There having been some time before this a very severe law made against the Quakers by name, and more particularly prohibiting our meetings under the sharpest penalties of five pounds for the first offence, so called, ten pounds for the second, and banishment for the third, under pain of felony for escaping or returning without license - which law was looked upon to have been procured by the bishops in order to bring us to a conformity to their way of worship-I wrote a few lines in way of dialogue between a Bishop and a Quaker, which I called:
B. What! You are one of them that do deny
To yield obedience by conformity?
Quaker. No: we desire conformable to be.
B. But unto what? Q. The Image of the Son! (Rom 8:29)
B. What's that to us? We'll have conformity
Unto our form. Q. Then we shall never have done.
For, if your fickle minds should alter, we
Should be to seek a new conformity.
Thus, who today conform to Prelacy.
Tomorrow may conform to Popery.
But take this for an answer, Bishop, we
Cannot conform either to them or thee;
For while to truth your forms are opposite,
Whoever conforms thereto does not aright.
B. We'll make such knaves as you conform, or lie
Confined in prisons until ye rot and die.
Q. Well, gentle Bishop, I may live to see,
For all your threats, a check to cruelty;
And thee rewarded with your envious crew
According as unto your work is due,
But in the meantime, I, for my defense,
Take flight to my fortress, Patience.
No sooner was this cruel law made but it was put in execution with great severity; the sense whereof working strongly on my spirit, made me cry earnestly to the Lord that He would arise and set up His righteous judgment in the earth for the deliverance of His people from all their enemies, both inward and outward; and in these terms I uttered it:-
Awake, awake, O arm of the Lord, awake,
Your sword uptake;
Cast what would Your forgetful of You make
Into the lake.
Awake, I pray, O mighty Jah, awake
Make all the world before Your presence quake,
Not only earth, but heaven also shake.
Arise, arise, O Jacob's God, arise,
And hear the cries
Of every soul which in distress now lies,
And to You flies.
Arise, I pray, O Israel's hope, arise;
Set free Your seed oppressed by enemies.
Why should they over it still tyrannize?
Make speed, make speed, O Israel's help make speed,
In time of need;
For evil men have wickedly decreed
Against Your seed.
Make speed, I pray, O mighty God, make speed;
Let all Your lambs from savage wolves be freed,
That fearless on Your mountain they may feed.
Ride on, ride on, You Valiant Man of Might,
And put to Flight
Those sons of Belial who do despite
To the upright:
Ride on, I say, You Champion, and smite
Your and Your people's enemies, with such might
That none may dare against You or Yours to fight.
Although the storm raised by the Act for banishment fell with the greatest weight and force upon some other parts, as at London, Hertford, etc., yet we were not wholly exempted from it, even in Buckinghamshire; for a part of that storm reached us also.
For a Friend of Amersham, whose name was Edward Perot or Parret, departing this life, and notice being given that his body would be buried there on such a day, which was the first day of the fifth month, 1665, the Friends of the adjacent parts of the country resorted pretty generally to the burial, so that there was a fair appearance of Friends and neighbors, the deceased having been well-beloved by both. After we had spent some time together in the house, Morgan Watkins, who at that time happened to be at Isaac Penington's, being with us, the body was taken up and borne on Friends' shoulders along the street in order to be earned to the burying-ground, which was at the town's end, being part of an orchard belonging to the deceased, which he in his lifetime had appointed for that service.
It so happened that one Ambrose Benett, a barrister-at-law and a justice of the peace for that county, riding through the town that morning on his way to Aylesbury, was by some ill disposed person or other informed that there was a Quaker to be buried there that day, and that most of the Quakers in the country had come there to the burial.
Upon this he set up his horses and stayed, and when we, not knowing anything of his design against us, went innocently forward to perform our Christian duty for the interment of our friend, he rushed out of his inn upon us with the constables and a rabble of rude fellows whom he had gathered together, and having his drawn sword in his hand, struck one of the foremost of the bearers with it, commanding them to set down the coffin. But the Friend who was so stricken, whose name was Thomas Dell, being more concerned for the safety of the dead body than his own, lest it should fan from his shoulder, and any indecency then follow, held the coffin fast; which the Justice observing, and being enraged that his word, (however unjust), was not quickly obeyed, set his band to the coffin, and with a forcible thrust threw it off from the bearers' shoulders, and that it fell to the ground in the midst of the street, and there we were forced to leave it.
For immediately then, the Justice giving command for the apprehending us, the constables with the rabble fell on us, and drew some and drove others into the inn, giving an opportunity for the rest to walk away.
Of those that were thus taken I was one. Being with many more, put into a room under a guard, we were kept there until another Justice, called Sir Thomas Clayton, whom Justice Benett had sent for to join with him in committing us, had come. They called several of us before them, where they picked out ten of us, and committed us to Aylesbury jail, for what neither we nor they knew; for we were not convicted of having either done or said anything which the law could take hold of, for they took us up in the open street, the King's highway, not doing any unlawful act, but peaceably carrying and accompanying the corpse of our deceased friend to bury it. Which they would not allow us to do, but caused the body to lie in the open street and in the cart-way, so that all the travelers that passed by, whether horseman, coaches, carts, or wagons, were willingly to break out of the way to go by it, that they might not drive over it, until it was almost night. Then having caused a grave to be made in the unconsecrated part, (as it is accounted), of what is called the churchyard, they forcibly took the body from the widow whose right and property it was, and buried it there.
When the Justices had delivered us prisoners to the constable, it being then late in the day, which was the seventh day of the week, he, not willing to go so far as Aylesbury, nine long miles, with us that night, nor to put the town to the charge of keeping us there that night, and the first-day and night following, dismissed us upon our parole to come to him again at a set hour on the second-day morning. At which point we all went home to our respective habitations, and coming to him punctually according to promise, were by him, without guard, conducted to the prison.
The jailer, whose name was Nathaniel Birch, had not long before behaved himself very wickedly, with great rudeness and cruelty, to some of our friends of the lower side of the county, whom he, combining with the Clerk of the Peace, whose name was Henry Wells, had contrived to get into his jail; and after they were legally discharged in court, detained them in prison, using great violence, and shutting them up close in the common jail among the felons, because they would not give him his unrighteous demand of fees, which they were the more straitened in from his treacherous dealing with them. They having through suffering maintained their freedom and obtained their liberty, we were the more concerned to keep what they had so hardly gained, and therefore resolved not to make any contract or terms for, either chamber-rent or fees, but to demand a free prison, which we did.
When we came in, the jailer was ridden out to wait on the judges, who came in that day to begin the assize, and his wife was somewhat at a loss how to deal with us; but being a cunning woman, she mated us with great appearance of courtesy, offering us the choice of all her rooms; and when we asked upon what terms, she still referred us to her husband, telling us she did not doubt but that he would be very reasonable and civil to us. Thus she endeavored to have drawn us to take possession of some of her chambers at a venture, and trust to her husband's kind usage. But we, who at the cost of our friends had a proof of his kindness, were too wary to be drawn in by the fair words of a woman, and therefore told her we would not settle anywhere until her husband came home, and then would have a free prison, wherever he put us.
