“Not but that there is abundance of the thick, cloddy earth of hypocrisy and falseness ... and a briery, brambly nature, which is to be burnt up with God's Word, and ploughed up with His spiritual plough, before God's Seed brings forth heavenly and spiritual fruit to His glory. But the husbandman is to wait in patience.”


  After I had tarried two First-days at Swarthmoor... I passed into Westmorland in the same work till I came to John Audland's, where there was a general meeting..... And next day in meeting-time came one Otway, with some rude fellows. He rode round about the meeting with his sword or rapier, and would fain have gotten in through the Friends to me; but the meeting being great, the Friends stood thick, so that he could not come at me. When he had rid about several times raging, and found he could not get in, being limited by the Lord's power, he went away, It was a glorious meeting, ended peaceably, and the Lord's everlasting power came over all. This wild man went home, became distracted, and not long after died. I sent a paper to John Blaykling to read to him when he was in his distractions, shewing him his wickedness; and he did acknowledge something of it.

I passed hence to a general meeting at Christopher Fell's in Cumberland, which was very large; for most of the people had so forsaken the priests that the steeple-houses in some places stood empty. And John Wilkinson, a preacher who had three steeple-houses, had so few hearers left that, giving over preaching in them, he first set up a meeting in his home, and preached there to them that were left. Afterwards he set up silent meeting (like Friends), to which came a few; for most of his auditors were come to Friends. Thus he held on till he had not past half a dozen left; the rest still forsaking him, and coming to Friends. At last, when he had so very few left, he would come to Pardshaw Crag (where Friends had a meeting of several hundreds of people, who were all come to sit under the Lord Jesus Christ's teaching), and he would walk about the on the meeting on First-days, like a man that went about the commons to look for sheep. During this time I came to Pardshaw Crag meeting, and he with three or four of his followers that were yet left to him, came to the meeting that day, and were all thoroughly convinced. After the meeting Wilkinson asked me two or three questions, which I answered him to his satisfaction; and from that time he came amongst Friends, became an able minister, preached the gospel freely, and turned many to Christ's free teaching. And after he had continued many years in the free ministry of Jesus, he died in the truth.

I had for some time felt drawings on my spirit to go into Scotland; and had sent to Colonel William Osburne, desiring him t come and meet me; and he, with some others, came out of Scotland to this meeting. After the meeting was over (which, he said, was the most glorious one he ever saw in his life), I passed with him and his company into Scotland.

The first night we came into Scotland we lodged at an inn. The innkeeper told us an Earl lived about a quarter of a mile off, who had a desire to see me; and had left word at his house that if ever I came into Scotland he should send him word. He told us there were three drawbridges to his house, and that it would be nine o'clock before the third bridge was drawn. Finding we had time in the evening, we walked to his house. He received us very lovingly; and said be would have gone with his on our journey, but he was previously engaged to go to a funeral. After we had spent some time with him, we parted very friendly, and returned to our inn. Next morning we travelled on, and passing through Dumfries came to Douglas, where we met with some Friends; and thence passed to the Heads, where we had a blessed meeting in the name of Jesus, and felt Him in the midst.

