Quaker Universalist Fellowship
Fifty nine Particulars laid down for
the Regulating things, and the
taking away of Oppressing
Laws, and Oppressors,
and to ease the Op-
By George Fox
Printed for Thomas Simmons, at the Bull and Mouth
near Aldersgate, 1659.
The Quaker Universalist Fellowship is happy to make available to 21st-century readers a manifesto addressed by George Fox to the Parliament of England in the year 1659 and not reprinted since that time. We are particularly grateful to Larry Ingle for supplying an introduction that explains this long neglect and sets the pamphlet in historical perspective.
The 59 Particulars is no theological treatise, but it has relevance to Quaker universalism nevertheless. Especially in the second section, which is here labeled "Addendum," Fox makes a passionate plea for religious liberty. History illustrates repeatedly the close relationship between such liberty and universalism. Persecution itself, Fox insists, is of this world and denies God. No one should be punished for belief "in the Light which doth enlighten every man who cometh into the World." The fact that Fox identified that Light with Christ does not negate his testimony to its universality or his demand that it be freed from institutional and doctrinal blinders.
In addition to contributing an introduction, Larry Ingle has also given generous help in deciphering some of the archaic terms that occur in the text and in critiquing my own efforts to find a balance between readability and faithfulness to Fox's original words. Like all popular pamphlets of the time, this one suffered from crude printing and the lack of any accepted standards for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. While trying to keep changes to a minimum, I have added punctuation, justified grammar, and occasionally rearranged the order of phrases. Spelling I have corrected only where it seemed to be actually misleading.
I hope readers will be able to follow Fox's meaning in spite of occasional murkiness and that they will enjoy the flavor of his 17th-century usage. If one imagines the words spoken, with the accompaniment of gestures, pauses, tone, and emphasis, the uncompromising power of his message becomes apparent.
Rhoda R. Gilman
By H. Larry Ingle
The year 1659 was the most significant year that George Fox (1624-1691), principal founder and the about-to-be organizer of the Children of the Light or Friends of the Truth, had ever had to deal with. It offered external social challenges the likes of which he had never witnessed, and it took a tremendous toll on the psyche of a person who tended toward the manic-depressive. It was a time of transition in the nation as a whole _ a nation that Fox and his followers, numbering perhaps as many as 40,000, had hopes of capturing for the new religious faith he espoused and championed. Put these two features to gether, and the ingredients for the pamphlet below become obvious.
This document represented part of the response to these events by Fox and people who adhered to the new sect vulgarly known as "Quakers." Fundamentally radical, the pamphlet amounted to the highwatermark of the Quaker appeal to the powers-that-were. Its strategy underlay the leader's hopes that they could rally support for a course to preserve the results of the revolution that had flowed through almost all the previous two decades of England's corporate life.
This last point explains why the present edition is the first time that the document has been republished in more than 340 years. The succeeding generation's leaders, longing for respectability, worried about the reputation for radicalism that seemed to sully the sect's early history; they wanted to put such notions behind them. Exercising power after Fox's death and wishing to honor him, they rushed his famous "Journal" into print three years after he died, published a large edition of his epistles, letters, and testimonies four years later, and then omitted this pamphlet, among others, from Gospel-Truth Demonstrated, a collection of their leader's doctrinal books they brought out in 1706. By then _ half a century later _ Fox's primarily religious radicalism was apparently acceptable, for his successors included in Gospel-Truth another 1659 publication, The Lamb's Officer Is gone forth with the Lamb's Message, which condemned England's priests repeatedly and in no uncertain terms as "wolves", "ravens", "beasts", and "antichrist."
Even though known by historians, the 59 Particulars suffered the fate of being passed over by many of them, especially Quaker historians. Hugh Barbour, whose book, Quakers in Puritan England (1964), remained a standard study for better than a generation, simply failed to mention or cite it. Let such radicalism be out of sight and out of mind!
England's governmental system was on the verge of collapse in 1659. Oliver Cromwell, who became Lord Protector after King Charles I was beheaded a decade earlier, died in September 1658. He was succeeded by his son, Richard, ineffectual and absolutely unable to deal with the factions vying for power. Parliament, a "rump" it was called, represented those in the nation who were fearful of the kind of radical change that groups like the Quakers presaged; it was casting about for a way to bring stability to the country and impose order on an unruly people. Royalists wanted a return to legitimacy, embodied in a restoration of the Stuart line in the person of the dead monarch's son, who was living in exile in France and plotting for a way to regain the throne. Radicals of various stripes added to instability. In addition to Quakers there were Fifth-Monarchists, who expected King Jesus to appear and rule; ill-paid New Model Army soldiers who feared they might never achieve the "Good Old Cause" they had fought for; and even Baptists who wanted a decentralized church with no tithes. Most of these groups were masters at plotting and could call upon supporters in the army, a group Fox had often targeted for converts and where Quakers were legion. There were also private bands with access to weapons. Chaos was truly king in 1659.
Fox's pamphlet was addressed both to those with established power in a position to make the rules _ the Parliament _ and, more broadly, to people of the Common-wealth, whose very name represented a rival faction of contenders for power. His Fifty-nine Particulars not only amounted to a word play on the year 1659 but also represented a virtual catalogue of the demands that the Children of the Light and other radicals had unsuccessfully put forward over the previous decade. These groups assumed that to "regulate things" would take away the "oppression" and "oppressors" continuing to exist ten years after the King, who embodied the old order, had been tried and executed.
