Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

that "There was a marriage in Paradise when Adam took Eve
and Eve took Adam, and that it was the consent of the parties
that made a marriage. And for the Quakers," he said, "he did
not know their opinions, but he did not believe they went toge-
ther as brute beasts, as had been said of them, but as Christians;
and therefore did believe the marriage was lawful, and the child
lawful heir." And the better to satisfy the jury, he brought them
a case to this purpose. "A man that was weak of body, and
kept his bed, had a desire in that condition to marry, and did
declare before witnesses that he did take such a woman to be his
wife, and the woman declared that she took that man to be her
husband. This marriage was afterwards called in question;
and (as the judge said) all the bishops did at that time conclude
it to be a lawful marriage." Hereupon the jury gave in their
verdict for the Friend's child, against the man that would have
deprived it of its inheritance.

About this time the oaths of allegiance and supremacy
were tendered unto Friends, as a snare, because it was known
we could not swear, and thereupon many were imprisoned, and
divers premunired. Upon that occasion Friends published in
print "The grounds and reasons why they refused to swear;'
besides which I was moved to give forth these few lines follow-
ing, to be given to the magistrates:

"THE world saith, Kiss the book;' but the book saith,
'Kiss the Son, lest he be angry.' And the Son saith, 'Swear
not at all,' but keep to Yea and Nay in all your communications;
for whatsoever is more than this cometh of evil. Again, the
world saith, 'Lay your hand on the book,' but the book saith,
'Handle the word;' and the word saith, 'Handle not the tra-
ditions,' nor the inventions, nor the rudiments of the world. And
God saith, 'This is my beloved Son, hear HIM,' who is the life,
the truth, the light, and the way to God.”
G. F.

[ocr errors]

Now there being very many Friends in prison in the nation, Richard Hubberthorn and I drew up a paper concerning them; and got it delivered to the king, that he might understand how we were dealt with by his officers. It was directed thus:

2

"For the King.

"FRIEND,

6

"

"

"Who art the chief ruler of these dominions, here is a list of some of the sufferings of the people of God, in scorn called Quakers, that have suffered under the changeable powers before thee, by whom there have been imprisoned, and under whom there have suffered for good conscience' sake, and for bearing testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus, three thousand one hundred and seventy-three persons;' and there lie yet in prison in the name of the Commonwealth, 'seventy-three persons,' that we know of. And there died in prison in the time of the Commonwealth, and of Oliver and Richard, the protectors, through cruel and hard imprisonments, upon nasty straw and in dungeons, thirty-two persons.' There have been also imprisoned in thy name, since thy arrival, by such as thought to ingratiate themselves thereby with thee, three thousand sixty and eight persons.' Besides this, our meetings are daily broken up by men with clubs and arms, though we meet peaceably, according to the practice of God's people in the primitive times, and our Friends are thrown into waters, and trod upon, till the very blood gusheth out of them; the number of which abuses can hardly be uttered. Now this we would have of thee, to set them at liberty that lie in prison in the names of the Commonwealth, and of the two Protectors, and them that lie in thy own name, for speaking the truth, and for good conscience' sake, who have not lifted up a hand against thee or any man; and that the meetings of our Friends, who meet peaceably together in the fear of God, to worship him, may not be broken up by rude people with their clubs, and swords, and staves. One of the greatest things that we have suffered for formerly, was, because we could not swear to the Protectors and all the changeable governments; and now we are imprisoned because we cannot take the oath of allegiance. Now, if our yea be not yea, and nay, nay, to thee, and to all men upon the earth, let us suffer as much for breaking that, as others do for breaking an oath. We have suffered these many years, both in lives and estates, under these changeable governments, because we cannot swear, but obey Christ's doctrine, who commands, we should not swear at all,' (Matt. v.

6

James v.) and this we seal with our lives and estates, with our
yea and nay, according to the doctrine of Christ. Hearken to
these things, and so consider them in the wisdom of God, that
by it such actions may be stopped; thou that hast the govern-
ment, and mayest do it. We desire that all that are in prison
may be set at liberty, and that for the time to come, they may
not be imprisoned for conscience and for truth's sake; and if thou
question the innocency of their sufferings, let them and their ac-
cusers be brought up before thee, and we shall produce a more
particular and full account of their sufferings, if required."
G. F. and R. H.

