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To all you that be judges, or other officers whatsoever, in the whole world, who profess yourselves to be Christians.
Friends, • Herein and by reading the scriptures, ye may see both your own words and carriage, and the words, carriage, and practice of both Jews and Heathens, and of the great King of kings, the great Lawgiver and Judge of the whole world. First, for tlie words and carriage of the Jews, when such as were worthy of death were brought before such as were rulers amongst them.
Wher Achan had taken the Babylonish garment, and the two hundred shekels of silver, and the wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, and Joshua, who was then judge of Israel, had by the lot found him out, he did not say unto him, Sirrah, nor, you rascal, knave, rogue, as some, that are called' Christian magistrates, are too apt to do. But Joshua said unto Achan, My son, (mark bis clean language and savoury ex. pression and gracious words,) "My son,” said he, “give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him, and tell me now what thou hast done, hide not from me.” Then Achan confessed, that he had sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus he had done. And then Joshua the judge said, “Why hast thou troubled Israel: The Lord shall trouble thee this day." And they stoned him and his with stones, and burnt his goods with fire. But there was no unsavoury word given to him that we read of, though he was worthy of death. Josh. vii.
' So when the man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day, was taken and brought before Moses, the judge in Israel, and put in ward until the mind of the Lord was known concerning him, we read not of any reviling language given him, but the Lord said to Moses, and Moses to the people, “ The man shall surely be put to death,” Numb. xv. 35.
• So likewise in the rebellion of Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, where Moses called them to trial, he did not sirrah them or miscall them, but said to Corah and the rest, Hear, I
pray you, ye sons of Levi, Numb. xvi. 8. And when he gave the sentence against them, he said, If these men die the common death of all men, &c. He did not say, If these rascals or knaves—as many that profess themselves Christians, will now do.
• When Elihu spake to Job, who was a judge, and to his friends, and said, “Let me not, I pray you, accept any
man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man, for I know not to give flattering titles : in so doing my Maker would soon take me away,” Job xxxii. Job did not say, Sirrah, hold tby tongue, nor give him any unsavory expression. Then for the words of David and Solomon, and other kings and officers, see in the books of the Kings and Chronicles the savoury language that they gave to them that were brought before them: nay, though Shimei cursed David the king, yet neither did David then, or afterward, nor Solomon, when he caused him to be put to death, give him any reproachful language, or so much as call him sirrah; 2 Sam. xvi. and 1 Kings ii.
• Read the prophecies of Isaiah and Micha, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the rest of the prophets, who prophesied to several peoples, and against rulers, kings, and magistrates, yet where can it be found, that they had any bad language given them, as sirrah, or the like, by any ruler either of the Jews or heathens ? Nay, though Jeremiah was cast into the prison, and into the dungeon, yet there was no such word as sirrah, or knave given to him. Jer. xxxvii.
. Then for the words and carriage of the heathens: when Abraham was brought before Abimelech, who was a king, he gave Abraham no unsavoury expressions, Gen. xx. And when Isaac came before Abimelech, he gave him no taunting language neither, Gen. xxvi. When Joseph was cast into prison,
and that in Egypt, we do not read that he had any railing language given him, Gen. xxxix. Neither did Pharaoh, when Moses and Aaron went before him, give them bad language, as sirrah, knave, or the like.
• When Nebuchadnezzer sentenced the three children to the fiery furnace, there was no such language given them as sirrah, knave, rascal; but called them by the names they were known by, Dan. iii. And when Daniel was brought before Darius, and sentenced to be cast into the lion's den, he had no ill names given him as many give now, who call those beathen rulers, but themselves Christians.
If ye look into the New Testament, there in the parable of the wedding supper, the king, that came to view his guests, did not say unto him that was found without a wedding-garment, Sirrah, how camest thou in hither? But, “ Friend, how camest thou in hither ? &c.” though he was one that was to be bound band and foot, and cast into utter darkness, Matt. xxii. Nay, when Judas had betrayed his master, Christ Jesus the Lord of life, and had sold him to the priests, Christ did not call him sirrah, when he came to apprehend him, but friend : Matt. xxvi. 50. Stephen in his
examination, sentence, and death, had no such reproachful word given him, as sirrah, or knave, Acts vi. and vii. chap. When the apostles Peter and John were brought before the high priest and rulers of the Jews, and commanded not to preach in the name of Jesus, Acts iv. they were not called sirrah, or knaves, nor had any such ill names given them. And when Paul and Silas were cast into prison by the magistrates, there was no such word given them in their examination nor in their sentence, Acts xvi. They called them men, not rogues, sirrahs, nor knaves. And when the magistrates had done contrary to law, they feared; so ye may see how short of this example many are, that call themselves Christian rulers, who are not afraid to cast innocent people into prison, and give them ill names besides, below both Jews and heathens.
