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callings, we saw them also corrupted and degenerated, and evil and iniquity abounding among all sorts of people; and blindness and darkness covered the face of the earth and of the world; and all people were in their transgressions, and making void the law of God; and that it was time for the Lord to work, and to arise to ease himself of his adversaries. And as for all churches (so called) and professions and gatherings of people, we beheld you as all in the apostacy and degeneration from the true church, not being gathered by the spirit of the Lord, nor anointed thereby, as the true members of Christ ever were, but to be in a form, and in forms of righteousness without the power, and in imitations without life and perfect knowledge. So that all the practices of religion we beheld without power and life, though some had a sincerity in them, and a zeal and a desire towards the Lord; yet all people crred in judgment, and none were guided in judgment by the eternal spirit; and the error in judgment made their zeal blind, and their performances of righteousness not accepted, though acted in some sincerity and zeal; because they were not guided in practice, and led in judgment by the spirit of the Lord, which only leads into all truth, and none are in the truth but who are led only thereby. So that we beheld all profession to be but as coverings with fig leaves, while the nature of transgression stood uncondemned and not crucified. We then also saw not only that the performance and practice in church state, and in religious orders were corrupted, but also government, and magistracy, and all things in civil state were not aright in the sight of the Lord, nor as the Lord required, neither as he had ordained in the beginning; for government, we know, as ordained of Ciod, is to punish, and limit, and terrify all evil doers, and to preserve and defend all that do well; and that men's consciences are to be left frec, to be ruled by the Lord alone, and guided by his spirit; and that outward power and civil magistrates and laws, (so called,) ought not to be Lord or ruler in men's consciences, nor over them. But we beheld how unrighteousness and iniquity, and sin ard wickedness were strengthened and encouraged in the government, and by such as were in authority; and how the exercise of a good conscience in the fear of God was abused; so that it was turned backwarel from what it ought to be; them that did well were punished, and limited as transgressors, and the evil doers were set free, and not made afraid: so that we could truly cry, truth was fallen in the streets, and justice and truc judgment turned backward, and equity had no place to enter, and the innocent were devoured through want of true and just judgment, and the needy were spoiled and made a prey. For no sooner had we opened our mouths, but the magistrates began to put us in prison, and execute great injustice upon us, and became oppressors of the innocent, and laid unjust
burdens upon us, grievous to be borne, and true justice and judgment were neglected, and wrong judgment brought forth, and good government abused, and men in authority not ruled by the Lord, neither ruling for the Lord among men: and thus it came to pass upon us, through the corruption and degeneration in government and magistrates, which we saw to be, as it was fulfilled by them, to wit, not as the Lord required, nor as he in the beginning ordained it, but quite the contrary. And this we saw in the beginning, when the spirit of the Lord was poured down upon us, and power from on high was revealed to declare against all the abominations of the earth, and to make war against all corruption, in all orders, and places, and men.
Then being prepared of the Lord, and having received power from on high, we went forth as commanded of the Lord, leaving all relations and all things of the world behind us, that we might fulfil the work of the Lord into which he called us. We consulted not with flesh and blood, nor any creature, nor took counsel of men, but of the Lord alone, who lifted up our heads above the world, and all fears and doubtings; and was with us in power and dominion, over all that which opposed us, which was great and mighty; and gave us power over it all, and to bind kings in chains, and nobles in fetters of iron; and this is the saints' honour. And the word of the Lord we sounded, and did not spare, and caused the deaf to hear, the blind to see, and the heart that was hardened to be awakened; and the dread of the Lord went before us, and behind us, and terror took hold upon our enemies. And first of all, our mouths were opened, and our spirits filled with indignation against the priests and teachers, and with them and against them first we began to war, as being the causers of the people to crr; the blind leaders that carried the blind into the ditch; the fountain of all wickedness abounding in the nations, and the issue of profaneness: for from them hath profanencss gone forth in all nations: and against them we cried aloud, being redeemed from their mouths who had made prey upon us, as they do upon all that follow their ways. And in steeple-houses we visited them often, and in markets and other places, as the Lord moved and made way for us, showing unto them and all their people, that they were not lawful ministers of Christ, sent of him, but were deceivers and antichrists, and such whom the Lord never sent. And we spared not publicly, and at all seasons, to utter forth the judgments of the Lord against them and their ways, and against their churches, and worships, and practices, as not being of God, nor commanded by him, but by which they deceived the world. And this was our first work which we entered upon, to thresh down the deceivers, and lay them open, that all people might see their shame, and come to turn from them, and receive the knowledge of the truth, that they
might be saved. And this we did with no small opposition nor danger, yea, often times we were in danger of our lives, through beating, abusing, punishing, haling, casting over walls, striking with staves and cudgels, and knocking down to the ground; besides reproaching, scorning, revilings and hootings at, scoslings and slanderings, and all abuses that could be thought or acted by evil hands and tongues. And often were we carried before magistrates, with grievous threats, and sometimes put in the stocks, and whipped, and often imprisoned, and many hard deal . ings against us, the worst that tongues or hands could execute, sparing life. Of this all the north countries may witness; and all these things are sustained and suffered from people and rulers, because of our faithfulness to the Lord, and for declaring against the deceivers. For nothing, save only the hand of the Lord, and his power, could have preserved us, and carried us through all this. Neither for any outward reward, or advantage to ourselves whatsoever, would we have exposed ourselves to that violence, and those sufferings, and dangers, which befel us daily. But the Lord was our exceeding great reward through all these things, and kept us in the hollow of his hand, and under the shadow of his wings, and gave us dominion in spirit over all our enemies, and subdued them before us. And though rulers and people were combined against us, and executed their injustice and violence upon us, yet the Lord made us to prosper, and grow exceedingly in strength, wisdom, and number, and the hearts of the people inclined unto us, and the witness of God in many stirred for us, for to that in all consciences in our words and susserings, and ways, we did commend ourselves to be known and approved.
