Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

us;” who came to destroy sin, and to take away sin. So there is a time for people to see that they have sinned, and there is a time for them to see that they have sin; and there is a time for them to confess their sin, and to forsake it, and to know the blood of Christ to cleanse from all sin.” Then the priest was asked, “whether Adam was not perfect before he fell? and whether all God's works were not perfect” The priest said, “there might be a perfection as Adam had, and a falling from it.” But I told him, there is a perfection in Christ above Adam, and beyond falling; and that it was the work of the ministers of Christ to present every man perfect in Christ; for the perfecting of whom they had their gifts from Christ; therefore they that denied perfection, denied the work of the ministry, and the gifts which Christ gave for the perfecting of the saints.' The priest said, ‘we must always be striving.' I answered, “it was a sad and comfortless sort of striving, to strive with a belief that we should never overcome.’ I told him also, that “Paul, who cried out of the body of death, did also “thank God, who gave him the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” So there was a time of crying out for want of victory, and a time of praising God for the victory. And Paul said, “there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”’’ The priest said, ‘Job was not perfect.’ I told him, ‘God said Job was a perfect man, and that he did shun evil; and the devil was forced to confess, that “God had set an hedge about him;” which was not an outward hedge, but the invisible, heavenly power.” The priest said, ‘Job said, “he chargeth his angels with folly, and the heavens are not clean in his sight.”’ I told him, ‘that was his mistake, it was not Job said so, but Eliphaz, who contended against Job.” “Well, but,” said the priest, ‘what say you to that scripture,” “the justest man that is sinneth seven times a day !” “Why truly, said I, ‘I say there is no such scripture;’ and with that the priest's mouth was stopped. Many other services I had with several sorts of people between the assizes and the sessions. The next quarter sessions began the twenty-ninth of the second month, and I was called before the justices. The chairman's name was Street, he was a judge in the Welsh circuit, and he misrepresented me and my case to the country, telling them “that we had a meeting at Tredington from all parts of the nation, to the terrifying of the king's subjects, for which we had been committed to prison: that for the trial of my fidelity the oaths were put to me; and, having had time to consider of it, he asked me if I would now take the oaths " " I desired liberty to speak for myself; and, having obtained that, began first to clear myself from those falsehoods he had charged on me and Friends; declaring, that we had not any such meeting from all parts of the nation, as he had represented it; but that (except the Friend from whose house we came, and who came with us to guide us thither, and one Friend of Bristol, who came accidentally, or rather providentially, to assist my wife homewards, after we were taken) they that were with me were in a sense part of my own family, being my wife, her daughter, and her son-in-law. And we did not meet in any way or manner that would occasion terror to any of the king's subjects; for we met peaceably and quietly, without arms; and I did not believe there could be any one produced that could truly say he was terrified with our meeting. Besides, I told them we were but in our journey, the occasion whereof I now related as before. As to the oaths, I showed why I could not take them, (seeing Christ hath forbidden all swearing,) and what I could say or sign in lieu of them, as I had done before. Yet they caused the oaths to be read to me, and afterwards read an indictment, which they had drawn up in readiness, having a jury ready also.” When the indictment was read, the judge asked me, “if I was guilty " I said, ‘nay, for it was a great bundle of lies; which I showed and proved to the judge in several particulars, which I instanced; asking him, if he did not know in his conscience they were lies.” He said, “it was their form.’ I said, “it was not a true form.’ He asked me again, “whether I was guilty? I told him, ‘nay, I was not guilty of the matter, nor of the form; for I was against the pope and popery, and did acknowledge and should set my hand to that.' Then the judge told the jury what they should say and do, and what they should write on the backside of the indictment; and as he said, they did. But before the jury gave in their verdict, I told them, ‘it was for Christ's sake, and in obedience to his and his apostle's command, that I could not swear; therefore,' said I, “take heed what ye do, for before his judgment seat ye shall all be brought.' The judge said, ‘this is canting.' I said, “if to confess Christ our Lord and Saviour, and to obey his command, be called canting by a judge of a court, it is to little purpose for me to say more among you; yet ye shall see that I am a christian, and shall show forth christianity, and my innocency shall be manifest.’ So the gaoler led me out of the court; and the people were generally tender, as if they had been in a meeting. Soon after I was brought in again, and the jury found the bill against me, which I traversed. Then I was asked to put in bail till the next sessions, and the gaoler's son offered to be bound for me. But I stopped him, and warned Friends not to meddle, for I told them, “there was a snare in that; yet I told the justices, I could promise to appear if the Lord gave health and strength, and I was at liberty. Some of the justices were loving, and would have stopped the rest from indicting me or putting the oath to me; but judge Street the chairman said, “he must go according to law.' So I was sent to prison again: yet within two hours after, through the moderation of some of the justices, I had liberty given me till next quarter sessions. These moderate justices, as it was said, desired justice Parker to write to the king for my liberty, or for a noli prosequi, because they were satisfied I was not such a dangerous person as I had been represented. This, it was said, he promised to do, but did it not.