• When the uproar was at Ephesus about Diana's shrine, Demetrius, who bore great sway among the craftsmen, did mot call Paul sirrah, but called him by his right name Paul, Acts xix. And when Paul was brought prisoner before Ananias and the council of the Jews, and told them he had lived in all good conscience towards God until that day, though they (who professed the Scriptures but lived out of the life of them) could not abide to hear of living in a good conscience (as professors of the Scriptures now, that live not in the life, cannot abide to hear of living in a good conscience now a days): but Ananias caused Paul to be smitten on the mouth, yet he did not call him knave nor sirrah, Acts xxiii. The apostate Jews indeed (who though they professed Scripture were out of the life thereof, and had rejected Christ) in their accusing Paul before thé Roman magistrates, did once call him a pestilent fellow, Acts xxiv. as the accusing professors who live out of the life will sometimes call us now. But Felix gave Paul no such language ; neither did Festus nor king Agrippa in all their examinations of him, give Paul any such words as sirrah, rascal, knave, or the like, but heard him patiently. So now Christians may see through all the Scriptures, that when any persons were brought before rulers, kings, or magistrates, whether Jews or heathen, they did not use to call them evil names, as sirrah, rascal, knave, and the like, they had no such foul-mouthed language in their courts, nor did they use to say to them, Sirrah, put off your hat. Now, ye that profess Christianity, and say the Scripture is your rule, may see, that more corrupt words proceed out of your mouths than either out of the Jews or heathens, if ye will try your practice by the Scriptures. And doth not the apostle tell you, that no corrupt commu
nication should proceed out of your mouths, and that your : words should be gracious ? Now I query, where and whence ye, that call yourselves Christians, have got all these bad words and names, seeing neither God, nor Christ, nor the prophets, nor the judges, nor kings, nor rulers, ever gave any such names, so far as appears by Scripture, either amongst the heathens, Jews, or Christians.' G.F.
Before the next assizes came, there was a quarter-sessions holden at Lancaster by the justices, to which though we were not brought, yet I put friends upon drawing up an account of their sufferings, and laying them before the justices in their open sessions. For friends had suffered deeply by fines and distresses, the bailiffs and officers making great havoc and spoil of their goods; but no redress was made.
And because some evil-minded magistrates would be telling us sometimes of the late plot in the North, we gave forth the following paper to stop their mouths, and to clear truth and friends therefrom. Which was as followeth :
A Testimony from us, the people of God, whom the world
call Quakers, to all the magistrates and officers of what sort soever, from the highest to the lowest.
We are peaceable, and seek the peace, and good, and welfare of all men and women upon the earth, as in our lives and peaceable carriages is manifested; and we desire the eternal good and welfare of all, and their souls' everlasting peace. We are heirs of the blessing before the curse was, and of the power of God before the devil was, and before the fall of man. We are heirs of the gospel of peace, which is the power of God, and we are heirs of Christ, who have inherited him and his everlasting kingdom, and do possess the power of an endless life. Knowing this our portion and inheritance, this is to take off all jealousies out of your minds, and out of the minds of all people concerning us, that all plots and conspiracies, plot. ters and conspirators against the king, and all aiders and assisters thereunto we always did and do utterly deny, to be any of us, or to be of the fellowship of the gospel, or to be of Christ's kingdom, or to be his servants. For Christ said his kingdom was not of this world, if it were his servants would fight. And therefore he bid Peter put up his sword, for, said he, he that taketh the sword, shall perish by the sword. Here is the faith and patience of the saints, to bear and suffer all things, knowing (as we know) that
vengeance is the Lord's, and he will repay it to them that hurt his people, and that do wrong to the innocent. Therefore cannot we avenge, but suffer for his name's sake. And we do know that the Lord will judge the world in righteousness, according to their deeds, and that, when every one shall give an account to him of the deeds done in the body, then will the Lord give every man according to his works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. Christ saith, he canie not to destroy men's lives; and when his disciples would have had fire to come down from heaven, to have consumed them that did not receive him, he told them they knew not what spirit they were of, that would have men's lives destroyed, and therefore he rebuked them and told them, that he came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them. Now we are of Christ's mind, who is the great prophet, whom all ought to hear in all things, who saith to his, “if they strike thee on one cheek turn the other, and render to no one evil for evil." This doctrine of his have we learned, and do not only confess him in words, but follow his doctrine; and therefore have and do we suffer all manner of reproaches, scandals, and slanders, and spoiling of goods, buffetings and whippings, stripes and imprisonments for these many years; and can say, the Lord forgive them that have thús served us, and lay not these things to their charge. And we know that the Jews' outward sword, by which they cut down the heathen outwardly, was a type of the inward sword of the spirit, which cuts down the inward heathen, the raging nature in people. And the blood of bulls, lambs, rams, and other offerings, and that priesthood that offered them, together with other things in the law, were types of Christ, the one offering, and of his blood, who is the everlasting priest and covenant, Christ, our life and way to God, and who is the great prophet and shepherd, that looks to his flock, and the head of his church, and the great bishop of our souls, whom we witness come, and he doth oversee and keep his flock. For in Adam in the fall we know the striving, quarrelling, unpeaceable spirits are in the enmity one with another, and not in peace; but in Christ Jesus the second Adam, that never fell, is peace, rest, and life. And the doctrine of Christ who never sinned, is to love one another, and who be in this doctrine hurt no man, in which we are, in Christ, who is life. Therefore it is well for you to distinguish betwixt the precious and the vile, between them that fear God and serve him, and them that do not, and to put a difference between the innocent and the guilty, and between him that is holy