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month of this year, where 1 wrote a book, setting forth ‘The state of the birth temporal, and the birth spiritual: and the duty and state of a child, youth, young men, aged men and fathers in the truth,’ &c. But I staid not long at Kingston neither; for the heat of persecution still continuing, I felt my service to be most at London, where our meetings were for the most part disturbed and broken up, or Friends were forced to meet without doors, being kept out of their meeting-houses by the officers. Yet sometimes, beyond expectation, we got a quiet and peaceable meeting in the houses. One time I was minded to have gone a mile or two out of town, to visit a Friend that was not well: but hearing that the king had sent to the mayor to put the laws in execution against dissenters, and that the magistrates thereupon intended to nail up the meeting-house doors, I had not freedom to go out of town, but was moved to go to the meeting at Gracechurch-street; and, notwithstanding all their threats, a great meeting it was, and very quiet; and the glory of the Lord shone over all. The same week I went to the meeting at the Peel in John's street, and the sessions were holden the same day at Hicks' hall. I went in the morning; and William Mead being to appear at the sessions for not going to the steeple-house worship, came once or twice from Hicks' hall to me at the Peel; which some ill-minded people observing, went and informed the justices at the bench, that he was gone to a meeting at the Peel. Whereupon they sent a messenger to see if there was a meeting; but this being in the forenoon, there was no meeting, so the messenger went back and told them. Then others informed the justices that there would be a meeting there in the afternoon: whereupon they sent for the chief constable, and asked him, “Why he suffered a meeting to be at the Peel, so nigh him " He told them, “he did not know of any meeting there.' They asked him, ‘how he could but know it, and live so nigh it !” He said, “he was never there in his life, and did not know there was a meeting there.” They would have persuaded him that he must needs know of it; but he standing steadfast in the denial of it, they said, “they should take order to have it looked after in the afternoon.' But a multitude of business coming before them at the sessions, when dinner-time came, they hastened to their dinner, without giving order, and when they came to the bench again after dinner, the Lord put it out of their minds, so the meeting was quiet, beginning and ending in peace; and a blessed meeting we had, the Lord's presence being preciously amongst us. Many Friends had a concern upon their minds, when they saw me come into the meeting, lest I should have been taken; but I was freely given up to suffer, if it was the Lord's will, before I went, and had nothing in my mind concerning it but the Lord's glory I do believe that the Lord put it out of their minds, that
they should not send to break up our meeting that day. Yet the firstday after, three or four justices (as I heard) came to the Peel, and put Friends out of their meeting-house, and kept them out . and enquired for William Mead, but he was not there. That day I was moved to go to Gracechurch-street meeting; and it was expected that the officers would come to break up the meeting, or keep Friends out; and many hundreds of people came to see what would be done to us. But the officers came not; so we were in peace and quietness; and many of the people that came to look on, staid all the time; and a glorious, precious meeting we had, for the Lord's presence was plentifully amongst us, and his power came over all; glory to his name for ever, who is over all! I had seen the mayor's printed speech for putting the laws in execution against dissenters: and it was much in my mind that we should draw up a paper to send to the mayor and aldermen, to clear ourselves from being such as those laws were made against; and to set forth our peaceable behaviour both towards the king and the government. Accordingly a paper was drawn up, signed, and delivered to the mayor; and copies thereof delivered to the aldermen, and the bishop of London, who generally took it kindly, and were civil to the Friends that delivered it. About this time I was moved to write the few lines following to Friends:
"DEAR FRIENDs, Feel the power of God in you all, and over all, and by it let your hearts be united to one another, and to the Lord God, who hath gathered you by himself by his power and spirit, to be a people to serve and worship him. So you may all strive to excel one another in virtue, and in that love that beareth all things, and edifieth the body of Christ, the body of the second Adam. For the body of old Adam in the fall is full of malice, envy, and vice. Therefore you that are called out of old Adam in the fall, and have put on Christ the second Adam that never fell, walk in him, the treasure of life, wisdom, and knowledge, in whom ye have peace with God, who is the first and last, the beginning and the ending. So let all be gathered up to God, into him who reconcileth all things in one, both things in heaven and things on earth; who is the faithful and true witness in male and female. In him sit down, who is above the subtle foxes in their holes, and the fowls of the air in their nests; I say, sit down in Christ, who hath no place among them to lay his head; he is your rest. So in him is my love to you all.
G. F. * London, the 20th of the 11th month, 1682.”
Not long after I received an account by letter, from some Friends that were prisoners at Denbigh in Wales, that many Friends there were under great sufferings for the testimony of a good conscience. In the tender sense whereof I was moved in the love of God to visit them with a few lines, as a word of consolation to them in their sufferings; and of exhortation, to stand fast in the testimony committed to them, after this manner :
‘DEAR suffering lambs for the name and command of Jesus! be valiant for his truth, and faithful, and ye will feel the presence of Christ with you. Look at him who suffered for you, hath bought you, and will feed you, who saith, “be of good comfort, I have overcome the world:” who destroys the devil and his works, and bruises the serpent's head. I say, look at Christ your sanctuary, in whom ye have rest and peace. To you it is given not only to believe, but to suffer for his name's sake. They that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution by the ungodly professors of Christ Jesus, who live out of him. Therefore, be valiant for God's truth upon the earth, and look above that spirit that makes you suffer, up to Christ, who was before it was, and will be when it is gone. Consider all the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, who suffered and were persecuted; but they were never persecuted as true men, but as deceivers, and yet true. Christ is the same to-day as yesterday, a rock and foundation for your age and generation, for you to build upon. I have written concerning you (after I heard your letter.) to Friends in Cheshire to visit you, understanding that you belong to their Quarterly Meeting: I desire some Friends of your county would go, and lay your suffering condition before the Monthly or Quarterly Meeting in Cheshire. I have written likewise to Richard Davis, that some of that side may go and visit you, and see how your condition is. My love is to you in the Lord, who alone is your support. G. F.
