« PreviousContinue »
are too apt to do. But Joshua said unto Achan, “My son' (mark his clean language, his savoury expression and gracious words), “My son,' said he, 'give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him, and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.' Then Achan confessed, that he had sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus he had done. Then Joshua the judge said, 'Why hast thou troubled Israel ? The Lord shall trouble thee this day. And they stoned him and his with stones, and burnt his goods with fire. But there was no unsavoury word given to him that we read of, though he was worthy of death. Josh. vii.
So when the man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath-day was taken and brought before Moses, the judge of Israel, and put in ward until the mind of the Lord was known concerning him, we read not of any reviling language given him, but the Lord said to Moses, and Moses to the people, “The man shall surely be put to death,' Numb. xv. 35.
“Likewise in the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, where Moses called them to trial, he did not sirrah them or miscall them, but said to Korah and the rest, “Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi,' Numb. xvi. 8. And when he gave the sentence against them, he said, 'If these men dic the common death of all men,' &c. He did not say, If these rascals or knaves, as many that profess themselves Christians now do.
“When Elihu spoke to Job, who was a judge, and to his friends, and said, 'Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man, for I know not to give flattering titles : in so doing my Maker would soon take me away,' Job xxxii. Job did not say, • Sirrah, hold thy tongue, nor give him any unsavoury expression. Then for the words of David and Solomon, and other kings and officers, see in the books of the Kings and Chronicles the savoury language that they gave to them that were brought before them; nay, though Shimei cursed David the king, yet neither did David then, or afterwards, nor Solomon, when he caused him to be put to death, give him any reproachful language, or so much as call him sirrah ; 2 Sam. xvi. and 1 Kings ii.
“Read the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the rest of the prophets, who prophesied to several people, and against rulers, kings, and magistrates; yet where can it be found, that they had any bad language given them, as sirrah, or the like, by any ruler either of the Jews or heathens ? Nay, though Jeremiah was cast into prison, and into the dungeon, yet there was no such word as sirrah, or knave given to him. Jer. xxxvii.
« Then for the words and carriage of the heathens : when Abraham was brought before Abimelech, who was a king, he gave Abraham no unsavoury expressions, Gen. xx. And when Isaac came before Abimelech, he gave him no taunting language either, Gen. xxvi. When Joseph was cast into prison, and that in Egypt, we do not read that he had any railing language given him, Gen. xxxix. Neither did Pharaoh, when Moses and Aaron appeared before him, give them bad language, as sirrah, knave, or the like.
“When Nebuchadnezzar sentenced the three children to the fiery furnace, there was no such language given them as sirrah, knave, rascal;
hut he called them by the names they were known by, Dan. iii. And when Daniel was brought before Darius, and sentenced to be cast into the lions' den, he had no such names given him, as many give now, who call those rulers heathens, but themselves Christians.
“If ye look into the New Testament, in the parable of the wedding supper, the king, that came to view his guests, did not say unto him that was found without a wedding-garment, 'Sirrah, how camest thou in hither?' But, ‘Friend, how camest thou in hither &c., though he was one that was to be bound hand and foot, and cast into outer darkness, Matt. xxii. Nay, when Judas had betrayed his master, Christ Jesus, the Lord of life, and had sold him to the priests, Christ did not call him sirrah, when he came to apprehend him, but friend : Matt. xxvi. 50. Stephen in his examination, sentence, and death, had no such reproachful word given him as sirrah, or knave, Acts vi. and vii. When the apostles Peter and John were brought before the high-priest and rulers of the Jews, and commanded not to preach in the name of Jesus, Acts iv., they were not called sirrah, or knaves, nor had they any such ill names given them. And when Paul and Silas were cast into prison by the magistrates, there was no such word given them in their examination, nor in their sentence, Acts xvi. They called them men, not rogues, sirrahs, or knaves. And when the magistrates had done contrary to law, they feared. So ye may see how short of this example many are, that call themselves Christian rulers, who are not afraid to cast innocent people into prison, and give them ill names besides, below both Jews and Heathens.
