« EdellinenJatka »
asked me," whether I did own ministers and bishops "I told them, ‘yes, such as Christ sent, such as had freely received, and would freely give, such as were qualified, and were in the same power and spirit the apostles were in. But such bishops and teachers as their's, that would go no farther than a great benefice, I did not own; for they were not like the apostles. For Christ saith to his ministers, “Go ye into all nations, and preach the gospel;” but ye parliament-men, who keep your priests and bishops in such great fat benefices, have spoiled them all. For do ye think they will go into all nations to preach' or will go any farther than a great fat benefice ’ judge yourselves whether they will or no.' There came another time the widow of him who was called the old lord Fairfax, and with her a great company; one of whom was a priest. I was moved to declare the truth to them, and the priest asked me, ‘Why we said thou and thee to people 1 for he counted us but fools and idiots for speaking so.’ I asked him, ‘Whether those that translated the scriptures, and made the grammar and accidence, were fools and idiots, seeing they translated the scriptures so, and made the grammar so, thou to one, and you to more than one, and left it so to us? If they were fools and idiots, why had not he and such as he, who looked upon themselves as wise men, and could not bear thou and thee to a singular, altered the grammar, accidence, and bible, and put the plural instead of the singular ! but if they were wise men, that so translated the bible, and had made the grammar and accidence so, then I wished him to consider, whether they were not fools and idiots themselves, that did not speak as their grammars and bibles taught them; but were offended with us, and called us fools and idiots for speaking so?’ thus the priest's mouth was stopped, and many of the company acknowledged the truth, and were pretty loving and tender. Some would have given me money but I would not receive it. After this came one called Dr. Cradock, with three priests more, with the governor and his lady, (so called,) and another that was called a lady, with a great company. Dr. Cradock asked me, “what I was in prison for " I told him, ‘for obeying the command of Christ and the apostle, in not swearing. But if he, being both a doctor and a justice, could convince me, that after Christ and the apostle had forbid swearing, they commanded christians to swear, then I would swear. Here was the bible, I told him, he might if he could show me any such command.” He said, “it is written, ye shall swear in truth and righteousness.’ ‘Aye,’ said I, ‘it was written so in Jeremiah's time; but that was many ages before Christ commanded not to swear at all; but where is it written so since Christ forbade all swearing?' I could bring as many instances out of the Old Testament for swearing as thou, and it may be more too; but of what force are they to prove swearing lawful in the New Testament since Christ and the apostle forbade it? Besides,” said I, ‘in that text where it is written, “ye shall swear,” what [ye] was this? was it ye Gentiles, or ye Jews? To this he would not answer; but one of the priests that were with him answered, “it was to the Jews that this was spoken.’ ‘Then Dr. Cradock confessed it was so.” “Very well, said I, “but where did God ever give a command to the Gentiles to swear? for thou knowest that we are Gentiles by nature.” “Indeed,” said he, in the gospel-times every thing was to be established out of the mouths of two or three witnesses; but there was to be no swearing then.” “Why, then,' said I, ‘dost thou force oaths upon christians, contrary to thy own knowledge, in the gospel-times? And why,' said I, ‘dost thou excommunicate my friends?' (for he had excommunicated abundance both in Yorkshire and Lancashire.) He said, “for not coming to church.” “Why," said I, ‘ye left us above twenty years ago, when we were but young lads and lasses, to the Presbyterians, Independents, and Baptists, many of whom made spoil of our goods, and persecuted us because we would not follow them. We being but young, knew little then of your principles, and the old men that did know them, if ye had intended to have kept them to you, and have kept your principles alive, that we might have known them, ye should either not have fled from us as ye did, or ye should have sent us your epistles, collects, homilies, and evening songs; for Paul wrote epistles to the saints, though he was in prison. But they and we might have turned Turks or Jews for any collects, homilies, or epistles we had from you all this while. And now thou hast excommunicated us, both young and old, and so have others of you done; that is, “ye have put us out of your church, before ye have got us into it,” and before ye have brought us to know your principles. Is not this madness in you, to put us out before we were brought in 1 indeed, if ye had brought us into your church, and when we had been in, if we had done some bad thing, that had been something like a ground for excommunication or putting out again. But,” said I, ‘what dost thou call the church 1” “Why," said he, “that which ye call the steeple-house.” Then I asked him, “whether Christ shed his blood for the steeple-house? and purchased and sanctified the steeple-house with his blood! and seeing the church is Christ's bride and wife, and that he is the head of the church, dost thou think the steeple-house is Christ's wife and bride, and that he is the head of that old house, or of his people?’ ‘No,' said he ‘Christ is the head of his people, and they are the church.” “But,” said I, ‘you have given the title church to an old house, which belongs to the people; and you have taught them to believe so.” I asked him also, ‘why he persecuted Friends for not paying tithes? and whether, God ever commanded the Gentiles to pay tithes? and whether Christ had not ended tithes when he ended the Levitical priesthood that took tithes! WoL II. 8
and whether Christ, when he sent his disciples to preach, had not commanded them to preach freely as he had given them freely' and whether all the ministers of Christ are not bound to observe this command of Christ?” He said, “he would not dispute that.' Neither did I find he was willing to stay on that subject; for he presently turned to another matter, and said, “you marry, but I know not how.' I replied, “it may be so: but why dost thou not come and see " Then he threatened that “he would use his power against us, as he had done.' I bid him, “take heed; for he was an old man.” I asked him also, “where he read, from Genesis to Revelations, that ever any priest did marry any I wished him to show me some instance thereof, if he would have us come to them to be married; for, said I, thou hast excommunicated one of my friends two years after he was dead, about his marriage. And why dost thou not excommunicate Isaac, and Jacob, and Boaz, and Ruth' For we do not read they were ever married by the priests; but they took one another in the assemblies of the righteous, in the presence of God and his people; and so do we. So that we have all the holy men and women, that the scripture speaks of in this practice, on our side. Much discourse we had; but when he found he could get no advantage on me, he went away with his company. With such people I was much exercised while I was there; for most that came to the castle would desire to speak with me, and great disputes and reasonings I had with them. But as to Friends, I was as a man buried alive; for though many came far to see me, few were suffered to come at me; and when any Friend came into the castle about business, if he looked but towards me, they would rage at him. At last the governor came under trouble himself; for having sent out a privateer to sea, they took some ships that were not enemies' ships, but their friends'; whereupon he was brought into trouble; after which he grew somewhat more friendly to me. For before I had a marshal set over me, on purpose to get money out of me; but I was not to give him a farthing; and when they found they could get nothing from me, he was taken off again. The officers often threatened me, that I should be hanged over the wall. Nay, the deputy-governor told me once, that the king, knowing I had great interest in the people, had sent me thither; and if there should be any stirring in the nation, they should hang me over the wall to keep the people down. There being awhile after a marriage at a Papist's house, upon which occasion a great many of them were met together, they talked much then of hanging me. But I told them, “if that was what they desired, and it was permitted them, I was ready; for I never feared death nor sufferings in my life; but I was known to be an innocent, peaceable man, free from all stirrings and plottings, and one that sought the good of all men. Afterwards, the governor growing kinder, I spoke to him, when he was to go to London to the parliament, and desired him to speak to him that was called Squire Marsh, Sir Francis Cobb, and some others; and let them know how long I had lain in prison, and for what: which he did. When he came down again, he told me, Squire Marsh said, “he would go a hundred miles barefoot for my liberty, he knew me so well;’ and several others, he said, spoke well of me. From which time the governor was very loving to me. There were amongst the prisoners two very bad men, who often sat drinking with the officers and soldiers; because I would not sit and drink with them, it made them the worse against me. One time, when these two prisoners were drunk, one of them (whose name was William Wilkinson, a Presbyterian, who had been a captain,) came and