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William Evans.

The Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) online

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as ye do it, &c.

" Secondly, There must be a coming into
his death, a suftei'ing with Christ : and this
is of necessity to salvation ; and not tempo-
rary, but continual : there must be a dying
daily.

" Thirdly, a being buried with Christ.

" Fourthly, a rising with Christ.

" Fifthly, After they are risen with Christ,
then a seeking those things which are above,
a seeking the bread that comes down from
heaven, and a feeding on that and having
fellowship in that.

" For outward bread wine and water, are
from below, and are visible and temporal ;
but, saith the apostle, ' We look not at things
that are seen, for the things that are seen are
temporal, but the things that are not seen are
6



42



MEMOIR OF GEORGE FOX.



eternal.' The fellowship that stands in the
use of bread, wine, water, circumcision, out-
ward temple, and things seen, will have an
end : But the fellowship which stands in the
Gospel, the power of God, which was before
the devil was, and which brings life and im-
mortality to Kght, by which people may see
over the devil that has darkened them, this
fellowship is eternal, and will stand. And all
that are in it seek that which is heavenly and
eternal, which comes down from above, and
are settled in the eternal mystery of the fel-
lowship of the Gospel, which is hid from all
eyes that look only at visible things. The
apostle told the Corinthians, who were in dis-
order about water, bread and wine, that he
' desired to know nothing amongst them, but
Jesus Christ, and him crucified.' "

Having performed a visit to Friends in most
parts of England, to the comfort and strength
of his brethren, George Fox returned to Lon-
don, in 1656, where he remained some time.
Diligently engaged in his Master's cause, he
allowed himself but little rest ; and Avhen not
travelling, much of his time was occupied in
writing essays for publication, with a view of
spreading a knowledge of the doctrines of the
Society, correcting the false charges which
•were made against them, or to check the vio-
lence of persecution. He was indeed an in-
defatigable labourer, scarcely allowing him-
self time to take sufficient food or sleep, and
wholly giving up temporal business, that he
might be more at liberty to serve the Lord.

The Society had now gi'eatly increased in
numbers, and meetings were settled in most
parts of the kingdom, which Friends were con-
cerned to attend with diligence, notwithstand-
ing the cruel usage by beating, stoning and
imprisonment, which they often met with while
there, or on the way.

Persecution served but to strengthen the
faith and constancy of the sufferers ; who
counted the testimony of truth, and the faith-
ful support of their religious principles, dearer
than any earthly consideration, freely surren-
dering their property, their bodies, and their
lives, rather than violate their duty to God.
For many years " there were seldom fewer
than one thousand of them in prison for truth's
testimony, some for tithes, some for not going
to the places of worship, some for not swear-
ing, and others for not putting off the hat and
for saying thou and thee, &;c."

About this period many being constrained
to declare the goodness of the Lord in their
assemblies, some of whom were in their in-
fancy as to religious growth, this prudent elder
wrote an epistle of advice respecting the pro-
per conduct of Friends towards such, contain-
ing the following : —



" All my dear friends in the noble Seed of
God, who have known his power, life, and
presence among you, let it be your joy to
hear or see the springs of life break forth in
any ; through which ye have all unity in the
same, feeling life and power. And above all
things take heed of judging any one openly
in your meetings, except they be openly pro-
fane or rebellious, such as are out of the truth ;
that by the power, life and wisdom, ye may
stand over them, and by it answer the witness
of God in the world, that such, whom ye bear
your testimony against, are none of you ; that
therein the truth may stand clear and single.
But such as are tender, if they should be
moved to bubble forth a few words, and speak
in the Seed and Lamb's power, suffer and bear
that ; that is, the tender. And if they should
go beyond their measure, bear it in the meet-
ing for peace and order's sake, and that the
spirits of the world be not moved against you.
But when the meeting is done, if any be moved
to speak to them, between you and them, one
or two of you that feel it in the life, do it in
the love and wisdom that is pure and gentle,
from above ; for love is that which edifies,
bears all things, suffers long, and fulfils the
law. In this ye have order and edification,
ye have wisdom to preserve you all wise and
in patience ; which takes away the occasion
of stumbling the weak, and the occasion of
the spirits of the world to get up : but in the
royal Seed, the heavy stone, ye keep down
all that is wrong, and by it answer that of
God in all. For ye will hear, see, and feel
the power of God preaching, as your faith is
wholly in it, (when ye do not hear words) to
bind, to chain, to limit, to frustrate, that no-
thing shall rise nor come forth but what is in
the power. With that ye will hold back, with
that ye will let up and open every spring,
plant, and spark ; in which will be your joy
and refreshment in the power of God. Ye
that know the power of God and are come to
it, which is the cross of Christ, that crucifies
you to the state that Adam and Eve were in
in the fall, and so to the world, by this power
of God ye come to see the state that Adam
and Eve were in before they fell. This power
of God is the cross, in which stands the ever-
lasting glory, which brings up into I'ighteous-
ness and holiness, the image of God, and
crucifies to unrighteousness and unholiness,
the image of satan, that Adam and Eve and
their sons and daughters are in under the fall.
Through this power of God ye come to see
the state they were in before they fell ; yea,
and I say, to a higher state, to the Seed*



