« PreviousContinue »
I rode up
country; but in the afternoon, his horse being weak and not able to hold up with mine, I put on and got into Johnstons just as they were drawing up the bridges; the officers and soldiers never questioning me. the street to Captain Davenport's house, from which we had been banished. There were many officers with him; and when I came amongst them, they lifted up their hands, wondering that I should come again; but I told them, “the Lord God had sent me amongst them again;" so they went their way. The Baptists sent me a letter, by way of challenge, "to discourse with me next day.” I sent them word, “ I would meet them at such a house, about half a mile out of the town, at such an hour.” For I considered, if I should stay in town to discourse with them, they might, under pretence of discoursing with me, have raised men to put me out of the town again, as they had done before. At the time appointed I went to the place, Captain Davenport and his son accompanying me, where I stayed some hours, but not one of them came. While I stayed there waiting for them, I saw Alexander Parker coming; who, not being able to reach the town, had lain out the night before; and I was exceedingly glad that we were met again.
This Captain Davenport was then loving to Friends; but afterwards coming more into obedience to truth, he was turned out of his place, for not putting off his hat, and for saying Thou and Thee to them.
When we had waited beyond reasonable ground to expect any of them coming, we departed; and Alexander Parker being moved to go again to the town, where we had the meeting at the market-cross, I passed alone to Lieutenant Foster's quarters, where I found several officers that were convinced. From thence I went up to the town, where I had left the other two Friends, and we went back to EDINBURGII together.
When we were come to the city, I bid Robert Widders follow me; and in the dread and power of the Lord we came up to the first two sentries; and the Lord's power came so over them, that we passed by them without any examination. Then we rode up the street to the market-place, by the main-guard out at the gate by the third sentry, and so clear out at the suburbs, and there came to an inn and set up our horses, it being the seventh-day of the week. Now I saw and felt that we had rode, as it were, against the cannon's mouth, or the sword's point; but the Lord's power and immediate hand carried us over the heads of them all. Next day I went to the meeting in the city, Friends having notice that I would attend it. There came many officers and soldiers to it, and a glorious meeting it was; the everlasting power of God was set over the nation, and his Son reigned in his glorious power. All was quiet, and no man offered to meddle with me. When the meeting was ended, and I had visited Friends, I came out of the city to my inn again ; and next day, being the second-day of the week, we set forward towards the borders of England.
As we travelled along the country I spicd a steeple-house, and it struck at my life. I asked “what steeple-house it was," and was answered, that it was DUNBAR. When I came thither, and had put up at an inn, walked to the steeple-house, having a friend or two with me.
When we came into the yard, one of the chief men of the town was walking there.
I spoke to one of the friends that were with me, to go to him and tell him, “that about nine next morning there would be a meeting there of the people of God called Quakers; of which we desired he would give notice to the people of the town.” He sent me word, “ that they were to have a lecture there at nine ; but that we might have our meeting there at eight, if we would.” We concluded so, and desired him to give notice of it. Accordingly in the morning both poor and rich came; and there being a captain of horse quartered in the town, he and his troopers came also, so that we had a large meeting; and a glorious one it was, the Lord's power being over all. After some time the priest came, and went into the steeplehouse; but we being in the yard, most of the people stayed with us. Friends were so full, and their voices so high in the power of God, that the priest could do little in the steeple-house, but came quickly out again, stood a while, and then went his way. I opened to the people, "where they might find Christ Jesus, turned them to the light, which he had enlightened them withal, that in the light they might sec Christ, that died for them, turn to him, and know him to be their Saviour and free teacher. I let them see, that all the teachers they had hitherto followed, were hirelings, who made the gospel chargeable; showed them the wrong ways they had walked in, in the night of apostacy, directed them to Christ, the new and living way to God; manifested unto them, how they had lost the religion and worship which Christ set up in spirit and truth, and had hitherto been in the religions and worships of men's making and setting up. After I had turned the people to the Spirit of God, which led the holy men of God to give forth the Scripturcs; and showed them, that they must also come to receive, and be led by, the same Spirit in themselves (a measure of which was given unto every one of them), if ever they came to know God and Christ, and the Scriptures aright; perceiving the other Friends that were with me to be full of the power and word of the Lord, I stepped down, giving way for them to declare what they had from the Lord unto the people.” Towards the latter end of the meeting some professors began to jangle; whereupon I stood up again, and answered their questions, so that they seemed to be satisfied, and our meeting ended in the Lord's power, quiet and peaceable. This was the last meeting I had in Scotland; the truth and the power of God was set over that nation, and many, by the power and Spirit of God, were turned to the Lord Jesus Christ, their Saviour and teacher, whose blood was shed for them; and there is since a great increase, and great there will be in Scotland. For when first I set my horse's feet upon Scottish ground, I felt the Seed of God to sparkle about me, like innumerable sparks of fire. Not but that there is abundance of thick, cloddy earth of hypocrisy and falscness above, and a briery, brambly nature, which is to be burnt up with God's Word, and ploughed up with his spiritual plough, before God's Seed brings forth heavenly and spiritual fruit to his glory. But the husbandman is to wait in patience.