Accordingly, walking all together into the court of the prison, in which was a well of very good water, and having beforehand sent to a friend in the town, a widow woman, whose name was Sarah Lambam, to bring us some bread and cheese, we sat down upon the ground round about the well, and when we had eaten, we drank of the water out of the well.
Our great concern was for our friend Isaac Penington, because of the tenderness of his constitution; but he was so lively in his spirit, and so cheerfully given up to suffer, that he rather encouraged us than needed any encouragement from us.
In this posture the jailer, when he came home, found us, and having before he came to us consulted his wife, and by her understood on what terms we stood, when he came to us he hid his teeth, and putting on a show of kindness, seemed much troubled that we should sit there abroad, especially his old friend Mr. Penington, and then invited us to come in and take what rooms in his house we pleased. We asked upon what terms; letting him know withal that we determined to have a free prison.
He, like the sun and wind in a fable, that strove which of them should take from the traveler his cloak, having like the wind tried rough, boisterous, violent means to our friends before, but in vain, resolved now to imitate the sun, and shine as pleasantly as he could upon us. Therefore he told us that we should make the terms ourselves, and be as free as we desired; if we thought fit, when we were released, to give him anything, he would thank us for it, and if not, he would demand nothing.
Upon these terms we went in and disposed ourselves, some in the dwelling-house, others in the malt-house, where they chose to be.
During the assize we were brought before Judge Morton, a sour, angry man, who very rudely reviled us, but would not either hear us or the cause, but referred the matter to the two justices who had committed us.
They, when the assize was ended, sent for us to be brought before them at their inn, and fined us, as I remember, six shillings and eight pence apiece, which we not consenting to pay, they committed us to prison again for one month from that time, on the Act for banishment.
When we had laid there that month, I and another went to the jailer to demand our liberty, which he readily granted, telling us the door should be opened when we pleased to go.
This answer of his I reported to the rest of my friends there, and then we raised among us a small sum of money, which they put into my hand for the jailer, whereupon I, taking another with me, went to the jailer with the money in my hand, and reminding him of the terms upon which we accepted the use of his rooms, I told him, that although we could not pay chamber rent or fees, yet inasmuch as he had now been civil to us, we were willing to acknowledge it by a small token, and then gave him the money. He, putting it into his pocket, said, “I thank you and your friends for it, and to let you see I take it as a gift, not a debt, I will not look on it to see how much it is.” The prison door being then set open for us, we went out, and departed to our respective homes.
But before I left the prison, considering one day with myself the different kinds of liberty and confinement, freedom and bondage, I took my pen, and wrote the following enigma or riddle:-
Lo! here a riddle to the wise,
In which a mystery there lies;
Read it therefore, with that eye
Which can discern a mystery.
Some men are free while they in prison lie;
Others, who never saw prison, captives die.
He that can receive it may;
He that cannot let him stay,
And not be hasty, but suspend
His judgment until he sees the end.
He only is free indeed that is free from sin,
And he is fastest bound that is bound therein.
This is the liberty I chiefly prize,
The other, without this, I can despise.
Some little time before I went to Aylesbury prison I was desired by my quondam master, Milton, to take a house for him in the neighborhood where I dwelled, that he might go out of the city, for the safety of himself and his family, the pestilence then was very widespread in London. I took a large box for him to Giles Chalfont, a mile from me, of which I gave him notice, and intended to have waited on him, and seen him well settled in it, but was prevented by that imprisonment. But now being released and returned home, I soon made a visit to him, to welcome him into the country.
After some common discussions had passed between us, he called for a manuscript of his; which being brought he delivered to me, telling me take it home with me and read it at my leisure; and when I had so done, return it to him with my judgment then.
When I came home, and had set myself to read it, I found that it was that excellent poem which he entitled “Paradise Lost." After I had, with the best attention, read it through, I visited him another visit, and returned him his book, with due acknowledgment of the favor he had done me in communicating it to me. He asked me how I liked it and what I thought of it, which I modestly but freely told him, and after some further discussion about it, I pleasantly said to him, “You have said much here of ‘Paradise Lost,' but what have you to say of ‘Paradise Found?'" He made me no answer, but sat some time in a muse; then broke off that discussion and fell upon another subject.
After the sickness was over, and the city well cleansed and become safely habitable again, he returned there. And when afterwards I went to wait on him there, which I seldom failed of doing whenever my occasions drew me to London, he showed me his second poem, called “Paradise Regained," and in a pleasant tone said to me, “This is owing to you, for you put it into my head by the question you put to me at Chalfont, which before I had not thought of.” But from this digression I return to the family I then lived in. We had not been long at home, about a month perhaps, before Isaac Penington was taken out of his house in an arbitrary manner by military force, and carried prisoner to Aylesbury jail again, where he lay three-quarters of a year, with great hazard of his life, it being the sickness year, and the plague being not only in the town but in the jail
Meanwhile his wife and family were turned out of his house, called the Grange, at Peters Chalfont, by them who had seized his estate; and the family was by that means broken up. Some went one way, others another. Mary Penington herself with her younger children, went down to her husband at Aylesbury. Guli, with her maid, went to Bristol, to see her former maid, Anne Hersent, who was married to a merchant of that city, whose name was Thomas Biss; and I went to Aylesbury with the children, but not finding the place agreeable to my health, I soon left it, returning to Chalfont. There I took lodging and was boarded in the house of a friendly man, and after some time went to Bristol to conduct Guli home.
Meanwhile Mary Penington took lodgings in a farmhouse called Bottrels, in the parish of Giles Chalfont, where, when we returned from Bristol, we found her.
We had been there but a very little time before I was sent to prison again upon this occasion. There was in those times a meeting once a month at the house of George Salter, a Friend of Hedgerley, to which we sometimes went; and Morgan Watkins being with us, he and I, with Guli and her maid, and one Judith Parker, wife of Dr. Parker, one of the College of Physicians at London, with a maiden daughter of theirs, neither of whom were Quakers, but as acquaintances of Mary Penington were with her on a visit, walked over to that meeting, it being about the middle of the first month, and the weather good.
This place was about a mile from the house of Ambrose Bennett, the justice who the summer before had sent me and some other Friends to Aylesbury prison from the burial of Edward Parret of Amersham; and he, by what means I know not, getting notice not only of the meeting, but, as was supposed, of our being there, came himself to it, and as he came caught up a stackwood stick, big enough to have knocked any man down, and brought it with him, hidden under his cloak. Having come to the house, he stood for a while without the door and out of sight, listening to hear what was said, for Morgan was then speaking in the meeting. But certainly he heard very imperfectly, if it was true what we heard he said afterwards among his companions, as an argument that Morgan was a Jesuit - namely, that in his preaching he trolled over his Latin as fluently as ever he heard anyone; whereas Morgan, good man, was better versed in Welch than in Latin, which I suppose he had never learned; and I am sure he did not understand it.
