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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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at Stratford in Essex, where he was confined
many months, his sight and hearing being al-
most gone, and his body so enfeebled that his
ll'iends thought he could not long survive.
During this season of conflict he was much
engaged in prayer to the Lord that he would
be pleased to prosper truth, and preserve jus-
tice and equity in the land, and bring down
iniquity, oppression, falsehood, profanity and
licentiousness.

In the spring of 1671, he was removed to
London, though still very weak ; and finding
that the measures he had before taken for pro-
curing his wife's liberty, had been frustrated
by her persecutors, he caused another appli-
cation to be made to the king in her behalf,
which was successful. A discharge under the
great seal was obtained, liberating both her
person and estate from the forfeiture passed
upon her; and after ten years imprisonment,
at different periods, she Avas once more set
at liberty, and joined her husband in Lon-
don.



They attended the Yearly Meeting there,
which was very large, and a strengthening
heavenly season ; wherein says he, " the
Lord's power was over all, and his glorious,
everlastingly renowned Seed of Life was ex-
alted OA^er all." Having been for some time
drawn in spirit to visit his brethren in America,
after this meeting was over he took leave of
his wife, and embarked the 12th of the 6th
month, on board the yacht Industry, Thomas
Foster master, bound for Barbadoes. A con-
sidei'able number of ministers who were en-
gaged for the same service accompanied him.

When they had been at sea about three
weeks, they were chased by a Turkish man
of war, which gained fast upon them ; and the
pi'ospect of falling into their hands put the
captain and crew into great terror. It was on
seventh-day evening, and the moon shining
clear they could perceive the vessel nearing
them, and now almost close enough to speak ;
when the captain came to George to know
what should be done, observing that if the
mariners had taken Paul's counsel, they would
not have suffered the damage they did. George
told them " it was a trial of their faith and there-
fore the Lord was to be waited on for counsel."
After a time of mental retirement and waiting
on the Lord, it was shown him, that the Lord's
power was round about them, and would pre-
serve them from harm. He then told them to
put out all the lights except the one they steered
by, and for all in the ship to be as quiet as possi-
ble, and that they should tack about and steer
their right course. They did so, but still the ves-
sel gained upon them and was now so close that
the passengers were much alarmed. The
watch cried out " They are just upon us ;"
and rising up in his birth, George looked
through a port hole and perceived it was so.
He was about to get up and go on deck, but
remembering it had been shown him that the
Lord's power was between them and their pur-
suers, he returned again to bed. Soon after this
the moon went down and a fresh breeze spring-
ing up, they escaped out of their hands, though
they had come so close that it seemed almost
impossible.

The next day being first-day, according to
their custom they held a public meeting in the
ship for the worship of God, and returned
thanks to him for this deliverance.

On the third of the eighth month they an-
chored in Carlisle Bay in Barbadoes. The
hot climate of the West Indies did not agree
with George's health, already enfeebled by
the imprisonments and hardships he had suf-
fered, and it was some weeks before he was
able to travel much.

When he had recovered a little, he attended
the Meetings for Discipline, and laboured to



MEMOIR OF GEORGE FOX.



79



promote good order amongst them. He ex-
horted them to take more care respecting the
order of marriages, that persons of too near
kindred should not marry ; and also in cases
of second marriage, that due respect should
be paid to the memory of the deceased com-
panion, and a sufficient time elapse before any
proceedings were had toward another connex-
ion. Some of the children of Friends having
married at a very early age, he admonished
against it, and showed the unfitness of such
childish marriages. H^ also advised that mar-
riages, births, and burials should be regularly
recorded in distinct books kept for the purpose ;
and likewise the testimonies against such as
persisted in walking disorderly, and the re-
pentance of such as were restored. He recom-
mended the purchase of convenient and decent
burial places ; and gave advice relative to the
timely making of wills, and the care of lega-
cies lefl by Friends for public uses. " Respect-
ing their negroes, I desired them," says he,
" to endeavour to train them up in the fear of
God, as well those that were bought with their
money, as those that were born in their fami-
lies, that all might come to the knowledge of
the Lord ; that so with Joshua, every master
of a family might say, ' As for me and my
house, we will serve the Lord.' I desired also
that they would cause their overseers to deal
mildly and gently with their negroes, and not
use cruelty toward them, as the manner of
some hath been and is, and that after certain
years of servitude they should set them free."

