From us the People of God called
To the preſent Governors, the
and Both Houſes of
And all whom it may Concern.
Delivered into the Kings
hand, the 1660-04-2222. day of the Fourth
Printed for Thomas Simmons and Robert Wilſon, 16601660.
We who are the People of God called Quakers, who are hated and deſpiſed, and every where ſpoken againſt, as people not fit to live, as they were that went before us, 1 Cor.Corinthians 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. who were of the ſame ſpirit, power, & Life and were as we are, in that they were accounted as the off-ſcouring of all things, by that Spirit and Nature that is of the world, and ſo the Scripture is fulfilled, Gal.Galatians 4. he that is born of the fleſh perſecuteth him that is born of the Spirit; We have been a ſuffering people, under every Power & Change, and under every profeſſion of Religion that hath been, & born the outward power in the Nation theſe 12 years, ſince we were a People, and being that throw the old Enemy which hath continually appeared againſt us, not only in the profane people of the Nation, but alſo in the higheſt profeſſion of ſorts and ſects of Religion, we have ſuffered under, and been perſecuted by them all; Even ſome perſecuted & priſoned till death; others their bodies bruiſed till death, ſtigmatized, bored thorow the tongue, gagged in the mouth, ſtockt, and whipt thorow Towns & Cities, our goods ſpoiled, our bodies two or three years impriſoned, with much more that might be ſaid, which is well known to the Actors thereof; and this done not for the wronging of any man, nor for the breach of any juſt Law of the Nation, nor for evil doing, nor deſiring any evil, or wiſhing any hurt to any man, but for Conſcience ſake towards God, becauſe we could not bow to their worſhip, and becauſe we could not maintain a Miniſtry, which Miniſtry we could not joyn with nor own; So we look upon it to be unjuſt to maintain them, we receive nothing from, nor cannot truſt our Souls under their Teaching, who Teach for hire, and Divine for money, which the Prophets of the Lord cryed wo againſt; And Chriſt ſaid a hireling was a Thief and a Robber, Joh.John 10. 12, 13. and would fly becauſe he was an hireling; And they are maintained by Tithes, contrary to Chriſt and the Apoſtles Doctrine, Heb.Hebrews 7. 12. who ſaid the Prieſthood was changed that took Tithes, and the Law alſo that gave them, and who witneſſed Christ Jesus to be the Everlaſting Offering once for all, who ſaith, ſuch an HighPrieſt hath become us which is holy, harmleſſe, undefiled, ſeparate from ſinners, and made higher then the Heavens, who in the dayes of his fleſh, when he had offered up prayers and ſupplications, with ſtrong cryes and Tears, unto him that was able to ſave him from death, and was heard 3A2r3 heard in that he feared, though he was a Son yet learned he obedience, by the things which he ſuffered, Heb.Hebrews 7, 8, 9. and being made perfect became the Author of Eternal Salvation unto all them that obey him. And for obedience to him and his commands (do we ſuffer who hath ſaid ſwear not at all, Mat.Matthew 34, 35. Jam.James 5. 1 Jam.James 2. 1 And he ſaid Call no man Maſter upon earth, for ye have one Maſter in Heaven; and who hath ſaid How can you believe that ſeek Honour one of another, and not the Honour that comes from God onely, and who hath ſaid, let your Yea be Yea, and your Nay, Nay, for whatſoever is more then this cometh of evil; And becauſe we cannot reſpect perſons, which is contrary to the Apoſtles Doctrine and practiſe, who hath ſaid, Act.Acts 24. Mat.Matthew 22. of a Truth God is no reſpecter of Perſons, but in every Notion he that feareth God, and worketh Righteouſneſſe is accepted of him; And the Apoſtle James exhorted his Brethren not to have the Faith of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt with reſpect of perſons, for if you reſpect perſons you commit ſin, and are convinced of the Law as Tranſgreſſors, and contrary to thisFaith and Doctrine we are made Tranſgreſſors by the Powers of the Earth, becauſe we cannot reſpect perſons, and commit ſin, and be made Tranſgreſſors of the Law of God: And this hath been the onely ground and cauſe of our ſufferings, becauſe we obeyed the Command of Chriſt, the Author of our Eternal ſalvation, and obſerved the Apoſtles Doctrine and practiſe, and not for any other cauſe or end have our ſufferings been, but for Conſcience ſake, becauſe we cannot bow to mens wills and worſhips contrary to the Command of Chriſt Jeſus our Everlaſting Prieſt, King and Prophet, whom we ſerve with our ſpirits, and worſhip in that, which the World calls Hereſie Act.Acts 14.
And now becauſe that ſeveral of you, who are moſt concerned in this Government are not acquainted with our principles and practices, neither have known our Innocency and ſufferings, and the Old Enemy by whom we have ſuffered, at this time being ready to incenſe and and infuſe ſecretly into the minds of them, who are ſtrangers to us, againſt whom we have not tranſgreſſed, neither do we deſire to give any juſt occaſion of offence to theſe preſent Governors, who yet have not done us much wrong, in making any Law againſt us, that we know of; And we do believe would not, if ye did rightly underſtand our Innocency and Integrity, nakedneſs and ſingleneſs in our carriage towards all men upon the face of the earth, and if ye would but examine and ſearch out our carriage and behaviour towards all mens perſons, Souls and Eſtates, if theſe things were ſearched out and Examined A2thorow 4A2v4 thorow the Nations, and that no prejudice were let into your minds from others words, which proceed from ſecret envy malice and hatred, & not from any juſt ground they have againſt us, but as it is from a contrary ſpirit and mind, as it was in the Jews againſt Chriſt, and in all others againſt the Apoſtles, ſo it is the ſame now againſt us, but this we commit to the Lord who will plead our cauſe, and clear our Innocency, who hath ſaid vengeance is Mine, and I will repay it; And now that they know we cannot ſwear, nor take an Oath for Conſcience ſake, but have ſuffered becauſe we could not take them; Now do the Magiſtrates of ſeveral Countyes of the Nation, through the ſuggeſtion of the Prieſts envy, which is inveterate againſt us, Tender us an Oath, which they call the Oath of Allegiance, with ſeveral other Engagements, what their own wils can invent, on purpoſe to enſnare us, that upon the denial thereof they may caſt us into priſon, & have already caſt ſeveral of us into priſon at their own pleaſure.
We do therefore declare to take of all Jealouſies, Fears and Suſpitions of our Truth and Fidelity to the King, and theſe preſent Governours, that our intentions & Endeavours are and ſhall be Good, True, Honeſt and Peaceable towards them, and that we do Love, Own, and Honour the King and theſe preſent Governours, ſo far as they do rule for God and his Truth, and do not impoſe any thing upon Peoples Conſciences, but let the Goſpel have its free paſſage through the conſciences of men, which we do not know that they have (by any Law) as yet impoſed; And if they grant liberty of Conſcience towards God and towards Man, then we know that God will bleſſe them: For want of which hath been the overthrow of all that went before them: We do not deſire any liberty that may juſtly offend any ones Conſcience, but the Liberty we do deſire is, that we may keep our Conſciences clear and void of offence towards God and towards men, and that we may enjoy our civil Rights and Liberties of Subjects, as freeborn Engliſh men And this we do in the preſence of the Lord declare, not in flattering Titles, but in reality and truth of our hearts, and ſhall manifeſt the ſame; Now that we may be clear in the preſence of the living God, and of all juſt and moderate men, that they may not have their hands in Blood and Perſecution, as thoſe have had that are gone before, and that they may not be ignorant of us, and of our principles and practice, & ſo receive information againſt us from others envy, which may be contrary to our very principles, and the truth as it is in Jeſus; Therefore that we may be free from the 5A3r5 the blood of all men, Act.Acts 20, 26. & that they may not have a hand in Perſecuting and Oppreſſing the Innocent, whoſe cauſe God hath pleaded and will plead. We do therefore inform the Governors of this Nation high and low; That we are a People that deſire the good of all People and their peace, and deſire that all may be ſaved and come to the knowledge of the Truth 1 Tim.Timothy 2. 4. Act.Acts 13. 47. Rev.revelation 21. 24 2 Cor.Corinthians 4. 6. the Way and the Life, which is Chriſt Jeſus, the Everlaſting Covenant, which is given for a Light to the Gentiles, and to be the Salvation to the ends of the Earth, and all the Nations that are ſaved muſt walk in this Light of the Glorious Goſpel, which hath ſhined in our hearts, and given us the light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God in the Face of Jeſus Chriſt. And to this Light we direct Peoples minds, that every one in particular may have a Teacher and Teſtimony according to the Righteouſneſſe of Faith which ſpeaketh on this wiſe; The word is very nigh in the heart and in the mouth. Rom.Romans 10. 8. And if every one would come to this, there would be a feeling of Gods Juſtice and Righteouſneſſe, and our intents to be juſt Innocent and Righteous, who hath ſaid, I will come neer to Judgement, and be a ſwift witneſſe againſt the Sorcerer and Adulterer, and falſe ſwearer. Mal.Malachi 3. 5.