Leaving Heads, we went to Badcow, and had a meeting there; to which abundance of people came, and many were convinced. From thence we passed towards the Highlands to William Osburne's house, where we gathered up the sufferings of Friends, and the principles of the Scotch priests, which may be seen in a book called The Scotch Priests' Principles.
Afterwards we returned to Heads, Badcow and Gartshore, where the Lady Margaret Hamilton was convinced, who afterwards went to warn Oliver Cromwell and Charles Fleetwood of the day of the Lord that was coming upon them.
The noise was spread over Scotland amongst the priests that I was come thither; and a great cry was among them that all would be spoiled; for they said I had spoiled all the honest men and women in England already, so according to their account the worst was left to them. Upon this they gathered great assemblies of priests together, and drew up a number of curses to be read in their several steeple-houses, that all the people might say "Amen" to them.
Now were the priests in such a rage, that they posted to Edinburgh to Oliver Cromwell's Council there, with petitions against me. After I had gathered the principles of the Scotch priests, and the sufferings of Friends, and had settled the Friends thereaways upon Christ their foundation, I went to Edinburgh, and in the way came to Linlithgow; where, lodging at an inn, the innkeeper's wife, who was blind, received the word of life, and came under the teaching of Christ Jesus her Saviour. At night there came in abundance of soldiers and officers, with whom we had much discourse; some were rude.
When I had stayed a while at Edinburgh I went to Leith, where many officers of the army came in with their wives, and many were convinced. Among these Edward Billing's wife was one; she brought a great deal of corm in her hand, and threw it on the table before me to see whether I would speak against it or no. I took no notice of it, but declared the truth to her, and she was reached. There came in a many Baptists, who were very rude, but the Lord's power came over them, so that they went away confounded. Then there came in another sort, and one of them said he would dispute with me; and for argument's sake would deny there was a God. I told him he might be one of those fools that said in his heart, There is no God, but he should know Him in the day of His judgment. So he went his way; and a precious time we had afterwards with several people of account; and the Lord's power came over all. Edward Billing and his wife at that time lived apart; and she being reached by Truth, and become loving to Friends, we sent for her husband, who came; and the Lord's power reached unto them both, they joined in it, and agreed to live together in love and unity as man and wife.

After this we returned to Edinburgh, where many thousands were gathered together, with abundance of priests among them, about burning a witch, and I was moved to declare the day of the Lord amongst them. When I had done, I went to our meeting, whither many rude people and Baptists came. The Baptists began to vaunt with their logic and syllogisms; but I was moved in the Lord's power to thrash their chaffy, light minds; and shewed the people that, after that fallacious way of discoursing, they might make white seem black, and black white; as, that because a cock had two legs, and each of them had two legs, therefore they were all cocks. Thus they might turn anything into lightness and vanity; but it was not the way of Christ or His apostles, to teach, speak, or reason after that manner. Hereupon those Baptists went their way, and after they were gone we had a blessed meeting in the Lord's power, which was over all.

I mentioned before that many of the Scotch priests, being greatly disturbed at the spreading of Truth, and the loss of their hearers thereby, were gone to Edinburgh, to petition the Council against me. Now, when I came from the meeting to the inn where I lodged, an officer belonging to the Council brought me the following order:

Thursday, the 8th of October, 1657, at his Highness's Council in Scotland.

Ordered,--That George Fox do appear before the Council on Tuesday. the 13th of October next, in the forenoon.

Emanuel Downing, Clerk of the Council.

When he had delivered me the order, he asked me whether I would appear or not. I did not tell him whether I would or not; but asked him if he had not forged the order: he said no, it was a real order from the Council, and he was sent, as their messenger, with it. When the time came I appeared, and was had up into a large room at the Parliament House, where many great persons came and looked at me. After a while the doorkeeper had me into the Council-chamber; and as I was going in, he took off my hat. I asked him why he did so, and who was there, that I might not go in with my hat on, for I told him I had been before the Protector with it on. But he hung it up, and had me in before them. When I had stood a while, and they had said nothing to me, I was moved of the Lord to say, "Peace be amongst you; wait in the fear of God, that ye may receive His wisdom from above, by which all things were made and created; that by it ye may all be ordered, and may order all things unto your hands to God's glory." They asked me what was the occasion of my coming into that nation. I told them I came to visit the seed of God, which had long lain in bondage under corruption; and the intent of my coming was that all in the nation that professed the Scriptures, the words of Christ and of the prophets and apostles, might come to the light, spirit and power which they were in, who gave them forth; that so in and by the Spirit they might understand the Scriptures, know Christ and God aright, and have fellowship with them and with the Scriptures, and one with another. They asked me whether I had any outward business there. I said, "Nay." Then they asked me how long I intended to stay in the country. I told them I should say little to that; my time was not to be long, yet in my freedom in the Lord I stood in the will of Him that sent me. Then they bid me withdraw, and the door-keeper took me by the hand, and led me forth. In a little time they sent for me again, and told me I must depart the nation of Scotland by that day seventh night. I asked them why, what had I done; what was my transgression, that they passed such a sentence upon me to depart out of the nation. They told me they would not dispute with me. Then I desired them to hear what I had to say to them; but they said they would not hear me. I told them Pharaoh heard Moses and Aaron, and yet he was a heathen and no Christian, and Herod heard John the Baptist; and they should not be worse than these. But they cried, "Withdraw, withdraw." Whereupon the door-keeper took me again by the hand and led me out. Then I returned to my inn, and continued still in Edinburgh, visiting Friends there and thereabouts, and strengthning them in the Lord. Alter a little time I wrote a letter to the Council, to lay before them their unchristian dealing in banishing me, an innocent man, that sought their salvation and eternal good.