Some of Fox's proposals seem rather superficial, even insignificant, today, yet cutting the cross out of the flag, ending the playing of shuffle board, and banning fiddlers at pubs, demonstrated how thoroughgoing a reformation of society he sought. Many of the demands, such as prohibiting punishment for failure to doff one's hat or for refusing to swear, reflected experiences Quakers had had when they were hauled into court or faced judicial proceedings. Others, like confiscation of glebe lands and the royal palace at Whitehall and distribution of the proceeds to the poor "so that there may not be a beggar in England," would have laid the ax at the very root of oppression within the larger society.
Reading Fox's list of particulars, one can readily understand why Quakers were regarded as dangerous radicals by those committed to establishing order and keeping the lower classes in check. At least in 1659, when there seemed a real chance for fundamental change, Fox was willing to free the lower orders so the promise of the revolution might be achieved. The pamphlet thus exemplified the farthest reach of the radical Quaker tide, propelled by Fox himself.
A second section of the pamphlet, with little direct connection to Fox's petition to parliament, may have been awaiting a vehicle to which it could be tacked on and published, as was sometimes the case with Quaker publications. It also may have hinted at Fox's fear that the time for the tide to sweep all before it had passed. This section was a plea for tolerance of diverse religious views, a foretaste of the kind of thing he would write over the next three decades as Quakers faced the state's heavy hand.
Fox did not want to endow any human being, priest or parliamentarian, judge or jailer, magistrate or minister, with dominion or power over another's religious faith. Such attempts were actions of the false church that would embrace law, rather than godly example, to promote its ends. Such false prophets would tell the magistrates that "Revelation is ceased," with the implication that those who believed it continued were lawbreakers and deserving of punishment. With a bit of the assurance that marked the pamphlet's first half, Fox thundered his conclusion, "the practice of the true church ... is [to] become disturbers of the false Church and Ministry" that tries to prevent it from "exhorting and comforting."
Parliament responded to neither section of the pamphlet at the time, so its 17 pages were relegated to the libraries, there to moulder until discovered by occasional historians, some of whom noted it, most of whom passed by on the other side. The inattention at the time affected some contemporaries, including George Fox. At the end of 1659, Fox fell into a deep mental depression, and for ten weeks he was totally immobilized, staying most of the time in Reading at the home of two close associates, Thomas and Ann Curtis. Thomas, a former captain in the New Model Army and now a commissioner of militia responsible for raising troops, and Ann were both radicals who a decade and a half later chose to align themselves with Fox's opponents as he tried to preserve the movement rather than giving voice to the kind of radical proposals he penned in 1659.
Hence, failing to elicit a response that might prevent the Stuart Restoration, the Quaker movement entered a new phase. Fox led Quakerism into laying aside an exuberant radical past whose members spoke of capturing the nation and the world for their version of Christianity. It was replaced with a staid, sectarian group whose adherents evinced little interest in challenging the status quo in any fundamental way. In 1661, the famous Peace Testimony announced that the state had nothing to fear from Quakers because they eschewed political maneuvering, and in 1666, the Testimony of the Brethren tightened controls over individual Friends to make sure that they did not get out of line.
It is no wonder that the 59 Particulars was forgotten, and it is to the credit of the Quaker Universalist Fellowship that the pamphlet now emerges from its long night.
Christopher Hill, The Experience of Defeat: Milton and Some Contemporaries (New York: Viking Penguin, 1984).
Ronald Hutton, The Restoration: A Political and Religious History of England and Wales, 1658-1667 (London: Oxford University Press, 1985).
H. Larry Ingle, First Among Friends: George Fox and the Creation of Quakerism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).
Rosemary Moore, The Light in Their Consciences: The Early Quakers in Britain, 1646-1666 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000).
Barry Reay, The Quakers and the English Revolution (London: Temple Smith, 1985).
H. Larry Ingle is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. His books on Quaker history include Quakers in Conflict: The Hicksite Reformation and First Among Friends: George Fox and the Creation of Quakerism.
Who are the Parliament of the Common-Wealth, who are to regulate things for the taking away of oppressing Lawes, and oppressors, and to stop the oppressors.
1. Let no man be prisoned for Tithes, which have been set up by the Apostates (the Papists) since the days of the Apostles.
2. Let no man's goods be spoiled, and made Havock on Treble, by the Priests and their company though the Priest doth them no work whose goods he spoils.
3. Let no man or woman be summoned up two hundred miles or upward to the Court at London, because they cannot give the Priests Tithes, who doth no work for them, and when they appeared they will prison them, because they did not appear by an attorney, and swear their answers.
4. Let no man be prisoned for not appearing by an Attorney, who hath appeared in his own person, who is not sick or beyond Sea.
5. Let nothing be put in Bills that are more than the thing is, and let nothing be put in Writs more than the thing is, and let nothing be put in Indictments more than the thing is.
6. Let no man speak in an unknown tongue.
7. Let no man be prisoned for not doffing his hat. Let no man unable, un-man and weaken himself about that.
8. Let no man be prisoned because he swears not at all, not by Heaven, nor by earth, nor by book, nor any other oath, but abides in the Doctrine of Christ, and keeps to yea and nay, and keeps his commands who witnesses the end of all strife.
9. Let no man be fined, and his goods be spoiled, because for conscience sake towards Christ and his commands he cannot swear. Let no man be put out of place or office or service because he cannot swear, because he doth what he doth faithful to God, at yea and nay to serve in his place where he is.
10. Let no man be put out of place for saying thee to a particular, and you to many who acts in the singular and plural. Let none be put out of place or office for not doffing their hats, who take not, nor give not the honour below, but to the higher Power their soul is subject, who receive the honour that comes down from above. So let no one be persecuted for wearing their hats, for saying THOU, for not swearing, who for conscience sake towards God cannot swear.
11. Let none have their goods strained and spoiled, and made havock on, or be cast into prison for not paying Clerks wages for turning the hour-glass, and saying Amen, and such like services.
12. Let no one be put to death for chattel, for money or any outward thing. Let them restore, and minde the Law of God which is equity and measurable, agreeable to the offence, and minde the judges of Old, and Moses, and their judgement (let the thief live to restore for his theft), and minde the Apostles' doctrine: let him that stole, steale no more, but work with his hands the thing that is good. So that neither Moses nor the Apostles' faith, hang him.
13. Let none have their goods spoiled and made havoc on because they cannot pay to mend the old Steeple-houses which were the old Mass-houses, who have left their places, and their seats in those houses. For them that now be in it, they are uncharitable, though they have their seats and their house, to make them maintain it that be come out of it.
14. Let all the laws of England be brought into a known tongue, that every Countryman may plead his own cause, without Attorney or Counsellor, or for money. Let men that fear God and hate covetousness decide and end things among People in all places, and let none do it for money and reward. Let it never be had in esteem among you, and away with the cap-men, and coys-men (as they are called)1 and thirty shillings and twenty shillings, and ten groat fees, and this oppression, that makes people pay eight pence a sheet, for not above fifteen lines. So away with all these Counsellors, that will not tell men the Law, a few words, without twenty, or ten, or thirty shillings, which is a great oppression.
15. Let all these things be taken away, he that will not speak a few words to his neighbour without money, freely without end, or reward, or bribery, and so bring it to a free Nation, and so a free People by the power of God. This will be the way to take oppression off the poor people, when in every place such as fear God, and hate covetousness decide things among the people, and if they be great things, let them send them up to you the Parliament, and away with those lawyers, twenty shilling Counsellors, thirty shilling Sergeants, ten groat Attournies, that will throw men into Prison for a thing of nought, for not swearing, for not appearing by an Attorney, for not doffing their hats. If this trade were thrown away, and making Merchandize of the Law, and great soms of money for counselling, and great rewards and fees, and the Priests making a trade of the Scriptures, people would soon come to be plain, and Country people would soon decide their business, being left to all to do it freely. This would be the way to take off oppression, and if any would speak concerning law or Scripture to do it freely; this is the way to bring the Nation like a Garden, and make a free Nation, a free people.
16. Let no one that is high, proud, or lofty, envious or scornful bear Office, for he will turn the sword backward and do the Divel's work, which is to bring the world into a wilderness, and quench the spirit of God, whereby everyone should see his way. He will not be like Moses, who said, would all the Lord's People were Prophets. Moses said so who comprehended all transgressions, the first transgression, and what was transgressed, which sprung forth. For they that are hasty, proud in a mad blind zeal will turn the sword against the just, and are not a praise to them that do well. Such are not a terrour to evil-doers, but let them upon the righteous, and such God will overturn, as often as they get up. Cain, that Governour who built a City, he was called vagabond, who killed faithful Abel, and that he did so, he had not an habitation in God.
17. And let all fines and amercements2 be given to the poor, and let none be prisoned, and fined, and their goods spoiled for not going to the Steeple-houses, as many have been. And let no one be imprisoned as many have been for speaking a few words to the people, bidding them to fear God, and repent, and crying up Christ among them, and speaking as they were moved, as it was revealed to them, according to the Apostles' doctrine and order, as 2 Cor, 14.30. This was the practice and order in the Church of God, that if anything was revealed to another, the first was to hold his peace, but this order is broken amongst the Christians, and they that practice it are whipt, or stocked, or prisoned till death.
18. Let no law be, but that man may ask a question, either going to or coming from a Steeple-house. If it be a free Nation, let it be free; let none have the name of a Minister, but such as are able to satisfie all doubts, and all questions, and for to convince, and stop the mouths of all gainsayers, and opposers, and not let them be such as call to the Magistrates to send to prison for asking a question, like the Jewes that cryed out, help men of Israel, for these are the men that turned the world up-side down.
19. Let all names of people be thrown down, nick-names that be given for their opinions by men, that all may be gathered into the Name of the Church.
20. Now if you say, that we call your Ministers Priests, we do so from your law, your great law book calls them so, and then their practice shewes it.
21. And let no man be whipped, or stocked, or imprisoned, as many have been, for bidding people repent in a market, and to lay aside their deceitful Merchandize, and their couzening and cheating, and swearing, and cursing, and to keep to yea and nay in all their communications.
22. Let no men be prisoned, and their money be taken away, for going to visit prisoners, and to relieve them in what they wanted.
23. Let none have their horses and goods spoiled and taken away, for meeting together in the fear of God, the first day of the week, traveling to meetings.
24. Let none that meet together in the fear of God, in several houses, waiting upon the Lord, praying, or exhorting, & edifying one another in the most holy faith, let them not have their houses broken, their windows broken, and they pulled out of their houses, and knockt down and beat, and houses unthatched, and many pulled down, and men plucked out, and knocked down, as many have been.
25. Let none be persecuted and prisoned as vagabonds who are moved of the Lord to speak abroad his Word freely and faithfully. Let them not be persecuted as vagabonds, for those are the vagabonds that be envious and wrathful, that turn against the faithful ones, and though they be Lords of the Cities, like their old brother Cain, yet they are in Cain's way that turn against the just, and God hath no respect to their sacrifice. Though they may build cities, yet they are vagabonds if they be envious, that hath not a habitation in God. But Abel, Abraham and Christ who were as strangers and had no certain dwelling house, were not vagabonds, and Christ had nowhere to lay his head:
26. And let none be Gaolers that are drunkards, or swearers or oppressors of people, but such as may be good patterns to prisoners. And let none lie long in Gaol, for that is the way to spoil people, and to make more thieves, for there they learn wickedness together. Let no peevish man bear any office, or ambitious, for he will be exalted with the rich, and a shame to the poor, and not hear their cause. The cap is on as the rich go with the rich, but the cap is off with the poor, and there is the offence, if it not be to the rich; so let not that be minded, but let every one justify his neighbor without respect.
27. Let no swearer, no curser, nor drunkard bear any office whatsoever, or be put in any place, nor drunkard nor adulterer, nor covetous Idolater.
28. Let all this money, and stipends, and Tithes, and hour-glasses for preaching by the hour be taken away from men, who make a trade of the Scripture. Let them go out to get vineyards, and plant vineyards, and thresh, and plow in hope, and then there will be little cause to .call to the Magistrates to give them maintenance. They will then all have enough, and every one of them will gather into the barn, of the wheat and the crop of God. And let everyone speak freely as they have received.
29. Let all those Abbie-lands, Glebe-lands3, that are given to the Priests, be given to the poor of the Nation, and let all the great houses, Abbies, Steeple-houses, and White-Hall be for Alms-houses (or some other use than what they are) for all the blind and lame to be there, and not to go begging up and down the streets.
30. And let all that worship God, worship him in spirit & in truth & not tyed up to will-worships. Let all those Schools & Colledges down, who makes Ministers by the will of man, so that all may come to wait upon God and Christ Jesus, whereby they are made Ministers by his will that redeems people out of the earth, and let not the mouth be stopped which the Lord opens.
31. Let all those crosses upon seals be pulled off, and off the silver, and the gold, and weights, and off the Steeple-houses, and chimnies, and Ships, and signs, and Mayses, and arms, and scucheons, and flags, and Ensignes, and standards. It is the Pope's Crosse; let it be rooted out of the Nation, and the Pope and his authority.
32. Let all those Fines that belong to Lords of Mannors, be given to the poor people, for Lords have enough. Now the people of the World that come into our meetings, spit on us, throw stones at us, set and throw dogs at us, speak all matter of evil upon us, and all manner of slander. Them that be great Professors and great talkers and pluckers down practice this, yet if our friend go into the Steeple-house, and ask but a question, they will hale him out, and cast him in prison, or if he speak never a word, they will cast him in prison, and if he do not go, they will cast him in prison for asking a question.
33. Let all the poor people, blinde and lame, and creeples be provided for in the Nation, that there may not be a beggar in England nor England's Dominions, that you may say you come to be equal with the Jewes, that had the law that made provision for widows, strangers and fatherless. He that turns his ears from hearing the poor, turns his ears from the Law, which says to provide for them, for ye have read the practice of the Church, the Saints which were in the Gospel, which doth condemn this Nation's practice. Where is so many Beggars among them, both the Jews in the Law, and the Church in the Gospel? And so let all great gifts given to great men, be given to the poor. Let the receiver deny it, and the giver return it to the poor; for the rich may give to the rich, but the poor cannot give it him again, so minde Christ's Doctrine.
34. Let all those Easter-reckonings, Midsommer-dues, be taken and thrown aside, and let no one's goods be spoiled, who for conscience sake cannot give the Priest these things, and let all the Burying the dead for money, and Marrying for money, and Christening for money, and Churching of women for money, let all these things be swept away, and let the Nation be a free Nation, and what anyone doth, let them do freely. Let these twenty shilling Sermons, and ten shilling Sermons, and ten groats the grave for the Priest be laid aside, and then see whose mouth the Lord will open, for money choaks, and gifts blindes.
35. And let no man bear the sword that does violence at any man, or accuse any man falsely.
36. Let all this naming of dayes, those Sundayes, and Moonsdayes, Tuisdayes, Wodensdayes, Thorsdayes, Frydayes, Saturdayes, that is after Heathen's manner (and naming) be put out of your Almanacks, which is contrary to the Jewes' naming of days and the true Christian's both.
37. Let all this observing of holidayes, and Saint's days, (which hath been set up by them who were out of the power of God), as Michalmas, and Candlemas, and Christmas, Whitsontide, Easter, and many of the Saint's days which they were killed on, those that sottish people feast on, let this abomination be taken away.
38. Let no man who is a striker or fighter, and a wrestler with flesh and blood, and wrestles with the Creatures of God, go under the name of a Minister of Christ. Let no one go under the name of Minister, that would have Creatures to be whipt, stockt and prisoned, for they that fight with the powers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness, they must lay aside outward sword and spear, the whip, the stockings, and the prisonings, and they must come to the spiritual weapons, the Spirit of God in themselves, to bring the Creatures into the Liberty of the sons of God. Only they that fight with Creatures fight with outward weapons.
39. Let no Judge, nor Justice, nor Sherif that is ambitious, Highminded, bear rule, or bear any Government, for such are out of the fear of God which is the beginning of wisdom, with which they should order the Creation to the Glory of God the Creator. They are out of the meek state and humility, and doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly before God, and they are an ill favour in the nostrils of God, and to all sober, tender people and sincere.
40. And let the noise of this summoning people up by writs, into the courts of the Nations and the Sessions for Priests _ poor people, them the Priest does not work for. Let that be taken away and stopt, and all those Courts pulled down that doth oppress and hold up oppression, that Justice maybe done without oppression, not for money. These things hath shamed the so-called Ministers of the Gospel, who sue people up and down, people they do no work for, and so do not bring glad tidings to the Nations, but trouble, as their fruits have declared. What trouble are men brought into by their Courts and Sessions whom they do no work for? Had the Apostle done so, he might have made the Gospel loathsom, troublesom, but he kept it without charge. There hath been but few such since the dayes of the Apostles, so let the Gospel be kept without charge, and let them that Minister the Gospel keep it without charge.
41. And away with all these stipend-men and glebe-land men, augmentation men, gifts, fees and reward, &c.
42. Let no man, Priest nor Lawyer, have Tithes, augmentations, stipends, glebe lands, great fees, gifts and rewards, but if any one will preach or read the Law, let him do it freely, for God is a free God, and so are his people, and Christ is a free Christ, and offered himself freely. What anyone hath freely received from him, he is to give it freely (this was Christ's Command to be obeyed). So this will be the way to set the Spirit of God free, and that the Ox's mouth shall not be muzzeled that treads out the Corn. This will be the way to stop all such that makes a trade of the Law and Scriptures: that if any one will read Law or Scriptures let him do it freely, and not by this carnal measure, the hour-glass, by which the Spirit of God is quenched in others, which reveals something to them for edification and comforting, according to the Order and Practice of the Church of God, 1 Corinthians 14.30.
43. And you that are Officers, that have great estates of your own, and Commanders, and men of Authority, do that which you do freely, and that will be the way for to gain the love of God and your Countrey, and the way to take off this oppression, and it will be the way that the poor might have the more plenty, and it will be the way whereby Justice, and the Gospel may run freely without money and without price.
44. Let all these things for money, preaching for money, and singing for money be laid aside. Let not preaching be a trade, nor the Word of God made Merchandize of, and let not the Law be sold nor bought. Let not them handle the Law that will not do justice without money; for those will not do justice, but will favour the rich for a fee, a gift or reward, which eates up the poor, and they will hold people in long suites, by which the cause of the just suffers and is often overthrown.
45. Let all Images and Pictures be taken away and plucked up, and blotted out of all Signes, Steeple-houses and Gardens, and Houses, and rooted out of the Land.
46. And let none keep Ale-houses or Taverns, but those who fear God, that are come into the Wisdom of God, that will not let the Creatures of God be destroyed by Drunkards.
47. Let all Games, Sports be taken away that please the fleshly mind. Is it not to honour a Magistrate to live in the Power of God?
48. Let all the Stage-players, May-Games, Shoffel-boards, Dice, Cards, Nineholes, Foot-balls, and Hand-balls, and Fidlings, and all these vain Musicks be taken away, which stir up the light vain minds of people that doth not know what to eat and drink, nor what to put on. Let these things be taken away that stir up the light minds of those who make no provision for the flesh, or else they will lye upon you.
49. Let all those Bul-baitings, Cock-fightings, and Horse-racings which are destructive to Creatures, and to please people's vain light minds, and are destructive to seriousness; let all these things be taken away.
50. Let no one wear a Sword, Dagger, or Pistol, or weapon, but who is in Office, or Service, or Place, and this will be the way to stop wickedness, and murderers and killers.
51. Let no man keep Ale-houses or Taverns that keeps Bowls, Shoffleboard-Tables, or Fidlers, or Dice, or Cards.
52. Let neither Beggars nor Blind people, nor Fatherless, nor Widows, nor Cripples go a Begging up and down the streets, but that a house may be provided for them all, and meat, that there be never a Beggar among you; and let those great Fees of Gaolers and Garnishmoney be taken away. Through those Fees many have layn long in Prison.
53. Let all the Gaols be in wholesom places, that the Prisoners may not lye on their own dung, and Piss, and straw like Chaffe, having never a House-of-office4 in the Prison; Therefore let there be a House-of-office in all Gaols, and let these things be mended.
54. And let all these jangling of Bells cease, which do feed people's pleasures and vain minds.
55. Let all those Ballad-singers, and Ballad-makers, and Jest-bookmakers which stir up people's vain and light minds, be taken away.
56. And let all this wearing of gold Lace, and costly attire, more like Anticks5 than sober men, let this be ended, and cloath the naked, and feed the hungry with the superfluity. And turn not your ear from the cry of the poor, for if you do, you turn away from the Law that provides for them.
57. Let all the Priests restore to the poor people, who have so excessively taken away their goods, treble and treble. If you be the men that will do justice, make them to restore those goods again; and that is but just.
58. And let not the Priests strike (our) Friends, nor set on their Professors and hearers; but keep the Peace.
59. Let none have their goods taken away for not paying the Priests, bread and wine, their Communion (as they call it) though they do not eat with them, nor hath not for these many years. Yet the Churchwardens (so-called) distrain the goods of our Friends, to make them pay for their bread and wine, their Communion (so-called) which they eat and drink.
Justice and Righteousness exalteth a Nation; But sin is a shame to both Rulers and people.
Be not high-minded but fear, and be meek and low, for the fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honour goeth humility, Prov. 15.33.
He that persecutes another for his Faith, maketh shipwreck of his own in himself; he that persecutes and kills another about Sacrifice is a Vagabond, and is Cain, and not Abel, though he build a City, and be the Chief Magistrate in a City, as Cain was, he doth not well, so he hath not dominion over sin.
He that persecutes another about meats and drinks, and dayes, is in the wisdom below, and out of Christ, the substance by whom all things were made, who is the Wisdom of God. He that is a Lord over another man's Faith, is a persecutor, and knows not Christ the Lord, the Author of Faith, and God the giver of it; and he that would bear rule over another man's Faith is out of the Apostles' Doctrine, 2 Cor. 1.24. And he that would bear rule over their Faith which Christ is the Author of and so make shipwreck of it, such doth, as will be the Lord's. And this is but the form of godliness out of the power which brings the World on heaps6; and this hath been true in the whole of Christendom since the day of the Apostles.
Such as would have Dominion over men's Faith were of the Antichrist doctrine, and false Christ, which would have been as Christ, who was the author of the true Faith. These have been making the Faith almost in every age, and have power over false faith, and are called defenders of the Faith, and so have wildernessed people, and brought them into Sects and heaps, and this hath kept people from the power of God: And comes to receive the end of their Faith, they in the true Faith received the Salvation of their Souls. And they that will have the power over men's Faith, they must needs be the end of their Faith, which is a dead one. Now they have gotten power over men's Faith, which is but a dead one, since the days of the Apostles, for they that be in the living Faith suffereth with Christ, the Author and end of it, before they yield to others that would have power over their Faith, which if they get power they make shipwreck, or if not, they persecute the Creature, till death by imprisonment or banishment, whipping, stocking, persecuting and stoning, mocking or reproaching, yea for their own maintenance such as they do not work for. So those men, Ministers or Teachers, that would have power over men's Faith, and call themselves defenders of it, they must be the end of it. And now with their power they will persecute and Prison Creatures till death, about their faith.
Them that seek to have preheminence over men's Faith are the cause and ground of bringing all people on heaps and sects in the whole of Christendom, for they have lost the head of Christ, who is the Author of the Faith, which is the one in whom it ends, who hath the power over it. Now Christ that hath power over Faith, is the Author of it, and the end of it. He comes to save men's lives and destroyes the Devil and his workes, and death wherein he hath his Authority, and saves men's lives, and can reconcile them to God. And the Apostles that bid that people believe in Christ, and look unto him who is the Author of their Faith, and that they should have Faith in Christ Jesus, they wrestled not with flesh and blood, but spiritual wickedness, and rulers of darkness, and brought the Creatures into the liberty of the Sons of God.
So men that have power over men's Faith, the dead faith, they destroy the Creatures and mar them, and that is the power of darkness, that leads them to persecute and do the works of darkness. But Christ who hath power over the living Faith, who is the Author of it, the end of it, the finisher of it, he destroyes the Devil, the power of darkness, that went out of truth & leads men out of truth into the darkness, where they devour one another by the power of darkness, and Christ is the cause of the living Faith, who saves men's lives and destroys the Author of sin and death and dead Faith and men destroying one another. The Devil is the power of death, that went out from truth, and makes the World like a Wilderness, where death and destruction talkes of the fame of God, Christ, the Prophets and Apostles, where the Devil will have power over their Faith that murder and persecute Creatures. With all his false apostles and false magistrates, with swords and spears, he fights with Creatures, with flesh and blood, which true Magistrates never did with carnal weapons. He that fights with swords and spears fights with flesh and blood, with the Creatures; he doth not preach the Gospel to that which is captivated with the powers of darkness. He that runs against the Creatures with sword and spear, and defaces and mars them, doth not go the way to bring them into liberty of the Sons of God, for he that wrestles with spiritual wickedness and rulers of darkness, he must be turned from them in his own particular, and with that eye he sees the Gospel and receives the Gospel, which is the power of God, and comes to receive the Covenant of the Light, whereby the prisoners shewe themselves forth out of the pit wherein there has been no water. He that fights with the powers of darkness, he must have the shield of Faith, and spiritual weapons to beat them down, and to bring the Creatures into the liberty of the Sons of God.
Now they that fight with their spiritual weapons, they come into the true zeal of Christ, and fight not with the flesh and blood, to wrestle with Creatures, but fight with their spiritual weapons, and wrestle against spiritual wickedness and rulers in darkness.
Now they that say, They are Ministers of Christ and Ministers of the Gospel, and Christians, and fight with carnal weapons, swords and spears, about your Church, Religion and Worship, and Faith and Gospel, those fight with Creatures, with flesh and blood in mad blind zeal, and are presumptuous and have usurped authority. But you cannot fight with outward spear and sword with powers of darkness and spiritual wickedness. Now they that fight with spiritual wickedness and Rulers of darkness, they can do no good with an outward sword and outward spear. They can do no good with those weapons, for that is Goliah's, but they must fight with spiritual weapons, and lay aside the carnal weapons, sword and spear.
