AN EPISTLE By Way of TESTIMONY, To Friends and Brethren of the Monthly and Quarterly Meetings in England, Wales, and Elsewhere, concerning the Decease of our Faithful Brother GEORGE FOX.

Dear, and truly Beloved Friends, Brethren and Sisters, in Christ Jesus our Blessed Lord and Saviour.

WE sincerely and tenderly salute you all in his free and tender Love, wherewith he hath graciously visited us, and largely shed it abroad in our Hearts and Souls, to our own unspeakable Comfort and Consolation, and towards his whole Heritage, and Royal Off-spring, blessed be his pure and powerful Name for Evermore. And our Souls do truly and fervently desire and breath unto the God of all our Mercies, that you all may be preserved and kept truly faithful and diligent in his Work and Service, accor­ding to your Heavenly Calling and Indow­ments with his Light, Grace and Truth, unto the end of your Days; as being livingly en­gaged thereby, all your appointed time to serve him, and to wait till your Change come, that none may neglect that true Improvement of your Times and Talents that God has af­forded you here, for your Eternal Advantage hereafter, in that Inheritance and Life Immor­tal that never fades away. And that the whole Flock and Heritage of Christ Jesus which he has purchased and bought for himself, with a Price incorruptible, may always be so preserved in his own pure Love and Life, as to grow, in­crease, and prosper in the same; and thereby be kept in Love, Unity, and Peace with one another, as becomes his true and faithful Fol­lowers, is that which our very Hearts and Souls desire, being often truly comforted and enlarg­ed in the living sense and feeling of the En­crease and Aboundings thereof, among faithful Friends and Brethren.

And Dear Brethren and Sisters, unto this our Tender Salutation, We are concerned in Brotherly Love, and true Tender-heartedness, to add and impart unto you some Account of the Decease of our Dear and Elder Brother in Christ, namely, his, and his Churches true and faithful Servant and Minister, George Fox; Whom it hath pleased the Lord to take unto himself, as he hath divers others of his faith­ful Servants and Ministers of late Time, who have faithfully served out their Generation, and finished their Testimony and Course with Joy and Peace. Howbeit, O Dear Brethren and Friends! That so many Worthies in Israel, and serviceable Instruments in the Lord's Hand, are of late taken away and removed from us, so soon one after another, appears a Dispensa­tion that deeply and sorrowfully affects us and many more, whose Hearts are upright and ten­der toward God, and one to another in the Truth. The Consideration of the Depth, Weight, and Meaning thereof, is very weighty upon our Spirits, though their precious Life and Testimony lives with us, as being of that same Body, united to one Head even Christ Jesus; in which we still, and hope ever shall have secret Comfort and Union with them whom the Lord has removed, and taken to himself out of their Earthly Tabernacles and Houses, into their Heavenly and Everlasting Mansions.

This our said Dear Brother, George Fox, was enabled by the Lord's power, to Preach the Truth fully and effectually, in our Publick Meeting in White-Hart-Court, by Grace-Church Street, London, on the eleventh Day of this instant 11th Month, 1690. After which he said, I am glad I was here; now I am clear, I am fully clear; Then he was the same Day [Page 2]taken with some Illness, or Indisposition of Body more than usual, and continued weak in Body for two days after, at our Friend Henry Goldney's House in the same Court, close by the Meeting-house, in much Contentment and Peace, and very sensible to the last; in which time he mentioned divers Friends, and sent for some in particular, to whom he exprest his Mind, for the spreading Friends Books and Truth in the World, and through the Nations thereof; as his Spirit in the Lord's Love and Power was universally set, and bent for Truth and Righ­teousness, and the making known the way thereof to the Nations and People afar off, signifying also to some Friends, That all is well, and the Seed of God Reigns over all, and over Death it self. That though he was weak in Body, yet that the Power of God is over all, and the Seed reigns over all disorderly Spirits; which were his wonted sensible Expressions, being in the living Faith and Sense thereof which he kept to the end. And the thirteenth Instant, between the ninth and tenth Hour in the Night, he quietly departed this Life in Peace, being two days af­ter the Lord enabled him to Publish and Preach the Blessed Truth in the Meeting, as aforesaid. So that he clearly and evidently ended his days in his faithful Testimony, in perfect Love and Unity with his Brethren, and Peace and Good­will to all Men; being about sixty and six years of Age (as we understand) when he departed this Life.

