriptures, and know God and Christ, and come to have unity with them, and one with another in the same Spirit. They went away generally satisfied, and were glad that they were turned to Christ Jesus, their teacher and Saviour.

Next day we went to MARLBOROUGH, where we had a little meeting. The sessions being held that day, they were about to grant a warrant to send for me; but one Justice Stooks being at the sessions, stopped them, telling them there was a meeting at his house yesterday, at which were several thousands. So the warrant was stopped, and the meeting was quiet; and several received Christ Jesus their teacher, came into the new covenant, and abode in it.

From hence we went to NEWBURY, where we had a large, blessed meeting, and several were convinced. Then we passed to READING, where we had a large, precious meeting in the Lord's power, amongst the plants of God. Many of other professions came in, and were reached, and added to the meeting. All was quiet, and the Lord's power was over all. We went next to KINGSTON-ON-THAMES, where a few came in to us that were turned to the Lord Jesus Christ: but it is since become a larger meeting.

Leaving Kingston, we rode to LONDON. When we came near Hyde Park, we saw a great concourse of people, and looking towards them, espied the Protector coming in his coach. Whereupon I rode to his coach side; and some of his life-guards would have put me away, but he forbade them. So I rode by with him, "declaring what the Lord gave me to say of his condition, and of the sufferings of Friends in the nation; showing him, how contrary this persecution was to Christ and his apostles, and to Christianity.” When we arrived at James's Park-gate, I left him; and at parting he desired me to come to his house. Next day, one of his wife's maids, whose name was Mary Sanders, came to me at my lodging, and told me her master came to her, and said he would tell her some good news. When she asked him what it was, he told her, George Fox was come to town. She replied that was good news indeed (for she had received truth), but she said, she could hardly believe him, till he told her how I met him, and rode from Hyde Park to James's Park with him.

After a little time Edward Pyot and I went to Whitehall: and when we came before him, Dr. Owen, vice-chancellor of Oxford, was with him. We were moved "to speak to Oliver Cromwell concerning the sufferings of Friends, and laid them before him; and directed him to the light of Christ, who enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world.” He said it was a natural light; but we "showed him the contrary, and manifested that it was divine and spiritual, proceeding from Christ, the spiritual and heavenly

and that which was called the life in Christ the Word, was called the light in us.” The power of the Lord God arose in me, and I was moved in it “to bid him lay down his crown at the feet of Jesus.” Several times I spoke to him to the same effect. Now I was standing by the table, and he came and sat upon the table's side by me, and said he would be as high as I was; and so continued speaking against the light of Christ Jesus; and went away in a light manner. But the Lord's power came over him, so that when he came to his wife and other company, he said, “I never parted so from them before ;" for he was judged in himself.

After he had left us, as we were going out, many great persons came about us;

and one of them began to speak against the light, and against the truth; and I was made to slight him, for speaking so lightly of the things of God. Whereupon, one of them told me he was the Major-General

man;

of Northamptonshire. “What !” said I, "our old persecutor, that has persecuted and sent so many of our friends to prison, and is a shame to Christianity and religion ! I am glad I have met with thee,” said I. So I was moved to speak sharply to him of his unchristian carriage, and he slunk away: for he had been a cruel persecutor in Northamptonshire.

Now, after I had visited the meetings of Friends in and about London, I went into BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, and Edward Pyot with me; and in several places in that county many received the truth. Great meetings we had, and the Lord's power was eminently manifested. I passed through Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire, into LINCOLNSHIRE. After having had several meetings in Lincolnshire, I had at last a meeting where two knights, one called Sir Richard Wrey, and the other Sir John Wrey, with their wives, were at the meeting. One of their wives was convinced, received the truth, and died in it. When the meeting was over we passed away; and it being evening, and dark, a company of wild serving-men encompassed me about, with intent (as I apprehended) to do me some mischief. But I spoke aloud to them, and asked, “What are ye? highwaymen?” Whereupon some Friends and friendly people that were behind, came up to us, and knew some of them. So I reproved them for their uncivil and rude carriage, and exhorted them to fear God; and the Lord's power came over them, and stopped their mischievous design: blessed be his name for ever!

