and pure, and the ungodly and prophane, for they that do not so, bring troubles, burdens, and sorrows upon themselves. And this we write in love to your souls, that ye may consider these things; for they that hate enemies and bate one another, we cannot say they are of God, nor in Christ's doctrine, but are opposers of it. And such as wrestle with flesh and blood, with carnal weapons, are gone into the flesh, out of the spirit; they are not in our fellowship in the spirit, in which is the bond of peace; neither are they of us, nor have we unity with them in their fleshly state, and with their carnal weapons; for our unity and fellowship stands in the gospel, which is the power of God before the devil was, the liar, and the murderer, the man-slayer and the envious man. Now Christ's mind and his doctrine being to save men's lives, we, who are of Christ's mind, are out of, and above these things. And our desire is, that in the fear of the Lord ye may all live, that in that ye may all receive God's wisdom, by which all things were created, that by it all may be ordered to God's glory. • This is from them that love all your souls, and seek

your eternal good.' Being now a prisoner in Lancaster castle, a deep sense came upon me of a day of sore trial and exercise that was come and coming upon all that had been in high profession of religion : and I was moved to give forth the following paper as a warning unto such :

Now is the day that every one's faith and love to God and Christ will be tried, and who are redeemed out of the earth, and who are in the earth will be manifested; and who is their master they serve, and whether they will run to the mountains to cover them. Now will it appear who are the stony ground, who are the thorny ground, and who are the bighway-ground, in whom the fowls of the air take away the seed, and the thorns and cares of the world choke, and the heat of persecution scorches and burns up your green blade ; for the day trieth all things. Therefore let not such as forsake truth, for saving the earth, say that your brother priest only serveth not the Lord Jesus Christ, but his own belly, and mindeth earthly things, for such themselves also do the same, and do hug and embrace self, and not the Lord. Now it will be made manifest who is every ones God, and Christ, and Saviour, and their love will be manifest, whether it be of the world or the love of God; for if it be the love of the world it is enmity, and the enmity will manifest itself what it is, and the day will try every spirit and his fruits. Therefore, all my dear friends, in the everlasting seed of God live, that is over all the house of Adam and his works in the fall; and so dwelling in the seed, Christ that never fell, in him you have all virtue, and life, and peace, and through him ye will overcome all that is in the fall.'

G. F.


I writ also another short epistle to friends, to warn them to keep out of that spirit that wrought in John Perrot and his company against the truth.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Dear friends, • Dwell in the love of God and in his righteousness, that will preserve you above all changeable spirits, that be foul and unclean, and that dwell not in the truth but in quarrels. Avoid such, and keep your habitations in the truth, and dwell in the truth, and in the word of God, by which ye are reconciled to God. And keep your meetings in the name of Jesus Christ, that never fell, and then ye will see over all the gatherings of Adam's sons and daughters, you being met in the life over them all, in which is your unity and peace, and fellowship with God and one with another, in the life, in which ye may enjoy God's presence among you. So remember me to all friends in the everlasting

seed of God. And all they that are gotten into fellowship in outward things, their fellowship will corrupt, and rot, and wither away; therefore live in the gospel, the power of God, which power of God the gospel was, before the devil was. And this fellowship in the gospel, the power of God, is a mystery to all the fellowships of the world. So look over all outward sufferings, and look at the Lord, and the Lamb, who is the first and last, the amen; in whom farewell.'

G. F.

In the sixth month the assizes were held again at Lan. caster, and the same judges, Twisden and Turner, came that circuit again; but judge Turner then sate on the crown bench, and so I was brought before him. But before I was called to the bar, I was put among the murderers and felons for about the space of two hours, the people, the. justices, and the judge also gazing upon me. After they had tried several others, they called me to the bar, and impannelled a jury, and then the judge asked the justices whether they had tendered me the oath at the sessions ; and they said they had : then he bid give them the book, that they might swear they had tendered me the oath ac

cording to the indictment. Some of the justices refused to be sworn, but the judge said he would have it done, to take away all occasion of exception. Now when the jury were sworn, and the justices had sworn that they had tendered me the oath according to the indictment, then the judge asked me whether I had not refused the oath at the last assizes ; I said I never took oath in my life, and Christ, the Saviour and Judge of the world, said, “Swear not at all." The judge seemed not to take notice of my answer, but asked me whether or no I had not refused to take the oathi at the last assize : I said, the words that I then spake to them were, that if they could prove, either judge, justices; priest, or teacher, that after Christ and the apostle had forbidden swearing they commanded that Christians should swear, I would swear.' The judge said he was not at that time to dispute whether it was lawful to swear, but to en. quire whether I had refused to take the oath or no. I told him those things mentioned in the oath, as plotting against the king, and owning the pope's, or any other foreign power, I utterly deny. Well, said he, you say well in that, but did you deny to take the oath ; what say you? What wouldest thou have me to say, said I; for I have told thee before what I did say. Then he asked me if I would have these men to swear that I had taken the oath; I asked him if he would have those men to swear that I had refused the oath ? at which the court burst out into laughter. I was grieved to see so much lightness in a court, where such solemn matters were handled, and thereupon asked them if this court was a play-house; where is gravity and sobriety, said I, for this behaviour doth not become you. Then the clerk read the indictment, and I told the judge I had something to speak to it (for 'I had informed myself of the errors that were in it). He told me he would hear me afterward, any reasons that I could allege, why be should not give judgment. Then I spake to the jury and told them, that they could not bring me in guilty accord. ing to that indictment, for the indictment was wrong laid, and had many gross errors in it. The judge said I must not speak to the jury, but he would speak to them, and he told them I had denied to take the oath at the last assizes ; and, said he, I can tender the oath to any man now, and premunire bim for not taking it : and he said, they must bring me in guilty, seeing I refused to take the oath. Then said I, what do ye do with a form: ye may throw away your form then. And I told the jury it lay upon their consciences, as they would answer it to the Lord God before bis judgment-seat. Then the judge spake again to the VOL. II.