When this martial Justice, who at Amersham had with his drawn sword struck an unarmed man who he knew would not strike again, had now stood some time abroad, and suddenly rushed in among us with the stackwood stick held up in his hand ready to strike, crying out, “Make way there." He struck an ancient woman, not getting soon enough out of his way, with the stick a painful blow over the breast. Then pressing through the crowd to the place where Morgan stood, he plucked him from there, and caused so great a disorder in the room that it broke the meeting up; yet the people would not go away or disperse themselves, but tarried to see what the issue would be.
Then taking pen and paper, he sat down at the table among us and asked several of us our names, which we gavel and he put down in writing.
Among others he asked Judith Parker, the doctor's wife, what her name was, which she readily gave; and there taking occasion to discussion him, she so overmastered him by clear reason, delivered in fine language, that he, glad to be rid of her, struck out her name and dismissed her; yet she did not leave, but kept her place among us.
When he had taken what number of names he thought fit, he singled out half a dozen, of which Morgan was one, I another, one man more, and three women, of whom the woman of the house was one, although her husband then was, and for several years before had been, a prisoner in the Fleet for tithes, and had nobody to take care of his family and business but her, his wife.
He committed the six of us to Aylesbury jail, which when the doctor's wife heard him read to the constable, she attacked him again, and having put him in mind that it was a sickly time, and that the pestilence was reported to be in that place, she in handsome terms desired him to consider in time how he would answer the cry of our blood, if by his sending us to be shut up in an infected place we should lose our lives there. This made him alter his purpose, and by a new mittimus sent us to the House of Correction at Wiccomb.
Although he committed us upon the Act for banishment, which limited a certain time for imprisonment, yet he in his mittimus limited to no time, but ordered us to be kept until we should be delivered by due course of law; so little regardful was he, though a lawyer, of keeping to the letter of the law. We were committed on the 18th day of the month called March, 1665, and were kept close prisoners there until the 7th day of the month called June, 1666, which was some days above twelve weeks, and much above what the Act required.
Then were we sent for to the Justice's house, and the rest being released, Morgan Watkins and I were required to find sureties for our appearance at the next assize; which we refusing to do, were committed anew to our old prison, the House of Correction at Wiccomb, there to lie until the next assizes. Morgan was in this second mittimus represented as a notorious offender in preaching, and I was recorded for the second conviction, subject to banishment. There we lay until the 25th day of the same month, and then, by the favor of the Earl of Ancram, being brought before him at his house, we were discharged from the prison upon our promise to appear, if at liberty and in health, at the assizes; which we did, and were there discharged by proclamation.
During my imprisonment in this prison I took myself for an employment to making of nets for kitchen-service, to boil herbs, etc., in, which trade I learned from Morgan Watkins; and selling some and giving others, I pretty well stocked the Friends of that country with them.
Though in that confinement I was not very well suited with company for conversation, Morgan's natural temper not being very agreeable to mine, yet we kept a fair and brotherly correspondence, as became friends, prison-fellows and bed-fellows, which we were. Indeed it was a good time, I think, to us all, for I found it so to me; the Lord being graciously pleased to visit my soul with the refreshing dews of His Divine life, by which my spirit was more and more quickened to Him, and truth gained ground in me over the temptations and snares of the enemy; which frequently raised in my heart thanksgivings and praises unto the Lord. At one time more especially the sense I had of the prosperity of truth, and the spreading thereof, filling my heart with abundant joy, made my cup overflow, and the following lines drop out:-
For truth I suffer bonds, in truth I live,
And unto truth this testimony give,
That truth shall over all exalted be,
And in dominion reign forevermore:
The child's already born that this may see,
Honor, praise, glory be to God therefore.
And underneath thus :-
Though death and hell should against truth combine,
Its glory shall through all their darkness shine.
This I saw with an eye of faith, beyond the reach of human sense; for,
As strong desire
Draws objects nearer
In apprehension than indeed they are;
I with an eye
That pierced high
Did thus of truth's prosperity declare.
After we had been discharged at the assizes, I returned to Isaac Penington's family at Bottrel's in Chalfont, and, as I remember, Morgan Watkins with me, leaving Isaac Penington a prisoner in Aylesbury jail.
The lodgings we had in this farmhouse, (Bottrel's), proving too small and inconvenient for the family, I took larger and better lodgings for them in Berriehouse at Amersham, where we went at the time called Michaelmas, having spent the summer at the other place.
Some time after was that memorable meeting appointed to be held at London, through a Divine opening in the motion of life, in that eminent servant and prophet of God, George Fox, for the restoring and bringing in again those who had gone out from truth, and the holy unity of Friends therein, by the means and ministry of John Perrot.
This man [Perrot] came pretty early among Friends, and too early took upon him the ministerial office; and being, though little in person, yet great in opinion of himself, nothing less would serve him than to go and convert the Pope. In order to accomplish this, he having a better man than himself, John Luff, to accompany him, traveled to Rome, where they had not been long before they were taken up and clapped into prison. Luff as I remember, was put in the Inquisition, and Perrot in their Bedlam, or hospital for madmen.
Luff died in prison, not without well-grounded suspicion of being murdered there; but Perrot lay there some time, and now and then sent over an epistle to be printed here, written in such an affected and fantastic style as might have induced an indifferent reader to believe they had suited the place of his confinement to his condition.
After some time, through the mediation of Friends, (who hoped better of him than he proved), with some person of note and interest there, he was released, and came back for England. The report of his great sufferings there, (far greater in report than in reality), joined with a singular show of sanctity, so far opened the hearts of many tender and compassionate Friends towards him, that it gave him the advantage of insinuating himself into their affections and esteem, and made way for the more ready propagation of that peculiar error of his, of keeping on the hat in time of prayer as well public as private, unless they had an immediate motion at that time to put it oft. Now, although I had not the least acquaintance with this man, not having ever exchanged a word with him, though I knew him by sight; nor had I any esteem for him, for either his natural parts or ministerial gift, but rather a dislike of his aspect, preaching, and way of writing; yet this error of his being broached in the time of my infancy and weakness of judgment as to truth, while I lived privately in London and had little converse with Friends, I, among the many who were caught in that snare, was taken with the notion, as what then seemed to my weak understanding suitable to the doctrine of a spiritual dispensation. The matter coming to warm debates, both in words and writing, I, in a misguided zeal, was ready to have entered the lists of contention about it, not then seeing what spirit it proceeded from and was managed by, nor foreseeing the disorder and confusion in worship which must naturally accompany it.
But as I had no evil intention or sinister end in engaging in it, but was simply betrayed by the deceptively pleasing pretence and show of greater spirituality, the Lord, in tender compassion to my foolishness, was graciously pleased to open my understanding; and give me a clear sight of the enemy's design in this work, and drew off from the practice of it, and to bear testimony against it as occasion offered.