When this was delivered, and read amongst them, some of them, I heard, were troubled at what they had done, being made sensible that they would not be so served themselves. But it was not long before they that banished me were banished themselves, or glad to get away; who would not do good in the day when they had power, nor suffer others that would.

And I saw General Monke that he was a man that bowed under O. P. and had a covering over him; and take away that covering, and then he was the man as he was before. He did fulfil it in a few years after.

After I had spent some time among Friends at Edinburgh, and thereabouts, I passed to Heads again, where Friends had been in great sufferings; for the Presbyterian priests had excommunicated them, and given charge that none should buy or sell, or eat or drink with them. So they could neither sell their commodities, nor buy what they wanted; which made it go very hard with some of them; for if they had bought bread or other victuals of any of their neighbours, the priests threatned them so with curses that they would van and fetch it from them again. But Colonel Ashfield, being a justice of peace in that country, gave a stop to the priests' proceedings. This Colonel Ashfield was afterwards convinced, had a meeting settled at his house, and declared the truth among them.

After I had visited Friends at Heads and thereaways, and had encouraged them in the Lord, I went to Glasgow, where a meeting was appointed; but never a one of the town came to it. As I went into the city, the guard at the gates took me before the governor, who was a moderate man. Much discourse I had with him; but he was too light to receive the truth, yet he set me at liberty; so I passed to the meeting. But seeing none of the town's-people came, we declared Truth through the town, and so passed away; and having visited Friends in their meetings thereabouts, returned towards Badcow.

Once as I was going with Colonel Osburne to his house, there lay a company of rude fellows by the wayside, hid under the hedges and in bushes. Spying them, I asked him what they were. "Oh," said he, "they are thieves." Robert Widders, being moved to go and speak to a priest, was left behind, intending to come after. So I said to Colonel Osburne, "I will stay here in this valley, and do thou go look after Robert Widders"; but he was unwilling to go, being afraid to leave me there alone, because of those fellows, till I told him I feared them not. Then I called to them, asking them what they lay lurking there for, and I bid them come up to me; but they were loath to come,

I Charged them to come up to me, or else it might be worse with them. Then they came trembling, for the dread of the Lord had struck them. I admonished them to be honest, and directed them to the light of Christ in their hearts, that by it they might see what an evil it was to follow after theft and robbery; and the power of the Lord came over them. I stayed there till Colonel Osburne and Robert Widders came up, and then we passed on together. But it is likely that, if we two had gone away before, they would have robbed Robert Widders when he had come after alone, there being three or four of them.

We went to Colonel Osburne's house, where we had a good opportunity to declare the truth to several people that came in. Then we went among the Highlanders, who were so devilish that they had like to have spoiled us and our horses; for they ran at us with pitch-forks; but through the Lord's goodness we escaped them, being preserved by His power.

Thence we passed to Stirling, where the soldiers took us up, and had us to the main-guard. After a few words with the officers, the Lord's power coming over them, we were set at liberty: but no meeting could we get amongst them in the town, they were so closed up in darkness. Next morning there came a man with a horse that was to run a race, and most of the town's-people and officers went to see it. As they came back from the race, I had a brave opportunity to declare the day of the Lord, and His word of life amongst them. Some confessed to it, and some opposed; but the Lord's truth and power came over them all.

Leaving Stifling we came to Burntisland, where I had two meetings at one Captain Poole's house; one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. Whilst they went to dine I walked to the seaside, not having freedom to eat with them. Both he and his wife were convinced, and became good Friends afterwards, and several officers of the army came in and received the truth.