* In reading the writings of George Fox, we
find him frequently using the word seed with



MEMOIR OF GEORGE FOX.



43



Christ, the second Adam, by whom all things
were made. For man hath been driven from
God. All Adam and Eve's sons and daua;h-



reference to our blessed Lord. The term is de-
rived from that remarkable prediction delivered on
the expulsion of our first parents fi-om paradise,
foretelling the coming of Christ Jesus, as the Sa-
viour and deliverer of mankind from the conse-
quences of the fall ; Genesis iii. 15. " I will put
enmity between thee (the tempter) and the woman,
and between thy seed and her seed : it shall bruise
thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." George
Whitehead, in his preface to the Epistles of George
Fox, has the following observations on this subject :

" In many of the ensuing Epistles, he often
mentions the Seed, the Life, the Power of God,
and the like ; whereby he intends no other than
what the Holy Scriptures testify of Christ ; which,
we know, he truly loved and esteemed, and was
often conversant in reading of them, and had an
excellent memory and spiritual sense thereof given
him of the Lord. By the pure holy Seed, he meant
and declared Christ, the promised Seed ; wherein
all the promises of God are yea and amen. And
as Christ is the Word of life, the Word of faith.
He is that immortal and incorruptible Seed, of
which all true and spiritual believers and children
of the light are begotten to God, and born again ;
and which Seed, or Word of eternal life, abideth
in him that is born of God, and he sinneth not
because thereof 1 John iii. And the generation
of God, and children of his kingdom, and of the
promise, are called the good seed, and covmted for
the seed, being born of that incorruptible Seed, or
Word of Life, which endureth for ever." 1 Peter
i. 2.3, 15.

" This our deceased friend and servant of Jesus
Christ truly testified of Him in all respects, both
as come in the flesh and in the spirit, both as Christ
was and is our only Mediator and Advocate, and
as He was and is God over all, blessed for ever ;
whom he so dearly loved and honoured, that he
often oftered up his life, and deeply suffered for
Him; and that in dear and constant love to his
seed, that a holy generation might be raised,
strengthened, and increased in the earth among
the children of men. And his knowdedge and
ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, being after the
Spirit in life and power, did no ways imply any
lessening of the dignity or glory of Christ, nor
any defect of faith or love to Christ, as He came
and suffered in the flesh for mankind ; as some ad-
versaries have injuriously misrepresented and
aspersed him; for he highly esteemed Christ's
sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory; and
powerfully testified of the virtue, power, blessed
and spiritual design, fruit and effects thereof, as
revealed and witnessed by his Holy Spirit."

" Christ Jesus being our spiritual Rock, Founda-
tion and Head, He is truly precious to us and all
true believers, in all states and conditions, both of
his humiliation, glory, and dominion; his great
grace and goodness appearing in those precious
ministerial gifts given by Him (when he ascended
up on high) for his ministry and church.