He that will be Lord over men's Faith is in darkness, and out of the power of God, and hath lost the head, Christ, the Author of Faith, and is in the dead Faith, and doth not believe he shall overcome sin and the body of sin, while he is upon the earth.
He that will persecute men about the Worship of God, he is out of the truth, and out of the Spirit, a will-worshipper, and in fained humility, for they that Worship God in the Spirit and the Truth, they are in the Truth that the Devil, and murderer, and persecutor is out of.
They that will persecute about Religion are in the vain religion below, among whom the power is not on their tongues. They will destroy the Creatures, and persecute to death about their vain religion; but they who are in the pure Religion which is from above, keep unspotted from the World. They who visit the fatherless, feed the hungry, cloath the naked, those be the preservers of Creation; but they that persecute about their vain religion, be full of the World, and pleading about their body of sin while they are upon earth. They cloath not the naked, feed not the hungry, relieve not the widow and the sick that lye up and down like to famish. And such men be in the divelish envious prosecuting nature, and yet they will profess the Scriptures from Genesis to the Revelation, where they find not their example, that wilt persecute people about the Gospel. Such men be out of the Apostles' Doctrine, and Christ's Doctrine, which contends not with flesh and blood, but with powers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness. Christ came to save men's lives, not to destroy them, and to bring the Creatures into the liberty of the Sons of God, and they that persecute people about the Gospel, are out of the power of God, in the Devil's power. God comprehends the World, and all transgression, and is glad tidings which sets free, through which power, life and immortality comes to light and doth not persecute. They that persecute people, and burn people, and Prison people about their zeal of Christ, the Prophets' and Apostles' words, they are mad and blind, and out of the life of Christ and the Apostles, and his zeal that saved men's lives and brought the Creatures into the liberty of the Sons of God, and wrestled with the powers of darkness and spiritual wickedness, and destroyed the Devil and his works, and death where he has his authority, and reconciled the Creature, and man to God. This was Christ's zeal, and it did not persecute Creatures; but blind and mad zeal destroys Creatures and Prisons and persecutes them to death, instead of reconciling them. That is the Devil's power.
And they that persecute people about Religion, persecute Creatures, and fight with them with swords, spears, staves and bills, Judas guard, Prisons, houses of Correction, whipping, stocking, with outward weapons. They quench the Spirit of God in themselves, and throw away spiritual weapons, and such never begets to God, nor Ministers to the Spirit, but sowes to the flesh, that of the flesh corruption may be reaped (and so much of it is to be reaped in Christendom). That is the fruit of the carnal weaponed men, which quenches the Spirit, and throwes away the spiritual weapons.
And those who persecute and Prison people about their wisdom and knowledge, opinion and judgement that they have in Christ's, the Apostles' and Prophets' Words, those who will kill, prison, stock and whip with the wisdom which they have in Christ's, the Prophets' and Apostles' Words, such are in wisdom below, which is earthly, sensual and devilish, and out of the Wisdom which is from above. Their wisdom is not departed from evil, and is not come to that which is pure and gentle, and peaceable, and easie to be intreated, which doth not destroy but preserve, and is not earthly, sensual, nor divelish for that is destroying.
They that persecute and kill people about their Church and Ministry be in the Dragon's and Beast's, & great Whore's authority, and false church compelling, out of Dominion and Authority of the Church of God (which Christ is the head of) and whose Ministry saves men's lives. And that Church which Christ is the head of, who Worship God in Spirit and truth, the Church which is the Ground and Pillar of truth, all persecutors are out of, for the Devil and all his guard are out of this Church.
They who say they are believers that are not born of God, and do not believe in the Light which doth enlighten every man who cometh into the World, are not born of God, by which they overcome the World. Their belief is false, who say they do believe, yet while they be upon earth, they must have a body of sin and corruption while they be on this side of the grave. Their Faith is dead, and so their Conscience is defiled; for the Mystery of Faith is held in a pure Conscience, which is a living lively Faith, that gives victory. Through such Faith the fiery darts of Satan are quenched, and through such Faith they have access to God that purifies the heart. The Mystery of this is held in a pure Conscience, by which the just live, by which they overcome the unjust, the author of death, and the dead faith.
They that say they are worshippers of God, yet live outside of truth, they worship as the Devil doth out of truth; for who worships God in truth is in that which the Devil is out of, and Worships in that.
And they that say, they are Worshippers of God, and must have sin and corruption and the body of sin while they be upon earth, they are will-worshippers, and worship out of the Spirit, and quench the Spirit of God in themselves, which mortifies sin and puts off that body of sin and corruption. Through this Spirit they might have Unity with God, and with one another, and Scripture, and them that gave it forth, which was in the Spirit of God.
They that say, they have a hope, and they must not be pure while upon earth, which doth not purifie them as God is pure, but they must have sin and corruption, and the body of sin while this side of the grave, they have the hope of the Hypocrite which shall perish, though they do profess all Scripture, from Genesis to the Revelation. For the true hope, Christ the Mystery, which remains and doth not perish, perfects and makes pure as God is pure, and this differs from the false hope which does not purifie, and is to perish.