And in the beginning we were but few in number, only a few that thus were carried on and dealt withi, and that had rcccired the power from on high in such a measure, and for such a work. And no sooner did the Lord appear to us, and with us, but the devil and his power rose up against us to destroy us; and it wrought in rulers, priests, and people, and all the ways and means invented by the devil that could be executed by his servants, were brought forth to quench the work of the Lord, and to stop our passage in what we were called to. Did ye but perfectly know, as we perfectly found, the craftiness, and policy, and wickedness of the devil, how to overcome this new born babe, and how to root out for ever this plant that was newly sprung forth, it would make you admire and wonder! All the priests and rulers were in an uproar. The priests petitioned to the magistrates, and run up and down from one session and judiciatory to another, and took wicked oaths, and slandered the just with lies and reproaches, on purpose to incense all people against us. And the magistrates gave forth warrants for the apprehending of some, and gave orders to break our meetings,
and that we should not meet in the night season, and such men might not pass abroad; and such stir and opposition were made against us, as can hardly be expressed or declared. There were uproars in steeplehouses, and uproars in markets, and often haling before magistrates, and we were abused, and threatened, and slandered, and all manner of evil done and spoken against us; and great injustice, cruelty and oppression were acted towards us, wherever we came, and all by means of the priests, who spared not to enact and conceive mischief against us, and sought daily to the magistrates for persecution, preaching in their pulpits, and praying against us, and setting days apart to seek their God against us, crying without ceasing, in public and private, heresy, error and blasphemy, and that we were deceivers, witches, and seducers, and such like, the worst they could say and imagine, to stir up the hearts of people against us, running often to the assize and sessions, and courts, to complain, and inform upon false oaths against us; and through them were the whole countries in a rage and madness, rulers and people often imprisoning, and abusing, and resisting us with violence, banishing us out of towns, and putting of us out of our inns, and often threatening to burn the houses over our heads; the whole company of rude people in a town, often gathering and besetting a house or inn about where we were entered to lodge, in our travels. We were often exposed to difficult and hard travels and journeys, giving ourselves to the cross, to take it up against all that was earthly; often drinking water and lying in straw in barns, after a hard day's journey; and yet for all these things, the
power and presence of the Lord were with us, and we were carried on in much boldness and faithfulness in courage, and without fear or doubtings, through the often hazard of our lives many ways, in uproars, by evil men, and in markets, and steeple-houses, and also in travels by robbers, and in every way were we exposed to dangers and perils, but through all and all over all were we carried, and are preserved to this day.
And after this manner it came to pass concerning us; and much more might be said, but this is in short declared how we were entreated and dealt with by priests, rulers, and people, through all the northern counties of England, in our first going forth; through which counties we first journied out of Westmoreland, through Cumberland, Northumberland, and into some parts of Scotland, Durham, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire, &•c. And in all these counties much opposition we had, and exceeding sufferings, and cruel dealings from men of all sorts. Every jail may witness, in every county, how any of them seldom were without some of us, or our friends, imprisoned in them these six years; and scarce one steeple-house or market in all these counties, but may witness what beating, what bruisings, strikings, and haling, and abusings, and perils we have suffered and sustained. And not one priest in all
those counties can clear himself from hatred and malice, and from envying us, and doing mischief in words and works, or thoughts, or desires against us; nor scarce one justice, nor any officer of the peace, can be excused in all those counties from plotting and acting injustice upon us, and threatening and enacting cruelty against us. And I call heaven and earth to record, and the light in every man's conscience, and do appeal to that in all sorts of people, that by all sorts we suffered evil, and unjust words and actions from them. And let the witness of God in all men's consciences in all the north, give testimony what dealings and cruelty we suffered, and how we have been dealt with, and also of our patience and innocency under all that they have done to us.
But notwithstanding all that was acted against us, and spoken, many hundreds of the honest and sober people owned us, and also many rude and ungodly persons were converted to the truth; I say, many hundreds in all these counties, in two years time, were brought to the knowledge of the Lord and to own us. All which time we laboured, and travelled in patience, giving up ourselves to live or to die, and to all manner of sufferings and reproaches, and hard trials, that we might sulfil faithfully what we were called unto. Sufferings without, from open enemies and from our own kindred and relations, and sufferings within, for the seed's sake—all these made us well acquainted with griefs; yet in our trials and afflictions, the Lord never forsook us, but his wisdom, love, and life, and presence increased in us and with us.
Then in the year 1654, as moved of the Lord, we spread ourselves southward, and entered into these south parts, and came the first of us into this city of London, in the Fifth-month that year, and laboured in the work of the gospel, in continual sufferings and oppressions divers ways, and were oppressed and gainsayed by the wise men, and by the learned, and had in reproach and contempt by all the high and lofty and proud professors, and we were set at nought and rejected by the fat beasts of the south. And it is well known to thousands in this city and south country, what opposition we have had from all sorts of people; opposed in our own meetings, and scorned, and slandered by envious and reproachful tongues; publicly and privately encountered with by all the wisest of the city and country, challenged, invited, and engaged to disputes by the high priests and church members, (so called,) and written against, and printed against, by the chiefest of men accounted wise and religious. Which of any sect, and of all the wisest in profession, and the most zealous in practices of religion, (so called,) have not at some time or other beset us, and encountered with us in high disputes and controversy, opposing us to our faces, and gainsaying our doctrines and practices, and denying us, and resisting us wholly, and crying