Chapter 19 » 19.19

A guided people

The experience of being gathered by God leads into the experience of being guided by God. This was not just the experience of individuals, important though this is. The key to the development of Quakerism is the understanding of corporate guidance which tests and informs individual leadings. At the heart of this is the meeting for worship where Christ, the Inward Light, is present and is met. Fox often wrote that Christ has come to teach his people himself. From this teaching comes Quaker faith and practice.

Thomas Camm (1641–1707) recalled a meeting of the Westmorland Seekers at Preston Patrick in 16520:

Thither George Fox went, being accompanied with John Audland and John Camm. John Audland would have had George Fox to have gone into the place or pew where usually he or the preacher did sit, but he refused, and took a back seat near the door, and John Camm sat down by him, where he sat silent waiting upon God about half an hour, in which time of silence Francis Howgill seemed uneasy, and pulled out his Bible and opened it, and stood up several times, sitting down again and closing his book, a dread and fear being upon him that he durst not begin to preach. After the said silence and waiting, George Fox stood up in the mighty power of God, and in the demonstration thereof was his mouth opened to preach Christ Jesus, the light of life and the way to God, and saviour of all that believe and obey him, which was delivered in that power and authority that most of the auditory, which were several hundreds, were effectually reached to the heart, and convinced of the Truth that very day, for it was the day of God’s power. A notable day indeed never to be forgotten by me, Thomas Camm, … I being then present at that meeting, a school boy but about 12 years of age.

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