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upon I asked them, whether, if their mother married, they should not lose by it. And I asked Margaret, whether she had done any thing in lieu of it, which might answer it to the children. The children said, she had answered it to them, and desired me to speak no more of that. I told them I was plain, and would have all things done plainly; for I sought not any outward advantage to myself. So after I had acquainted the children with it, our intention of marriage was laid before friends, both privately and publicly, to the full satisfaction of friends, many of whom gave testimony thereunto that it was of God. Afterwards, a meeting being appointed on purpose for the accomplishing thereof, in the public meeting-house at Broad-Mead in Bristol, we took each other in marriage, the Lord joining us together in the honourable marriage, in the everlasting covenant and immortal seed of life. In the sense whereof living and weighty testimonies were borne thereunto by friends, in the movings of the heavenly power which united us together. Then was a certificate, relating both the proceedings and the marriage, openly read and signed by the relations, and by most of the ancient friends of that city, besides many other friends from divers parts of the nation.
After we were married, we stayed about a week in Bristol, and then went into the country together to Oldstone ; where taking our leaves of each other in the Lord, we parted, betaking ourselves each to our several service, Margaret returning homewards to the north, and I passing on into the countries in the work of the Lord, as before. I travelled through Wiltshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Buckinghamshire, and so to London, visiting friends; in all which counties I had many large and precious meetings.
Being in London, it came upon me to write to friends throughout the nation, about putting out poor children to trades. Wherefore Í sent the following epistle to the quarterly meetings of friends in all counties :
My dear friends, · Let every quarterly meeting make inquiry through all the monthly meetings and other meetings, to know all friends that be poor, widows or others, that have children fit to set forth to apprenticeships, so that once a quarter you may set forth an apprentice from your quarterly meeting; and so you may set forth four in a year in each county as need may be, or more, if there be occasion. And this apprentice, when he comes out of his time, may help his
mother or father, and rear up the family that is decayed, and in so doing all may come to live comfortably as men. For being done in your quarterly meetings, ye will have knowledge through all the county in all the monthly and particular meetings, of masters that be fit for them, and of such trades as their parents desire, or you desire, or the children are most inclinable too; and so being placed forth as you shall order from your quarterly meetings to friends, they may be trained up in truth; and by this means in the wisdom of God, you may preserve friends' children in the truth, and enable them to rear up their decayed families, and be a strength and help to them, and nursers and preservers of their relations in their ancient days. And thus also things being ordered in the wisdom of God, you will take off a continual maintenance, and free yourselves from much cumber. For in the country ye know ye may set forth an apprentice for a little to several trades, as bricklayers or masons, carpenters, wheelrights, ploughrights, taylors, tanners, curriers, blacksmiths, shoemakers, naylers, butchers, and several other trades that might be named, as weavers of linen and woollen, stuffs and serges. And you may do well to have a stock in your quarterlymeetings for that purpose; and all that is given by any friends at their decease (except it be given to some particular use, person, or meeting,) may be brought to the public stock for that same purpose. This will be a way for the preserving of many that are poor among you, and it will be a way of making up poor families. In several counties the same is practised already; and some quarterly meetings do set forth two apprentices, and sometimes they set forth children of the world that are laid on the parish; you may bind them for fewer or more years, according to their capacities. In all which things the wis, doni of God will teach you, by which ye may come to help the children of poor friends, that they may come to rear up their families, and preserve them in the fear of God. So no more, but my love in the everlasting seed, by which ye will have wisdom to order all things to the glory of God.'
G: F. London, the first of the
11th month, 1669. I stayed not long in London; but having visited friends, and finding things there quiet and well, the Lord's power being over all, I passed down into Essex, and so into Hertfordshire, where I had many precious meetings. But before I went out of London, intending to go down as far as Leicestershire, I writ a letter to my wife to acquaint her therewith, that if she found it convenient to her she might meet me there. From Hertfordshire I turned into Cambridgeshire, thence into Huntingdonshire, and so into Leicestershire; where, instead of meeting with my wife, I heard that she was haled out of her house and carried to Lancaster-prison again, by an order gotten from the king and council, to fetch her back to prison upon the old premunire, though she had been discharged from that imprisonment by an order from the king and council the year before. Wherefore having visited friends as far as Lei. cestershire, I returned by Derbyshire into Warwickshire,
and so through the countries that way to London again, · having had many large and blessed meetings in the several
counties I passed through, and had been sweetly refreshed with and amongst friends in my travels.
