« VorigeDoorgaan »
We went next day to Rotterdam, where we tarried two meetings; and on the sixteenth day of the fifth month, went to the Brill to take ship for England.
It was about the fourth hour in the afternoon that we went on board the packet boat, of which one William Sherman was master, and set sail from the Brill. But when we had gone over the Maes about a league, we cast anchor at a place called the Pitt, (because it is near unto the sands) and there we tarried till about the fourth hour next morning; when, having a pretty fair wind and the tide with us, we weighed anchor, and by the fourth hour next day were got within five leagues of Harwich, over against Aldborough Castle; but the wind falling short, and the tide growing weak, it was the first hour in the afternoon before we came so near to Harwich that boats could come to receive the passengers and goods. There were on board about forty passengers in all; of which some were English, some Scots, some Dutch, some French, some Spanish, some Flemish, and some Jews.
I spent a day with friends at Harwich, while Alexander Parker and George Watts went by water to visit friends at Ipswich, and returned at night. Next morning early we all took coach for Colchester, and were at the meeting there, which was large and peaceable : and after the meeting, and that we had refreshed ourselves, we travelled on to Witham, about ten miles on the road towards London, and lodged there that night. Next day we went on towards London; and William Mead meeting us on the way at Hare-street, I went with him to his house, the other friends going on for London.
Here, being weak with travel and continual exercise, I spent some time to rest myself, and recover my health; visiting in the mean time the friends in that part of the country, as I was able to get abroad. And when I was a little recovered, I went from thence to Enfield, visiting friends there and thereabouts; and so to Dalston to see the widow Stot; and from thence to London, there being some friends come over from New Jerses in America about business, which I was desired to be present at.
It was the latter end of the summer when I came to London, and I staid there the winter following ; saving that once or twice (my wife being in town with me this winter) I went down with her to her son Rouse's at Kingston. And though my body was very weak; yet was l'in continual service, either in public meetings, (when I was able to bear them) or in particular businesses amongst friends, and visiting those that were sufferers for truih,
either by imprisonment or loss of goods. Many things also in this time I wrote, some for the press, and some for particular service; as letters to the king of Denmark and duke of Holstein, on behalf of friends that were sufferers in their dominions; whereof the following is a copy :
For the Duke of Holstein this; whom I do intreat in the
love of God to read over, which is sent in love to him. ' I understand, that formerly by some evil-minded persons it was reported to thee, when one Elizabeth Hendricks came to Fredrickstadt to visit the people called quakers there in thy country, that it was a scandal to the Christian religion, that a woman should be suffered to preach in a public assembly religiously gathered together, &c. Upon which thou didst grant forth an order to the rulers of Fredrickstadt aforesaid, to make the said people leave that place forthwith, or to send them away. But the said rulers being Arminians, and they, or their fathers being come to live there, as a persecuted people in Hol. land, (not much above threescore years ago) made answer to the duke, they were not willing to persecute others for conscience sake, who had looked upon persecution on that account in their own case as antichristian, &c. But after that the said people of God, in scorn called quakers, did write unto thee, o duke, from Fredrickstadt; and since that time they have had their liberty, and their meetings peaceable, to serve and worship God almost these twenty years at Fredrickstadt aforesaid, and thereabout, freely without any molestation; which liberty they have acknowledged as a great favour and kindness from thee.
And now, O duke, thou professing Christianity from the great and mighty name of Christ Jesus (who is King of kings and Lord of lords) and the holy scriptures of truth of the Old and New Testament, do not you use many wo. men's words in your service and worship out of the Old and New Testament? And because the apostle saith, " Let your women keep silence in the churches, and that he did not permit a woman to speak, but to be under obedience; and if she will learn any thing to ask her husband at home ; for it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church. And 1 Tim. ii. 11, 12. “ Women are to learn in silence and not suffered to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." I Cor. xiv. 34. Now, here the duke may see, what sort of women they be, that were to be in silence and in subjection, which the law commands to be silent,
and not to usurp authority over the man, nor to speak in the church; these were unruly women. And in the same chapter, he commands women not to plait or broider their hair, nor to wear gold, pearls, or costly array; these things were forbidden by the apostle; and such women, that wear such things, are to learn in silence and to be subject, and not to usurp authority over the men; for it is a shame for such to speak in the church. But do not such women as these, that wear gold and silver, and pearls and: gaudy apparel, or costly array, and plait and broider their hair, speak in your church, when your priest sets them to sing psalms? Don't they speak when they sing psalms ? Consider this, o duke! And yet you say, your women must keep silence in the church, and must not speak in the church; but when they sing psalms in your churches, are they then silent ? And though the apostle forbids such women before-mentioned to speak in the church ; yet in another place the apostle encourages the good or holy women to be teachers of good things, as in Tit. ii. 3, 4. And John (2 John i.) writes to the elect lady and her children; and John rejoiced greatly, that he found her children walk in the truth : surely, this elect lady had taught and instructed those children that walked in the truth; and John, who was an apostle of Christ, commended