that be heirs of the gospel, are heirs of this authority and of the power of God, which was before the devil was, and which is not of man nor by man. These come to inherit and possess the joyful order of the joyful gospel, the comfortable order of the comfortable gospel, the glorious order of the glorious gospel, and the

everlasting order of the everlasting gospel, the power of God which will last for ever, and will out-last all the orders of the devil, and that which is of men or by men.

And these shall see the government of Christ, who hath all power in heaven and earth given to him, and of the increase of his glorious, righteous, holy, just government, there is no end, but his government and his order will remain; for he who is the author of it, is the first and the last, the beginning and end, ing, the foundation of God, which over all stands sure, Christ Jesus, the amen.

After I had travelled amongst friends through most parts of the nation, and the monthly meetings were settled, being returned to London, I staid some time there, visiting friends' meetings in and about the city. While I was in London I went one day to visit him that was called esq. Marsh, who had shewed much kindness both to me and to friends, and I happened to go when he was at dinner. He no sooner heard my name but he sent for me up, and would have had me sit down with him to dinner, but I had not freedom to do so. There were several great persons at dinner with him, and he said to one of them who was a great papist, Here is a Quaker, which you have not seen before. The papist asked me whether I did own the christening of children: I told him there was no scripture for any such practice. What, said he, not for christening children? I said, nay. I told him the one baptism by the one spirit into one body we owned, but to throw a little water on a child's face, and say that was baptizing and christening it, there was no scripture for that. Then he asked me whether I did own the catholick faith : I said yes, but added, that neither the pope nor the papists were in that catholick faith, for the true faith works by love, and purifies the heart, and if they were in that faith that gives victory, by which they might have access to God, they would not tell the people of a purgatory after they were dead. So I undertook to prove that neither pope nor papists that held a purgatory hereafter were in the true faith ; for the true, precious, divine faith, which Christ is the author of, gives victory over the devil and sin, that had separated man and woman from God. And if they the (papists) were in the true faith they would never use racks, prisons, and lines, to persecute and force others to

their religion, that were not of their faith; for this was not the practice of the apostles and primitive Christians, who witnessed and enjoyed the true faith of Christ, but it was the practice of the faithless Jews and heathens so to do. But, said I to him, seeing thou art a great and leading man among the papists, and hast been taught and bred up under the pope, and seeing thou sayest there is no salvation but in your church, I desire to know of thee what it is that doth bring salvation in your church : he answered, A good life. And nothing else, said I. Yes, he said, good works, And is this it that brings salvation in your church, a good life and good works. Is this your doctrine and principle said I. Yes, said he. Then said I, neither thou nor the pope, nor any of the papists know, what it is that brings salvation. Then he asked me what brought salvation in our church; I told him that which brought salvation to the church in the apostles' days, the same brought şalvation to us, and not another: namely, the grace of God, which the scripture says brings salvation, and hath appeared to all men, which taught the saints then, and teaches us now; and this grace which brings salvation, teaches to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live godly, righteously, and soberly. So it is not the good works and the good life that brings the salvation, but the grace. What, said the papist, doth this grace that brings salvation appear unto all men : yes, said I. Then, said he, I deny that. But I said, All that deny that are sect-makers, and are not in the universal faith, grace and truth, which the apostles were in. Then he spake to me about the mother church, and I told him the several sorts of sects in Chrisendom had accused us, and said we forsook our mother church. The papists charged us with forsaking their church, and they said Rome was the only mother church. The episcopalians taxed us with forsaking the old protestant religion, and they said theirs was the reformed mother church. The presbyterians and independents blamed us for leaving them, and each of them said theirs was the right reformed church. But I said if we could own any outward city or place to be the mother church, we should own outward Jerusalem, where the gospel was first preached by Christ himself and his apostles, where Christ suffered, where the great conversion to Christianity by Peter was, where were the types, figures, and shadows, which Christ ended, and where Christ commanded his disciples to wait until they were endued with power from on high. So, if any outward place deserved to be called the mother, that was the place where the first great conversion to Christianity was. But the apostle saith, Gal. iy.

25, 26. “Jerusalem, which now is, is in bondage with her children : but Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice thou barren, that barest not; break forth, and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children, than she that hath an husband,” verse 27. Now this we do see, that Jerusalem below (which was the highest place of worship) and all that be like her in profession without possession, have more children than the free woman that hath an husband, which is Jerusalem that is above, the mother of us all that be true Christians; so the apostle doth not say outward Jerusalem was the mother, though the first and great conversion to Christianity was there. And therefore there is less reason for the title [mother] to be given to Rome, or to any other outward place or city, by the children of Jerusalem, that is above and free ; and they are not Jerusalem's chile dren that is above and free, who give the title of mother either to outward Jerusalem or to Rome, or to any other place or sect of people. And though this title (mother] hath been given to places and sects amongst and by the degenerate Christians, yet still we say as the apostle said of old, Jerusalem that is above is the niother of us all: and we can own no other, neither outward Jerusalem, nor Rome, nor any sect of people for our mother, but Jerusalem which is above, which is free, the mother of us all that are born again, and become true believers in the light, and who are grafted into Christ the heavenly Vine. For all who are born again of the immortal Seed by the Word of God, which lives and abides for ever, feed upon the milk of the word, the breasts of life, and grow by it in life, and cannot acknowledge any other to be their mother but Jerusalem which is above. Oh, said esq. Marsh to the papist, You do not know this man, if he would but come to church now and then, he would be a brave man.