But when that solemn meeting was appointed at London for a travail in spirit on behalf of those who had thus gone out, that they might rightly return and be sensibly received into the unity of the body again, my spirit rejoiced, and with gladness of heart I went to it, as did many more of both city and country, and with great simplicity and humility of mind did honestly and openly acknowledge our outgoing, and take condemnation and shame to ourselves. Some that lived at too remote a distance in this nation as well as beyond the seas, upon notice given of that meeting and the intended service of it, did the like by writing in letters directed to and openly read in the meeting, which for that purpose was continued many days.
Thus in the motion of life were the healing waters stirred, and many through the virtuous power thereof restored to soundness, and indeed not many lost. Although most of those who thus returned, were such as with myself had before renounced the error and forsaken the practice, yet we sensibly found that forsaking without confessing, in case of public scandal, was not sufficient; but that an open acknowledgment of open offences, as well as forsaking them, was necessary to the obtaining complete remission.
Not long after this, George Fox was moved of the Lord to travel through the countries, from county to county, to advise and encourage Friends to set up monthly and quarterly meetings, for the better ordering the affairs of the Church in taking care of the poor, and exercising a true gospel discipline for a due dealing with any that might walk disorderly under our name, and to see that such as should marry among us did act fairly and clearly in that respect.
When he came into this county I was one of the many Friends that were with him at the meeting for that purpose; and afterwards I traveled with Guli and her maid into the west of England to meet him there and to visit Friends in those parts, and we went as far as Topsham in Devonshire before we found him. He had been in Cornwall, and was then returning, and came in unexpectedly at Topsham, where we then were preparing, (if he had not then come there), to have gone that day towards Cornwall. But after he had come to us, we turned back with him through Devonshire, Somersetshire, and Dorsetshire, having generally very good meetings where he was; and the work, with which he was chiefly concerned, went on very prosperously and well without any opposition or dislike, save that in the general meeting of Friends in Dorsetshire a quarrelsome man, who had gone out from Friends in John Perrot's business and had not come rightly in again, but continued in the practice of keeping on his hat in time of prayer, to the great trouble and offence of Friends, began to object and raise disputes, which occasioned some interruption and disturbance.
Not only George, and Alexander Parker who was with him, but several of the ancient Friends of that country, endeavored to quiet that troublesome man and make him sensible of his error, but his unruly spirit would still be opposing what was said unto him and justifying himself in that practice. This brought a great weight and exercise upon me, who sat at a distance in the outward part of the meeting, and after I had for some time bore the burden of it, I stood up in the constraining power of the Lord, and in great tenderness of spirit declared unto the meeting, and to that person more particularly, how it had been with me in that respect, how I had been betrayed into that wrong practice, how strong I had been therein, and how the Lord had been graciously pleased to show me the evil thereof, and recover me out of it.
This coming unexpectedly from me, a young man, a stranger, and one who had not intermeddled with the business of the meeting, had that effect upon the quarreler, that if it did not satisfy him, it did at least silence him, and made him for the present sink down and be still, without giving any further disturbance to the meeting. The Friends were well pleased with this unlooked-for testimony from me, and I was glad that I had that opportunity to confess to the truth, and to acknowledge once more, in so public a manner, the mercy and goodness of the Lord to me in it.
By the time we came back from this journey, the summer was pretty far gone; and the following winter I spent with the children of the family as before without any remarkable alteration in my circumstances until the next spring, when I found in myself a disposition of mind to change my single life for a married state.
I had always entertained so high a regard for marriage, as it was a Divine institution, that I held it not lawful to make it a sort of political trade, to rise in the world by. Therefore as I could not but in my judgment blame such as I found made it their business to hunt after and endeavor to gain those who were accounted great fortunes, not so much regarding what she is, as what she has; but making wealth the chief if not the only thing they aimed at. So I resolved to avoid in my own practice,that course, and however much my condition might have prompted me, as well as others, to seek advantage that way, never to engage on account of riches, nor at all to marry until judicious affection drew me to it, which I now began to feel at work in my breast.
The object of this affection was a Friend whose name was Mary Ellis, with whom for several years I had had an acquaintance, in the way of common friendship only, and in whom I thought I then saw those fair prints of truth and solid virtue which I afterwards found in a sublime degree in her; but what her condition in the world was as to estate, I was wholly a stranger to, nor did I desire to know. I had once, a year or two before, had an opportunity to do her a small piece of service, in which she wanted some assistance, and in which I acted with all sincerity and freedom of mind, not expecting or desiring any advantage by her, or reward from her, being very well satisfied in the act itself that I had served a friend and helped the helpless.
That little intercourse of common kindness between us ended without the least thought I am verily persuaded on her part, well assured on my own, of any other or further relation than that of free and fair friendship, nor did it at that time lead us into any closer conversation or more intimate acquaintance one with the other than had been before. But some time, and that a good while after, I found my heart secretly drawn and inclining towards her, yet was I not hasty in proposing, but waited to feel a satisfactory settlement of mind therein, before I made any step to it. After some time I took an opportunity to open my mind about that unto my much-honored friends Isaac and Mary Penington, who then stood in the place of parents to me. They having solemnly weighed the matter, expressed their unity with it; and indeed their approval of it was no small confirmation to me therein. Yet I took further deliberation, often retiring in spirit to the Lord and crying to Him for direction before I addressed myself to her. At length, as I was sitting all alone, waiting upon the Lord for counsel and guidance in this - in itself and to me, so important affair - I felt a word sweetly arise in me, as if I had heard a voice which said, "Go, and prevail.” Faith springing in my heart with the word, I immediately arose and went, doubting nothing.
When I had come to her lodgings, which were about a mile from me, her maid told me she was in her chamber, for having been under some indisposition of body, which had obliged her to keep her chamber, she had not yet left it. Therefore I desired the maid to acquaint her mistress that I had come to give her a visit. At which point I was invited to go up to her. After some little time spent in common conversation, feeling my spirit weightily concerned, I solemnly opened my mind unto her with respect to the particular business I came about, which I soon perceived was a great surprise to her, for she had taken in an apprehension, as others also had done, that mine eye had been fixed elsewhere and nearer home.
I used not many words to her, but I felt a Divine power went along with the words, and fixed the matter expressed by them so fast in her breast, that, as she afterwards acknowledged to me, she could not shut it out. I made at that time but a short visit, for having told her I did not expect an answer from her now, but desired she would in the most solemn manner weigh the proposal made, and in due time give me such an answer to it as the Lord should give her. I took my leave of her and departed, leaving the issue to the Lord.
I had a journey then at hand, which I foresaw would take me up two weeks time. Therefore, the day before I was to set out, I went to visit her again to acquaint her with my journey and excuse my absence, not yet pressing her for an answer, but assuring her that I felt in myself an increase of affection to her, and hoped to receive a suitable return from her in the Lord's time, to whom in the meantime I committed both her, myself, and the concern between us. Indeed I found at my return that I could not have left it in a better Hand; for the Lord had been my advocate in my absence, and had so far answered all her objections that when I came to her again she rather acquainted me with them than urged them.