her. And the apostle said, “I intreat thee, true yoke-fellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are written in the book of life.” Here the apostle owns these holy women and encourages them, which laboured with him in the gospel, and did not forbid them; Philip iv. 2, 3. And the apostle Paul commended Phæbe unto the church of the Romans, and calls her a servant unto the church of Cenchrea, and sends his epistle by her to the Romans from Corinth, and desires the church at Rome to receive her in the Lord as becometh saints : and that they were to assist her in whatsoever business she had need of; for she had been a succourer of many and of him also: and said, Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus, who have for my life laid down their necks; unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Now here the duke may see these were good holy women; the apostle did not forbid such speaking, Rom. xvi. 1, 2, 3, 4. but commended them. And Priscilla and Aquila instructed and expounded unto Apollo the way of God more perfectly, Acts xviii. 26. So here Priscilla was an instructor as well as Aquila; which holy women the apostle doth not forbid. Neither did the
apostle forbid Philip's four daughters, which were virgins, to prophecy (as in Acts). And women might pray and prophecy in the church, 1 Cor. xi. 5. And the apostles said to the Jews, and shewed them the fulfilling of Joel's prophecy : “ That in the last days God would pour out of his Spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and daughters should prophecy, &c. and servants and hand-maids, they should prophecy with the Spirit of God.” And so the apostle encourages daughters and hand-maids to prophecy as well as sons, and if they do prophecy, they must speak to the church or people, Joel ii. 28. Acts ii. 17, 18. And Miriam the prophetess, did not she sing unto the Lord and all the women with her, when the Lord had delivered the children of Israel from Pharaoh ? did not she praise the Lord, and prophecy in the congregation of the children of Israel: and was not this in the church ? Exod. xv. 21. Moses and Aaron did not forbid her prophecying or speaking ; but Moses said, Would God, all the Lord's peo. ple were prophets ! and the Lord's people are women as well as men. And Deborah was a judge and a prophetess ; and do not you make use of Deborah's and Miriam's words in your service and worship? as you may see (Judg. v. 131.) Deborah's large speech or song; and Barak did not forbid her, nor none of the Jewish priests. And did not she make this speech or song in the congregation or church of Israel? And in the book of Ruth there are good speeches of those good women, which were not forbidden. And Hannah prayed in the temple before Eli, and the Lord answered her prayer; and see, what a speech Hannah makes, and a praising of God before Eli the highpriest, and be did not forbid her, 1 Sam. ii. v. 1. to 10. And Josiah the king sent his priest with several others to ask counsel of Huldah the prophetess, who dwelt at Jerusalem in the college, 2 Kings xxii. 14. 2 Chron. xxxiv. 22. So here the king and his priests did not despise the counsel of this prophetess; and sbe did prophecy to the congregation of Israel, as may be seen in these chapters. And in Luke i, 41 to 55, there see, what a godly speech Elizabeth made to Mary, and what a large godly speech Mary made also. And Mary said, that the Lord did regard the low estate of his hand-maid, &c. And do not you make use in your worship and service of Mary's and Elizabeth's words from Luke ii. 41 to 55, who were holy women in your churches, and yet forbid 'women's speaking in your churches and to be in silence ? yet all sorts of women speak in your churches, when they sing, and say amen. And in Luke the second, there was one Anna a
prophetess, she was a widow of about fourscore and four years; which departed not from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayer night and day : did not she confess Christ Jesus in the temple, and gave thanks to the Lord, and spake of Christ to all that looked for redemption in Jerusalem? Luke ii. 36, 37, 38. So such holy women were not forbidden to speak in the church, neither in the law nor gospel. And was it not Mary Magdalen and other women, that first preached Christ's resurrection to the apostles? The woman indeed (namely Eve) was first in transgression, and so they were women that first preached the resurrection of Christ Jesus; for Christ said to Mary, &c. “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and to your Father, and to my God, and to your God," "John xx. 17. And Luke xxiv. 10, it was Mary Magdalen and Johanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told the apostles, “ that Christ was risen from the dead, and their words and these women's words, were as idle tales to the apostles, and they believed them not; ibid. vers. 11. And vers. 22, 5 Certain women also of our company made us astonished," they said : so here it may be seen, that the women's preaching the resurrection of Christ did astonish the apostles, and Christ sent these women to preach bis resurrection; so it is no shame for such women to preach Christ Jesus : neither were they to be silent when Christ sends them. And the apostle says, “ Every tongue shall confess to God," Rom. xiv. 11, and “ Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” Philip ii. 11. So here it is clear, that women must confess Christ as well as men; if every tongue must confess. And the apostle saith, “ There is neither male nor female ; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus," Gal. iii. 28.
• And whereas it is said, women must ask their husbands at home, &c. Now, the duke knows very well, virgins have no husbands, nor widows; for Anna the prophetess was a widow; and if Christ be the husband, men must ask counsel of him at home as well as women, before they teach. And set the case, that a Turk's wife should be a Christian, or a papist's wife should be a lutheran, or a calvinist, must they ask and learn of their husbands at home, before they confess Christ Jesus in the congregation of the Lord ? Their counsel will be to them to turn Turks or papists.
I'iotreat the duke to consider these things : and again I intreat him to mind God's grace and truth in bis heart that is come by Jesus; that by his Spirit of Grace and