The Early Quaker Testimony in the Words of George Fox

A Testimony Many Quakers Past, Present, and Future will not abide. George Fox in his own words unfiltered by agenda testifying to Presence.

Now, reader, whosoever thou art that readest this following volume, if thy mind be sober, and thy heart right towards God, thou may come to a good understanding of the ground and cause of this great controversy, between the priests and the professorship of this nation, and us who are in scorn called Quakers, for it is not unknown to nations. Of this great debate and battle, now for some years of continuance in this nation, no man can be ignorant. What putting in prisons, and what persecuting, and what preaching and printing against us, and what reports and fame have been through this nation for some years past! And the Quakers, so called, have written, and spoken, and printed against the priests, and their worships, and ways, and doctrines, and declared against them, as deceivers and false prophets, and such as never were sent of God. And on the other hand, thus have the priests, and more abundantly, cried out against, and printed against the Quakers, as heretics, and deceivers, and witches, and all that they could say that was evil. And these things being not unknown, but publicly brought to pass, it will be good to discover unto every man, the first ground and cause of this great strife, and the matter of it, and its beginning, so that all may know the certainty of these things, and know they are not without good ground and sufficient reason on our part, to wit, that we have just cause to do, and strive against that generation of priests and teachers, and that we do nothing rashly, and without sufficient reason.

It is now about seven years since the Lord raised us up in the north of England, and opened our mouths in this his spirit; and what we were before in our religion, profession, and practices is well known to that part of the country; that generally we were men of the strictest sect, and of the greatest zeal in the performance of outward righteousness, and went through and tried all sorts of teachers, and run from mountain to mountain, and from man to man, and from one form to another, as do many to this very day, who yet remain ungathered to the Lord. And such we were, (to say no more of us,) that sought the Lord, and desired the knowledge of his ways more than any thing beside, and for one I may speak, who, from a child, even a few years old, set my face to seek and find the saviour, and, more than life and treasure or any mortal crown, sought with all my heart the one thing that is needful, to wit, the knowledge of God.

And after our long seeking the Lord appeared to us, and revealed his glory in us, and gave us of his spirit from heaven, and poured it upon us, and gave us of his wisdom to guide us, whereby we saw all the world, and the true state of things, and the true condition of the church in her present estate. First the Lord brought us by his power and wisdom, and the word by which all things were made, to know and understand, and see perfectly, that God had given to us, every one of us in particular, a light from himself shining in our hearts and consciences; which light, Christ his son, the saviour of the world, had lighted every man withal; which light in us we found sufficient to reprove us, and convince us of every evil deed, word, and thought, and by it, in us, we came to know good from evil, right from wrong, and whatsoever is of God, and according to him, from what is of the devil, and what was contrary to God in motion, word, and works. And this light gave us to discern between truth and error, between every false and right way, and it perfectly discovered to us the true state of all things; and we thereby came to know man, what he was in his creation before transgression, and how he was deceived and overcome by the devil, and his estate in transgression, and in disobedience, and how he is driven and banished from the presence of the Lord, and the sorrow and anguish which he is in and to undergo. And also by the light in us, we perfectly came to know the way of restoration, and the means by which to be restored, and the state of man when come out of transgression and restored. These things to us were revealed by the light within us, which Christ had given us, and lighted us withal; what man was before transgression, and what he is in transgression, and what he is being redeemed out of transgression. And also as our minds be came turned, and our hearts inclined to the light which shined in every one of us, the perfect estate of the church we came to know; her estate before the apostles' days, and in the apostles' days, and since the days of the apostles. And her present estate we found to be as a woman who had once been clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, who brought forth him that was to rule the nations; but she was fled into the wilderness, and there sitting desolate, in her place that was prepared of God for such a season, in the very end of which season, when the time of her sojourning was towards a full end, then were we brought forth. If any have an ear they may hear. So that all these things concerning man, and concerning the times and seasons, and the changing and renewing of times, and all things that pertain to salvation, and redemption, and eternal life, needful for man to know, all these were revealed, discovered, and made known to us, by the light which was in us, which Christ had lighted us withal.

And we found this light to be a sufficient teacher, to lead us to Christ, from whence this light came, and thereby it gave us to receive Christ, and to witness him to dwell in us; and through it the new covenant we came to enter into, to be made heirs of life and salvation. And in all things we found the light which we were enlightened withal, (which is Christ,) to be alone and only sufficient to bring to life and eternal salvation; and that all who did own the light in them which Christ hath enlightened every man withal, they needed no man to teach them, but the Lord was their teacher, by his light in their own consciences, and they received the holy anointing.