Then I turned into HUNTINGDONSHIRE : and the mayor of HUNTINGDON came to visit me, and was very loving, and his wife received the truth.

Thence I passed into CAMBRIDGESHIRE, and the Fen-country, where I had many meetings, and the Lord's truth spread. Robert Craven (who had been sheriff of Lincoln) and Amor Stoddart, and Alexander Parker were with me. We went to CROWLAND, a very rude place; for the town'speople were collected at the inn we went to, and were half drunk, both priest and people. “I reproved them for their drunkenness, and warned them of the day of the Lord, that was coming upon all the wicked; exhorting them to leave their drunkenness, and turn to the Lord in time.” Whilst I was thus speaking to them, and showing the priest the fruits of his min. istry, he and the clerk broke out into a rage, and got up the tongs and fireshovel to us; so that had not the Lord's power preserved us, we might have been murdered amongst them. Yet, for all their rudeness and violence, some received the truth then, and have stood in it ever since.

Thence we passed to Boston, where most of the chief of the town came to our inn, and the people seemed much satisfied. But there was a raging man in the yard, and Robert Craven was moved to speak to him, and told him he shamed Christianity, which with some few other words so stopped the man, that he went away quiet. Some were convinced there also.

Thus we had large meetings up and down, for I travelled into Yorkshire, and returned out of Holderness, over Humber, visiting Friends; and then returning into Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire, among Friends, I had a meeting at EDGE-HILL There came to it Ranters, Baptists, and several sorts of rude people; for I had sent word about three weeks before to have a meeting there, so that hundreds of people were gathered thither, and many Friends came far to it. The

Lord's everlasting truth and word of life reached over all; the rude and unruly spirits were chained down; and many that day were turned to the Lord Jesus Christ, by his power and Spirit, and came to sit under his blessed, free teaching, and to be fed with his eternal, heavenly food. All was peaceable; the people passed quietly away, and some of them said it was a mighty, powerful meeting; for the presence of the Lord was felt, and his

power and Spirit amongst them.

From hence I passed to WARWICK and to BAGLEY, having precious meetings; and then into Gloucestershire, and so to OXFORD, where the scholars were very rude; but the Lord's power came over them. Great meetings we had up and down as we travelled. Then I went to Colonel Grimes's, where there was a very large meeting; and thence to Nathaniel Crips's, where came another justice to the meeting, who was also convinced. At CIRENCESTER We had a meeting, which is since much increased; and so we came to EVESHAM again, where I met John Camm.

elect;

Thus having travelled over most part of the nation, I returned to LONDON again, having cleared myself of that which lay upon me from the Lord. For after I was released out of Launceston jail, I was moved of the Lord to travel over the nation, the truth being now spread, and finely planted in most places, that I might answer, and remove out of the minds of people some objections, which the envious priests and professors had raised and spread abroad concerning us. For what Christ said of false prophets and antichrists coming in the last days, they applied to us; and said, We were they.

Therefore was I moved to open this through the nation, and to show “That they who said we were the false prophets, antichrists, and deceivers, that should come in the last days, were indeed themselves they. For when Christ told his disciples in the viith and xxivth of Matthew, that false prophets and antichrists should come in the

last times, and (if it were possible) should deceive the

very he said, "By their fruits ye shall know them;" for they should be inwardly ravening wolves, having the sheep's clothing. * And,' said he, do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ?' as much 'as to say, their nature and spirit should be like a thorn, or like a thistle. And he bid his disciples not go after them. But before the disciples were deceased, the antichrists, false prophets, and deceivers were For John in his first epistle said, “Little children, it is the last

have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time.' So here, as Christ said to his disciples they should come, the disciples saw they were come; as may be seen at large in Peter, Jude, John, and other places of Scripture ; 'whereby,' says John, we know it is the last time.' And this last time began above sixteen hundred years since. John said, they went out from us;' the false prophets, antichrists, seducers, and deceivers, went out from the church;' but you,' said he, to the church, have an anointing, wbich abideth in you; you need not that any man teach you, but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things; and as it hath. taught you, ye shall abide in him. Christ said to his disciples, 'Go not after

VOL. I.

come.

time;

and as ye

and

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »