by George Fox

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II.--Preaching and Persecution

Then came people from far and near to see me, and I was made to speak and open things to them. And there was one Brown, who had great prophecies and sights upon his death-bed of me. He spoke only of what I should be made instrumental by the Lord to bring forth. And I had great openings and prophecies, and spoke of the things of God.

And many who heard me spread the fame thereof, and the Lord's power got ground, and many were turned from the darkness to the light within the compass of these three years--1646, 1647, and 1648. Moreover, when the Lord sent me forth, he forbade me to "put off my hat" to any, high or low. And I was required to "thee" and "thou" all, men and women, without any respect to rich or poor, great or small. But, oh, the rage that then was in the priests, magistrates, professors, and people of all sorts; but especially in priests and professors! Oh, the scorn, the heat and fury that arose! Oh, the blows, punchings, beatings, and imprisonments that we underwent!

About this time I was sorely exercised in speaking and writing to judges and justices to do justly; in warning such as kept public-houses for entertainment that they should not let people have more drink than would do them good. In fairs also and in markets I was made to declare against their deceitful merchandise, cheating, and cozening; warning all to deal justly, to speak the truth, to let their yea be yea, and their nay be nay. Likewise I was made to warn masters and mistresses, fathers and mothers in private families, to take care that their children and servants might be trained up in the fear of the Lord; and that they themselves should be therein examples and patterns of sobriety and virtue.

But the earthly spirit of the priests wounded my life, and when I heard the bell toll to call people together to the steeple-house it struck at my life; for it was just like a market-bell to gather people together, that the priest might set forth his wares to sale.


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