1057–1659.- George Fox journeys from Scotland to England-dissuades a person
from setting up a college at Durham to make ministers—has a meeting with Rice Jones and his people-attends a general Yearly Meeting for the whole nation, held at John Crook's, which continued three days-address to Friends in the ministry -disputes with a Jesuit-writes to Lady Claypole-writes to Cromwell respecting the fast on account of persecution abroad, whilst there was much of it at home-writes a reproof to Parliament for their hypocrisy-speaks to the Protector in Hampton-Court Park about Friends' sufferings—the Protector invites Fox to his house- he goes next day, but the Protector being sick he does not see himthe Protector died soon after-writes to encourage Friends to faithfulness-has a foresight of the King's restoration long before the event occurred, as well as several others—Friends are disseized of their copyhold lands for refusing to swear -cautions Friends to avoid plots, &c.—against bearing arms—great places in the army are offered to Friends, but invariably refused-priest Townsend fails to substantiate his charge of error and blasphemy against George Fox, and is signally defeated-George Fox's vision of the city of London is realized-he gives a final warning to those in authority before their overthrow.
From Dunbar we came to BERWICK, where we were questioned a little by the officers; but the governor was loving towards us; and in the evening we had a little meeting, in which the power of the Lord was manifested
Leaving Berwick, we came to MORPETH, and so through the country, visiting Friends, to NEWCASTLE, where I had been once before. The Newcastle priests had written many books against us; and one Ledger, an alderman of the town, was very envious against truth and Friends. He and the priests had said, “the Quakers would not come into any great towns, but lived in the Fells, like butterflies.” So I took Anthony Pearson with me, and went to this Ledger, and several others of the aldermen,
desiring to have a meeting amongst them, seeing they had written so many books against us, for we were now come, I told them, into their great town.” But they would not allow we should have a meeting, neither would they be spoken to withal, save only this Ledger and one other. I queried, “ had they not called Friends butterflies, and said, we would not come into any great towns ? and now we were come into their town, they would not hear us, though they had printed books against us; “Who are the butterflies now ?” said I. Then Ledger began to plead for the Sabbath-day; but I told him they kept markets and fairs on that which was the Sabbath-day, for that was the seventh day of the week; whereas that day, which the professed Christians now met on, and call their Sabbath, is the first day of the week. As we could not have a public meeting among them, we got a little one among Friends and friendly people, at Gateshead; where a meeting is continued to this day, in the name of Jesus. As I was passing by the market-place, the power of the Lord rose in me, "to warn
- that to
them of the day of the Lord, that was coming upon them.” And not long after, all those priests of Newcastle and their profession, were turned out, when the king came in.
From Newcastle we travelled through the countries, having meetings and visiting Friends as we went, in Northumberland and Durham. A very good one we had at Lieutenant Dove's, where many were turned to the Lord and his teaching. After the meeting I went to visit a justice of peace, a very sober, loving man, who confessed to the truth.
