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all Christians, and all that made a profession of Christianity, ought to train up their children and servants in the new covenant of light, Christ Jesus, who is God's salvation to the ends of the earth, that all may know their salvation : and they ought to train them up in the law of life, the law of the Spirit, the law of love and of faith; that they might be made free from the law of sin and death. And all Christians ought to be circumcised by the Spirit, which puts off the body of the sins of the flesh, that they may come to eat of the heavenly sacrifice, Christ Jesus, that true spiritual food, which none can rightly feed upon but they that are circumcised by the Spirit. Likewise, I was exercised about the star-gazers, who drew people's minds from Christ, the bright and the morning-star; and from the Sun of righteousness, by whom the sun, and moon, and stars, and all things else were made, who is the wisdom of God, and from whom the right knowledge of all things is received.
But the earthly spirit of the priests wounded my life; and when I heard the bell toll to call people together to the steeple-house, it struck at my life; for it was just like a market-bell, to gather people together, that the priest might set forth his ware to sale. O! the vast sums of money that are gotten by the trade they make of selling the Scriptures, and by their preaching, from the highest bishop to the lowest priest! What one trade else in the world is comparable to it ? notwithstanding the Scriptures were given forth freely, and Christ commanded his ministers to preach freely, and the prophets and apostles denounced judgment against all covetous hirelings and diviners for money. But in this free Spirit of the Lord Jesus was I sent forth to declare the Word of life and recopciliation freely, that all might come to Christ, who gives freely, and who renews up into the image of God, which man and woman were in before they fell, that they might sit down in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
1649–1650.-George Fox is first imprisoned at Nottingham, where the sheriff is con
vinced—he is liberated and quiets a distracted woman-many miracles were wrought in those days, beyond what that unbelieving age would receive or bearhe is cruelly treated at Mansfield-Woodhouse—is taken before the magistrates at Derby-acknowledges that he is sanctified—is temptingly asked if he were Christ, which he denies, yet is committed for blasphemy-his mittimus to Derby prison -writes to the priests of Derby against preaching for hire, &c.-also against persecution—to Barton and Bennet, justices, on the same subject-to Justice Bennet against covetousness—to Justice Barton, a preacher and a persecutor-to the mayor of Derby against persecution and oppression—to the court of Derby against oaths and oppression to the bell-ringers of Derby against vanities and worldly pleasures-his jailer is convinced Justice Bennet first gives Friends the name of Quakers in derision-writes to Friends and others, to open their under. standings, and to direct them to their true Teacher within themselves—to the convinced people, directing them to internal silence and to true obedience-an encouragement to the faithful—to the justices of Derby against persecution, thrice repeated—to the priests of Derby, on the same subject-to the justices of Derby, to prize their time, and to depart from evil-the like to Colonel Barton, justice, and warning of the plagues and vengeance hanging over the oppressor.
Now as I went towards NOTTINGHAM on a First-day in the morning, with Friends to a meeting there, when I came on the top of a hill in sight of the town, I espied the great steeple-house; and the Lord said unto me, “thou must go cry against yonder great idol, and against the worshippers therein.” I said nothing of this to the Friends that were with me, but went on with them to the meeting, where the mighty power of the Lord was amongst us; in which I left Friends sitting in the meeting, and I went away to the steeple-house. 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, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.” And he told the people that 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 and say, “O no, it is not the Scriptures ;” and I 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. The Jews had the Scriptures, and yet resisted the Holy Ghost, and rejected Christ, the bright morning-star, They 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 without the Holy Ghost. As I spoke thus amongst them, the officers came and took me away, and put me into a nasty, stink
ing prison; the smell whereof got so into my nose and throat, that it very much annoyed me.