Now if every one would turn to this witneſſe in their own Conſciences, this would keep from oppreſſing and perſecuting of others without cauſe, for God is coming to teach his People himſelf, by his own Light and Spirit, who hath ſaid, it is written in your law, you ſhall be all taught of God, Joh.John 6. 45. which many of us now do witneſſe; for which cauſe are we perſecuted, the children of the Lord are taught of the Lord, and are eſtabliſhed in Righteouſneſſe, and are far from Oppreſſion. Iſa.Isaiah 54. 13, 14.
The Teſtimony that we have born, hath been chiefly againſt the Prieſts, Teachers and Profeſsors of theſe Nations, that are out of the Life & power; for when it pleaſed the Lord to reveal his Son in us, we ſaw them to be abſolute deceivers of the People and betrayers of their ſouls, for they lead them wholly from that of God in them to the letter of the Scripture without them, and to their own Inventions and Immaginations and meanings which they ſpeak, who are not taught of God themſelves For, for all their high profeſſion, there is ſcarce one of them that dares ſay they have the infallible Spirit of God, the ſame as the Apoſtles had, that gave forth the Scripture; The Apoſtle ſaith that which may be known of God is manifeſted in them, for God ſhews it unto them. No People can retain God in their knowledge and worſhip him as God, but firſt they muſt 6 A3v 6 muſt come to that of God in them; But theſe Teachers deny this Doctrine, and have manifeſted themſelves ſeveral wayes to all ſober minded People, to be men not fearing God, and are not true to their Principles; for who have minded them, and ſeen their Carriage and Behaviour in all theſe Changes that have been theſe 8. years (which have been many; as may be further manifeſt,) for there have been Changes of Governments, of Parliaments, and Protectors ſeveral in theſe Eight years, and all theſe have been warned not to uphold theſe Prieſts contrary to Peoples Conſciences, but that every one might have their Liberty, that they that would have them might maintain them, and they that could not receive their Doctrine, might not be forced to maintain them; but this would not ſatisfie their Covetous Practice, but they went on in the way of Cruelty, Perſecuting and Oppreſſing the Innocent, and caſting into Priſon, and took trebble Dammages, and ſpoiled their Goods, and made Havock of poor Peoples Encreaſe and Fruits of their Labours; neither would the Magiſtrates hear, but ſuffered them to go on in their Perſecution, and upheld them by a Law to the oppreſſing of the Innocent, until the Lord by his mighty Power overturned them, and broke them one after another; and thoſe Prieſts turned to euvery Power, and every Government, as it turned; and made Petitions, and Addreſſes, and Acknowledgements to every Change of Government, and Conformed to every Power, and ſhewed much Love and Zeal to every preſent Power for their own ends, though many of them were Inſtruments to throw others out; Yet through their Deceit and Subtilties have kept themſelves in, in all theſe Times, and Changes.
