Research Notes, George Fox, Conscience

Many of the most eminent have had potent Impulses, to give forth solid, and sound Arguments for Liberty of Conscience, and have pleaded strongly for the same, yet George Fox was heard to say in a selected great Assembly thus, “Though many Friends have writ for Liberty of Conscience, I never lik’d the word, it is not a good word. No Liberty to the Presbyterians, no Liberty to the Papists, no Liberty to the Independents, no Liberty to the Baptists, &etc.” Liberty is to be only in the Truth, and saith he, no Liberty out of the power. In answer unto this, Truth gives Liberty unto the weak, yet no weakness in the Truth.

  • Source: The Spirit of the Hat by: Anonymous. 1673. page 41.

Note: If it is possible to tract down such a sentiment in the writings of George Fox, it will open further insight into essential differences that existed between early Quakers. For example, James Naylor writes of the Liberty of Conscience often. He call the conscience the “Kingdom of God” or “the Throne of God.” Considering the words of the anonymous writer in The Spirit of the Hat, quoting George Fox on Liberty of Conscience,with those of James Naylor , it could be prove deeper insight into the tension between Fox and Naylor.

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