Chapter 19 » 19.01

A gathered people

George Fox (1624–1691) was born in Fenny Drayton in Leicestershire. As a young man he was shocked by the failure of those who professed themselves to be Christians (professors) to live up to their Christian standards.

When I came towards nineteen years of age, I being upon business at a fair, one of my cousins, whose name was Bradford, being a professor and having another professor with him, came to me and asked me to drink part of a jug of beer with them, and I, being thirsty, went in with them, for I loved any that had a sense of good, or that did seek after the Lord. And when we had drunk a glass apiece, they began to drink healths and called for more drink, agreeing together that he that would not drink should pay all. I was grieved that any that made profession of religion should offer to do so. They grieved me very much, having never had such a thing put to me before by any sort of people; wherefore I rose up to be gone, and putting my hand into my pocket, I took out a groat and laid it down upon the table before them and said, ‘If it be so, I’ll leave you’. So I went away; and when I had done what business I had to do, I returned home, but did not go to bed that night, nor could not sleep, but sometimes walked up and down, and sometimes prayed and cried to the Lord, who said unto me, ‘Thou seest how young people go together into vanity and old people into the earth; and thou must forsake all, both young and old, and keep out of all, and be as a stranger unto all’. Then, at the command of God, on the 9th day of the Seventh Month [September], 1643, I left my relations and broke off all familiarity or fellowship with young or old.

Journal, 1643

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