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Labors, Dangers and Sufferings   11 comments

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English Counties and Towns visited by George Fox

George Fox:  An Autobiography
Edited by Rufus M. Jones

Chapter XIV
“Labors, Dangers and Sufferings”
1661-1662

“Many ways were these professors* warned, by word, by writing, and by signs; but they would believe none till it was too late. William Sympson was moved of the Lord to go at several times for three years naked and barefooted before them, as a sign to them, in markets, courts, towns, cities, to priests’ houses, and to great men’s houses, telling them, ‘So shall ye be stripped naked as I am stripped naked!’ And sometimes he was moved to put on hair-sackcloth, and to besmear his face, and to tell them, ‘So will the Lord God besmear all your religion as I am besmeared.’

“Great sufferings did that poor man undergo, sore whippings with horse-whips and coach-whips on his bare body, grievous stoning and imprisonments, in three years’ time, before the King came in, that they might have taken warning; but they would not, and rewarded his love with cruel usage. Only the mayor of Cambridge did nobly to him, for he put his gown about him and took him into his house.

“Another Friend, Robert Huntingdon, was moved of the Lord to go into Carlisle steeple-house with a white sheet about him, amongst the great Presbyterians and Independents there, to show them that the surplice was coming up again; and he put an halter about his neck to show them that an halter was coming upon them; which was fulfilled upon some of our persecutors not long after.”

“About this time we had an account that John Love, a Friend that was moved to go and bear testimony against the idolatry of the Papists, was dead in prison at Rome; it was suspected he was privately put to death. Also before this time we received account from New England that the government there had made a law to banish the Quakers out of their colonies, upon pain of death in case they returned; that several of our Friends, having been so banished and returning, were thereupon taken and actually hanged, and that diverse more were in prison, in danger of the like sentence being executed upon them. When those were put to death I was in prison at Lancaster, and had a perfect sense of their sufferings as though it had been myself, and as though the halter had been put about my own neck, though we had not at that time heard of it.”

“But I told them that the whore was alive in them, and was not burned with God’s fire, nor judged in them with the same power and Spirit the Apostles were in; and that their looking for Christ’s coming outwardly to set up His kingdom was like the Pharisees’ ‘Lo here,’ and ‘Lo there.’ But Christ was come, and had set up His kingdom above sixteen hundred years ago, according to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s prophecy, and He had dashed to pieces the four monarchies, the great image, with its head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and its feet part of iron part of clay; and they were all blown away with God’s wind, as the chaff in the summer threshing-floor.”

* people who professed faith in Jesus Christ

The Journal of George Fox
Naked and Barefoot
Gleanings from George Fox
The Second Coming
Glorified in His Saints