We passed thence through several other places till we came to Johnstons, where were several Baptists that were very bitter and came in a rage to dispute with us: vain janglers and disputers indeed they were. When they could not prevail by disputing, they went and informed the governor against us, and next morning raised a whole company of foot, and banished me and Alexander Parker, also James Lancaster and Robert Widders, out of the town. As they guarded us through the town we got on our horses. James Lancaster was moved to sing with a melodious sound in the power of God; and I was moved to proclaim the day of the Lord, and preach the glorious, everlasting gospel to the people. For they generally came forth, so that the streets were filled with them: and the soldiers were so ashamed that they said they would rather have gone to Jamaica than have guarded us so. But we were put into a boat with our horses, carried over the water, and there left.

Being thus thrust out of Johnstons, we went to another market-town, where Edward Billing and many soldiers quartered. We went to an inn, and desired to have a meeting in the town, that we might preach the everlasting gospel amongst them. The officers and soldiers said we should have it in the town hall; but the Scotch magistrates, in spite, appointed a meeting there that day for thebusiness of the town. When the officers of the soldiery understood this and perceived that it was done in malice, they would have had us to go into the town-hall nevertheless. But we told them "By no means," for then the magistrates might inform the governor against them, and say they took the town-hall from them by force when they were to do their town business therein. We told them we would go to the market-place; they said it was market-day; we replied it was so much the better; for we would have all people to hear Truth, and know our principles. Alexander Parker went and stood upon the market-cross with a Bible in his hand, and declared the truth amongst the soldiers and market-people; but the Scots, being a dark, carnal people, gave little heed, and hardly took notice of what was said. After a while I was moved of the Lord to stand up at the cross, and declare with a loud voice the everlasting truth, and the day of the Lord that was coming upon all sin and wickedness. Whereupon the people came running out of the town-hall, and they gathered so together that at last we had a large meeting; for they sate in the Court only for a pretence to hinder us from having the hall to meet in. When the people were come away, the magistrates followed them. Some walked by, but some stayed and heard; and the Lord's power came over all, and kept all quiet.

We travelled from this town to Leith, ... At Leith the innkeeper told me that the Council had granted warrants to apprehend me, because I was not gone out of the nation alter the seven days were expired that they had ordered me to depart in, Several friendly people also came and told me the same; to whom I said, "What! do ye tell me of their warrants against me? if there were a cart-load of them I do not heed them, for the Lord's power is over them all."

I went from Leith to Edinburgh again, where they said the warrants of the Council were out against me. I came to the inn where I had lodged before, and no man offered to meddle with me. After I had visited Friends in the city, I desired those Friends that travelled with me to get ready their horses in the morning, and we rode out of town together; there were with me at that time Thomas Rawlinson, Alexander Parker and Robert Widders. When we were out of town they asked me whither I would go. I told them it was upon me from the Lord to go back again to Johnstons (the town out of which we had been lately thrust) to set the power of God and His truth over them also. Alexander Parker said he would go along with me; and I told the other two that they might stay at a town about three miles from Edinburgh till we returned. Then Alexander and I got over the water, about three miles across, and rode on through the country; but in the afternoon, his horse being weak, and not able to hold up with mine, I put on and got into Johnstons just as they were drawing up the bridges, the officers and soldiers never questioning me. I rode up the street to Captain Davenport's house, from which we had been banished. There were many officers with him; and when I came amongst them, they lifted up their hands, admiring that I should come again; but I told them the Lord God had sent me amongst them again; so they went their way. The Baptists sent me a letter, by way of challenge, to discourse with me next day. I sent them word I would meet them at such a house, about half a mile out of the town, at such an hour. For I considered, if I should stay in town to discourse with them, they might, under pretence of discoursing with me, have raised men to put me out of the town again as they had done before. At the time appointed I went to the place, Captain Davenport and his son accompanying me, where I stayed some hours, but never a one of them came. While I stayed there waiting for them I saw Alexander Parker coming; who not being able to reach the town, had lain out the night before; and I was exceeding glad that we were met again.

This Captain Davenport was then roving to Friends; but afterwards coming more into obedience to Truth, he was turned out of his place for not putting off his hat, and for saying Thou and Thee to them.

When we had waited beyond reasonable ground to expect any of them coming, we departed; and Alexander Parker being moved to go again to the town, where we had the meeting at the market-cross, I passed alone to Lieutenant Foster's quarters, where I found several officers that were convinced. From thence I went up to the town, where I had left the other two Friends, and we went back to Edinburgh together.

