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Lancaster* are with me, and we are well; glory to the Lord for ever, who hath carried us through many perils, perils by water, and in storms, perils by pirates and robbers, perils in the wilderness and amongst false professors ! praises to him whose glory is over all for ever, Amen! Therefore mind the fresh life, and live all to God in it. I intend (if the Lord will) to stay a while this away; it may be till the fair. So no more, but my love to all Friends."
G. F. Bristol, 28th of 4th Month, 1673.
Between this and the fair, my wife came out of the North to Bristol to me, and her son-in-law Thomas Lower, with two of her daughters t came with her. Her other son-in-law John Rous, W. Penn and his wife, and Gerrard Roberts, came from London, and many Friends from several parts of the nation, to the fair; and glorious, powerful meetings we had at that time, for the Lord's infinite power and life was over all. In the fresh openings whereof, I was moved to declare of
THREE ESTATES, AND THREE TEACHERS, Viz: “God was the first teacher of man and woman in Paradise; and as long as they kept to and under his teaching, they kept in the image of God, in his likeness, in righteousness and holiness, and in dominion over all that he had made; in the blessed state, in the paradise of God. But when they hearkened to the serpent's false teaching (who was out of truth), disobeyed God and obeyed the serpent, in feeding upon that which God forbade them, they lost the image of God, the righteousness and holiness, came under the power of Satan, and were turned out of Paradise, out of the blessed into the cursed state. Then the promise of God was, that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head,' break his power that inan and woman were under, and destroy his works. So here were three states and three teachers. God was the first teacher in Paradise; and whilst man kept under his teaching, he was happy. The serpent was the second teacher; and when man followed his teaching, he fell into misery, into the fall from the image of God, from righteousness and holiness, and from the power that he had over all that God had made; and came under the serpent, whom he had power over before. Christ Jesus was the third
* This is nearly the last mention of James Lancaster, whose name occurs so often in these volumes. Perhaps there was no one who associated so much in gospel labours with George Fox as he; not only accompanying him throughout his visit to the western hemisphere, but was also with him during his visit to Scotland in 1657, and to Ireland in 1669, and on these occasions it appears that he frequently acted as his amanuensis. James Lancaster's residence was on the island of Walney, in Lancashire, and he was convinced by George Fox during his first visit to that county in 1652. In the following year he came forth as a minister, and in 1654, went on a gospel mission to Scotland with Miles Halhead. In 1665, he visited many of the midland counties of Euganů.
† When George Fox married the widow of Judge Fell, she had one son; and seven daughters; viz., Margaret, who married John Rous; Bridgett, married to John Draper ; Isabel ; Sarah, inarried to William Mead; Mary, married to Thomas Lower ; Susanna, married to - Ingram; and Rachel, married to Daniel Abraham.
teacher; of whom God saith, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him;' and who himself saith, `Learn of me. This is the true gospel-teacher, who bruises the head of the serpent, the false teacher, and the head of all false teachers, and of all false religions, false ways, false worships, and false churches. "Now Christ, who said, “Learn of me,' and of whom the Father said, 'Hear ye him,' said, 'I am the Way to God, I am the Truth, I am the Life, and the true Light.' So as man and woman come to God, and are renewed up into his image, righteousness, and holiness by Christ, thereby they come into the Paradise of God, the state which man was in before he fell; and into a higher state than that, to sit down in Christ that never fell. Therefore the Son of God is to be heard in all things, who is the Saviour and the Redeemer; who laid down his life, and bought his sheep with his precious blood. We can challenge all the world. Who hath anything to say against our way? our Saviour? our Redeemer? our Prophet, whom God hath raised up that we may hear, and whom we must hear in all things? Who hath anything against our Shepherd, Christ Jesus, who leads and feeds us, and we know his heavenly voice? Who hath anything against our Bishop, in whose mouth was never guile found, who doth oversee us in his pasture of life, that we do not go astray from God, and out of his fold? Who hath anything against our Priest, Christ Jesus, made higher than the heavens, who gives us freely, and commands us to give freely? Who hath anything to say against our Leader and Counsellor, Christ Jesus, who never sinned; but is holy, harmless, and separate from sinners ? God liath commanded us to hear Him; and He saith, Learn of me;' and if we should disobey God's and Christ's command, we should be like our father Adam and mother Eve, who disobeyed God's command, and hearkened to the serpent's teaching. Man commands, and would force us to hear the hirelings, who plead for sin and the body of death to the grave; which doctrine savours of the devil's teaching, not of Christ's; but we resolve to hear the Son, as both he and the Father command, and in hearing the Son we hear the Father