And so we ceased from the teachings of all men, and their words, and their worships, and their temples, and all their baptisms and churches; and we ceased from our own words, and professions, and practices in religion, in times before zealously performed by us, through divers forms, and we became fools for Christ's sake, that we might become truly wise. And by this light of Christ in us were we led out of all false ways, and false preachings, and from false ministers, and we met together often, and waited upon the Lord in pure silence from our own words, and all men's words, and hearkened to the voice of the Lord, and felt his word in our hearts, to burn up and beat down all that was contrary to God; and we obeyed the light of Christ in us, and followed the motions of the Lord's pure spirit, and took up the cross to all earthly glories, crowns, and ways, and denied ourselves, our relations, and all that stood in the way betwixt us and the Lord; and we chose to suffer with and for the name of Christ, rather than enjoy all the pleasures upon earth, or all our former zealous professions and practices in religion without the power and spirit of God, which the world yet lives in. And while waiting upon the Lord in silence, as often we did for many hours together, with our minds and hearts toward him, being staid in the light of Christ within us, from all thoughts, fleshly motions, and desires, in our diligent waiting and fear of his name, and hearkening to his word, we received often the pouring down of the spirit upon us, and the gift of God's holy eternal spirit as in the days of old, and our hearts were made glad, and our sum/ life and immortality were brought to light, power from on high and wisdom were made manifest, and the day everlasting appeared unto us, and the joyful sun of righteousness did arise and shine forth unto us and in us; and the holy anointing, the everlasting comforter, we received; and the babe of glory was born, and the heir of the pro mise brought forth to reign over the earth, and over hell and death, whereby we entered into everlasting union, and fellowship, and cove nant with the Lord God, whose mercies are sure and infinite, and his promise never fails. We were raised from death to life, and changed from satan's power to God, and gathered from all the dumb shepherds, and off all the barren mountains, into the fold of eternal peace and rest, and mighty and wonderful things hath the Lord wrought for us, and by us, by his own outstretched arm.tongues loosed, and our mouths opened, and we spake with new tongues, as the Lord gave us utterance, and as his spirit led us, which was poured down upon us, on sons and daughters. And to us hereby were the deep things of God revealed, and things unutterable were known and made manifest; and the glory of the Father was revealed, and then began we to sing praises to the Lord God Almighty, and to the Lamb for ever, who had re deemed us to God, and brought us out of the captivity and bondage of the world, and put an end to sin and death; and all this was by and through, and in the light of Christ within us. And much more might be declared hereof, that which could not be believed if it were spoken, of the several and particular operations and manifestations of the ever lasting spirit that was given us, and revealed in us. But this is the sum/ life and immortality were brought to light, power from on high and wisdom were made manifest, and the day everlasting appeared unto us, and the joyful sun of righteousness did arise and shine forth unto us and in us; and the holy anointing, the everlasting comforter, we received; and the babe of glory was born, and the heir of the pro mise brought forth to reign over the earth, and over hell and death, whereby we entered into everlasting union, and fellowship, and cove nant with the Lord God, whose mercies are sure and infinite, and his promise never fails. We were raised from death to life, and changed from satan's power to God, and gathered from all the dumb shepherds, and off all the barren mountains, into the fold of eternal peace and rest, and mighty and wonderful things hath the Lord wrought for us, and by us, by his own outstretched arm.

The Works of George Fox, Vol. 3 (Gould and Hopper 1831)  pages 11-14

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Comment by Keith Saylor on 8th mo. 17, 2014 at 11:52am

Isaac Penington, unfiltered, in his own words. There is no ambiguity here. Just witnessing to the sufficiency of the immediate Presence in all things.

Issac Penington Source: The Works of Isaac Penington: A Minister of the Gospel in the Society of Friends : Including His Collected Letters, Volume 1 pgs. 241-243 https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=bocBHRjRH1MC&printsec=f...

I have smarted deeply for these things, and have been taught by the briars and thorns of the wilderness, whereby my ears came to be opened, to hear the sound of the everlasting gospel, to which they were before through ignorance stopped. For I also did believe and expect great things in a church-state and way of worship; and in simplicity of heart did I enter into it, and walk in it, and was not without knowledge, warmth, and experiences there. But all this the Lord broke down by a strong hand, in one moment; and hath taught me since to throw away all my gains here, and elsewhere, and to count them but dross and dung, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord. And having tasted, having seen, having felt, having handled, I cannot but commend the life ; and dissuade all men from all knowledge, all worship, all religion, all ways, and practices (though ever so taking, pleasant, and promising), out of the life. And this is to know Christ; namely, to know the life: and this is to obey Christ, to obey the life: and this is the kingdom of Christ which is to come, to have the life reign in power and great glory. But the knowing or believing of a history concerning Christ, this is not the knowledge or the faith: antichrist all along the apostasy, in all his various forms and dresses, hath known and believed thus: and this kind of knowledge must pass away, further  than it can find a place and service in the life. Be not angry at my testimony; it flows from pure love, and comes forth in great good-will to your souls.