His comprehensive mind seemed to perceive
as at a glance, what would tend to promote
the welfare of his brethren both- in a religious
and moral sense : so that there is scarcely a
feature in the admirable code of Discipline now
existing in the Society, that did not originate
with this extraordinary man. His concern for
the welfare of the African race in the colonies,
evinces the benevolence of his feelings. In
numerous letters written subsequently to this
period, he earnestly enjoins the duty of in-
structing them and the Indian natives in the
principles of Christianity.

In an epistle to Friends in America, con-
cerning their Negroes and Indians, written in
1679, he says : " All Friends, everywhere, that
have Indians or Blacks, you are to preach
the Gospel to them and other servants, if you
be true Christians ; for the Gospel of salva-
tion was to be preached to every creature
under heaven. Christ commands it to his dis-
ciples, ' Go and teach all nations, baptizing
them into the name of the Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost.' And this is the one baptism
with the Spirit into one body, which plunges
down sin and corruption, which hath gotten
up by disobedience and transgression. For all



have been plunged into sin, and death from
the life ; for all died in Adam, then they have
been all subjected by the evil spirit, which hath
led them out of the truth into the evil ; and
therefore they must all be baptized into the
death of Christ, and put on Christ, if they
have life.

" And also, you must preach the grace of
God to all Blacks and Indians ; which grace
brings salvation, that hath appeared unto all
men, to teach and instruct them to live godly,
righteously and soberly : which grace of God
is sufficient to teach and establish all true
Christians, that they may appear before the
throne of Grace.

" And also, you must teach and instruct
Blacks and Indians, and others, how that God
doth pour out his Spirit upon all flesh in these
days of the new covenant, and New Testa-
ment ; and that none of them must quench
the motions of his Spirit, nor grieve it, nor
vex it, nor rebel against it, nor err from it,
nor resist it ; but be led by his good Spirit to
instruct them ; that with it they may profit in
the things of God. Neither must they turn
from his grace into wantonness, nor walk de-
spitefully against the Spirit of grace, for it will
teach them to live soberly, godly and righte-
ously, and season their words.

" And also, you must instruct and teach
your Indians and Negroes, and all others, how
that Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death
for every man, and gave himself a ransom for
all men, to be testified in due time ; and is the
propitiation not for the sins of Christians only,
but for the sins of the whole world : and that
he doth enlighten every man that cometh into
the world, with his true Light, which is the
Life in Christ, by whom the world was made."

Another, dated 1681, to Friends in Carolina,
contains the following : viz. —

" And [it would be well] if you had some-
times some meetings with the Indian kings
and their people, to preach the Gospel of peace,
of life, and of salvation to them. For the Gos-
pel is to be preached to every creature ; and
Christ hath tasted death for every man, and
died for their sins, that they might come out
of death and sin, and live to Christ, that died
for them ; who hath enlightened them with
the Light, which is the Life in himself; and
God pours out of this Spirit upon all flesh ;
that is, upon all men and women. And the
grace and favour of God appears unto all men;
that all may believe in his Light, and walk in
his Holy Spirit, and receive his grace, which
will teach them to live godly, &c., and bring
them salvation : thus you may come to see the
light of Christ's glorious Gospel set up in those
parts. And God hath promised he will lift up
an ensign unto the nations. And as;ain, ' There



80



MEMOIR OF GEORGE FOX.



shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for
an Ensign to the people ; to it the Gentiles shall
seek.' And again he saith, ' For the earth
shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as
the waters cover the sea.' So, I desire that
that part of the earth may be filled with the
knowledge of the Lord."

In 1687, he addressed his brethren in West
Jersey and Pennsylvania, on several subjects
connected with their religious welfare. In
this communication, he remarks : — " And
sometimes^ you should have some meetings
with the Indian kings and their councils, to
let them know the principles of truth ; that
they may know the way of salvation, and the
nature of true Christianity, and how that Christ
hath died for them, who tasted death for every
man. And the Gospel of salvation must be
preached to every creature under heaven ;
and that Christ hath enlightened them, who
enlightens all that come into the world :
God hath poured out his Spirit upon all flesh ;
and so the Indians must receive God's Spirit ;
for ' the grace of God which brings salvation
hath appeared to all men :' and so let them
know, that they have a day of salvation, grace
and favour of God offered unto them — if they
will receive it, it will be their blessing."