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; and when I was brought before them, the mayor was in a peevish, fretful temper, but the Lord's power allayed 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 again; 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, and children, and servants were much changed, for the power of the Lord wrought upon them. I lodged at the sheriff's, and great meetings had in his house. Some persons of considerable condition in the world came to them, and the Lord's power appeared eminently amongst them. This sheriff sent for the other sheriff, and for 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, and that the other knew it well enough; and having discovered the matter, and acknowledged the wrong done by thein, 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; ” and accordingly he went 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. Hereupon the magistrates grew very angry, and sent for me from the sheriff's house, and committed me to the common prison. When the assize came on, there was one moved to come and offer up himself for me, body for body; yea, life also : but wh I should have been brought before the judge, the sheriff's man being somewhat long in fetching me to the sessions-house, the judge was risen before I came. which I understood the judge was somewhat offended, 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; wherefore the governor of the castle sent down soldiers, and dispersed them; and after that they were quiet. But both priests and people were astonished at the wonderful
power that broke forth; and several of the priests were made tender, and some did confess to the power of the Lord.
Now, after I was released from Nottingham jail, where I had been kept prisoner some time, I travelled 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 all about her ears. He was about to bleed her, she being first bound, and many people being 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 unbound 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. The Lord's power settled her mind, and she mended; and afterwards she received the truth, and continued in it to her death. The Lord's name was honoured; to whom the glory of all his works belongs. Many great and wonderful things were wrought by the heavenly power in those days; for the Lord made bare his omnipotent arm, and manifested his power to the astonishment of many, by the healing virtue whereof many have been delivered from great infirmities, 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. But blessed for ever be the name of the Lord, and everlastingly honoured, and over all exalted and magnified be the arm of his glorious power, by which he hath wrought gloriously; let the honour and praise of all his works be ascribed to him alone.
Now while I was at Mansfield-Woodhouse, I was moved to go to the steeple-house there, and declare the truth to the priest and people; but the people fell upon me in great rage, struck me down, and almost stifled and smothered me; and I was cruelly beaten and bruised by them with their hands, Bibles, and sticks. Then they haled me out, though I was hardly able to stand, and put me into the stocks, where I sat some hours and they brought dog-whips and horse-whips, threatening to whip me. After some time they had me before the magistrate, at a knight's house, where were many great persons; who, seeing how evilly I had been used, after much threatening, set me at liberty. But the rude people stoned me out of the town, for preaching the word of life to them. I was scarcely able to move or stand, by reason of the ill usage I had received; yet with considerable effort I got about a mile from the town, and then I met with some people who gave me something to comfort me, because I was inwardly bruised;
but the Lord's power soon healed me again. · That day some people were convinced of the Lord's truth, and turned to his teaching, at which I rejoiced.
Then I went 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 one Oates, who was one of their chief teachers, and others of the heads of them, with several others of their company, came to meet us at BARROW; and there we discoursed with them. One of them said, “What was not of faith was sin.” Whereupon I asked them, What faith was? and how it was wrought 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? for they looked upon the Scriptures as meaning outward mountains and ways. But I told them they must find them in their own hearts; which they seemed to wonder at. We asked them who baptized John the Baptist ? and 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. Then asked them, “Seeing Judas, who betrayed Christ, and was called the Son of Perdition, had hanged himself, what Son of Perdition was that which Paul spoke of, that sat in the temple of God, exalted above all that is called God? and what temple of God that was in which this Son of Perdition sat? and whether he, that betrays Christ within in himself, be not one in nature with that Judas, that betrayed Christ without ?" 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 were got in; and the people locked them in, and themselves too, with the priest. But after the priest had done, they opened the door, and we went in also, and had a service for the Lord amongst them. Afterwards we had a meeting in the town, amongst several people that were in high notions. Passing from thence, I heard of a people that were in prison in COVENTRY for religion. And as I walked towards the jail, the word of the Lord came to me saying, “MY LOVE WAS ALWAYS TO THEE, AND THOU ART 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 the 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 vapour, and blaspheme, at which my soul was greatly grieved. They said they were God; but 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; and they said, from Scripture. A Bible being at hand, I asked them to point out that Scripture ; and they showed me the 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 that Scripture proved 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 that that was nothing to their purpose either : Then seeing they said they were God, I asked them, if they knew whether it would rain to-morrow? they said they could not tell. I told them, God could tell. Again, I asked them if they thought they should be always in that condition, or should change ? and they answered they could not tell. Then said I unto them, God can tell, and God doth 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