" And it is very observable, that though, to ex-
press Christ's lowly condition and appearance in
the world, He is sometimes in Holy Scripture



ters, being in the state of the fall in the earth,
are driven from God. But it is said, ' The
church is in God, the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ :' So who come to the church,
which is in God the Father of Christ, they
must come to God again, out of the state that
Adam and his children are in in the fall, out
of the image of God, out of righteousness and
holiness ; and they must come into the righte-
ousness, into the true holiness, the image of
God, and out of the earth whither man hath
been driven, when they come to the church
which is in God. The way to this is Christ,
the Light, the Life, the Truth, the Saviour,
the Redeemer, the Sanctifier, and the Justifier,
in and through whose power, light, and life,
conversion, regeneration, and translation is
known from death to life, from darkness to
light, and from the power of satan to God
again. These are members of the true church,
who know the work of regeneration in the
operation and feeling of it ; and being come
to be members of the church of God, they are
indeed members one of another in the power
of God, which was before the power of dark-
ness was. So they that come to the church
that is in God and Christ, must come out of
the state that Adam was in in the fall, driven
from God, to know the state that he was in
before he fell. But they that live in the state
that Adam was in in the fall, and cannot be-
lieve a possibility of coming into the state he
was in before he fell, come not to the church
which is in God ; but are far from that — are
not passed from death to life, but are enemies
to the cross of Christ, which is the power of



termed the Seed, his name is also ' called, Won-
derfiil. Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlast-
ing Father, the Prince of Peace; upon whose
shoulders the government is laid ; and of the in-
crease of his government and peace there shall be
no end.' Isaiah ix. And it is most suitable to
Christ's low, humble, and suffering condition, to
make use of such instruments as are most like
Himself in humility and lowliness of mind, al-
though they be but low and mean in the world's
eye and esteem. God is pleased to make choice
of low, mean, and weak things, and of instruments
contemptible in the eyes of the high and lofty ones
of this world, to confound the wisdom of the world,
according to 1 Cor. i. He chose poor shepherds to
divulge that great evangelical truth of Christ's
birth; and certain women to preach that Gospel
truth of his resurrection, (Luke ii. and xxiv.) and
both from angelical testimony, as well as from
their sight of Christ himself Truth must not be
rejected because of such instruments which God
in Ins wisdom is pleased to employ in his work ;
nor the day of small things despised : from small
beginnings of good matters, great things, glorious
attainments and perfections, do spring. Glory,
honour and dominion, to our most gracious God,
and to the Lamb on his throne, for ever and ever."



44



MEMOIR OF GEORGE FOX.



God. For they mind earthly things, and serve
not Christ; nor love the power which should
bring them up to the state that Adam was in
before he fell, and crucify them to the state
that man is in in the fall ; that through this
power they might see to the beginning, the
power that man was in before the heavenly
image, holiness and righteousness was lost :
by which power they might come to know the
Seed, Christ, which brings out of the old
things, and makes all things new ; in which
life eternal is felt. For all the pooi-ness,
emptiness and barrenness, is in the state that
man is in in the fall, out of God's power ; by
which he is made rich again, and in which
power he hath strength again : which power
is the cross, in which the mystery of the fel-
lowship stands ; and in which is the true glo-
rying, which crucifies to all other gloryings.
And friends, though ye may have been con-
vinced, and have tasted of the power, and felt
the light, yet afterwards ye may feel a winter-
storm, tempest and hail, frost and cold, and
temptation in the wilderness. Be patient and
still in the power and in the light that doth
convince you, to keep your minds to God; in
that be quiet, that ye may come to the sum-
mer; that your flight be not in the winter.
For if ye sit still in the patience which over-
comes in the power of God, there will be no
flying. The husbandman, after he hath sown
his seed, is patient. And ye, by the power
being kept in the patience, will come by the
light to see through and over the winter-storms
and tempests, and all the coldness, barrenness,
and emptiness; and the same light and power
will go over the tempter's head ; which power
and light was before he was. So in the light
standing still, ye will see your salvation, ye
will see the Lord's strength, ye will feel the
small rain, ye will feel the fresh springs, your
minds being kept low in the power and light :
for that which is out of the power lifts up.
But in the power and light ye will feel God,
revealing his secrets, inspiring your minds,
and his gifts coming in unto you ; through
which your hearts will be filled with God's
love, and praises to him that lives for ever-
more ; for in his light and power his blessing
is received. So in that, the eternal power of
the Lord Jesus Christ preserve and keep you !
Live every one in the power of God, that ye
may all come to be heirs of that, and know
that to be your portion ; even the kingdom
that hath no end, and the endless life which
the Seed is heir of. Feel that set over all,
which hath the promise, and blessing of God
for ever. G. F."