He had several large public meetings in Bar-
badoes, to which most of the principal officers
and persons of the Island came, and many were
convinced. Some false reports having been
industriously spread there by the enemies of
Friends, as that they denied Jesus Christ, &c. ;
afler one of those meetings. Colonel Lyne, a
sober discreet man, remarked ' Now I can
gainsay such as I have heard speak evil of you,
who say you do not own Christ nor that he
died — whereas I perceive you exalt Christ in
all his offices beyond what I have ever heard
before.'

But these scandalous reports had been so
widely circulated, that George Fox thought
it his duty, in conjunction with some other
Friends, to draw up a paper in the name of the
Society, to clear it of these chai'ges. They
accordingly prepared and published the follow-
ing address to the governor and council, which
for soundness of doctrine, and clearness and
force of expression has rarely been surpassed :

" Whereas many scandalous lies and slan-
ders have been cast upon us, to render us odi-
ous ; as that ' We deny God, Christ Jesus, and
the Scriptures of truth,' &c. This is to inform
you, that all our books and declarations, which
for these many years have been published to
the world, clearly testify the contrary. Yet,
for your satisfaction, we now plainly and sin-
cerely declare,

" That we own and believe in the only Wise,
Omnipotent, and Everlasting God, the Creator



of all things in heaven and earth, and the Pre-
server of all that he hath made ; who is God
over all, blessed for ever ; to whom be all hon-
our, glory, dominion, praise and thanksgiving,
both now and for evermore !

" And we own and believe in Jesus Christ,
his beloved and only begotten Son, in whom he
is well pleased ; who was conceived by the
Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary ; in
whom we have redemption through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins; who is the express
image of the invisible God, the first-born of
every creature, by whom were all things crea-
ted that are in heaven and in earth, visible and
invisible, whether they be thrones, dominions,
principalities or powers ; all things were cre-
ated by him.

" And we own and believe that he was made
a sacrifice for sin, who knew no sin, neither
was guile found in his mouth ; that he was
crucified for us in the flesh, without the gates
of Jerusalem ; and that he was buried, and rose
again the third day by the power of his Father,
for our justification ; and that he ascended up
into heaven, and now sitteth at the right hand
of God. This Jesus, who was the foundation
of the holy prophets and apostles, is our foun-
dation ; and we believe there is no other foun-
dation to be laid but that which is laid, even
Christ Jesus : who tasted death for every man,
shed his blood for all men, is the propitiation
for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for
the sins of the whole world : according as John
the Baptist testified of him, when he said, ' Be-
hold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the
sin of the world,' John i. 29.

" We believe that he alone is our Redeemer
and Saviour, the captain of our salvation, who
saves us from sin, as well as from hell and the
wrath to come, and destroys the devil and his
works. He is the Seed of the woman that
bruises the serpent's head, to wit, Christ Jesus,
the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last.
He is, as the Scriptures of truth say of him,
our wisdom, righteousness, justification, and
redemption ; neither is there salvation in any
other, for there is no other name under heaven
given among men, whereby we may be saved.
He alone is the Shepherd and Bishop of our
souls : he is our Prophet, whom Moses long
since testified of, saying, ' A prophet shall the
Lord your God raise up unto you of your
brethren, like unto me ; him shall ye hear in
all things, whatsoever he shall say unto you :
and it shall come to pass, that every soul that
will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed
from among the people,' Acts ii. 22, 23.

" He is now come in Spirit, and hath given
us an understanding, that we know him that
is true. He rules in our hearts by his law of
love and life, and makes us free from the law



MEMOIR OF GEORGE FOX.



