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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/640

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

his multitudinous letters, he but rarely rises far above the incoherent commonplaces of a street preacher, there can be no question of his power as a speaker, nor any doubt as to the dignity and attractiveness of his personality, or of his possession of a large amount of practical good sense and governing faculty.

But that George Fox had full faith in his own powers as a miracle-worker, the following passage of his autobiography (to which others might be added) demonstrates:

Now after I was set at liberty from Nottingham gaol (where I had been kept prisoner a pretty long time) I traveled as before, in the work of the Lord. And coming to Mansfield Woodhouse, there was a distracted woman under a doctor's hand, with her hair let loose all about her ears; and he was about to let her blood, she being first bound, and many people being about her, holding her by violence; but he could get no blood from her. And I desired them to unbind her and let her alone; for they could not touch the spirit in her by which she was tormented. So they did unbind her, and I was moved to speak to her, and in the name of the Lord to bid her be quiet and still. And she was so. And the Lord's power settled her mind and she mended; and afterwards received the truth and continued in it to her death. And the Lord's name was honoured; to whom the glory of all his works belongs. Many great and wonderful things were wrought by the heavenly power in those days. For the Lord made bare his omnipotent arm and manifested his power to the astonishment of many; by the healing virtue whereof many have been delivered from great infirmities, and the devils were made subject through his name: of which particular instances might be given beyond what this unbelieving age is able to receive or bear.[1]

It needs no long study of Fox's writings, however, to arrive at the conviction that the distinction between subjective and objective verities had not the same place in his mind as it has in that of ordinary mortals. When an ordinary person would say "I thought so and so," or "I made up my mind to do so and so," George Fox says "it was opened to me," or "at the command of God I did so and so." "Then at the command of God on the ninth day of the seventh month 1643 [Fox being just nineteen] I left my relations and brake off all familiarity or friendship with young or old." "About the beginning of the year 1647 I was moved of the Lord to go into Darbyshire." Fox hears voices and he sees visions, some of which he brings before the reader with apocalyptic power in simple and strong English, alike untutored and undefiled, of which, like John Bunyan, his contemporary, he was a master.

"And one morning, as I was sitting by the fire, a great cloud came over me and a temptation beset me; and I sate still. And it was said, All things come by Nature. And the elements and stars came over me; so that I was in a manner quite clouded

  1. "A Journal or Historical Account of the Life, Travels, Sufferings, and Christian Experiences, etc., of George Fox," ed. 1, 1691, pp. 27, 28.