“When the uproar was at Ephesus about Diana’s slirine, Demetrius, who bore great sway among the craftsmen, did not call Paul sirrah, but Paul, Acts xix. And when Paul was brought prisoner before the highpriest Ananias, and the council of the Jews, and told them, he had lived in all good conscience towards God until that day, though they, who professed the Scriptures but lived out of the life of them, could not bear to hear of living in a good conscience, as professors of the Scriptures now, that live not in the life, cannot bear to hear of living in a good conscience now-adays : but Ananias caused Paul to be smitten on the mouth; yet he did not call him knave nor sirrah, Acts xxiii. The apostate Jews indeed, who, though they professed Scripture, were out of the life thereof, and had rejected Christ, in accusing Paul before the Roman magistrates, did once call him a 'pestilent fellow,' Acts xxiv., as the accusing professors, who live out of the life, will sometimes call us now. But Felix gave Paul no such language; neither did Festus nor King Agrippa, in all their examinations of him, give him any such words as sirrah, rascal, knave, or the like, but heard him patiently. So now Christians may see through all the Scriptures, that when any persons were brought before rulers, kings, or magistrates, whether Jews or Heathens, they did not use to call them evil names, as sirrah, rascal, knave, and the like; they had no such foulmouthed language in their courts, nor did they use to say to them, 'Sirrah, put off your hat. Now, ye that profess Christianity, and say the Scripture is your rule, may see, that more corrupt words proceed out of your mouths, than either out of the Jews or Heathens, if ye will try your practice by
the Scriptures. And doth not the apostle tell you, that no corrupt communication should proceed out of your mouths, and that your words should be gracious ? Now I query, where and whence ye, that call yourselves Christians, have got all these bad words and names, seeing neither God, nor Christ, nor the prophets, nor the judges, nor kings, nor rulers, ever gave any such names, so far as appears by Scripture, either amongst Heathens, Jews, or Christians ?"
Before the next assizes, there was a quarter-sessions held at Lancaster by the justices; to which though we were not brought, I put Friends upon drawing up an account of their sufferings, and laying them before the justices in their open sessions. For Friends had suffered deeply by fines and distresses, the bailiffs and officers making great havock and spoil of their goods; but no redress was afforded.
And because some evil-minded magistrates would tell us sometimes of the late plot in the North, we gave forth the following paper to stop their mouths, and to clear truth and Friends therefrom. “ A Testimony from the people of God, whom the world calls Quakers, to all magistrates and oficers of what sort soever, from the highest to the lowest.
“We are peaceable, and seek the peace, good, and welfare of all, as in our lives and peaceable conduct is manifested; and we desire the eternal good and welfare of all, and their souls' everlasting peace. We are become heirs of the blessing before the curse was, and of the power of God before the devil was, and before the fall of man. We are heirs of the gospel of peace, which is the power of God; and we are heirs of Christ, who have inherited him and his everlasting kingdom, and do possess the power of an endless life. Knowing this our portion and inheritance, this is to remove all jealousies out of your minds, and out of the minds of all people concerning us, that all plots and conspiracies, plotters and conspirators against the king, and all aiders and assisters thereunto, we always did and do utterly deny to be of us, or to be of the fellowship of the gospel of Christ's kingdom, or his servants. For Christ said, “his kingdom was not of this world; if it were, his servants would fight.' And therefore he bid Peter “put up his sword, for,' said he, he that taketh the sword, shall perish by the sword.' Here is the faith and patience of the saints, to bear and suffer all things, knowing that vengeance is the Lord's, and he will repay it to them that hurt his people, and wrong the innocent. Therefore we cannot avenge, but suffer for his name's sake. We know that the Lord will judge the world in righteousness, according to their deeds, and that, when every one shall give an account to him of the deeds done in the body,' then will the Lord give every man according to his works, whether they be good or evil. Christ said, he came not to destroy men's lives;' and when his disciples would have had ‘fire to come down from heaven,' to consume them that did not receive him, he told them, they knew not what spirit they were of,' that would have men's lives destroyed, and therefore he rebuked them and told them, that he came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them.' We are of Christ's mind, who is the great Prophet, whom all ought to hear