After I had got a copy of the indictment, I went to London, visiting Friends as I went. When I came there, some that were earnest to get me out of the hands of those envious justices that sought to premunire me at Worcester, would needs be tampering again, to bring me before the judges of the king's bench; whereupon I was brought again by an habeas corpus before them. I tendered them a paper, in which was contained what I could say instead of the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, as followeth:

‘This I do in the truth and in the presence of God declare, that king Charles the second is lawful king of this realm, and of all other his dominions; that he was brought in and set up king over this realm by the power of God; and I have nothing but love and good will to him and all his subjects, and desire his prosperity and eternal good. I do utterly abhor and deny the pope's power and supremacy, and all his superstitions and idolatrous inventions; and do affirm, that he hath no power to absolve sin. I do abhor and detest his murdering of princes, or other people, by plots or contrivances. And likewise I do deny all plots and contrivances, and plotters and contrivers against the king and his subjects; knowing them to be the works of darkness, the fruits of an evil spirit, against the peace of the kingdom, and not from the spirit of God, the fruit of which is love. I dare not take an oath, because it is forbidden by Christ and the apostle; but if I break my yea or nay, let me suffer the same penalty as those that break their oaths.

“GEORGE Fox.’

But the business being so for proceeded in at Worcester, they would not meddle in it, but left me to appear again before the justices at the next general quarter sessions at Worcester.

Meanwhile the Yearly Meeting of Friends came on, at which I was present; and exceeding glorious the meetings were, beyond expression ; blessed be the Lord!

