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Next morning I rode about fourteen miles to a meeting at BaguurST in HAMPSHIRE, Thomas Briggs being with me. When we came into the parish, some sober people told us, that “the priest of the town was an envious man, and threatened us." We went on to the meeting, which was large; and after some time Thomas Briggs stood up and spoke. It seems the priest had got a warrant, and sent the constables and other officers with it. They came to the house, stayed a while, and then went away again, without coming into the meeting; so we in the meeting did not know of their being there. After Thomas Briggs had done speaking, I was moved of the Lord to stand up, and declare the Word of Life to the people; and a precious meeting we had. When it was ended and risen, I heard : great clatter in the yard; and when we came out, the man of the house told us, “that the officers had been in the house before, but did not come into the meeting, going away without doing anything; and that now the priest in a great rage had sent them again, and his own servant with them.” But the meeting being ended before they came, they could do nothing. Thus the good providence of the Lord preserved us from the wicked design of the envious priest.
Thence we went to a Friend's house on the edge of BERKSHIRE, where scveral Friends came to visit us. Afterwards we passed into SURREY, and had many precious meetings, till we came to Stephen Smith's, near GUILDFORD, where great persecution had been, and very much property taken away from Friends for their meetings; and under great threatenings they were at that time; yet we had several blessed meetings thereabouts, and the Lord's power was over all, in and by which we were preserved.
We went into Sussex, by Richard Baxe's, where we had a large, precious, quiet meeting, though the constables had given out threatenings before. I had many more meetings in that county; and though there were some threatenings, they were peaceable; and Friends were refreshed, and established upon the foundation of God, that stands sure. When I had thoroughly visited Sussex, I went into KENT, and had many glorious and precious meetings in several parts of that county. I went to a meeting near DEAL, which was very large ; and returning from thence to CANTERBURY, visited Friends there. I then passed into the ISLE OF SHEPPY, where I stayed two or three days; and thither came Alexander Parker, George Whitehead, and John Rous to me.
Next day, finding my service for the Lord finished there, we passed towards ROCHESTER. On the way, as I was walking down a hill, a great weight and oppression fell upon my spirit; I got on my horse again, but the weight remained so that I was hardly able to ride. At length we came to Rochester, but I was much spent, being so extremely laden and burthened with the world's spirits, that my life was oppressed under them.
in 1661 and 1662, being committed there for worshipping God in his own house. He was kept there seventeen weeks, great part of it in winter-in a cold and very incommodious room without a chimney, from which usage he contracted so severe au indisposition, that for several weeks after he was unable to turn himself in his bed.
In the sixty-third year of his age "he died as he lived, in the faith that overcomes the world.”
I got with difficulty to GRAVESEND, and lay at an inn there; but could hardly either eat or sleep. The next day John Rous and Alexander Parker went for London; and John Stubbs being come to me, we went over the ferry into Essex. We came to HORNCHURCH, where was a meeting on First-day. After it I rode with great uneasiness to STRATFORD, to a Friend's house, whose name was Williams, and who had formerly been a captain. Here I lay exceedingly weak, and at last lost both hearing and sight. Several Friends came to me from London: and I told them, that “I should be as a sign to such as would not see, and such as would not hear the truth.” In this condition I continued some time. Several came about me; and though I could not see their persons, I felt and discerned their spirits, who were honest-hearted, and who were not. Divers Friends who practised physic, came to see me, and would have given me medicines, but I was not to meddle with any; for I was sensible I had a travail to go through; and therefore desired none but solid, weighty Friends might be about me. Under great sufferings and travails, sorrows and oppressions, I lay for several weeks, whereby I was brought so low and weak in body, that few thought I could live. Some that were with me went away, saying “they would not see me die;" and it was reported both in London and in the country, that I was deceased; but I felt the Lord's power inwardly supporting me. When they that were about me had given me up to die, I spoke to them to get a coach to carry me to Gerrard Roberts's, about twelve miles off ; for I found it was my place to go thither. I had now recovered a little glimmering sight, so that I could discern the people and fields as I went, and that was all. When I came to Gerrard's, he was very weak; and I was moved to speak to him, and encourage him. After I had stayed about three weeks there, it was with me to go to Enfield. Triends were afraid of my removing; but I told them I might safely go. When I had taken my leave of Gerrard, and was come to ENFIELD, I went first to visit Amor Stoddart, who lay very weak, and almost speechless. I was moved to tell him," he had been faithful as a man, and faithful to God; and that the immortal Seed of life was his crown.” Many more words I was moved to speak to him, though I was there so weak, I was hardly able to stand ; and within a few days after, Amor died. I went to the widow Dry's at Enfield, where I lay all that winter, warring in spirit with the cvil spirits of the world, that warred against truth and Friends. For there were great persccutions at this time; some meeting-houses were pulled down, and many were broken up by soldiers. Sometimes a troop of horse, or a company of foot came; and some broke their swords, carbines, mus. kets, and pikes, with beating Friends; and many they wounded, so that their blood lay in the streets. Amongst others that were active in this cruel persecution at London, my old adversary Colonel Kirby was one; who, with a company of foot, went to break up several meetings; and he would often inquire for me at the meetings he broke up. One time as he went over the water to Horsleydown, there happening some scuffle between some of his soldiers and some of the watermen, he bid his men "fire at them." They did so, and killed some.