From that time forwards we entertained each other with affectionate kindness in order to marriage, which yet we did not hasten to, but went on deliberately. Neither did I use those vulgar ways of courtship, by making frequent and rich presents, not only for that my outward condition would not comport with the expense, but because I liked not to obtain by such means, but preferred an unbribed affection.
I continued my visits to my best beloved Friend until we married, which was on the 28th day of the eight month, called October, in the year 1669. We took each other in a select meeting of the ancient and grave Friends of that country, held in a Friend's house, where in those times not only the monthly meeting for business but the public meeting for worship was sometimes kept. A very solemn meeting it was, and in a weighty frame of spirit we were, in which we sensibly felt the Lord with us, and joining us; the sense whereof remained with us all our lifetime, and was of good service and very comfortable to us on all occasions.
My next care after marriage was to secure my wife what monies she had, and with herself bestowed upon me; for I held it would be an abominable crime in me, and savor of the highest ingratitude, if I, though but through negligence, should leave room for my father, in case I should be taken away suddenly, to break in upon her estate, and deprive her of any part of what had been and ought to be her own. Therefore with the first opportunity--as I remember, the very next day, and before I knew particularly what she had - I made my will, and thereby secured to her whatever I was possessed, as well all what she brought, either in monies or in goods, as that little which I had before I married her; which indeed was but little, yet more by all that little than I had ever given her ground to expect with me. She had indeed been advised by some of her relations to secure before marriage some part at least of what she had, to be at her own disposal; which, though perhaps not wholly free from some tincture of self-interest in the proposer, was not in itself the worst of counsel. But the worthiness of her mind, and the sense of the ground on which she received me, would not allow her to entertain any suspicion of me; and this laid on me the greater obligation, in point of gratitude as well as of justice, to regard and secure her; which I did.
I omitted in its proper place, because I would not break in upon the discussion I was then upon, to insert a few lines which I wrote as a congratulation to an honored friend upon his marriage, and presented him with the next morning, thus:-
My heart's affected with a weighty sense
Of yesterday's proceedings, and from there
Desire arises to congratulate
My happy friend in his new married state.
Not in that strain by which some use to cloy
Men's ears with tedious peals of giving joy.
But shunning all extremes, I choose to tread
The middle path, which does to virtue lead.
This then my heart desires for you, my friend,
Your nuptial joys may never here have end.
May happiness with you take up her rest
And sweet contentment always fill your breast.
May God you bless with numerous increase,
And may your utmost offspring rest in peace.
Accept this pledge of love, though but a part
Of what is treasured for up in my heart,
From him who herein has no other end
Than to declare himself
Your faithful friend,
Stepney, 9th 2nd. Month, 1669 Thomas Ellwood
My father had upon my first acquainting him with my inclination to marry, and to whom, not only very much approved the match, and voluntarily offered, without my either asking or expecting, to give me a handsome portion at present, with assurance of an addition to it later. He not only made this offer to me in private, but came down from London into the country on purpose, to be better acquainted with my friend, and did there make the same proposal to her; offering also to give security to any friend or relation of hers for the performance. Which offer she most generously declined, leaving him as free as she found him. But after we were married, notwithstanding such his promise, he wholly declined the performance of it under pretence of our not being married by the priest and liturgy. This usage and evil treatment of us then was a great trouble to me; and when I endeavored to soften him in the matter, he forbade my speaking to him of it any more, and removed his lodging that I might not find him.
The grief I conceived on this occasion was not for any disappointment to myself or to my wife, for neither she nor I had any strict or necessary dependence upon that promise; but my grief was for the cause assigned by him as the ground of it, which was that our marriage was not by priest or liturgy; and partly for that his lower circumstances in the world might probably tempt him to find some such though unwarrantable excuse to avoid performing his promise. Surely hard would it have been for my spirit to have borne up under the weight of this exercise, had not the Lord been exceedingly gracious to me, and supported me with the inflows of His love and life, by which He visited my soul in my travail. The sense whereof raised in my heart a thankful remembrance of His manifold kindnesses in His former dealings with me; and in the evening, when I came to my inn, while supper was getting ready, I took my pen and put into words what had in the day revolved in my thoughts. And thus it was :-
A SONG OF PRAISE
Your love, dear Father, and your tender care,
Have in my heart begot a strong desire
To celebrate your name with praises rare,
That others too your goodness may admire,
And learn to yield to what you do require.
Many have been the trials of my mind,
My exercises great, great my distress;
Full often my ruin has my foe designed,
My sorrows then my pen cannot express,
Nor could the best of men afford redress.
When thus beset to you I lift my eye,
And with a mournful heart my moan did make;
How often with eyes overflowing did I cry,
"My God, my God, oh, do me not forsake!
Regard my tears! Some pity on me take!"
And to the glory of your holy name,
Eternal God, whom I both love and fear,
I hereby do declare I never came
Before your throne, and found you loath to hear,
But always ready, with an open ear.
And though sometimes you seem your face to hide,
As one that has withdrawn your love from me,
It is that my faith may to the full be tried,
And that I thereby may the better see
How weak I am when not upheld by thee.
For underneath your holy arm I feel,
Encompassing with strength as with a wall,
That, if the enemy trip up my heel,
You ready are to save me from a fall :
To you belongs thanksgivings over all.
And for your tender love, my God, my King,
My heart shall magnify you all my days,
My tongue of your renown shall daily sing,
My pen shall also grateful trophies raise,
As monuments to your eternal praise.
KENT, the 11th Mo., 1669
Having finished my business in Kent, I struck off into Sussex, and finding the enemy endeavoring still more strongly to beset me, I took myself to the Lord for safety, in whom I knew all help and strength was, and thus poured forth my supplication, directed:-
To the Holy ONE
Eternal God! preserver of all those
(Without respect of person or degree)
Who in Your faithfulness their trust repose,
And place their confidence alone in Thee;
Be my succor; for You know that I
On Your protection, Lord, alone rely.
Surround me, Father, with Your mighty power,
Support me daily by Your holy arm,
Preserve me faithful in the evil hour,
Stretch forth Your hand to save me from all harm.
Be my helmet, breast-plate, sword and shield,
And make my foes before Your power yield.
Teach me the spiritual battle so to fight,
That when the enemy shall me beset,
Armed cap and cape with the armor of Your light,
A perfect conquest over him I may get;
And with Your battle-axe may cleave the head
Of him who bites that part whereon I tread.
Then being from domestic foes set free,
The cruelties of men I shall not fear;
But in Your quarrel, Lord, undaunted be,
And for Your sake the loss of all things bear;
Yes, though in dungeon locked, with joy will sing
An ODE of praise to You, my God, my King.
