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body of old Adam in the fall is full of malice, envy and vice. And therefore you, that are called out of old Adam in the fall, and have put on Christ, the second Adam, that never fell, walk in him, who is the treasure of life, wisdom, and knowledge, in whom ye have peace with God, who is the first and last, the beginning and the ending. So let all be gathered up to God, into him who reconcileth all things in one, both things in heaven and things in the earth; who is the faithful and true witness both in the male and female ; and in him sit down, who is above the subtle foxes in the holes, and the fowls of the air in their nests; I say, sit down in Christ, who hath no place among them to lay his head; he is your rest. So in him is my love to you al}.'
G. F. London, the 20th of the Eleventh
It was not long after this that I received an account by letter from some friends, that were prisoners in Denbeigh, in Wales; by which I understood, that many friends there were under great sufferings for the testimony of a good conscience. In the tender sense whereof I was moved in the love of God to visit them with a few lines, as a word of consolation to them in their sufferings, and of exhortation, to stand fast in the testimony committed to them. And that which I writ was thus :
• Dear suffering lambs for the name and command of Jesus; be valiant for his truth, and faithful, and ye will feel the presence of Christ with you. And look at him, who suffered for you, and bath bought you, and will feed you; who saith, Be of good comfort, I have overcome the world; who destroys the devil and his works, and bruises the serpent's head. I say, look at Christ, who is your sanctuary ; in whom ye have rest and peace. To you it is given not only to believe, but to suffer for his name's sake. And they that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution by the ungodly professors of Christ Jesus, who live out of him. And therefore be valiant for God's truth upon the earth, and look above that spirit that makes you suffer, up to Christ, who was before it was, and will be when it is gone. Consider all the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, who suffered, and were persecuted; but they never persecuted them as true men, but as deceivers, and yet true. And Christ is the same to-day as he was yesterday; a rock and foundation for your age and generation,
for you to build upon. I have written concerning you (after I heard your letter) to friends in Cheshire to visit you, understanding that you belong to their quarterly meeting; and therefore I desire that some friends of your county would go, and lay your suffering condition before the monthly or quarterly meeting in Cheshire. I have written likewise to Richard Davis, that some of that side may go and visit you, and see how your condition is. So my love is to you in the Lord, who is your alone support.'
G. F. London, the 27th of the
Ilth month, 1682.
Now because the magistrates were many of them unwilling to have fines laid upon meeting-houses, they kept friends out in many places, setting officers and guards of soldiers at the doors and passages; and yet sometimes friends were fined for speaking or praying, though it were abroad. One first-day it was upon me to go to Devonshire-house-meeting in the afternoon; and because I had heard friends were kept out there that morning (as they were that day at most meetings about the city) I went somewhat the sooner, and got into the yard before the soldiers came to guard the passages ; but the constables were got there before me, and stood in the door-way with their staves. I asked them to let me go in; they said they could not, nor durst not, for they were commanded the contrary, and were sorry for it. I told them I would not press upon them; so I stood by, and they were very civil. I stood till I was weary, and then one gave me a stool to sit down on; and after a while the power of the Lord began to spring up among friends, and one began to speas. The constables soon forbad him, and said he should not speak; and he not stopping, they began to be wruth. But I gently laid my hand upon one of the coastures mi wished him to let him alone ; the constable dia 3. nu vas quiet; and the man did not speak long. Wer e au done, after a while I was moved to stand up mu veita: and in my declaration, I said they seed wire N us with swords and staves, for we were i one more: and had nothing in our hearts but it tax and magistrates, and to all people wou 'iera. I.RE we did not meet under pretence to not contrive against the government, ru 29 Nauss but to worship God in spirt bra rull EN VE TRI Christ to be our bishop
men, U BI
and oversee us, and he ruled in our hearts; so we could all sit in silence, enjoying our teacher ; so to Christ, their bishop and shepherd I did recommend them all. And after I had spoken what was upon me at that time, I sat down ; and after a while I was moved to pray, and the power of the Lord was over all friends; and the people, and the constable, and soldiers, put off their hats. And when the meeting was done, and friends began to pass away, the constable put off his hat, and desired the Lord to bless us ; for the power of the Lord was over him and the people, and kept them under.
After this I went up and down visiting friends at their houses, who had had their goods taken from them for wore shipping God; and we took an account of what had been taken from them; and some friends met together about it, and drew up the case of the sufferings of our friends in writing, and gave it to the justices at their petty-sessions. Whereupon they made an order, that the officers should not sell the goods of friends which they had in their hands, but keep them until the next sessions: which gave some discouragement to the informers, and put a little stop to their proceedings.
The next first-day it was upon me to go to the meeting at the Savoy; and by that time the meeting was hered the beadle came in, and after him came in the wild people, like a sea : but the Lord's power chained them all. The Spirit of the Lord went through and over all, and they were quiet, and we had a glorious, peaceable meeting; blessed be the Lord for his unspeakable goodness. This was in the twelfth month, 1682.