81



of sin and death. We have no Hfe, but by
him ; for he is the quickening Spirit, the second
Adam, the Lord from heaven, by yvhose blood
we are cleansed, and our consciences sprinkled
from dead works, to serve the living God. He
is our Mediator, who makes peace and recon-
ciliation between God offended and us offend-
ing ; he being the Oath of God, the new cove-
nant of light, life, grace, and peace, the author
and finisher of our faith.

" This Lord Jesus Christ, the heavenly man,
the Emmanuel, God with us, we all own and be-
heve in ; he whom the high-priest raged against,
and said, he had spoken blasphemy ; whom the
priests and elders of the Jews took council to-
gether against, and put to death ; the same
whom Judas betrayed for thirty pieces of silver,
which the priests gave him as a reward for his
treason ; who also gave large money to the
soldiers to broach a horrible lie, namely, ' That
his disciples came and stole him away by night
whilst they slept.' After he was risen from
the dead, the history of the Acts of the apostles
sets forth how the chief priests and elders per-
secuted the disciples of this Jesus, for preach-
ing Christ and his resurrection. This, we say,
is that Lord Jesus Christ, whom we own to be
our life and salvation.

" Concerning the holy Scriptures, we believe
they were given forth by the holy Spirit of
God, through the holy men of God, who, as
the Scripture itself declares, 2 Pet. i. 21,
' spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.'
We believe they are to be read, believed, and
fulfilled, (he that fulfils them is Christ ;) and
they are ' profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteous-
ness, that the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works,'
2 Tim. iii. 16, and are able to ' make wise
unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ
Jesus.'

" We believe the holy Scriptures are the
words of God ; for it is said in Exodus xx. 1 ,
' God spake all these words, saying,' &c.
meaning the ten commandments given forth
upon mount Sinai. And in Rev. xxii. 18, saith
John, ' I testify to every man that heareth the
words of the prophecy of this book, if any
man addeth unto these, and if any man shall
take away from the words of the book of this
prophecy,' (not the Word,) &c. So in Luke i.
20, 'Because thou believest not my words.'
And in John v. 47, xv. 7, xiv. 23, xii. 47. So
that we call the holy Scriptures, as Christ, the
apostles, and holy men of God called them,
viz. the words of God.

" Another slander they have cast upon us,
is, ' That we teach the negroes to rebel ;' a
thing we utterly abhor in our hearts, the Lord
knows it, who is the Searcher of all hearts,

Vol. L— No. 3.



and knows all things, and can testify for us,
that this is a most abominable untruth. That
which we have spoken to them, is to exhort
and admonish them to be sober, to fear God,
to love their masters and mistresses, to be
faithful and diligent in their service and busi-
ness, and then their masters and overseers
would love them, and deal kindly and gently
with them ; also that they should not beat their
wives, nor the wives their husbands ; neither
should the men have many wives ; that they
should not steal, nor be drunk, nor commit
adultery, nor fornication, nor curse, swear,
nor lie, nor give bad words to one another,
nor to any one else; for there is something in
them that tells them they should not practise
these nor any other evils.

" But if they notwithstanding should do them,
then we let them know there are but two ways,
the one that leads to heaven, where the righte-
ous go; and the other that leads to hell, where
the wicked and debauched, whoremongers,
adulterers, murderers, and liars go. To the
one the Lord will say, ' Come, ye blessed of
my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for
you from the foundation of the world;' to the
other, ' Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels :'
so the wicked go into 'everlasting punishment,
but the righteous into life eternal.' Matt. xxv.
Consider, friends, it is no transgression for a
master of a family to instruct his family him-
self, or for others to do it in his behalf; but
rather it is a very great duty incumbent upon
them. Abraham and Joshua did so : Of the
first, the Lord said. Gen. xviii. 19, 'I know
him, that he will command his children, and
his household after him ; and they shall keep
the way of the Lord, to do justice and judg-
ment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham
the things that he hath spoken of him.' And
the latter said. Josh. xxiv. 15, 'Choose ye this
day whom ye will serve — But as for me and
my house, we will serve the Lord,'