SUSSEX, 11th Month, 1669
Towards the latter part of the summer following I went into Kent again, and in my passage through London received the unwelcome news of the loss of a very hopeful youth who had formerly been under my care for education. It was Isaac Penington, the second son of my worthy friends Isaac, and Mary Penington, a child of excellent natural parts, whose great abilities bespoke him likely to be a great man, had he lived to be a man. He was designed to be bred a merchant, and before he was thought ripe enough to be entered thereunto, his parents, at somebody's request, gave leave that he might go on a voyage to Barbados, only to spend a little time, see the place, and be somewhat acquainted with the sea, under the care and conduct of a choice friend and sailor, John Grove, of London, who was master of a vessel, and traded to that island; and a little business venture he had with him, made up by several of his friends and by me among the rest. He made the voyage there very well, found the watery element agreeable, had his health there, liked the place, was much pleased with his entertainment there, and was returning home with his little cargo, in return for the goods he carried out, when on a sudden, through unwariness, he dropped overboard, and, the vessel being under sail with a brisk gale, was irrecoverably lost, notwithstanding the utmost labor, care, and diligence of the master and sailors to have saved him.
This unhappy accident took from the afflicted master all the pleasure of his voyage, and he mourned for the loss of this youth as if he had been his own, yes only, son; for as he was in himself a man of a worthy mind, so the boy, by his witty and handsome behavior in general, and obsequious carriage towards him in particular, had very much wrought himself into his favor.
As for me, I thought it one of the sharpest strokes I had met with, for I both loved the child very well and had conceived great hopes of general good from him; and it pierced me the deeper to think how deeply it would pierce his afflicted parents.
Sorrow for this disaster was my companion in this journey, and I traveled the roads under great exercise of mind, revolving in my thoughts the manifold accidents which the life of man was attended with and subject to, and the great uncertainty of all human things; I could find no center, no firm basis, for the mind of man to fix upon but the Divine power and will of the Almighty. This consideration wrought in my spirit a sort of contempt of what supposed happiness or pleasure this world, or the things that are in and of it, can of themselves yield, and raised my contemplation higher; which, as it ripened and came to some degree of digestion, I breathed forth in mournful accents thus :-
SOLITARY THOUGHTS ON
THE UNCERTAINTY OF HUMAN THINGS.
OCCASIONED BY THE SUDDEN LOSS OF A HOPEFUL YOUTH,
Those things soon will pass away
Which ye think will always stay.
What ground, alas; has any man
To set his heart on things below,
Which, when they seem most like to stand,
Fly like an arrow from a bow?
Things subject to exterior sense
Are to mutation most propense.
If stately houses we erect,
And therein think to take delight,
On what a sudden are we checked,
And all our hopes made groundless quite!
One little spark in ashes lays
What we were building half our days.
If on estate an eye we cast,
And pleasure there expect to find,
A secret providential blast
Gives disappointment to our mind:
Who now's on top before long may feel
The circling motion of the wheel.
If we our tender babes embrace,
And comfort hope in them to have,
Alas! in what a little space
Is hope, with them, laid in the grave!
Whatever promises content
Is in a moment from us rent.
This world cannot afford a thing
Which, to a well-composed mind,
Can any lasting pleasure bring,
But in its womb its grave will find.
All things unto their center tend;
What had a beginning will have end.
But is there nothing then that's sure
For man to fix his heart upon
Nothing that always will endure,
When all these transient things are gone?
Sad state! where man with grief oppressed
Finds nought upon which his mind may rest.
O yes! There is a God above,
Who unto men is also nigh,
On whose unalterable love
We may with confidence rely,
No disappointment can befall
Us, having Him that's All in All.
If unto Him we faithful be,
It is impossible to miss
Of whatsoever He shall see
Conducive unto our bliss.
What can of pleasure him prevent
Who has the fountain of content?
In Him alone if we delight,
And in His precepts pleasure take,
We shall be sure to do aright-
'Tis not His nature to forsake.
A proper object's He alone,
For man to set his heart upon.
KENT, the 4th of the 7th Month, 1670
[The act of Conventicles was passed, allowing anyone who informed on an illegal meeting to receive 1/3 of the fines. So, very unprincipled people joined with the magistrates in swearing falsely against the Quakers, making it easy to fine and imprison many. Ellwood was active in his home county in prosecuting the perjury of these informers. But, even when the accusers were convicted of perjury, the justices still kept those falsely accused in prison, due to their dislike of Quakers. Ellwood describes his reaction to the injustices suffered.]
But though it pleased the Divine Providence, which sometimes promises to bring good out of evil, to put a stop, in a great measure at least, to the prosecution here begun, yet in other parts, both of the city and country, it was carried on with very great severity and rigor; the worst of men for the most part being set up for informers; the worst of magistrates encouraging and abetting them; and the worst of the priests who first began to blow the fire, now seeing how it took, spread, and blazed, clapping their hands, and cheering them on to this evil work.
The sense whereof, as it deeply affected my heart with a sympathizing pity for the oppressed sufferers, so it raised in my spirit a holy disdain and contempt of that spirit and its agent by which this ungodly work was stirred up and carried on; which at length broke forth in an expostulated poem, under the title of "Gigantomachia", (the Wars of the Giants against Heaven), not without some allusion to the second Psalm; thus:-
Why do the heathen in a brutish rage,
Themselves against the Lord of Hosts engage?
Why do the frantic people entertain
Their thoughts upon a thing that is so vain?
Why do the kings themselves together set?
And why do all the princes them abet?
Why do the rulers to each other speak
After this foolish manner, "Let us break
Their bonds asunder; come, let us make haste,
With joint consent, their cords from us to cast? "
Why do they thus join hands, and counsel take
Against the Lord's Anointed? This will make
Him doubtless laugh who does in heaven sit;
The Lord will have them in contempt for it.
His sore displeasure on them He will wreak,
And in His wrath will He unto them speak.
For on His holy hill of Zion He
His king has set to reign: scepters must be
Cast down before Him; diadems must lie
At foot of Him who sits in majesty
Upon His throne of glory; where He will
Send forth His fiery ministers to kill
All those His enemies who would not be
Subject to His supreme authority.
Where then will you appear who are so far
From being subjects that you rebels are
Against His holy government, and strive
Others from their allegiance so to drive?
What earthly prince such an affront would bear
From any of his subjects, should they dare
So to encroach on his prerogative?
Which of them would permit that man to live?
What should is it judged but treason? and
Death he must suffer for it out of hand.
And shall the King of kings such treason see
Acted against Him, and the traitors be
Acquitted? No: vengeance is His, and they
That Him provoke shall know He will repay.
And of a truth provoked He has been
In a high manner by this daring sin
Of usurpation, and of tyranny
Over men's consciences, which should be free
To serve the living God as He requires,
And as His Holy Spirit them inspires.
For conscience is an inward thing, and none
Can govern that aright but God alone.
Nor can a well-informed conscience lower
Her sails to any temporary power,
Or bow to men’s decrees; for that would be
Treason in a superlative degree;
For God alone can laws to conscience give,
And that's a badge of His prerogative.
This is the controversy of this day
Between the holy God and sinful clay.
God has throughout the earth proclaimed that He
Will over conscience hold the sovereignty,
That He the kingdom to Himself will take,
And in man's heart His residence will make,
From where His subjects shall such laws receive
As please His Royal Majesty to give.