I was under great sufferings at this time, beyond what I have words
to declare. For I was brought into the deep, and saw all the religions of the world, and people that lived in them, and the priests that held them up, who were as a company of men-eaters, eating up the people like bread, and gnawing the flesh from off their bones. But as for true religion and Worship, and ministers of God, alack! I saw there were none amongst those of the world that pretended to it. For they that pretended to be the church, were but a company of men-eaters, men of cruel visages, and of long teeth; and, though they had cried against the men-eaters in America, I saw they were in the same nature. And as the great professing Jews did “eat up God's people like bread," and the false prophets and priests then preached peace to people, so long as they "put into their mouths and fed them;" but if they fed them not, they prepared war against them, “they ate their flesh off their bones, and chopped them for the caldron;" so these that profess themselves Christians now (both priests and professors), and are not in the same power and Spirit that Christ and the holy prophets and apostles were in, are in the same nature that the old professing Jews were in, and are men-eaters as well as they. These stirred up persecution and set the wicked informers to work; so that a Friend could hardly speak a few words in a private family, before they sat down to eat meat, but some were ready to inform against them. A particular instance of which I have heard as follows:
At Droitwich John Cartwright came to a Friend's house, and being moved of the Lord to speak a few words before he sat down to supper, there came an informer, and stood hearkening under the window. When he had heard the Friend speak, hoping to get some gain to himself, he went and informed, and got a warrant to distrain his goods, under pretence that there was a meeting at his house; whereas there were none in the house at that time, but the Friend, the man of the house, his wife, and their maidservant. But this evil-minded man, as he came back with his warrant in the night, fell off his horse, and broke his neck. So there was a wretched end of a wicked informer, who hoped to enrich himself by spoiling Friends; but the Lord prevented him, and cut him off in his wickedness.
Now, though it was a cruel, bloody, persecuting time, yet the Lord's power went over all, and his everlasting Seed prevailed; and Friends were made to stand firm and faithful in the Lord's power. Some sober people of other professions would say, “if Friends did not stand, the nation would run into debauchery.”
Though by reason of my weakness, I could not travel amongst Friends as I used to do, yet in the motion of life, I sent the following lines as an encouraging testimony to them :
“MY DEAR FRIENDS, “The Seed is above all. In it walk; in which ye all have life. Be not amazed at the weather; for always the just suffered by the unjust, but the just had the dominion. All along ye may see, by faith the mountains were subdued; and the rage of the wicked, and his fiery darts, were quenched. Though the waves and storms are high, yet your faith will keep you so as to swim above them; for they are but for a time, and the truth is without time. Therefore keep on the mountain of holiness, ye who are led to it by the light, where nothing shall hurt. Do not think that anything will outlast the truth, which standeth sure; and is over that which is out of the truth; for the good will overcome the evil; the light, darkness; the lifc, death ; virtue, vice; and righteousness, unrighteousness. The false prophet cannot overcome the true; but the true propbet, Christ, will overcome all the false. So be faithful, and live in that which doth not think the time
After some time it pleased the Lord to allay the heat of this violent persecution; and I felt in spirit an overcoming of the spirits of those meneaters, that had stirred it up, and carried it on to that height of cruelty. though I was outwardly very weak. And I plainly felt, and those Friends that were with me, and that came to visit me, took notice, that as the persecution ceased, I came from under the travails and sufferings, that had lain with such weight upon me; so that towards the spring I began to recover, and to walk up and down, beyond the expectation of many, who did not think I could ever have gone abroad again.