And on the sixteenth of this Instant, being the day appointed for his Funeral, a very great Concourse of Friends and People assembled at our Meeting-House in White-Hart Court afore­said, about the Mid-day, in order to attend his Body to our Burying-place near Bunhill-Fields, to be Interred as Friends last Office of Love and Respect, due on that account. The Meeting was held about two Hours, with great and Heavenly Solemnity, manifestly attended with the Lord's Blessed Power and Presence; and divers living Testimonies given from a lively Remembrance and Sense of this his dear ancient Servant, his Blessed Ministry and Testimony of the breaking forth of this Gospel day; his innocent Life, long and great Travels, and Labours of Love in the Everlasting Gospel, for the turning, and gathering many Thousands from Darkness, to the Light of Christ Jesus, the Foundation of true Faith; also of his manifold Sufferings, Afflicti­ons, and Oppositions which he met withall for his faithful Testimony, both from his open Adver­saries and false Brethren; and his Preservations, Dominion, and Deliverances out of them all by the Power of God, to whom the Glory and Ho­nour was, and is ascribed, in raising up and preserving this his faithful Witness and Mini­ster to the end of his days, whose blessed Me­morial will Everlastingly remain.

He loved Truth and Righteousness, and bore faithful Testimony against Deceit and Falshood, and the Mystery of Iniquity; and often of late time especially, warned Friends against Cove­tousness, Earthly-mindedness, against getting into the Earth, and into a brittle Spirit; and the younger sort, against Looseness and Pride of Life, &c.

A few days before he died, he had a great con­cern upon his Mind, concerning some in whom the Lord's Power was working, to lead them in­to a Ministry and Testimony to his Truth, who through their too much intangling themselves in the things of this World, did make themselves unready to answer the Call and Leadings of the Power of God, and hurt the Gift that was be­stowed upon them; and did not take that re­gard to their Service and Ministry as they ought, and mentioned the Apostle's Exhortation to Ti­mothy, to take heed to his Ministry, and to shew himself approved, &c. And exprest his Grief concerning such as preferred their own business before the Lord's business, and sought the ad­vancing worldly Concerns before the Concerns of Truth: And concluded with a tender and fa­therly Exhortation to all, to whom God had im­parted of his Heavenly Treasure, that they would improve it faithfully, and be diligent in the Lord's Work, that the Earth might be sown with the Seed of the Kingdom, and God's Har­vest might be minded by those whom he had called and inabled to labour therein; and that such would commit the care of their outward Concerns to the Lord, who would care for them, and give a Blessing to them. However, this is not mentioned to encourage any to run unsent, or without being called of God.

Many are living Witnesses that the Lord rais­ed him up by his Power, to proclaim his mighty day to the Nations, and made him an effectual Instrument in our day, to turn many from Darkness to Light, and from Satan's pow­er to God; and freely to suffer and bear all Reproaches, and the manifold Persecutions, Buffetings, Haleings, Stonings, Imprisonments, and Cruelties that were in the Beginning, and for some time inflicted on him and others, for the Name of Christ Jesus. He was in his Testi­mony as a fixed Star in the Firmament of God's Power, where all that be truly wise, and that turn many to Righteousness, shall shine as the brightness of the Firmament, and as the Stars for ever and ever. He knew and Preached the My­stery of Christ Revealed, the Life and Substance, and the power of Godliness, above all Shadows and Forms. The Lord endued him with a hidden Wisdom and Life. He loved Peace, and earnest­ly laboured for universal Love, Unity, Peace, and good Order in the Churches of Christ. And where-ever he met with the contrary, it was his great Grief and Burthen. He was greatly for the [Page 3]Encouragement of faithful Labourers in the Lord's Work; and it was a great Offence and Grief to him, to have their Testimony weakned, or Labours slighted through Prejudice in any professing Truth.