And they that will persecute about hope, be in the Hypocrites' hope (like Pharisees), professing Scriptures, and they will turn against Christ the true hope; and so they persecute him in the Saints. (Why persecute thou me?) And so they who persecute people about Worship be out of the truth; for those who be in truth, be in that which the Devil, the persecutor, is out of.
They that will persecute People about Faith be in the dead faith, and are out of that Faith which works by love, and gives victory, and quenches the fiery death of the wicked. The Devil is the author of persecution.
And they that will persecute their enemies, and hate enemies, and will call them blasphemers and seducers they are haters of Creatures and strikers of Creatures, and hath that power which captivates Creatures. They are not the Spiritual men in the armour of God, to fight with spiritual wickedness. Of them remains the curse that comes not up to fight with spiritual wickedness, against the Mighty, The Dragon, and all carnal weaponed men, with which he fights with all about worship. And they that have enemies have thrown aside the commands of Christ, which is to love enemies, and they be out of the love of Christ, and of God that loved the World though it lay in wickedness, and sent his only begotten son into the World, and gave him for an offering, and a sacrifice for the sins of the whole World, and doth enlighten every man that cometh into the World, that all through him might believe. And he that believes him and receives him, hath power to become the Son of God, and he that doth not believe, but hates the light with which he is enlightened, which comes from Christ, he is an Anti-christ, and will not come to the light, because it doth reprove him, and this is his condemnation, who loves darkness, rather than the light, because his deeds be evil.
And those that call themselves Ministers of Christ, and Preachers of the Gospel, and will persecute men for Tithes, Easter-reckonings, Midsummer dues, and for Clerk's wages for saying Amen, and for not mending the old Mass-house, they be out of the Apostles' order and Christ. For no such things were practiced among the Ministers nor Apostles of Christ, nor had they any such practice, but stood in the power of God, with which they stopped the mouths of such evil beasts, and slow-bellies7, who taught for filthy lucre's sake, whose words were as canker, who admired men's persons because of the advantage, who are found in Balaim's way, Corah's and Cain's way, and persecuting and turning against the just. They who will persecute people about the Scriptures be out of the life of the Apostles and Christ, who was the end of the Scripture, and just men's spirits that gave them forth.
In him they end whose name is called the word of God, who is come to fulfill the words of God, for the Ministers of Christ never persecuted any. Neither did Christ give them any such command, but taught them to love enemies; and so they that say they are Ministers of Christ and the Gospel, and teach Magistrates to persecute all who are contrary to them, have thrown away the commands of Christ and his Doctrine, and are out of the Apostles' life and Doctrine both. They that be strikers are out of the mind and spirit, life and power, of Christ, who came to us to save men's lives, and judged and rebuked the zeal of them who would have men's lives destroyed, and told them they should perish except they repented.
And they that will persecute people for wearing their hats are in the honour below, out of the honour that cometh from God above. The hat-honour, worship & humility hath been set up in the fall, hath been since man transgressed & was driven from God, and is the worship among them that is covered, but not with the spirit of God, in whom the transgression is quenched. And they that will persecute people about that they call civility & fellowship, and language and fashions, be out of the fellowship of God, the spirit, and out of the shape of God, and out of the sound speech and language that cannot be condemned, and out of the singular and plural, though they have learned such words amongst themselves, yet practiseth them not themselves, nor will have others. And the civility stands not in outward things, but in that which comprehends outward things, in which there is love, life, and faith that works by love, which envies not. So the civility in which there is envy, outward civility, stands the love of the World, self-love, honours, self-righteousness, will-worship, fained humility crouching, scraping, capping, fained love, in which is the envy of those that have it not, in which is called their civility, which is come up since the spirit hath been transgressed.
In love and wisdom of God, there is courteousness, and kindness, and tenderness, and stooping and coming down to the Prisoned and oppressed, and among the captivated ones; there is tenderness, and love, and compassion, and mercy, and the wisdom that is from above. In this stands the civility that is plain and pure and good in the love of God, that envies no creature, that would have all creatures to worship God, and honour Him; this love thinks no evil, and this is not of the World.
They are the false Church, and false Apostles, and Ministers of unrighteousness, and false teachers, and among them is not the order of the true Church, nor exhorting, nor edifying; that is if anything be revealed to one another that sits by, the first is to hold his peace. Ye may all prophecy one by one, that all may learn, and all be comforted, which was the order of the true Church, and true Ministry; but the false Church and Ministry gets to the powers of the earth, to make them a law, if any one speaks, to bid them to hold their peace that sits by. If there is something revealed unto them to comfort and edifie the people, the false Church and the false Ministers tell the Magistrates, Revelation is ceased; and they have a Law to call them into prison or house of correction, or getting money when they are going to the Steeple-house, or in it, or coming from it, as disturbers. The practice of the true Church, which is to edifie & to comfort, is become disturbers of the false Church and Ministry, that has gotten a law to hinder exhorting and comforting.
1. "cap-men and coys-men" colloquial terms that, as Fox implies, were in use at the time. They may have referred to legal entrapment, as suggested by the word "decoy" or the old phrase "to set ones cap" for someone.
2. "amercement" a fine set by a judge rather than specified in law.
3. "Glebe land" the land belonging to a parish church, or an ecclessiastical benefice.
4. "House-of-office" a toilet.
5. "Antick" a clown or buffoon.
6. "Heaps" a large number, here probably meaning crowds or mobs.
7. "Slow-bellies" lazy persons or sluggards.
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