In the first month, 1683, I went to Kingston upon Thames; and it being then a time of persecution, as I went to the meeting, I met the chief constable, who had been at the meeting place, and had set watchmen there to keep us out; yet he was pretty civil, and the watchmen let friends have a couple of forms out, to sit upon in the highway: so friends met together there, and a very precious meeting we had; for the refreshing presence of the Lord was with us, in which we parted in peace.
Having visited and encouraged friends there, I returned to London, and went to the meeting at the Bull and Mouth, where the constables with their watchmen kept a guard, to keep friends out of the house. So we met in the street; and when any friend spake, the officers and watchmen made a great bustle to pull him down, and take him into custody. After some other friends had spoken, it was upon me to speak; and I said, Heaven is God's throne, and
earth is his footstool; and will ye not let us stand upon God's footstool to worship, and serve the living God? While I spake, they were quiet : and after I had cleared myself of what was upon me to speak, we brake up our. meeting in peace. This was on the sixth-day of the week.
On the first-day of the week following I was moved to go to the meeting at Gracechurch-street: and when I came there, I found a guard set at the entrance in Lombardstreet, and another at the gate in Gracechurch-street, to keep friends out of the meeting-place : so that we were fain to meet abroad in the street. After some time I got a chair, and stood up in it, and spake largely to the people, opening the principles of truth to them, and declaring many weighty truths concerning magistracy, and concerning the Lord's prayer. There was, besides friends, a great multitude of people, and amongst them many professors; and all was very quiet; for the Lord's power was over all, and in the Lord's time we broke up our meeting, and de parted in peace.
The next day I went to Guildford in Surry; and having visited friends there, I passed from thence to Wormingburst in Sussex, where I had a very blessed meeting among friends, and free from disturbance. While I was there, James Claypoole of London (who with his wife was there also) was suddenly taken ill with so violent a fit of the stone, that he could neither stand nor lie; but through the extremity of pain cried out like a woman in travail. When I heard it, I was much exercised in spirit for him; and went to him: and after I had spoken a few words to him, to turn his mind inward, I was moved to lay my hand upon him, and prayed the Lord to rebuke his infirmity. And as I laid my hand on him, the Lord's power went through him; and through faith in that power he had speedy ease, so that he quickly fell into a sleep. And when he awaked, the stone came from him like dirt; and he was so well, that the next day he rode with me five and twenty miles in a coach; though he used formerly (as he said) to lie sometimes two weeks, sometimes a month, with one of those fits of the stone. But the Lord was intreated for him, and by his power soon gave him ease at this time: blessed and praised be his holy name therefore.
Now after I had had some meetings in Sussex and Surry, and had visited friends thereaways, I returned to London by Kingston, where I had a meeting on the first-day of the second month, being the first-day of the week also. We were kept out of the meeting-house by a constable and watchmen (as before) and so were fain to meet in the high
way. But it being the monthly meeting day, and many of the world's people being there, the meeting was pretty large, and very quiet; and the Lord's blessed presence was amongst us, blessed be his name for ever.
Being come to London, I went to the meeting at Wheelerstreet near Spitalfields, which that day proved very large; for besides that there were more friends there that day, than usually, there came also many professors to the meeting that day; and a glorious, blessed meeting it was; for the Lord's power and truth were over all, and many deep and weighty things were opened to the people, to their great satisfaction.
I tarried now in and near about London, visiting friends' meetings, and labouring in the service of the gospel, until the Yearly Meeting came on, which began on the 28th of the third month this year. It was a time of great sufferings, and much concerned I was, lest friends, that came up out of the countries on the churches service, should be taken and imprisoned at London. But the Lord was with us, and his power preserved us; and gave us a sweet and blessed opportunity to wait upon him, and be refreshed together in him, and to perform those services for his truth and people, for which we met. Now inasmuch as it was a time of great persecution, and we understood by our friends who came out of the several parts of the nation, that in most counties friends were under great sufferings either by imprisonments, or spoiling of goods, or both, a concern was weightily upon me, lest any friends that were sufferers, especially such as were traders and dealers in the world, should hazard the losing of other men's goods or estates through their sufferings." Wherefore, as the thing opened in me, I drew an epistle of caution to friends in that case, which I communicated to the brethren at the Yearly Meeting; and from thence it was sent forth among friends throughout the nation ; a copy of which here followeth :
Dear friends and brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is your only sanctuary in this day of storm and persecution, spoiling of goods, and imprisonments! Let every ones eye be unto him, who has all power in heaven and earth given unto him; so that none can touch an hair of your head, nor you, nor any thing ye have, except it be permitted or suffered in this day, to try his people, whether iheir minds be with the Lord, or in the outward things. And now, dear friends, take care, that all your offerings may be free, and of your own, that has cost you something; so that ye may not offer of that wbich is another mau's, or