Man heeds not this, but most audaciously
Says “Unto me belongs supremacy;
And all men's consciences within my land,
Ought to be subject unto my command.”
God by His Holy Spirit does direct
His people how to worship; and expect
Obedience from them. Man says: "I ordain,
That none shall worship in that way, on pain
Of prison, confiscation, banishment,
Or being to the stake or gallows sent."
God out of Babylon does people call,
Commands them to forsake her ways, and all
Her several sorts of worship, to deny
Her whole religion as idolatry.
Will man thus his usurped power forego,
And lose his ill-got government? Oh, no:
But out comes his enacted, be it "That all
Who when the organs play will not downfall
Before this golden image, and adore
What I have caused to be set up therefore,
Into the fiery furnace shall be cast,
And be consumed with a flaming blast.
Or in the mildest terms conform, or pay
So much a month, or so much every day,
Which we will levy on you by distress,
Sparing nor widow nor the fatherless;
And if you have not what will satisfy,
You’re like in prison during life to lie.”
Christ says, " Swear not"; but man says, "Swear or lie
In prison, premunired, until you die.”
Man's ways are, in a word, as opposite
To God's as midnight darkness is to light;
And yet fond man does strive with might and main
By penal laws God's people to constrain
To worship what, when, where, how he thinks fit,
And to whatever he enjoins, submit.
What will the issue of this contest be?
Which must give place - the Lord's or man's decree?
Will man be in the day of battle found
Able to keep the field, maintain his ground,
Against the mighty God? No more than can
The lightest chaff before the winnowing fan;
No more than straw could stand before the flame,
Or smallest atoms when a whirlwind came.
The Lord, who in creation only said,
"Let us make man," and quickly man was made,
Can in a moment by one blast of breath
Strike all mankind with an eternal death.
How soon can God all man's devices quash,
And with His iron rod in pieces dash
Him, like a potter's vessel? None can stand
Against the mighty power of His hand.
Be therefore wise, ye kings, instructed be,
Ye rulers of the earth, and henceforth see
Ye serve the Lord in fear, and stand in awe
Of sinning any more against His law,
His royal law of liberty: to do
To others as you'd have them do to you.
Oh, stoop, ye mighty monarchs, and let none
Reject His government, but kiss the Son
While's wrath is but a little kindled, lest
His anger burn, and you that have transgressed
His law so oft, and would not Him obey,
Eternally should perish from the way-
The way of God's salvation, where the just
Are blessed who in the Lord do put their trust.
Happy is he
Whom others' harms do weary make to be.
As the unreasonable rage and furious violence of the persecutors had drawn the former expostulation from me, so in a while after, my heart being deeply affected with a sense of the great loving-kindness and tender goodness of the Lord to His people, in bearing up their spirits in their greatest exercises, and preserving them through the sharpest trials in a faithful testimony to His blessed truth, and opening in due time a door of deliverance to them, I could not forbear to celebrate His praises is the following lines, under the title of-
A SONG OF THE MERCIES
OF THE LORD.
Had not the Lord been on our side,
May Israel now say,
We were not able to abide
The trials of that day
When men did up against us rise,
With fury, rage and spite,
Hoping to catch us by surprise,
Or run us down by might.
Then had not God for us arose,
And shown His mighty power,
We had been swallowed by our foes,
Who waited to devour.
When the joint powers of death and hell
Against us did combine,
And with united forces fell
Upon us, with design
To root us out, then had not God
Appeared to take our part,
And them chastised with His rod
And made them feel the smart,
We then had overwhelmed been
And trodden in the mire;
Our enemies on us had seen
Their cruel hearts' desire.
When stoned, when stocked, when rudely stripped,
Some to the waist have been
(Without regard of sex), and whipped,
Until the blood did spin;
Yes, when their skins with stripes looked black,
Their flesh to jelly beat,
Enough to make their sinews crack,
The lashes were so great;
Then had not God been with them to
Support them, they had died,
His power it was that bore them through,
Nothing could do so beside.
When into prisons we were thronged
(Where pestilence was rife)
By bloody-minded men that longed
To take away our life;
Then had not God been with us, we
Had perished there no doubt;
'Twas He preserved us there, and He
It was that brought us out.
When sentenced to banishment
Inhumanly we were,
To be from native country sent,
From all that men call dear;
Then had not God been pleased to appear,
And take our cause in hand,
And struck them with a panic fear,
Which put them to a stand:
No, had He not great judgments sent,
And compassed them about,
They were at that time fully bent
To root us wholly out.
Had He not gone with them that went,
The seas had been their graves;
Or when they came where they were sent,
They had been sold for slaves.
But God was pleased still to give
Them favor where they came,
And in His truth they yet do live
To praise His Holy Name.
And now afresh do men contrive
Another wicked way
Of our estates us to deprive,
And take our goods away.
But will the Lord, (who to this day
Our part did always take)
Now leave us to be made a prey,
And that too for His sake?
Can anyone who calls to mind
Discouraged be at what's behind,
And murmur now at last?
Oh, that no unbelieving heart
Among us may be found,
That from the Lord would now depart,
And coward-like give ground.
For without doubt the God we serve
Will still our cause defend,
If we from Him do never swerve,
But trust Him to the end.
What if our goods by violence
From us be torn, and we
Of all things but our innocence
Should wholly stripped be ?
Would this be more than did befall
Good Job? No, sure, much less:
He lost estate, children and all,
Yet he the Lord did bless.
But did not God his stock augment
Double what 'twas before?
And this was wrote to the intent
That we should hope the more.
View but the lilies of the field,
That neither knit nor spin,
Who is it that to them does yield
The robes they're decked in ?
Does not the Lord the ravens feed,
And for the sparrows care?
And will not He for His own seed
All needful things prepare?
The lions shall sharp hunger bear,
And pine for lack of food;
But who the Lord do truly fear
Shall nothing want that's good.
Oh! which of us can now deny
That God will us defend,
Who has been always on our side,
And will be to the end.
Hope which on God is firmly grounded
Will never fail, nor be confounded.
[A Baptist preacher in London named Hicks, published a book, with a supposed dialogue between an Baptist and a Quaker, with obvious misrepresentations in it. It was responded to by William Penn and George Whitehead, but when they were out of the country, Hicks continued to misrepresent the Quaker positions and beliefs. So Ellwood took up the defense and wrote a paper in answer. Later Jeremy Ives took up the Baptist cause, ridiculing Quakers. Ives soon after died, and Ellwood wrote a poem about this fraudulent Baptist.]
Beneath this stone depressed does lie
The mirror of hypocrisy,
Ives, whose mercenary tongue
Like a weathercock was hung,
And did this or that way play
As advantage led the way.
If well hired he would dispute,
Otherwise he would be mute;
But he'd bawl near half a day
If he knew and liked his pay.
For his person let it pass;
Only note his face was brass,
His heart was like a pumice stone
And for conscience — he had none.