I mentioned before, that in the year 1650, I was kept prisoner six months in the House of Correction at Derby, and that the keeper of the prison, a cruel man, and one that had dealt very wickedly by me, was smitten in himself, the plagues and terrors of the Lord falling upon him because thereof: this man, being afterwards convinced of truth, wrote me the following letter: “Dear Friend,

“Having such a convenient messenger, I could do no less than give thee an account of my present condition, remembering, that to the first awakening of me to a sense of life and of the inward principle, God was pleased to make use of thee as an instrument. So that sometimes I am taken with admiration that it should come by such a means as it did; that is to say, that Providence should order thee to be my prisoner, to give me my first real sight of the truth. It makes me many times think of the gaoler's conversion by the apostles. O happy George Fox! that first breathed that breath of life within the walls of my habitation! Notwithstanding my outward losses are since that time such, that I am become nothing in the world, yet I hope I shall find that all these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, will work for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. They have taken all from me; and now instead of keeping a prison, I am rather waiting when I shall become a prisoner myself. Pray for me, that my faith fail not, but that I may hold out to the death, that I may receive a crown of life. I earnestly desire to hear from thee, and of thy condition, which

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

would very much rejoice me. Not having else at present but my kind love unto thee, and all Christian friends with thee, in haste, I rest, thine, in Christ Jesus,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

There were two of our Friends in prison in the Inquisition at Malta, both women; Katharine Evans and Sarah Chevers. I was told that one, called the Lord D'Aubeny, could procure their liberty, wherefore I went to him; and having informed him concerning their imprisonment, desired him to write to the magistrates there for their release. He readily promised me he would; and said, "if I would come again within a month, he would tell me of their discharge." I went again about that time and he said, “he thought his letters had miscarried, because he had received no answer." But he promised he would write again, and he did so; and thereupon they were both set at liberty.

With this great man I had a great deal of reasoning about religion, and he confessed that "Christ hath enlightened every man that cometh into the world, with his spiritual light; that he tasted death for every man ; that the grace of God, which brings salvation, hath appeared to all men, and that it would teach them and bring their salvation, if they did obey it. Then I asked him, "what would they (the Papists) do with all their relics and images, if they should own and believe in this light, and receive the grace to teach them and bring their salvation?" He said, "those things were but policies to keep people in subjection." Very free he was in discourse; I never heard a Papist confess so much as he did. Though several about the court began to grow loving to Friends, yet the persecution was very hot, and several Friends died in prison. Whereupon I gave forth a little paper concerning the grounds and rise of persecution; which was thus:

"ALL the sufferings of the people of God in all ages were, because they could not join to the national religions and worships, which men had made and set up; and because they would not forsake God's religion and his worship, which he had set up. You may see through all chronicles and histories, that the priests

joined with the powers of the nations; the magistrates, sooth-
sayers, and fortune-tellers, all united against the people of God,
and imagined vain things against them in their counsels. When
the Jews did wickedly, they turned against Moses; and when
the Jewish kings transgressed the law of God, they persecuted
the prophets, as may be seen in the prophets' writings. When
Christ, the substance, came, the Jews persecuted Christ, his apos-
tles, and disciples. And when the Jews had not power enough
of themselves to persecute answerably to their wills, they got the
heathen Gentiles to help them against Christ, and against his
apostles and disciples, who were in the Spirit and power of
Christ."
G. F.

After I had made some stay in London, and had cleared myself of those services that at that time lay upon me there, I went into the country, having with me Alexander Parker and John Stubbs. We travelled through the country, visiting Friends' meetings till we came to BRISTOL. There we understood that the officers were likely to come and break up the meeting; yet on the first-day we went to the meeting at Broadmead, and Alexander Parker standing up first, while he was speaking the officers came and took him away. After he was gone, I stood up, and declared the everlasting truth of the Lord God in his eternal power, which came over all; the meeting was quiet the rest of the time, and broke up peaceably. I tarried till the first-day following, visiting Friends, and being visited by Friends. On the first-day morning several Friends came to Edward Pyot's house, (where I lay the night before) and used great endeavours to persuade me not to go to the meeting that day, for the magistrates, they said, had threatened to take me, and had raised the trained bands. I wished them to go to the meeting, not telling them what I intended to do; but I told Edward Pyot I intended to go, and he sent his son with me to show me the way from his house by the fields. As I went I met divers Friends who were coming to me to prevent my going, and did what they could to stop me. "What!” said one, “wilt thou go into the mouth of the beast ?" "Wilt thou go into the mouth of the dragon?" said another. I put them by and went on. When I came to the meeting, Mar

[blocks in formation]
« EelmineJätka »