In the latter part of the year 1656, George
Fox went into Wales, and in 1657, visited
Scotland, in both of which engagements many



persons were convinced and joined the reli-
gious Society, and meetings were settled in
most places where he came. He met with but
little interruption in those journeys.

In Wales he was overtaken by a person of
note, who purposed, as he afterwards said, to
arrest him and John Ap John for highway-
men. But before they reached the town they
were travelling to, George spake to the man
in such an affecting manner, that the divine
witness in his conscience was reached, and he
invited them to his house and entertained them
hospitably. The man and his wife requested
them to give Scripture proofs of their princi-
ples, which they did gladly. These the man
took down and became convinced of the truth
of their doctrine, " both by the Spirit of God
in his own heart, and by the Scriptures, which
were a confirmation to him."

On coming into a town, his companion
would pass up and down the streets, preaching
to the inhabitants, and frequently be arrested
while George was yet at the inn. He soon
learned the fate of his friend, and by a bold
remonstrance against their uncourteous treat-
ment of strangers, obtained his release. —
Such occurrences gave opportunity for dis-
course with the principal men of the place,
drew the people about them, and thus furnish-
ed opportunities to impress the doctrines of
truth with good effect.

In Cumberland, the people had so forsaken
the priests that several steeple-houses stood
empty. John Wilkinson, who preached at
three of them, had so few hearers left, that he
held a meeting in his own house, and preach-
ed there. Then he held a silent ineeting, like
Friends, to which a few came, and thus con-
tinued till but half a dozen were left. At last
he would come to Pardsey Crag, where Friends
held a very large meeting, and walk around
the house like a person looking for lost sheep.
Eventually, George Fox coming there, he,
with three or four remaining adherents, were
all convinced : he became an able Quaker
minister, and died in fellowship with the So-
ciety, in 1675.

On getting into Scotland, he found the peo-
ple under the influence of the dark doctrine of
unconditional election and reprobation. George
preached the universal love of God to all man-
kind, and proved that reprobation was the con-
sequence of sin committed, and not of a per-
sonal decree to irremediable perdition. He
taught that He who was a propitiation for the
sins of the whole world, for reprobates as well
as saints, commanded his ministers to preach
the Gospel to all nations. He died for all, and
enlightens all by the manifestation of his Spi-
rit : but they who vex, quench and grieve the
Holy Spirit, are the reprobates ; and the fault



MEMOIR OF GEORGE FOX.



45



lies at their door, because they have rejected
the Grace of God, which brought salvation to
them. But they who receive and obey Christ,
become elected in him, and partakers of the
blessings of his propitiatory sufferings and
death. These doctrines alarmed the Scotch
priests, and to deter their hearers from enter-
taining them, they drew up a number of curses,
to be read in their public assemblies, for the
people to answer amen. The first was, Cursed
is he that saith, Every man hath a light within
him sufficient to lead him to salvation : and let
all the people say, Amen. Second, Cursed is
he that saith. Faith is without sin : and let all
the people say. Amen. Third, Cursed is he
that denieth the sabbath-day : and let all the
people say, Amen.

At Edinburgh, the magistrates issued an
order for him to appear before them, which
he readily obeyed. When about entering the
council chamber, where they were assembled,
his hat was taken off, against which he remon-
strated ; and gave satisfactory reasons for re-
fusing to gratify the pride of man with this
mark of homage. On being introduced before
the magistrates, he paused a little, and then
addressed them — " Peace be amongst you. —
Wait in the fear of God, that you may receive
his wisdom from above, that by it you may
all be ordered, and order all things under your
hands, to God's glory." After inquiring into
the cause of his coming into Scotland, and the
nature of his business there, they issued an
order commanding him to leave the country
in one week from that time. But in the per-
formance of religious duty, he believed it right
to obey God rather than man ; and apprehend-
ing himself called to further service there, he
continued holding meetings and preaching the
Gospel, in Edinburgh and its vicinity, for a
considerable time ; and although he returned
again to that city, after visiting meetings in
the country, yet he was suffered to pass un-
molested.