Thence we came to DURHAM, where was a man come from London, to set up a college there, to make ministers of Christ, as they said. I went, with some others, to reason with him, and to let him see, teach men Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and the seven arts, which were all but the teachings of the natural man, was not the way to make them · ministers of Christ. For the languages began at Babel; and to the Greeks, that spoke Greek, as their mother-tongue, the preaching of the cross of Christ was foolishness; and to the Jews, that spoke Hebrew as their mother-tongue, Christ was a stumbling-block. The Romans, who had the Latin, persecuted the Christians; and Pilate, one of the Roman governors, set Hebrew, Greek, and Latin over Christ, when he crucified him. So he might see the many languages began at Babel, and they set them above Christ, the Word, when they crucified him. John the divine, who preached the Word, that was in the beginning, said, that the beast and the whore have power over tongues and languages, and they are as waters.' Thus I told him he might see, the whore and beast have power over the tongues and the many languages which are in mystery Babylon; for they began at Babel; and the persecutors of Christ Jesus set them over him, when he was crucified by them; but he is risen above them all, who was before them all. “Now,' said I, to this man,' dost thou think to make ministers of Christ by these natural, confused languages, which sprung from Babel, are admired in Babylon, and set above Christ, the Life, by a persecutor ?' 0 110 !” The man confessed to many of these things. Then we showed him further, " that Christ made his ministers himself, gave gifts unto them, and bid them “pray to the Lord of the harvest, to send forth labourers. And Peter and John, though unlearned and ignorant (as to school-learning) preached Christ Jesus, the Word, which was in the beginning, before Babel
Paul also was made an apostle, not of man, nor by man, neither received he the gospel from man, but from Jesus Christ, who is the same now, and so is his gospel, as it was at that day." When we had thus discoursed with the man, he became very loving and tender; and, after he had considered further of it, declined to set up his college.
From Durham we went to Anthony Pearson's : thence into CLEVELAND, passed through Yorkshire to the further end of HOLDERNESS, and had mighty meetings, the Lord's power accompanying us.
After we left Anthony Pearson's, we went by Hull and PONTEFRACT, to George Watkinson's house, and visited most of the meetings in those parts, till we came to SCALE-HOUSE, and so to SWARTHMORE ; the everlasting power and arm of God carrying us through and preserving us. After I had visited Friends thereaways, I passed into Yorkshire again, and
Cheshire, and so through other counties into Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire: glorious meetings we had, the Lord's presence being with us.
At NOTTINGHAM I sent to Rice Jones, desiring him to make his people acquainted, that I had something to say to them from the Lord. He came and told me, “ many of them lived in the country, and he could not tell how to send to them.” I told him, “he might acquaint those about the town of it, and send to as many in the country as he could. Next day we met at the castle, there being about fourscore people, to whom I declared the truth for about two hours; and the Lord's power was over them all, so that they were not able to open their mouths in opposition. When I had done, one of them asked me a qustion, which I was loath to answer, for I saw it might lead to dispute, and I was unwilling to go into jangling, for some of the people were tender; yet I could not well tell how to escape it. Wherefore I answered the question, and was moved forthwith to speak to Rice Jones, and lay before him, “that he had been the man that had scattered such as had been tender, and some that had been convinced, and had been led out of many vanities of the world, which he had formerly judged; but now he judged the power of God in them, and they, being simple, turned to him; and so he and they were turned to be vainer than the world: for many of his followers were become the greatest foot-ball players and wrestlers in the country. I told him, it was the serpent in him, that had scattered, and done hurt to such as were tender towards the Lord. Nevertheless, if he waited in the fear of God, for the Seed of the woman, Christ Jesus, to bruise the serpent's head in him, that had scattered and done the hurt, he might come to gather them again by this heavenly Seed; though it would be a hard work for him to gather them again out of those vanities he had led them into.” At this Rice Jones said, “Thou liest, it is not the Seed of the woman that bruises the serpent's head.” “No!” said I, “what is it then ?" "I say it is the law," said he. “But," said I, “the Scripture, speaking of the Seed of the woman, saith, “It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Now, hath the law an heel," said I, “to be bruised ?” Then Rice Jones and all his company were at a stand, and I was moved in the power of the Lord to speak to him, and say,
“This Seed, Jesus Christ, the Secd of the woman, which should bruise the serpent's head, shall bruise thy head, and break you to pieces.” Thus did I leave on the heads of them the Seed, Christ; and not long after he and his company scattered to pieces, several of whom came to be Friends, and stand to this day. Many of them had been convinced about eight years before, but had been led aside by this Rice Jones; for they denied the inward cross, the power of God, and so went into vanity. It was about eight years since I had been formerly amongst them; in which time I was to pass over them, and by them, seeing they had slighted the Lord's truth and power, and the visitation of his love unto them. But now I was moved to go to them again, and it was of great service, for many of them were brought to the Lord Jesus Christ, and were settled upon
him, sitting down under his teaching and feeding, where they were kept fresh and green; and the others that would not be gathered to him, soon after withered. This was that Rice Jones who some ye