Yea, if it be possible that I might be a little serviceable to you (for my soul travails for the redemption of professors from the witchery of the whorish spirit, even of such as are ready to revile that which alone can redeem them), in the meekness and coolness of your spirits, out of the fiery, false zeal, consider yet a little further these few things following:

1. The state of the gospel is an invisible state, a state consisting of invisible things (as the law was a visible state, or a state consisting of visible things); the light invisible, the life invisible, the power invisible; that which converts invisible, that which is converted invisible, that which it is converted to invisible, and the whole course of spiritual life lies invisible.

2. This invisible state hath a visible way of appearance to the world, by garments which it wears, by motions and exercises which the life chooseth for it to appear in.

3. These garments are subject to corrupt, and to be worn by that which is corruptible, and corrupted. That which hath not the life may put on the garment; and that which hath lost the life may still keep the garment.

4. The preservation of the life lies not in the garment, or in the observation of any thing wherein the life did once appear; but the preservation of the garment lies in the life. And the life may change its garment at its pleasure, and may refuse to wear those any more which the whore hath worn, but as the life again leadeth.

5. When the life is at any time lost, the only way of recovery is by retiring to the invisible, and keeping there, and growing up there; and not coming forth in the visible further than the life leads, nor staying there any longer than the life stays.

Now this is the mistake of persons generally; they look for the finding the invisible life in visibles. They run to corrupted ordinances and ways of devotion, and think to find God there: but do not wait to foci him in their hearts, and to be led by him into what he pleaseth; and to stay no where any longer than while he stayeth there, but to follow the Lamb wheresoever he goeth.

Some others mistake in running to that, and waiting there where they once felt life, but do not know the way to wait on the life itself: and so they are running to an image, waiting at an image, worshipping of an image, and the living God will not meet them there. But throw away your images; let Ephraim, the dear child, say to his idols. Get you hence; thrust away your adulteries which provoke the eye of God's jealousy, receive the forerunner (the severe purifier) into your bosoms, and let the fire of his jealousy cleanse your hearts, and the pure will soon come after, and lodge again between your breasts. Can ye hear this sound? That which is born of the same wisdom, cannot but hear it; but the other birth must have its ear stopped.

Now hearken to this advice. When the invisible life is felt and known, do not disdain to follow it into whatever visible thing it leads. Let not thy wisdom be judge what the life will lead into, or what the life is to be followed in; but let the life itself be judge: and let the child, which is born of the life, follow it singly, without murmuring, without disputing. The life hath foolish ways (to the eye of thy wisdom) of breaking the wisdom in thee, which is contrary to it, which thy wisdom will be reasoning and disputing against ; and if that wisdom be hearkened to, the life is overturned in its course, and the head of the serpent remains found in. thee, which the foolish and weak things (which the wisdom of God chooseth to cross and disturb it by) would help to break and crush.

Comment by Keith Saylor on 8th mo. 19, 2014 at 2:39pm

The living gospel gathering people into the Light and the strife it engenders. The invisible distinguishing mark of the early Quakers. The story of a gathered remnant in the Life itself.

... it will be good to discover unto every man, the first ground and cause of this great strife, and the matter of it, and its beginning ...
... generally we were men of the strictest sect, and of the greatest zeal in the performance of outward righteousness, and went through and tried all sorts of teachers, and run from mountain to mountain, and from man to man, and from one form to another, as do many to this very day, who yet remain ungathered to the Lord.

Before the Light illuminated and gathered the consciousness and conscience of the early Quakers, they earnestly placed their faith in various "sects" and sought tried various outward teachers, institutions, and practices. None were sufficient.

... the Lord brought us by his power and wisdom, and the word by which all things were made, to know and understand, and see perfectly, that God had given to us, every one of us in particular, a light from himself shining in our hearts and consciences; which light, Christ his son, the saviour of the world, had lighted every man withal; which light in us we found sufficient to reprove us, and convince us of every evil deed, word, and thought, and by it, in us, we came to know good from evil, right from wrong, and whatsoever is of God, and according to him, from what is of the devil, and what was contrary to God in motion, word, and works. And this light gave us to discern between truth and error, between every false and right way, and it perfectly discovered to us the true state of all things; and we thereby came to know man, what he was in his creation before transgression, and how he was deceived and overcome by the devil, and his estate in transgression, and in disobedience, and how he is driven and banished from the presence of the Lord, and the sorrow and anguish which he is in and to undergo.