also, as the Scripture testifies. For the author to the Hebrews says, 'God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son;' mark that, God hath spoken unto us (his apostles, disciples, church), by his Son. And whereas some have objected, that although Christ did speak both to his disciples and to the Jews, in the days of his flesh, yet since his resurrection and ascension he doth not speak now. The answer is, that as God did then speak by his Son in the days of his flesh, so the Son, Christ Jesus, doth now speak by his Spirit.' Wherefore John saith in the Revelations, He that hath an ear let him hear, what the Spirit saith to the churches, Rev. ii. And Christ is said to speak from heaven,' Heb. xii. 25. "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh; for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more Shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven. They that resisted Moses' law, who spake on earth, died for it without mercy, which was a natural death; but they that refuse Him that speaks from heaven, neglect and slight their own salvation, and so die a spiritual death through unbelief and hardness
of heart. Therefore was the exhortation given of old, To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation,' &c. Heb. üi. 15, &c. So that they who neglect or refuse to hear the voice of Christ, now speaking from heaven in this bis gospel-day, harden their hearts. Let all therefore mark well these three estates and teachers; the God of Truth was the first teacher, while man was in Paradise and in innocency. The serpent was the second teacher, the false teacher, who by his false teaching came to be the god of the world, which lies in wickedness. Christ Jesus, that bruises the serpent's head, is the third teacher, who saith,
Learn of me,' and of whom God saith, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye hin;' and of whom the testimony of the saints of old was, “That God hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.' Thus they that come to be renewed up again into the divine, heavenly image, in which man was at first made, will know the same God, that was the first teacher of Adam and Eve in Paradise, to speak to them now by his Son, who changes not; glory be to his name for ever!”
: Many deep and precious things were opened in those meetings by the Eternal Spirit, which searcheth and revealeth the deep things of God. After I had finished my service for the Lord in that city, I departed thence into GLOUCESTERSHIRE, where we had many large and precious meetings; and the Lord's everlasting power flowed over all. From Gloucestershire I passed into WILTSHIRE, where also we had many blessed meetings. At ŞLATTENFORD, in Wiltshire, we had a very good meeting, though we met there with much opposition from some who had set themselves against WOMEN'S MEETINGS; which I was moved of the Lord to recommend to Friends, for the benefit and advantage of the church of Christ. “That faithful women, who were called to the belief of the truth, being made partakers of the same precious faith, and heirs of the same everlasting gospel of life and salvation that men are, might in like manner come into the possession and practice of the gospel order, and therein be meet-helps unto the men in the restoration, in the service of truth, in the affairs of the church, as they are outwardly in civil, or temporal things. That so all the family of God, women as well as men, might know, possess, perform, and discharge their offices and services in the house of God, whereby the poor might be better taken care of, the younger instructed, informed, and taught in the way of God; the loose and disorderly reproved and admonished in the fear of the Lord; the clearness of persons proposing marriage more closely and strictly inquired into in the wisdom of God; and all the members of the spiritual body, the church, might watch over and be helpful to each other in love." But after these opposers had run into much contention and wrangling, the power of the Lord struck down one of the chief of them, so that his spirit sunk, and he came to be sensible of the evil he had done in opposing God's heavenly power, and confessed his error before Friends; and afterwards gave forth a paper of condemnation, wherein he declared, “ that he did wilfully oppose (although I often warned him to take heed), until the fire of the Lord did burn within him; and he saw the angel of the Lord with his sword drawn in his hand, ready to cut him off," &c. , .se Notwithstanding the opposition at the meeting at Slattenford, yet a very good and serviceable one it was; for occasion was thereby adininistered to answer their objections and cavils, and to open the services of women in and for the church. At this the women's meetings, for that county, were established in the blessed power of God.
After this I went to MARLBOROUGH and had a meeting there, to which some of the magistrates came, and were civil and moderate. Then passing to Bartholomew Maylin's, I had a very precious meeting there; and then went a little beyond ORE, where we had a blessed meeting, and very large, as we had also soon after upon the border of HAMPSHIRE. Then turning into OXFORDSHIRE, we visited Friends there; and then went to READING, where we had a large meeting. Thence passing into BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, we had many precious meetings in that county. After which we visited Friends till we came to KINGSTON-UPON-THAMES, where my wife and her daughter Rachel met me.