When we were come to the city, I bid Robert Widders follow me; and in the dread and power of the Lord we came up to the first two sentries; and the Lord's power came so over them that we passed by them without any examination. Then we rode up the streets to the market-place, by the main-guard out at the gate by the third sentry, and so clear out at the suburbs, and there came to an inn and set up our horses, it being the Seventh-day of the week. Now I saw and felt that we had ridden, as it were, against the cannon's mouth or the sword's point; but the Lord's power and immediate hand carried us over the heads of them all. Next day I went up to the meeting in the city, Friends having notice that I would attend it. There came many officers and soldiers to it, and a glorious meeting it was... All was quiet, and no man offered to meddle with me, When the meeting was ended, and I had visited Friends, I came out of the city to my inn again; and next day, being the Second-day of the week, we set forward towards the borders of England.
As we travelled along the country I espied a steeple-house, and it struck at my life. I asked what steeple-house it was, and was told that it was Dunbar. When I came thither, and had put up at an inn, I walked to the steeple-house, having a Friend or two with me.

When we came to the steeple-house yard, one of the chief men of the town was walking there. I asked one of the Friends that was with me to go to him and tell him that about the ninth hour next morning there would be a meeting there of the people of God called Quakers; of which we desired he would give notice to the people of the town. He sent me word that they were to have a lecture there by the ninth hour; but that we might have our meeting there by the eighth hour, if we would. We concluded to do so, and desired him to give notice of it.

Accordingly, in the morning both poor and rich came; and there being a captain of horse quartered in the town, he and his troopers came also, so that we had a large concourse; and a glorious meeting it was, the Lord's power being over all. After some time the priest came, and went into the steeple-house; but we being in the yard, most of the people stayed with us. Friends were so full and their voices so high in the power of God, that the priest could do little in the house, but quickly came out again, stood awhile, and then went his way.

I opened to the people where they might find Christ Jesus, and turned them to the Light with which He had enlightened them, that in the Light they might see Christ who died for them, turn to Him, and know him to be their Saviour and Teacher. I let them see that the teachers they had hitherto followed were hirelings, who made the gospel chargeable; showed them the wrong ways they had walked in the night of apostasy; directed them to Christ, the new and living way to God, and manifested unto them how they had lost the religion and worship which Christ set up in spirit and truth, and had hitherto been in the religions and worships of men's making and setting up.

After I had turned the people to the Spirit of God which led the holy men of God to give forth the Scriptures, and showed them that they must also come to receive and be led by the same Spirit in themselves (a measure of which was given unto every one of them) if ever they would come to know God and Christ and the Scriptures aright, perceiving the other Friends to be full of power and the Word of the Lord, I stepped down, giving way for them to declare what they had from the Lord to the people.

Towards the latter end of the meeting some professors began to jangle, whereupon I stood up again, and answered their questions, so that they seemed to be satisfied, and our meeting ended in the Lord's power quiet and peaceable.

This was the last meeting I had in Scotland; the Truth and the power of God was set over that nation and many, by the power and Spirit of God, were turned to the Lord Jesus Christ, their Saviour and Teacher, whose blood was shed for them; and there is since a great increase and great there will be in Scotland. For when first I set my horse's feet upon Scottish ground I felt the Seed of God to sparkle about me, like innumerable sparks of fire.

Not but that there is abundance of the thick, cloddy earth of hypocrisy and falseness above, and a briery, brambly nature, which is to be burnt up with God's Word, and ploughed up with His spiritual plough, before God's Seed brings forth heavenly and spiritual fruit to His glory. But the husbandman is to wait in patience.[140]

continued ...>>

[140] This passage has suggested the idea which finds beautiful expression in the closing stanzas of Whittier's "Barclay of Ury ":

"Knowing this, that never yet
Share of truth was vainly set.
    In the world's wide fallow
After hands shall sow the seed,
after hands from mill and mead
    Reap the harvests yellow.

"Thus with somewhat of the seer
Must the moral pioneer
    From the future borrow;
Clothe the waste with dreams of grain,
And, on midnight's sky of rain
    Paint the golden morrow."

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