‘London, the 27th of the 11th month, 1682.”
Because the magistrates were many of them unwilling to have fines laid upon meeting-houses, they kept Friends out in many places, setting officers and guards of soldiers at the doors and passages; yet sometimes Friends were fined for speaking or praying, though it were abroad. One first-day it was upon me to go to Devonshire-house meeting in the afternoon; and because I had heard Friends were kept out there that morning, (as they were that day at most meetings about the city,) I went somewhat the sooner, and got into the yard, before the soldiers came to guard the passages: but the constables were got there before me, and stood in the door-way with their staves. I asked them to let me go in : they said “they could not, nor durst not; for they were commanded the contrary, and were sorry for it.’ I told them, I would not press upon them; so I stood by, and they were very civil. I stood till I was weary; then one gave me a stool to sit down on ; and after awhile the power of the Lord began to spring up among Friends, and one began to speak. The constables soon forbade him, and said, he should not speak; and he not stopping, they began to be wroth. But I gently laid my hand upon one of the constables, and wished him to let him alone. The constable did so, and was quiet; and the man did not speak long. . After he had done, I was moved to stand up and speak: and in my declaration said, “they need not come against us with swords and staves; for we were a peaceable people, and had nothing in our hearts but good-will to the king and magistrates, and to all people upon the earth. We did not “meet under pretence of religion to plot and contrive against the government, or to raise insurrections;” but to worship God in spirit and in truth. We had Christ to be our bishop, priest, and shepherd, to feed us and oversee us, and he ruled in our hearts; so we could all sit in silence, enjoying our teacher. So to Christ their bishop and shepherd, I recommended them all.’ I sat down, and after awhile was moved to pray, and the power of the Lord was over all; and the people, with the constables and soldiers, put off their hats. When the meeting was done, and Friends began to pass away, the constable put off his hat and desired the Lord to bless us: for the power of the Lord was over him and the people. After this I went up and down, visiting Friends at their houses, who had their goods taken from them for worshipping God. We took an account of what had been taken from them: and some Friends met together about it, and drew up the case of the sufferings of our Friends in writing, and gave it to the justices at their petty sessions. Whereupon they made an order, “that the officers should not sell the goods of Friends which they had in their hands, but keep them till the next sessions; which gave some discouragement to the informers, and put a little stop to their proceedings. The next first-day it was upon me to go to the meeting at the Savoy; and by that time it was gathered, the beadle came in; and after him the wild people, like a sea, but the Lord's power chained them all. The spirit of the Lord went through and over all, and they were quiet, and we had a glorious, peaceable meeting; blessed be the Lord for his unspeakable goodness! This was in the twelfth month, 1682. In the first month, 1683, I went to Kingston upon Thames. As I went to the meeting, I met the chief constable who had been at the meeting-place, and had set watchmen to keep us out; yet he was pretty civil, and the watchmen let Friends have a couple of forms out, to sit upon in the highway; so Friends met together there, and a very precious meeting we had ; for the refreshing presence of the Lord was with us, in which we parted in peace. Having visited and encouraged Friends there, I returned to London, and went to the meeting at Bull and Mouth, where the constables with their watchmen kept a guard, to keep Friends out of the house. So we met in the street; and when any Friend spoke, the officers and watchmen made a great bustle to pull him down, and take him into custody. After some other Friends had spoken, it was upon me to speak. I said, “heaven is God's throne, and earth is his footstool: and will ye not let us stand upon God's footstool to worship and serve the living God?" while I spoke, they were quiet; and after I had cleared myself, we broke up our meeting in peace. This was on the sixth day of the week. On the first-day following I was moved to go to the meeting at Gracechurch-street. When I came there, I found a guard set at the entrance in Lombard-street, and another at the gate in Gracechurch-street, to keep Friends out of the meeting-place; so we were fain to meet in the street. After some time I got a chair, and stood up in it, and spoke largely to the people, ‘opening the principles of truth to them, and declaring many weighty truths concerning magistracy, and the Lord's prayer.” There was, besides Friends, a great multitude of people, and all was very quiet; for the Lord's power was over all, and in his time we broke up our meeting, and departed in peace. Next day I went to Guildford in Surrey; and having visited Friends there, passed to Worminghurst in Sussex, where I had a very blessed meeting among Friends, free from disturbance. While I was there, James Claypole of London, (who with his wife was there also.) was suddenly taken very ill with so violent a fit of the stone, that he could neither stand nor lie; but through the extremity of pain cried out like a woman in travail. When I heard it, I was much exercised in spirit for him, and went to him. After I had spoken a few words to him, to turn his mind inward, I was moved to lay my hand upon him, and prayed the Lord to rebuke his infirmity. As I laid my hand on him, the Lord's power went through him; and by faith in that power he had speedy ease, so that he quickly fell into a sleep. When he awaked, the stone came from him like dirt ; and he was so well, that the next day he rode with me five and twenty miles in a coach, though he used formerly, (as he said,) to lie sometimes two weeks, sometimes a month, with one of those fits of the stone. But the Lord was intreated for him, and by his power soon gave him ease at this time: blessed and praised be his holy name therefore After I had had some meetings in Sussex and Surrey, and visited Friends thereaway, I returned to London by Kingston, where I had a meeting