After some other discourse together, I went aside with this justice Marsh into another room, to speak with him concerning friends, for he was a justice of peace for Middlesex, and being a courtier, the other justices put much of the management of matters upon him. Now when we two were alone together, he told me he was in a streight how to act between us and some other dissenters. For, said he, you cannot swear, and the independents, baptists, and fifih monarchy people say also, they cannot swear; and therefore, said he, how shall I know how to distinguish betwixt you and them, seeing they and you all say, it is for consci. ence sake that you cannot swear. Then, said I, I will shew thee how to distinguish, for they (or most of them) thou

speakest of, can and do swear in some cases, but we cannot swear in any case. If a man should steal their cows or horses, and thou shouldest ask them whether they would swear they were theirs, many of them would readily do it. But if thou try our friends, they cannot swear for their own goods. Therefore when thou puttest the oath of allegiance to any of them, ask them whether they can swear in any other case, as for their cow or horse ; which if they be really of us they cannot do, though they can bear witness to the truth. Hereupon I gave him a relation of a trial in Berkshire, which was thus : a thief stole two beasts from a friend of ours, the thief was taken and cast into prison, and the friend appeared against him at the assizes. But somebody having informed the judge that the man that prosecuted was a Quaker, and could not swear, the judge, before he heard what the friend could say, said, Is he a Quaker, and will he not swear? then tender him the oaths of allegiance and supremacy.' So he cast the friend into prison and premunired him, and let the thief go at liberty that had stolen his goods. When I had related this case justice Marsh said, that judge was a wicked man. But, said I, if we could swear in any case we would take the oath of allegiance to the king, who is to preserve the laws that preserve every man in his estate. 'Whereas others that can swear in some cases to preserve a part of their estates, if they be robbed, will not take this oath to the king, who is to preserve them in their whole estates and bodies also. So that thou mayest easily distinguish, and put a difference betwixt us and other people. This justice Marsh was afterwards very serviceable to friends in this and other cases, for he kept several, both friends and others from being premunired, in those parts where he was a justice. And when frieads have been brought before him in the times of persecution, he set many of them at liberty, and when he could not avoid sending to prison, he sent some for a few hours, or for a night. At length he went to the king, and told bim he had sent some of us to prison contrary to his conscience, and he could not do so any more.

Wherefore he removed his family from Limehouse, where he lived, and took lodgings near St. James's Park. He told the king that if he would be pleased to give liberty of conscience that would quiet and settle all, for then none could have any pretence to be uneasy. And indeed he was a very serviceable man to truth and friends in his day.

We had great service at London this year, and the Lord's truth came over all, and many that had been out from truth

came in again this year, confessing and condemning their former outgoings.

Now after I had staid some time in London, I went forth into the countries again, visiting friends in Surry and Sussex, and in other places that way, and afterwards travelled Northward, having Leonard Fell with me. We visited friends till we came to Warwick, where many friends were in prison, and we had a meeting in the town : after that I passed from thence to Birmingham and to Badgely; at Badgely I had a large meeting. After which I passed through the country visiting friends, till I came to Nottingham, where on the first day we had a precious meeting, but not without danger of being apprehended, the constables having threatened to take up friends about that time.

I passed on from thence visiting friends through the country, till I came to Balby, and so to York to the quarterly-meeting there; and a blessed meeting we had. Friends had in Yorkshire seven monthly meetings before ; and they were so sensible of the service of them that they desired to have seven more added to them, for truth was much spread in that country. Accordingly in that quarterly meeting they were settled and established; so that whereas before they had but seven, now they have fourteen monthly meetings in that county.

It being the assize time at York, there I met with justice Hotham, a well-wisher to friends, and one that had been tender, and very kind to me at the first.

After I had finished my service for the Lord in York, I passed further up into the country, and as I went a great burden fell upon me, but I did not presently know the reason of it. So I came to a meeting on the first-day at one Shipton's, which was very large, but there being a meeting the same day at another place also, the priest of that place being misinformed that I was to be there, got a warrant, and made great disturbance at that meeting, of which Isaac Lindley, who was there, gave me an account by the following letter, thus :

G. F.

When thou wentest from York, the first day after thou wast at Richard Shipton's, that day I had appointed a meeting ten miles from York, where there had not been a meeting before. But the priest and the constable got a warrant on the seventh day, and put thy name only in the warrant (for they had heard that thou wast to be there) and they came with weapons and staves, and cried, Where

« VorigeDoorgaan »