Of earth and air he was composed
With water round about enclosed
But earth in him had greatest share
For question less his life lay there,
And there his cankered envy sprung
Which poisoned both his heart and tongue.
Air made him frothy, light and vain
And puffed him up with proud disdain.
Flouting and leering more like a stage player
Than an Anabaptist preacher and prayer;
Fitter to be a mountebank's fool
Than peep into a divinity school;
More tricks he had than Jack Pudding by half
To raise the rude multitude into a laugh.
Into the water oft he went
And through the water many sent,
That was, ye know, his element:
The greatest odds that did appear
Was this, for all that I can hear.
That he in cold did others dip
But did himself hot waters sip.
Sip, I said? No more than so,
Sipping would not serve his turn;
He did unto quaffing go
('Twas much his guts he did not burn).
For, if credit may be given
To report, he'd fuddle even
Until he reeled to and fro;
And his cause he'd never doubt
If well soaked o'er night in stout.
But meanwhile he must not lack
Brandy or a draught of sack;
One dispute would shrink a bottle
Of three pints, if not a bottle.
One would think he fetched from there
All his dreaming eloquence
And his four-legged syllogisms
Proving breakings are no schisms.
What ye why? Himself broke twice;
Say no more, the point is nice.
But let us now bring back the sot
Unto his aqua vista pot,
And observe with some content
How he framed his argument.
That his whistle he might wet
The bottle to his mouth he set,
And being master of that are
There he drew the major part,
But left the minor still behind.
Good reason why; he wanted wind.
If his breath would have held out
He had conclusion drawn, no doubt.
But to it again he went, and there
He fetched a lusty confluence.
Then finding all his drift was spent
He thus wound up his argument;
"My sides are not of iron, neither
Are my lungs made of white leather;
If therefore you've not, I have done.”
Then leaping down, away he’d run.
Another Baptist took up the cause, and Ellwood writes about him as follows:
To such as ask why I in verse have writ?
This Answer I return, I held it fit,
Verse should in verse be answered, prose in prose.
My adversary his own weapon chose.
He chose before in prose to write, and then
I answered him in prose. So now again.
Since he his style from prose to verse has changed,
And in the muses walks has boldly ranged.
In his own method him I chose to treat,
Lest he should wise be in his own conceit...
[No sooner did the Baptists cease their slanders on the Quakers, but an Episcopalian priest, who had lost some of his paying customers to the Quakers, began slanders anew.]
The following is one of Ellwood's hymns of praise to the Lord.
COME, let us praise the LORD with one Consent,
All you, whose hearts to honor him are bent.
Come, let us of his gracious dealings tell :
For with us he has dealt exceeding well.
When him we did not seek, he did us find.
He gave us sight, when we were dark and blind.
He brought us home, when we were run astray :
And set our feet in the new and living way.
When hunger pined he gave us heavenly bread :
And, with the choicest dainties, has us fed.
He from misleading guides deliver'd hath.
And led us forward in the just man's path,
He has with strength and courage us endu'd,
With zeal for truth and christian fortitude;
He wisdom from above does daily give :
To them that, in his Truth sincerely live.
In battle he has us preserved thus far.
And made us victors in the holy war.
Our enemies he greatly hath subdued,
His sword in blood of the slain has been imbrued.
He hath preserved from the roaring lion ;
And brought a little remnant safe to Zion.
Where, in his presence, they sit down and sing
Eternal hallelujah's to their KING,
Who lives and reigns, and may his reign extend
Throughout the universe, and have no end.
The George Keith split started in Pennsylvania. Keith after being expelled by the main body of Quakers for his traditional Protestant views, left with many Quakers to form a separate society. He then came to England to seek redress, but was denounced unanimously by the Annual Meeting in London. Keith then tried to create a split in the British Society, with Ellwood answering his slanders for a reported ten years. He was very busy answering Keith's three books, and Benjamin Coole's books. Below is a poem he wrote, regarding his writing in answer to the many attacks.
Indeed, is then the work by me begun,
And which I labour'd at with such good will,
Already, by a readier work-man, done :
Who nimbleness has added to his skill!
Well may it thrive. Successful may it prove,
Truth's way to clear; and stumbling-blocks remove !
I never was ambitious to appear
In print; nor to myself applause have sought ;
With satisfaction therefore, I can bear
What you designed another hand has wrought :
This supercedes my work. I'm glad to see
Such help come in, that there's no need for me.
This is the third time, I have thus been put
Besides my work, which makes me think (my Friend)
The controversial door to me is shut ;
And of my scribbling service there's an end.
If so, content, I can with pleasure see
The work well done; although not done by me.
I7th 11th, Month, 1700.
And for most of Ellwood's remaining life, he defended the Quakers against further attacks, staying at home reading and writing. His books published are:
|LIST OF ELLWOOD'S PUBLISHED WRITINGS||Date|
AN ALARM TO THE PRIESTS
|A FRESH PURSUIT||1674|
|FORGERY NO CHRISTIANITY||1674|
|TRUTH PREVAILING AND DETECTING ERROR||1676|
|THE FOUNDATION OF TITHES SHAKEN||1678|
|A TESTIMONY CONCERNING ISAAC PENINGTON||1681|
|AN ANTIDOTE AGAINST THE INFECTION OF WILLIAM ROGERS'S BOOKS||1682|
|A CAUTION TO CONSTABLES||1683|
|A DISCOURSE CONCERNING RIOTS||1683|
|SEASONABLE DISSUASIVE FROM PERSECUTION||1683|
|ROGERO MASTIX : A ROD FOR WILLIAM ROGERS||1685|
|AN EPISTLE TO FRIENDS||1686|
|AN ACCOUNT FROM WICKHAM EXAMINED||1689|
|A REPLY TO J. HOGG'S ANSWER TO WILLIAM PENN||1691|
|DECEIT DISCOVERED AND MALICE MANIFESTED||1693|
|A FAIR EXAMINATION OF A FOUL PAPER||1693|
|AN EPISTLE TO FRIENDS||1694|
|A FURTHER DISCOVERY OF THE SPIRIT OF CONTENTION||1694|
|ACCOUNT OF THAT EMINENT AND HONOURABLE |
SERVANT OF THE LORD GEORGE FOX
|TRUTH DEFENDED AND THE FRIENDS THEREOF CLEARED||1695|
|AN ANSWER TO GEORGE KEITH'S NARRATIVE||1696|
|SACRED HISTORY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT||1705|
|HE GLORIOUS BRIGHTNESS OF THE GOSPEL DAY||1707|
|SACRED HISTORY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT||1709|
|DAVIDEIS (The Life of David in Verse)||1712|
|AN ANSWER TO SOME OBJECTIONS OF A MODERATE QUAKER||1714|
|AN ACCOUNT OF TITHES IN GENERAL||1714|
Thomas Ellwood departed this life the 1st of the third month, 1718, about the second hour in the morning, in the seventy-fourth year of his age.
Ellwood's sickness and death is very well chronicled by the testimony of George Bowles, the first of several testimonies to the Christian love and kindness of Thomas Ellwood.