" We declare, that we esteem it a duty in-
cumbent on us to pray with and for, to teach,
instruct, and admonish those in and belonging
to our families ; this being a command of the
Lord, disobedience thereunto will provoke his
displeasure ; as may be seen in Jer. x. 25,
' Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know
thee not, and upon the families that call not
upon thy name.' Negroes, Tawnics, Indians,
make up a very great part of the families in
this island ; for whom an account will be re-
quired by Him who comes to judge both quick
and dead at the great day of judgment, when
every one shall be ' rewarded according to the
deeds done in the body, whether they be good,
or whether they be evil:' at that day, we sav,
of the resurrection both of the good and of the
11



82



MEMOIR OF GEORGE FOX.



bad, and of the just and the unjust, when 'the
Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with
his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking ven-
geance on them that know not God, and obey-
not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who
shall be punished with everlasting destruction
from the presence of the Lord, and from the
glory of his power, when he shall come to be
glorified in his saints, and admired in all them
that believe in that day.' 2 Thess. i. 8, &c.
See also 2 Pet. iii. 3, &c."

Having spent upwards of thi-ee months in
Barbadoes, he went to Jamaica; where he staid
about seven weeks preaching the Gospel and
turning the people to the light of Christ Jesus
in their consciences, by which they would be
reproved for their sins, and shown their duty
to God and to man. On the 8th of first month
1672, he and the Friends with him embarked
in a vessel bound for Maryland, and had a
long and tempestuous passage of nearly seven
weeks, respecting which he says, " We went
on board the 8th of the first-month 1671-2 ;
and having contrary winds, were a full week
sailing forwards and backwards, before we
could get out of sight of Jamaica. A difficult
voyage this proved, and pretty dangerous, es-
pecially in our passage through the gulph of
Florida, where we met with many winds and
storms. But the gi'eat God, who is Lord of
sea and land, and who rideth upon the wings
of the wind, did by his power preserve us
through many and great dangers, when by
extreme stress of weather our vessel was divers
times like to be overset, and much of her tack-
ling broken. And indeed we were sensible
that the Lord was a God at hand, and that his
ear was open to the supplications of his people.
For when the winds were so strong and bois-
terous, and the storms and tempests so great,
that the sailors knew not what to do, but let
the ship go which way she would ; then did
we pray unto the Lord ; who graciously
heard and accepted us, and calmed the winds
and seas, gave us seasonable weather, and
made us to rejoice in his salvation : Blessed
and praised be the holy name of the Lord,
whose power hath dominion over all, and
whom the winds and seas obey.

" We were between six and seven weeks in
this passage from Jamaica to Maryland. Some
days before we came to land, after we had
entered the bay of Patuxent river, a great
storm ai'ose, which cast a boat upon us for
shelter ; in which were divers men and women
of account in the world. We took them in ;
but the boat was lost, with five hundred pounds
worth of goods in it, as they said. They con-
tinued on board of us several days, not having
any means to get off; and we had a very good
meeting Avith them in the ship. But provisions



grew short, for they brought none in with
them ; and ours, by reason of the length of
our voyage, were well nigh spent when they
came to us : so that with their living upon it
too, we had now little or none left. Where-
upon George Pattison took a boat, and ventured
his life to get to shore ; the hazard was so gi'cat,
that all but Friends concluded he would be cast
away. Yet it pleased the Lord to bring him
safe to land ; and in a short time afler, the
Friends of the place came to fetch us to land
also, in a seasonable time, for our provisions
were quite spent.

" We partook also of another great deliver-
ance in this voyage, through the good provi-
dence of the Lord, which we understood
afterwards. When we were determined to
come from Jamaica, we had our choice of two
vessels, both bound for the same coast. One
was a frigate, the other a yacht. The master
of the frigate, we thought, asked unreasonably
for our passage ; which made us agree with
the master of the yacht, who offered to carry
us ten shillings a-piece cheaper than the other.
We went on board the yacht, and the frigate
came out together with us, intending to be
consorts during the voyage ; and for several
days we sailed together: but what with calms
and contrary winds, we were in a while sepa-
rated. After -which, the frigate, losing her
way, fell among the Spaniards; by whom she
was plundered and robbed, and the master and
mate made prisoners : afterwards, being re-
taken by the English, she was sent home to
her owners in Virginia. Which when we came
to understand, we saw and admired the provi-
dence of God, who preserved us out of our
enemies' hands ; and he that was covetous fell



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 18 of 105)