I have recently begun to explore Quakerism. I attend a small liberal meeting in Indianapolis. I have been seeing a lot of the George Fox quote:


  "But as I had forsaken the priests, so I left the separate preachers also, and those esteemed the most experienced people; for I saw there was none among them all that could speak to my condition. When all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could I tell what to do, then, oh, then, I heard a voice which said, "There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition"; and when I heard it, my heart did leap for joy."


I am assuming that the voice Fox heard spoke in a language he could understand... perhaps the way many people spoke in mid 17th century England. I am very curious what the voice meant by the word even just before Christ Jesus.


Eric H-L

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I believe I've read that "even" in 17 c. English meant "particularly," but I'm not certain of that.
Thank you
I understand it as meaning, "there is one that can speak to your condition, and it's not just anyone, it's Christ Jesus."
Do you think this would have been a surprising statement to Fox's readers?
Yes, I have had experiences similar to Mark and Larry's descriptions of a revelation or an opening.
Well, GF was probably not talking about the indigenous arctic people of eastern Siberia. The archaic noun denotes "at the end of the day", perhaps also an idiom for a logical conclusion. Check out your Oxford English dictionaries, Friends. Another usage in that day was akin to "Wow!"
Eric, when you read the word "even" used in 17th century English in this manner, read "that is . . ." or, "specifically . . ." It's not generally used as an intensifier.

It's common in the KJV:

Mat 23:10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

Mat 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

Mar 11:6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.

Mar 14:30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

One of the advantages of the KJV is that the grammar and vocabulary used in it are contemporaneous with the first generations of Friends. It's a useful primer on reading people like Fox and Penn.
Thank you for taking the time to reply. Very sensible idea to look at the King James Bible. In a similar vein, I looked through the first chapter of Fox's journal and came up with a few other uses of the word.

"…and how the work of the Lord was begun, and gradually carried on in me, even from my childhood."

"… for both Stephen and the apostle Paul bore testimony that He did not dwell in temples made with hands, not even in that which He had once commanded to be built,…"

"For I had been brought through the very ocean of darkness and death, and through and over the power of Satan, by the eternal, glorious power of Christ; even through that darkness was I brought, which covered over all the world, and which chained down all and shut up all in death."

I am still curious if Fox's opening was surprising or shocking to Fox and other early Friends? Did he have any people around who talked about an inner guide?

By the way, I have read other posts where you mentioned Stillwater Meeting. Last year, before I had heard of Stillwater, my car broke down in eastern Ohio. I ended up getting towed to Barnesville where I bought an old used truck. I was treated fairly, and maybe Friends deserve some credit for setting an effective local example of good samaritanship and ethical business practices.

[quote]I am still curious if Fox's opening was surprising or shocking to Fox and other early Friends? Did he have any people around who talked about an inner guide?[/quote]

The Puritans placed a lot of emphasis on the leadings of the Holy Spirit, but the written English scriptures were so new and astonishing that most emphasis on guidance was placed in the outward word. Rufus Jones made a great deal about connections between the original Friends and continental mystics, a connection that has never had any more evidence that I know about except that Rufus Jones said it. It was certainly a time of great theological upheaval within the Christian church.

If you were treated well in Barnesville, it may have a Friend who you dealt with. There's been a meeting there since about 1797, and sometimes as many as eight. Lo battery got to go. ciao

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