After the Yearly Meeting, I set forward for Worcester, the sessions drawing on, which were held in the fifth month. When I was called to the bar, and the indictment read, some scruple arising among the jury concerning it, the judge of the court, justice Street, caused the oaths to be read and tendered to me again. I told him, ‘I came now to try the traverse of my indictment; and that his tendering me the oaths anew, was a new snare. I desired him to answer me a question or two; and asked him, “whether the oaths were 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, ‘you have not named me a subject in the indictment, and therefore have not brought me within the statute.” The judge cried, “read the oath to him.’ I said, ‘I require justice.' Again I asked him, “whether the sessions ought not to have been holden for the king, and the body of the county 1" He said, “yes.” “Then,” said I, “you have there left the king out of the indictment; how then can you proceed upon this indictment to a trial between the king and me, seeing the king is left out?” He said, ‘the king was in before.' But I told him, ‘the king's name being left out, here was a great error in the indictment, and sufficient, as I was informed, to quash it. Besides, I told him that I was committed by the name of George Fox, of London, but now I was indicted by the name of George Fox, of Treddington, in the county of Worcester. I wished the jury to consider how they could find me guilty upon that indictment, seeing I was not of the place the indictment mentioned. The judge did not deny but there were errors in the indictment; but said, ‘I might take my remedy in its proper place.' I answered, “you know that we are a people that suffer all things, and bear all things; and therefore ye thus use us, because we cannot revenge ourselves; but we leave our cause to the Lord.’ The judge said, ‘the oath hath been tendered to you several times, and we will have some satisfaction from you concerning the oath.' I offered them the same declaration instead of the oath, which I had offered to the judges above; but it would not be accepted. Then I desired to know, seeing they put the oath anew to me, whether the indictment was quashed or no? instead of answering me, the judge told the jury, “they might go out.” Some of the jury were not satisfied; whereupon the judge told them, “they had heard a man swear that the oath was tendered to me the last sessions;’ and then directed what they should do. I told him, ‘he should leave the jury to their own consciences.” However, the jury, being put on by him, went forth, and soon after came in again, and found me guilty. I asked them, ‘how they could satisfy themselves to find me guilty upon that indictment, which was laid so false, and had so many errors in it.” They could make but little answer; yet one who seemed to be the worst of them, would have taken me by the hand; but I put him by, saying, “how now, “Judas, hast thou betrayed me, and dost thou now come with a kiss?" So bid him and them repent. Then the judge began to tell me, “how favourable the court had been to me.’ I asked him, ‘how he could say so? was ever any man worse dealt by than I had been in this case, who was stopped in my journey when travelling upon my lawful occasions, and imprisoned without cause; and now had the oaths put to me only for a snare? I desired him to answer me in the presence of the Lord, in whose presence we all are, whether this oath was not tendered to me in envy.” He would not answer that; but said, “would you had never come here, to trouble us and the country " I answered, ‘I came not thither of myself, but was brought, being stopped in my journey. I did not trouble them, but they had brought trouble upon themselves.' Then the judge told me, “what a sad sentence he had to tell me.' I asked him, “whether what he was going to speak was by way of passing sentence, or for information 1 for I told him I had many things to say, and more errors to assign in the indictment, besides those I had already mentioned, to stop him from giving sentence against me upon that indictment.’ He said he was going to show me the danger of a premunire, which was the loss of liberty and of all my goods and chattels, and to suffer imprisonment during life.' But he said, “he did not deliver this as the sentence of the court upon me, but as an admonition to me.” Then he bid the gaoler “take me away.' I expected to have been called again to hear the sentence; but when I was gone, the clerk of the peace (whose name was Twittey,) asked him, as I was informed, ‘whether that which he had spoken to me should stand for sentence "And he, consulting with some of the justices, told him, ‘yes, that was the sentence, and should stand.’ This was done behind my back, to save himself from shame in the face of the country. Many of the justices, and the generality of the people, were moderate and civil; and John Ashley, a lawyer, was very friendly both the time before and now, speaking on my behalf, and pleading the errors of the indictment for me; but justice Street, the judge of the court, would not regard, but overruled all. This justice Street said to some Friends in the morning before my trial, “That if he had been upon the bench the first sessions, he would not have tendered me the oath; but if I had been convicted of being at a conventicle, he would have proceeded against me according to that law; and that he was sorry that ever I came before him; yet he maliciously tendered the oath to me in the court again, when I was to have tried my traverse upon the indictment. But the Lord pleaded my cause, and met with both him and justice Simpson, who first insnared me with the oath at the first sessions; for Simpson's son was arraigned not long after at the same bar, for murder. And Street, who, as he came down from London, after the judges had returned me back from the king's bench to Worcester, said, ‘Now I was returned to them, I should lie in prison and rot;' had his daughter (whom he so doted on that she was called his idol,) brought dead from London in a hearse to the same inn where he spoke these words, and brought to Worcester to be buried within a few days after. People took notice of the hand of God, how sudden it was upon him; but it rather hardened than tendered him, as his carriage afterwards showed.

« EdellinenJatka »