Whilst I was under this spiritual suffering, the state of the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven, was opened to me; which some carnal-minded people had looked upon to be like an outward city dropped out of the elements. I saw the beauty and glory of it, the length, the breadth, and the height thereof, all in complete proportion. I saw, that all who are within the light of Christ, and in his faith, which he is the author of; and in the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, which Christ and the holy prophets and apostles were in; and within the grace, and truth, and power of God, which are the walls of the city ;-such are within the city, are members of it, and have right to eat of the tree of life, which yiclds her fruit every month, and whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. But they that are out of the grace, truth, light, Spirit, and power of God; they who resist the Holy Ghost, quench, vex, and grieve the Spirit of God; who hate the light, turn the grace of God into wantonness, and do despite to the Spirit of Grace; they who have erred from the faith, and made shipwreck of it and of a good conscience, who abuse the power of God, and despise prophesying, revelation, and inspiration ;- these are the dogs and unbelievers that are without the city. These make up the great city Babylon, confusion, and her cage, the power of darkness; and the evil spirit of error surrounds and covers them over. In this great city Babylon are the false prophets, in the false power and false spirit; the beast, in the dragon's power, and the whore that is gone a whoring from the Spirit of God, and from Christ her husband. But the Lord's power is over all this power of darkness, false prophets, and their worshippers, who are for the lake which burns with fire. Many things more did I see concerning the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, which are hard to be uttered, and would be hard to be received. But, in short, this holy city is within the light, and all that are within the light, are within the city; the gates whereof stand open all the day (for there is no night there), that all may come in. Christ's blood being shed for every man, he tasted death for
every man, and enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world; and his grace that brings salvation having appeared to all men, there is no place or language where his voice may not be heard. The Christians in the primitive times were called by Christ, “a city set upon a hill ;” they were also called “the light of the world,” and “the salt of the earth ; " but when Christians lost the light, and salt, and power of God, then they came to be trodden under foot, like unsavoury salt. Even as the Jews, who while they kept the law of God, were preserved above all nations; but when they turned their backs on God and his law, they were trodden under foot of other nations. Adam and Eve, while they obeyed God, were kept in his image and in the paradise of God, in dominion over all the works of his hands; but when they disobeyed God, they lost his image, the righteousness and the holiness in which they were made; they lost their dominion, were driven out of paradise; and so fell under the dark power of Satan, and came under the chains of darkness. But the promise of God was, “ that the Seed of the woman, Christ Jesus, should bruise the serpent's head,” -should break his power and authority, which had led into captivity, and had held man therein. So Christ, who is the first and the last, sets man free, and is the resurrection of the just and unjust, the judge of the quick and dead; and they that are in him are invested with everlasting rest and peace, out of all the labours, and travails, and miseries of Adam in the fall. So he is sufficient and of ability to restore man into the state he was in before he fell; and not into that state only, but into that also that never fell, even to himself.
I had also in this time a great exercise and travail of spirit upon me, concerning the powers and rulers of these nations, from the sense I had of the many tender visitations and faithful warnings, that had been given them, and of their great abuse thereof, who had refused to hear, and rejected the counsel of the Lord. And though I knew Friends would be clear of their blood, yet I could not but mourn over them, and gave forth these few lines following concerning them :
“We have given them a visitation, have faithfully warned them, have declared to them our innocency and uprightness, and that we never did any hurt to the king, nor to any of his people. We have nothing in our hearts but love and good-will to him and his people, and desire their eternal welfare. But if they will not hear, the day of judgment and of sorrow, of torment, misery, and sudden destruction, will come from the Lord upon them, that have been the cause of the sufferings of many thousands of simple, innocent, harmless people that have done them no hurt, nor have had any ill-will towards him or them; but have desired their eternal good for the eternal trutli's sake. Destruction will come upon them that turn the sword backward. Therefore do not blind your eyes, the Lord will bring swift destruction and misery upon you; surely he will do it, and will relieve his innocent people, who have groaned for deliverance from under your oppression, and have also groaned for your deliverance out of wicked. ness. Blessed be the Lord God, that he hath a people in this nation, that seek the good of all men upon the face of the earth; for we have the mind