As soon as I was got to London, I hastened Mary Lower and Sarah Fell (two of my wife's daughters) to the king, to acquaint him how their mother was dealt with, and see if they could get a full discharge for her, that she might enjoy her estate and liberty without molestation. This was somewhat difficult at first to get, but by diligent attendance on it they at length obtained it; the king giving command to one called Sir John Otway, to signify his pleasure therein by letter to the sheriff and others concerned therein in the country. Which letter Sarah Fell going down with her brother and sister Rous, carried with her to Lancaster, and by them I writ to my wife, as folJoweth.
My dear heart in the truth and life, that
changeth not, It was upon me that Mary Lower and Sarah should go to the king concerning thy imprisonment, and to Kirby, that the power of the Lord might appear over them all in thy deliverance. They went, and then they thought to have come down; but it was upon me to stay them a little longer, that they might follow the business till it was effected; which it now is, and is here sent down. The late declaration of mine hath been very serviceable, people being generally satisfied with it. So no more, but my love in the holy seed.'
G. F. The declaration here mentioned was a printed sheet, writ upon occasion of a new persecution stirred up. For by that time I was got back'out of Leicestershire to London, a fresh storm was risen, occasioned (as it was thought) by that tumultuous meeting in a steeple-house in Wiltshire or Gloucestershire, mentioned a little before; where a contest happening between a presbyterian priest and the priest of the parish, with their bearers on either side, the Common Prayer-book was cut to pieces, and other great disorders committed. From which (it was said) some members of parliament took advantage to get that act passed against seditious conventicles; which soon after came forth and was turned against us, who of all people were free from sedition and tumult. Whereupon I writ the declaration before mentioned, shewing from the preamble and terms of the said act, that we were not such à people, nor our meetings such meetings, as were described in that act. Beside that declaration, I writ also another short paper on the occasion of that act against meetings, opening our case to the magistrates, as followeth:
O friends, consider this act which limits us to five, that but five may meet; is this to do as ye would be done by? Would ye be so served yourselves? We own Christ Jesus as well as you, both his coming, death, and resurrection, and if we be contrary-minded to you in some things, is not this the apostle's exhortation, to wait till God hath revealed it. Doth not he say, what is not of faith is sin. And seeing we have not faith in things, which ye would have us to do, would it not be sin in us if we should do contrary to our faith? And why should any man have power over any other man's faith, seeing Christ is the author of it? When the apostles did preach in the name of Jesus, and great multitudes heard them, and the rulers forbad them to speak any more in that name, did not they bid them judge whether it were better to obey God or man? Would not this act have taken bold of the twelve apostles and seventy disciples, for they met often together. And if there had been an act or law made then that not above five should have met with Christ, would not that have been an hindering him from meeting with his disciples ? And do ye think that he (who is the wisdom of God) or his disciples would have obeyed it? If such a law had been made in the apostles' days that not above five might have met together, who had been different-minded from either the Jews or the Gentiles, do ye think the churches of Christ at Corinth, Philippi, Ephesus, Thessalonica, or the rest of the gathered churches would have obeyed it? Otherefore consider ! for we are Christians, and partake of the nature and life of Christ. And strive not to limit the Holy One, for God's power cannot be limited, and is not to be quenched; and do unto all men as ye would have them do unto you; for that is the law and the prophets.' This is from those who wish you all well, and desire
your everlasting good and prosperity, who are called Quakers, who seek the peace and good of all people, though they do afflict us and cause us to suffer.
Now as I had endeavoured to soften the magistrates, and to take off the sharpness of their edge in the execution of the act, so it was upon me to write a few lines to friends to strengthen and encourage them to stand fast in their testimony, and bear with Christian patience and content the suffering that was coming upon them. This I did in the following epistle :
All my dear friends: keep in the faith of God above all outward things, and in his power that hath given you dominion over all. The same power of God is still with you to deliver you as formerly; for God and his power is the same, and his seed is over all, and before all, and will be when that which makes to suffer is gone. And so be of good faith in that which changeth not; for whatsoever any doth against the truth, it will come upon themselves, and fall as a millstone on their heads. And if so be that the Lord do suffer you to be tried, let all be given up; and look at the Lord and his power, which is over the whole world, and will be when the world is gone. And in the Lord's power and truth rejoice, Friends, over that which makes to suffer in the seed, which was before it was; for the life and truth, and the power of God is over all. And all keep in that, and if ye do suffer in that, it is to the Lord. Friends, the Lord hath blessed you in outward things, and now the Lord may try you, whether your minds be in the outward things, or with the Lord that gave you them? Therefore keep in the seed, by which all outward things were made, and which is over them all. What! shall not I pray and speak to God, with my face towards heavenly Jerusalem, according to my wonted time? And let not any one's Dalilah shave his head, lest such lose their strength; neither rest in its lap, lest the Philistines be upon you. For your rest is in Christ Jesus, therefore rest not in any thing else.'
G. F. London, the 12th of the
2d month, 1670.