challenged me to fight with him. I seeing what condition he was in, got out of his way; and next morning, when he was more sober, showed him, “how unmanly a thing it was in him to challenge a man to fight, whose principle, he knew it, was not to strike; but if he was stricken on one ear, to turn the other. I told him, if he had a mind to fight he should have challenged some of the soldiers, that could have answered him in his own way. But however, seeing he had challenged me, I was now conne to answer him, with my hands in my pockets: and (reaching my head towards him.) here, said I, here is my hair, here are my cheeks, here is my back.” With that he skipped away from me, and went into another room: at which the soldiers fell a laughing; and one of the officers said, “you are a happy man that can bear such things.” Thus he was conquered without a blow. But after awhile he took the oath, gave bond, and got out of prison; and not long after the Lord cut him off. There were great imprisonments in this and the former years, while I was prisoner at Lancaster and Scarborough. At London many Friends were crowded into Newgate, and other prisons, where the sickness was; and many died in prison. Many also were banished, and several sent on ship-board by the king's order. Some masters of ships would not carry them, but set them on shore again; yet some were sent to Barbadoes, Jamaica, and Nevis, and the Lord blessed them there. One master of a ship was very wicked and cruel to Friends that were put on board his ship; for he kept them down under decks, though the sickness was amongst them; so that many died of it. But the Lord visited him for his wickedness; for he lost most of his seamen by the plague, and lay several months crossed with contrary winds, though other ships went out, and made their voyages. At last he came before Plymouth, where the governor and magistrates would not suffer him nor any of his men to come ashore, though he wanted many necessaries for his voyage; but Thomas Lower, Arthur Cotton, John Light, and some other Friends went to the ship's side, and carried necessaries for the Friends that were prisoners on board. The master, being thus crossed and vexed, cursed them that put him upon this freight; and said, “he hoped he should not go far before he was taken.” And the vessel was but a little while gone out of sight of Plymouth, before she was taken by a Dutch man of war, and carried into Holland. When they came into Holland, the states sent the banished Friends back to England, with a letter of passport, and a certificate, “that they had not made an escape, but were sent back by them.” But in time the Lord's power wrought over this storm, and many of our persecutors were confounded and put to shame.
After I had lain prisoner above a year in Scarborough castle, I sent a letter to the king, in which I gave him “an account of my imprisonment, and the bad usage I had received in prison; and also that I was informed no man could deliver me but he.” After this, John Whitehead being at London, and having acquaintance also with him that was called Squire Marsh, he went to visit him, and spoke to him about me; and he undertook, if John Whitehead would get the state of my case drawn up, to deliver it to the master of requests, whom he called Sir John Birkenhead, who would endeavour to get a release for me. So John Whitehead and Ellis Hookes drew up a relation of my imprisonment and sufferings, and carried it to Marsh; and he went with it to the master of requests, who procured an order from the king for my release. The substance of the order was, ‘that the king being certainly informed that I was a man principled against plotting and fighting, and had been ready at all times to discover plots, rather than to make any, &c. therefore his royal pleasure was, that I should be discharged from my imprisonment,’ &c. As soon as this order was obtained, John Whitehead came to Scarborough with it, and delivered it to the governor; who, upon receipt thereof, gathered the officers together, and, without requiring bond or sureties for my peaceable living, being satisfied that I was a man of a peaceable life, he discharged me freely, and gave me the following passport:
“Permit the bearer hereof, George Fox, late a prisoner here, and now discharged by his majesty's order, quietly to pass about his lawful occasions, without any molestation. Given under my hand at Scarborough castle, this first day of September, 1666. JoRDAN Croslands, Governor of Scarborough castle.'
After I was released, I would have given the governor something for the civility and kindness he had of late showed me; but he would not receive any thing; saying, ‘whatever good he could do for me and my friends, he would do it, and never do them any hurt.” And afterwards, if at any time the mayor of the town sent to him for soldiers to break