in all things, who saith to his, 'if they strike thee on one cheek, turn tho other; and render to no one evil for evil.' This doctrine of his we have learned, and not only confess him in words, but follow his doctrine ; therefore we suffer all manner of reproaches, scandals, slanders, spoiling of goods, buffetings, whippings, stripes, and imprisonments, for these many years ; and can say, 'the Lord forgive them that have thus served us, and lay not these things to their charge. And we know that the Jews' outward sword, by which they cut down the Heathen outwardly, was a type of the inward sword of the Spirit, which cuts down the inward Heathen, the raging nature in people. The blood of bulls, lambs, rams, and other offerings, and that priesthood which offered them, together with other things in the law, were types of Christ, the one offering, and of his blood, who is the everlasting priest and covenant, our life and way to God, the great prophet and shepherd, the head of his church, and the great bishop of our souls, whom we witness come; and he doth oversee and keep his flock. For in Adam, in the fall, we know the striving, quarrelling, unpeaceable spirits are in the enmity one with another, and not in peace; but in Christ Jesus, the second Adam, that never fell, is peace, rest, and life. The doctrine of Christ, who never sinned, is, to‘love one another; and they who are in this doctrine, hurt no man, in which we are, in Christ, who is our life. Therefore it is well for you to distinguish between the precious and the vile, between them that fear God and serve him, and them that do not; and to make a difference between the innocent and the guilty, between him that is holy and pure, and the ungodly and profane; for they that do not so, bring troubles, burthens, and sorrows upon themselves. This we write in love to your souls, that ye may consider these things; for we cannot say that they who hate enemies and one another, are of God, or in Christ's doctrine, but are opposers of it. And such as wrestle with flesh and blood, with carnal weapons, are gone into the flesh, out of the Spirit. They are not in our fellowship in the Spirit, in which is the bond of peace; neither are they of us, nor have we unity with them in their fleshly state, and with their carnal weapons. For our unity and fellowship stand in the gospel, which is the power of God, before the devil was, the liar, and the murderer, the man-slayer, and the envious. Christ's mind and his doctrine being to save men's lives, we, who are of Christ's mind, are out of, and above these things. And our desire is, that in the fear of the Lord, ye may all live, and receive God's wisdom, by which all things were created, that by it all may be ordered to His glory. .: “This is from them that love all your souls, and seek your eternal good.”
Being now a prisoner in Lancaster castle, a deep sense came upon me of a day of sore trial and exercise that was come and coming upon all who had been in high profession of religion; and I was moved to give forth the following paper as a warning to such :
“Now is the day that every one's faith and love to God and Christ will be tried; they who are redeemed out of the earth, and they who are in the earth, will be manifested; and who is the master they serve, and
whether they will run to the mountains to cover them. Now will it appear who are the stony ground, who are the thorny ground, and who are the highway ground, in whom the fowls of the air take away the seed, and the thorns and cares of the world choke, and the heat of persecution scorches and burns up your green blade; for the day trieth all things. Therefore let not such as forsake truth, for saving the earth, say that your brother priest only 'serveth not the Lord Jesus Christ, but his own belly, and mindeth earthly things,' for such' themselves also do the same, and hug and embrace self, and not the Lord. Now it will be made mani. fest, who is every one's God, Christ, and Saviour, and their love will be manifest, whether it be of the world, or of God; for if it be the love of the world, it is enmity, and the enmity will manifest itself what it is; and the day will try every spirit and his fruits. Therefore, my dear friends, in the everlasting Seed of God live, that is over all the house of Adam and his works in the fall; and so dwelling in the Seed, Christ, that never fell, in him you all have virtue, life, and peace, and through him ye will overcome all that is in the fall.”
I wrote also another epistle to Friends, to warn them to keep out of the spirit, that wrought in John Perrot and his company against the truth:
“DEAR FRIENDS, “Dwell in the love of God, and in his righteousness; that will preserve you above all changeable spirits, that dwell not in the truth, but in quarrels. Avoid such, and keep your habitations in the truth. Dwell in the truth, and in the Word of God, by which ye are reconciled to him. Keep your meetings in the name of Jesus Christ, who never fell; then ye will see over all the gatherings of Adam's sons and daughters, you being met in the life over them all, in which are your unity, peace, and fellowship with God, and one with another, in the life, in which ye may enjoy God's presence among you. So remember me to all Friends in the everlasting Seed of God. The fellowship of all those that are got into fellowship in outward things, will corrupt and wither away. Therefore live in the gospel, the power of God, which was before the devil was. This fel. lowship in the gospel, the power of God, is a mystery to all the fellowships of the world. So look over all outward sufferings, and look at the Lord, and the Lamb, who is the First and the Last, the Amen; in whom fare
• In the sixth month, the assizes were held again at Lancaster, and the same judges, Twisden and Turner, came that circuit again ; but Judge Turner then sat on the crown bench, and so I was brought before him. Before I was called to the bar, I was put among the murderers and felons for about two hours, the people, the justices, and the judge also gazing upon me. After they had tried several others, they called me to the bar, and empannelled a jury. Then the judge asked the justices, “whether they had tendered me the oath at the sessions.” They said, “they had.” Then he bid, “ give them the book, that they might swear they had tendered me the oath at the sessions.” They said, “they bad.” Then he