I made no long stay at Kingston, but went to LONDON, where I found the Baptists and Socinians, with some old apostates, grown very rude, having printed many books against us ; so that I had a great travail in the Lord's power, before I could get clear of that city. But blessed be the Lord, his power came over them, and all their lying, wicked, scandalous books were answered. I made a short journey into some parts of Essex and MIDDLESEX, visiting Friends at their meetings, and their children at their schools, and returned soon to LONDON. After some service there among Friends, I went to KINGSTON, and thence to Stephen Smith's in SURREY, where was a very large meeting, many hundreds of people attending it. I stayed in those parts till I had cleared myself of the service the Lord had given me to do there, and then returned by KINGSTON to LONDON, whither I felt my spirit drawn; having heard that many Friends were taken before the magistrates, and divers imprisoned in London and other towns, for opening their shop-windows on holidays and fast-days (as they were called), and for bearing testimony against all such observations of days. Which Friends could not but do, knowing that the true Christians did not observe the Jews' holidays in the apostles' times, neither could we observe the Heathens' and Papists' holidays (so called) which have been set up amongst those called Christians, since the apostles' days. For we were redeemed out of days by Christ Jesus, and brought into the day which hath sprung from on high, and are come into Him who is Lord of the Jewish Sabbath, and the substance of the Jews' signs.
After I had stayed some time in London, labouring for some relief and ease to Friends in this case, I took leave of Friends there, and went into the country with my wife, and her daughter Rachel, to HENDON, in MIDDLESEX, and thence to William Penn's at RICKMANSWORTH, in HERTFORDSHIRE, whither Thomas Lower, who married another of my wife's daughters, came next day to accompany us in our journey northward. After we had visited Friends thereabouts, we passed to a Friend's house near AYLESBURY, and thence to Bray Doily's at ADDERBURY, in OXFORDSHIRE, where, on First-day, we had a large and precious meeting. Truth
being well spread, and Friends in those parts much increased in number, two or three new meetings were then set up.
At night, as I was sitting at supper, I felt I was taken; yet I said nothing then to any one of it. But getting out next morning, we travelled into WORCESTERSHIRE, and went to John Halford's, at ARMSCOTT, where we had a very large and precious meeting in his barn, the Lord's powerfal presence being eminently with and amongst us. After the meeting, Friends being most of them gone, as I was sitting in the parlour, discoursing with some Friends, Henry Parker, a justice, came to the house, and with him one Rowland Hains, a priest of HUNNITON, in WARWICKSHIRE. This justice heard of the meeting by means of a woman Friend, who being nurse to a child of his, asked leave of her mistress to go to the meeting to see me; and she speaking of it to her husband, he and the priest plotted together to come and break it up and apprehend me. But from their sit. ting long at dinner, it being the day on which his child was sprinkled, they did not come till the meeting was over, and Friends mostly gone. But though there was no meeting when they came, yet I being in the house, who was the person they aimed at, Henry Parker took me, and Thomas Lower for company with me; and though he had nothing to lay to our charge, sent us both to Worcester jail, by a strange sort of mittimus; a copy of which here follows: * To the constables of Tredington, in the said county of Worcester, and to all
constables and tithing-men of the several townships and villages within the said parish of Tredington, and to the keeper of the jail for the county of Worcester.
“COMPLAINT being made to me, being one of His Majesty's justices of the peace for the said county of Worcester, that within the said parish of Tredington in the same county, there has of late been several meetings of divers persons, to the number of four hundred persons and upwards at a time, upon pretence of exercise of religion, otherwise than what is established by the laws of England. And many of the said persons, some of them were teachers, and came from the North, and others from the remote parts of the kingdom; which tends to the prejudice of the reformed and established religion, and may prove prejudicial to the public peace. And it appearing to me that there was, this present day, such a meeting as aforesaid, to the number of two hundred or thereabouts, at Armscott, in the said parish of Tredington, and that George Fox of London, and Thomas Lower of the parish of Creed, in the county of Cornwall, were present at the said meeting, and the said George Fox was teacher or speaker of the said meeting; and no satisfactory account of their settlement or place of habitation appearing to me, and forasmuch as the said George Fox and Thomas Lower refused to give sureties to appear at the next sessions of the peace to be holden for the said county, to answer the breach of the common laws of England, and what other matters should be objected against them; these are, therefore, in His Majesty's name, to will and require you, or either of you, forthwith to convey the bodies of the said George Fox and Thomas Lower to the county jail of Worcester afore