jury; and I bid him do me justice. So the jury brought me in guilty. Whereupon I told them that both the justices and they too had forsworn themselves, and therefore they had small cause to laugh, as they did a little before. Oh the envy, and rage, and malice that was there against me, and the lightness; but the Lord confounded them, and they were wonderfully stopped. So they set me aside, and called up Margaret Fell, who had a great deal of good service amongst them; and then the court brake up near the second hour.

In the afternoon we were brought up again to have sentence passed upon us; and Margaret Fell desired, that sentence might be deferred till the next morning. I de. sired nothing, but law and justice at his hands, for the thieves had mercy; only I desired the judge to send some to see my prison, which was so bad they would put no creature they had in it; and I told him that colonel Kirby, who was then on the bench, said I should be locked up and no flesh alive should come to me. The judge shook his head, and said, when the sentence was given he would leave me to the favour of the jailer. Now most of the gentry of the country were gathered together expecting to hear the sentence, and the noise among the people was that I should be transported. But they were all crossed at that time; for the sentence being deferred till next morning, I was had back as I came to prison again. Upon my complaining of the badness of my prison, some of the justices, with colonel Kirby, went up to see it; but when they came to it they durst hardly go into it, the floor was so bad and dangerous, and the place so open to wind and rain; and some that came up said, sure it was a jakeshouse. When colonel Kirby saw it, and heard what others said of it, he excused the matter as well as he could, and said I should be removed from that place ere it was long to some more convenient place.

Next day towards the eleventh hour we were called forth again to hear the sentence; and Margaret Fell being called first to the bar, she had some counsels to plead, who found many errors in her indictment, whereupon, after the judge had acknowledged them, she was set by. Then the judge asked what they could say to mine? Now I was not willing to let any man plead for me, but to speak to it myself, and indeed though Margaret had sone that pleaded for her, yet she spake as much herself as she would. But before I came to the bar I was moved in my spirit to pray, that God would con found their wickedness and envy, and set his truth over all, and exalt his seed.

And the Lord heard and answered, and did confound them in their proceedings against me, and though they had most envy against me, yet the most gross errors were found in my indictment.

Now, I having put by others from pleading for me, the judge asked me what I had to say, why he should not pass sentence upon me; I told him I was no lawyer, but I bad much to say, if he would have patience to bear. At that he laughed, and others laughed also, and said, Come, what have you to say ? he can say nothing. Yes, said I, I have much to say, have but the patience to hear me, Then I asked him, whether the oath was to be tendered to the king's subjects, or to the subjects of foreign princes? he said, to the subjects of this realm. Then said I, look at the indictment, and ye may see that ye have left out the word subject; so not having named me in the indictment as a subject, ye cannot premunire me for not taking the oath. Then they looked the statute and the indictment, and saw that it was as I said, and the judge confessed it was an error. I told him, I had something else to stop his judgment; and I desired him to look, what day the indictment said the oath was tendered to me at the sessions there? They looked, and said it was the eleventh day of January. What day of the week was that session held on, said I ; on a Tuesday, said they. Then said I, look your almanacks, and see whether there was ang sessions held at Lancaster on the eleventh day of January so called? So they looked, and found that the eleventh day was the day called Monday, and that the sessions was on the day called Tuesday, which was the twelfth day of that month. Look ye now, said I, ye have indicted me for refusing the oath in the quarter sessions held at Lancaster on the eleventh day of January last, and the justices have sworn that they tendered me the oath in open sessions here that day, and the jury upon their oaths have found me guilty thereupon, and yet ye see there was no session held in Lancaster that day. Then the judge, to have covered the matter, asked whether the sessions did not begin on the eleventh? But some in the court answered no, the session held but one day and that was the twelfth; then the judge said, this was a great mistake, and an error. Some of the justices were in a great rage at this, and were ready to have gone off the bench, and stamped and said, who hath done this? somebody hath done it on purpose, and a great heat was amongst them. Then said 1, are not the justices here that have sworn to this indictment, forsworn men in the face of the country? But this is not all, said I,

« VorigeDoorgaan »