Leaving Scotland, he came to Durham,
where he met with a learned man, recently
from London, who had come for the purpose
of setting up a college to prepare young men
for the ministry. George reasoned with him
on the subject, showing that human learning,
though prosecuted to the greatest extent, could
never qualify for preaching the Gospel. That
this could only be done through the power and
assistance of Christ's Spirit, he being the great
Minister of ministers, whose exclusive right it
is to call and qualify his servants to preach
life and salvation, in his name. He reminded
him that Peter and John, though unlearned
men, preached Christ Jesus to Jews and Gen-
tiles with great success ; and that Paul de-
clared he was made an Apostle, not of man,



nor hy man ; neither received he his Gospel
from man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The man assented to the truth of many of
these arguments, manifested much tenderness
of spirit, and after further consideration, de-
clined setting up the college.

Oliver Cromwell having issued a proclama-
tion for a fast, on account of the great drought,
George Fox wrote a paper to show that the
true fast could not be kept in strife and debate,
and smiting with the fist of wickedness ; nor
in bowing down the head like a bulrush, or in
afflicting themselves for a day. He declared
that, according to the Holy Scriptures, the fast
which the Lord required, was to abstain from
every species of evil, to loose the bands of
wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let
the oppressed go free, and to break every
yoke : to deal their bread to, the hungry, to
bring the poor that are cast out, into their
houses, and to clothe the naked. To call for
a fast, as a means of drawing down Divine
favour, while they were tolerating wickedness,
persecuting the followers of Christ, and de-
priving them of every outward comfort, pre-
sented a glaring inconsistency, in which he
and his brethren could not unite. The Socie-
ty has always maintained a testimony against
all human requisitions and commandments of
men which intermeddle with duty to God, who
only, they believe, has the right to prescribe
the service due to himself.

At Leominster, whilst George Fox was
preaching upon the universality of the Light
of Christ, a priest cried out, " That is a natu-
ral light, and a made light." George desired
the people to take out their Bibles ; and then
asked the priest, " Whether he affirmed that
was a created, natural, made light, which John,
a man sent from God, bore witness to, when
he said, ' In Him, to wit, in the Word, was
life ; and that life was the light of men.' Dost
thou affirm and mean," said he to the priest,
" that this light here spoken of, was a created,
natural, made light?" He said," Yes." George
then showed them that " the natural, created
light, was outward, proceeding from the sun,
moon and stars." " And dost thou affirm,"
said he to the priest, " that God sent John to
bear witness to the light of the sun, moon
and stars ?" He answered, " Did I say so ?"
George requested the audience to turn to the
first chapter of John. From this he proved
that Christ, the eternal Word, created all
things ; consequently, all these luminaries in
the firmament ; but that He was himself the
true Light, that lighteth every man ; and that
this Light shineth in the heart to give the
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of
Jesus Christ, who declared, " I am the Light
of the world," and commands us to " believe



46



MEMOIR OF GEORGE FOX.



in the Light." God Hkewise said of him by
the prophet, " I will also give thee for a Light
to the Gentiles, that thou may est be my salva-
tion to the ends of the earth." So this Light
is saving, and must be divine and superna-
tural.

He continued travelling to different parts of
England, and in 1658, came to John Crook's,
in Bedfordshire, " where a general Yearly
Meeting for the whole nation was appointed
to be held." To this meeting, which lasted
three days, many thousands of people came,
from all parts of the kingdom, so that the
towns and inns round about could scarcely
contain them. George Fox was largely en-
gaged in the ministry ; showing the fallen cor-
rupt state of man by nature, the necessity of
a Redeemer and Saviour, to rescue him from
this lost estate, and restore him to that blessed
condition from which Adam fell ; and the all-
sufficiency of Christ Jesus for this glorious
purpose — he having come in the flesh, died as
a propitiation for the sins of mankind, and
now appeared a second time, without sin unto
salvation, by his Holy Spirit in the hearts of
men, as a swift witness against sin and a guide
into all righteousness.



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 105)