And inasmuch as the Lord suffered him not to be delivered up to the will of his Enemies and Persecutors, who often heretofore breathed out Cruelty against him, and designed his Destructi­on, but in his good Pleasure so fairly and quietly took him away in his own time, when his Testi­mony was so blessedly finished, and his Work ac­complished. This is all remarkable, and worthy of serious and due Observation, as being by a special and divine Providence and Wisdom of God, to whom we ascribe the Glory of all, and not unto Man or Creatures. Though we must needs allow and own, that good Report and due Esteem, which faithful Elders, Ministers and Ser­vants of God and Christ have by Faith obtained, to the Praise of that blessed Power that upheld them in every Age in their day; Many whereof are even of late taken away from the Evil to come, and are at Rest in the Lord out of the reach of all Envy and Persecution, where the wicked cannot trouble them any more.

And we must patiently bear our parting with them, and our loss and sorrow on that account, with respect to their unspeakable Gain: Yet how can we avoid being deeply affected with sadness of Spirit, and brokenness of Heart, under the sense and consideration of such Loss and Revolu­tions, which we have cause to believe are omi­nous of Calamities to the wicked World, tho' of good to the Righteous? Did the death of plain upright Jacob, namely Israel, (who was as a Prince of God,) so deeply affect both his own Children and Kinred,Gen. 50. as that they made a great and exceeding sore Lamentation for him; and even the Egyptians also, that they bewailed him seventy days? And the Death of Moses so deeply affect the Children of Israel, Deut. 34. as that they did weep and mourn for him in the Plain of Moab thirty Days? And the Death of Stephen that faithful Martyr of Jesus, so deeply affect certain Men fearing God,Acts 7. as that they made great Lamentation for him? And the Apostle Paul, when taking his leave of the Elders of the Church of Ephesus, and telling them,Acts 20. They should see his face no more? If this did so deeply affect them that they wept all abundantly, sorrowing most of all for these Words, That they should see his face no more? (With many more of this kind;) How then can we otherwise chuse but be deeply affected with sorrow and sadness of Heart (tho' not as those which have no hope) when so many of our an­cient, dear and faithful Brethren, (with whom we have had much sweet Society) are removed from us one after another? (We pray God raise up and increase more such.) Yet must we all con­tentedly submit to the good Pleasure and Wis­dom of the Lord our God in all these things, who taketh away, and none can hinder him, nor may any say unto him, What dost thou? Yet we have cause to bless the Lord, that he hath of late rais­ed, and is raising up more to publish his Name in the Earth. And we that yet remain, have but a short time to stay after them that are gone, but we shall be gone to them also. The Lord God of Life keep us all faithful in his holy Truth, Love, Unity, and Life to the end. He hath a great Work still to bring forth in the Earth, and great things to bring to pass in or­der to make way for Truth and Righteousness, to take place therein; and that his Seed may come forth, and be gathered, and the Power and Kingdom of our God and of his Christ, made known and exalted in the Earth, unto the ends thereof.

Dear Friends and Brethren, Be faithful till Death, that a Crown of Life you may obtain. All dwell in the Love of God in Christ Jesus, in Ʋnion and Peace in him; to whom we tenderly commit you to keep and strengthen you; Bless and preserve you to the end of your days. In whose dear and tender Love, we remain,
Your Dear Friends and Brethren,
  • Stephen Crisp,
  • Geo. Whitehead,
  • Fra. Camfield.
  • James Parke,
  • John Elson,
  • Peter Price,
  • John Feild,
  • John Edridge,
  • Nicholas Gates,
  • Francis Stamper,
  • John Vaughton,
  • Gilbert Latey,
  • Charles Marshal,
  • Rich. Needham,
  • James Martin,
  • Daniel Monro,
  • Jo. Heywood,
  • George Bowles,
  • William Robinson,
  • William Bingley,
  • John Butcher.

POSTSCRIPT.

BEfore his Death he writ a little Paper, desiring all Friends every where, that use to write to him about the Sufferings and Affairs of Friends in their several Countries, should henceforth write to their several Correspondents in London, to be Communicated to the second Days Meeting, to take Care that they be answered.

LONDON: Printed for Thomas Northcott, in George-Yard in Lombard-street, 1690.

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