Then the Candling happened wherein the Light shined in their hearts and conscience. Then they knew and understood the Light itself is their sufficent guide.

... also by the light in us, we perfectly came to know the way of restoration, and the means by which to be restored, and the state of man when come out of transgression and restored. These things to us were revealed by the light within us, which Christ had given us, and lighted us withal; what man was before transgression, and what he is in transgression, and what he is being redeemed out of transgression. And also as our minds be came turned, and our hearts inclined to the light which shined in every one of us, the perfect estate of the church we came to know; her estate before the apostles' days, and in the apostles' days, and since the days of the apostles.

These things were revealed by the light within not by outward teachers, institutions, or practices. The Light itself and in them is sufficient.

So that all these things concerning man, and concerning the times and seasons, and the changing and renewing of times, and all things that pertain to salvation, and redemption, and eternal life, needful for man to know, all these were revealed, discovered, and made known to us, by the light which was in us, which Christ had lighted us withal.
And we found this light to be a sufficient teacher, to lead us to Christ, from whence this light came, and thereby it gave us to receive Christ, and to witness him to dwell in us; and through it the new covenant we came to enter into, to be made heirs of life and salvation. And in all things we found the light which we were enlightened withal, (which is Christ,) to be alone and only sufficient to bring to life and eternal salvation; and that all who did own the light in them which Christ hath enlightened every man withal, they needed no man to teach them, but the Lord was their teacher, by his light in their own consciences, and they received the holy anointing.

"We found this light to be a sufficient teacher ..." The living gospel light that candles consciousness and conscience is sufficient. It is the anchor of a living faith. A faith in outward teachings, institutions, and practice were found insufficient anchor for the faith of the early Quakers. The direct experience of the Light within was the anchor of faith for the early Quakers. And so we ceased from the teachings of all men, and their words, and their worships, and their temples, and all their baptisms and churches; and we ceased from our own words, and professions, and practices in religion, in times before zealously performed by us, through divers forms, and we became fools for Christ's sake, that we might become truly wise.

This is the distinguishing Mark of the early Quakers, not outward political and religious forms, and was the reason they were persecuted and murdered. They had no faith in the outward teachings of men and the institutions erected to support and promulgate those outward teachings. The mark of the early Quakers was their being gathered into the sufficiency of the immediate experience of the inward Light as the only anchor for their faith. Because of their direct experience of the inward candling of conscious and conscious and their faith in the candling itself rather than outward forms, religious and political forces massed against them and sought the desolate a faith and a witness in the immediate guidance of of the inward candling. These forces cannot abide a gathered people who know and anchor their faith in the inward Light itself. These forces cannot countenance a gathered people who do not look to their outward teachers and institutions. Such a faith undermines all they have sought to build.

... we met together often, and waited upon the Lord in pure silence from our own words, and all men's words, and hearkened to the voice of the Lord, and felt his word in our hearts, to burn up and beat down all that was contrary to God; and we obeyed the light of Christ in us, and followed the motions of the Lord's pure spirit, and took up the cross to all earthly glories, crowns, and ways, and denied ourselves, our relations, and all that stood in the way betwixt us and the Lord; and we chose to suffer with and for the name of Christ, rather than enjoy all the pleasures upon earth, or all our former zealous professions and practices in religion without the power and spirit of God, which the world yet lives in.
... whereby we entered into everlasting union, and fellowship, and covenant with the Lord God ...

The distinguishing mark of the early quakers was the consciousness and conscience, their minds and hearts, were gathered into union with the sufficiency of the inward candling itself. They trusted in the Light itself within each of them form spiritual meaning and spiritual restoration; not in the various outward structures and thoughts that are built and framed to capture people's consciousness and conscience.

A faith in outward religious forms is insufficient for spiritual restoration and salvation. The conscious and conscience of the individual must be gathered to and illuminated by the inward Light to the transformation of the mind. The self-conscious ego united with and transformed by the candling of the inward Christ is the salvation and restoration of men and women. Outward religious forms and ways are insufficient. The Light itself is the life giving sufficiency; experienced directly, not thought about or reasoned to. This experience was the reason the early Quaker remnant was persecuted and tortured, and killed by those who lacked faith in the sufficiency of the immediate experience of the inward Light itself.

I am the salvation of men and women through the power of my presence within. Turn from your faith in outward religious forms and a lack of faith in my direct presence within you. Wait upon me and you know eternal life.

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