Now let any honeſt hearted People judge, whether theſe be ſound Principled men, that can turn, conform and, tranſform to every Change according to the Times? Whether theſe be fit men to Teach People? But their Fruits are manifeſt, and God doth diſcover them more and more, that they cannot proceed much longer; Their Folly is ſo much made manifeſt, they have uſed their utmoſt endeavors to cauſe Perſecution to continue upon us: But, the Lord hath ſeen it, and we commit all to him, & can freely ſay, The Lord forgive them for what they have done to us, Act.Acts 7. 60. But for the bearing our Teſtimony againſt them for the deceiving and betraying of poor ignorant People that are blind, and led by them that are blind into the ditch, Mat.Matthew 15 14. We cannot but in pitty and love to Peoples Souls bear our Teſtimony againſt them, Therefore have our Sufferings been becauſecauſe 7 A4r 7 cauſe we deſire the good of all People, and the Salvation of their Souls; and this is all we deſire, and Suffer for, that all might come to the knowledge of the Lord, who ſaid, They ſhould all know him, from the leaſt to the greateſt. Heb.Hebrews 8. 11.
We are a People that follow after thoſe things that make for Peace, Love and Unity, it is our deſire that others feet may walk in the ſame, and do deny and beare our Teſtimony againſt all Strife, and Wars, and Contentions that come from the Luſts that warr in the members, that warr againſt the Soul, which we wait for and watch for in all People, and love and deſire the good of all; for no other cauſe but love to the Souls of all People, have our ſufferings been, and therefore have we been numbered amongſt the Tranſgreſſers, and been accounted as ſheep for the ſlaughter, as our Lord and Maſter was, who is the Captain of our Salvation who is gone before us, who though he was a Son, yet learned he Obedience, by the things that he ſuffered, who ſaid my Kingdom is not of this World, if my Kingdom were of this world, Joh.John 18 36. then would my Servants fight, but my Kingdom is not from hence; This is he that comes to ſave mens lives, and not to deſtroy them, Luk.Luke 9. 56. and this is he that is our Lord & Maſter, whoſe Teſtimony we muſt ſeal with our blood, if it be required of us; And our Weapons are not Carnal but Spiritual, 2 Cor.Corinthians 10. 4. who have given our Backs, our Cheeks, and our Hair to all profeſſions, out of the Life and Power to be ſmitten, who have done it to purpoſe, which the Lord hath overturned, who were often warned by us, under whom we have undergon cruel ſufferings. And now You are come up into the Throne to be tried, we cannot but warn you in your day to do juſtly, and to love Mercy Mica.Micah 6. 8. whereby the violence of the wicked might be ſtopt, which is for your own good, and proſperity. And ſo we deſire and alſo expect to have the liberty of our Conſciences and juſt Rights, and outward Liberties as other people of the Nation, which we have promiſe of from the word of a King, that we may not be made a prey upon by the prophane envious People and Prieſts which we have born our Teſtimony againſt their corruptions, who thirſt not onely after our Eſtates & Liberties, but our blood alſo, who have already begun to ſearch our Houſes and to apprehend our Members, & caſt them into Priſon, there to be kept without bail or mainprize, under pretence as if we were Thieves Murderers or Traytors, who are Enemies to no mans Perſon upon the Earth, which they cannot lay to our charge, whereby they endeavour to take away our lives. Treaſon, Treachery, and falſe Dealing we do utterly deny, falſe dealing, ſurmizing, or 8A4v8 or plotting againſt any Creature upon the Face of the Earth, and ſpeak the truth in plainneſſe and ſingleneſſe of heart, and all our deſire is your good, and Peace, and Love, and Unity, and this many thouſands will ſeal with their blood, who are ready not onely to believe, but to ſuffer, but only that the blood of the Innocent may not come upon your ſelves through falſe informations.
We in the Unity of the Spirit, and Members of Chriſt, do Subſcribe, and Witneſſe to the Truth of this, and in the behalf of thoſe in the ſame Unity,
- George Fox.
- Richard Hubberthorne,
- Samuel Fiſher,
- Joſeph Fuce,
- Gobert Sikes,
- Amos Stodert,
- William Caton,
- Gerrard Roberts,
- John Stubbs,
- Thomas Coveny,
- Thomas Harte,
- James Strut,
- Ellis Hookes.
And now I am here to Anſwer what can be Objected againſt us on the behalf of many Thouſands, who are Baptized with one Spirit into one Body, to bear my Teſtimony, and to be offered up for the Service of the Faith, and to give an Account of the Hope, that is in me, to every one that Asketh according to the Scripture, who was moved of the Lord to leave my Houſe and Family, and to come Two Hundred Miles to lay theſe Things before you; Who to the Will of the Lord is Committed.