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did for Mordecai? But take heed, we warn you in the Name of the Lord God, consider what you are going to do. In the Name of the Lord we demand that we may have liberty for the exercise of our pure consciences within your jurisdiction, as well as other Englishmen, seeing that you cannot lay to our charge the transgression of any law of God, we being men that fear the Lord God of heaven and earth; and we come not for anything of yours, God is our witness. It is not for anything that you have that we came; for we do not lack any outward thing; for many of us have both houses and land of our own, and silver also, in Old England, so that we seek not anything that you have, God is our witness, whom we serve in the Spirit of Truth, who hath constrained us to leave all and to follow Him, that it is not the world, that doth perish with the handling thereof, that we seek or labour for, but the good and eternal welfare of the sons of men. For the seed's sake, which is oppressed in New England, and other parts of the world, do we labour and travel, and suffer all manner of hardships. For Christ's sake are we become fools, and do suffer all manner of evil to be done unto us. Christ said unto his disciples, they "shall do all manner of evil to you for my name's sake;" but those that do it know neither God, nor His Son Jesus Christ, neither have they the love of God abiding in them; for such as love not those whom they have seen, how can they love God whom they have not seen? And such have not eternal life abiding in them, but are of the devil, as their fruits do make manifest, and are the thorns of which men cannot gather grapes, except it be such grapes as Sodom and Gomorrah did bring forth, which provoked the Holy One, the Most High, to arise in His wrath and consume them in His anger.
Come, ye rulers, let us further ask you a question: Of whom did you receive or from whence had you your rule, to imprison any for coming to visit one another? Did you find any such example in the Scripture, which you call your rule? Did ever any magistrate do such a thing, to imprison any of the prisoners' acquaintance or friends, for only coming to visit them? Had
not Paul's friends and acquaintance liberty to come and visit and to minister unto him? Now, you do not only hinder that which the heathen granted, but exceed such in cruelty which imprisoned Paul, who did let his friends and acquaintance come to him and minister to him. Now, this you hinder, and will not suffer any of our friends or acquaintance to come to visit us, nor to minister unto us, much more when your cruelty is become so great, to imprison such as come many miles to visit us, as you have done Mary Dyer, who came from Rhode Island to visit us, and to minister to our necessities, if we stood in need. Now, you do not only hinder any from coming or ministering to us, but shut such up in prison, to be kept close prisoners, as remember Joseph's afflictions, whose bowels are opened to such whom you despitefully use. Is this your doing as you would be done by? Oh, shameless men! Are you without all natural affection? What rule is it you walk by? You say that she affirmed, "That the light within her is the rule;" but I say, the light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world, which condemneth the world for evil deeds and unnatural actions,-this light, which is the saint's rule, is the world's condemnation. This light was not your rule for what you have done; ye took not counsel at this light, which is the Quaker's rule. For this light, which shines in the heart of man, beholding all his actions, this light doth condemn all blind persecutors, and judges such to be worse than they that imprisoned Paul, who would suffer him to speak for himself; which many times you are so mad, you will not suffer the Quakers to speak for themselves, but you call to your officers to take them away to prison.
Again, it is written in the warrant whereby we were committed to prison, "That we shall be tried according to law." We desire no more than to be tried according to equity, truth, and true judgment, to be tried according to the law of God; but your law, you unjust men, we deny to be tried by it; for you are both our accusers and judges, which is not according to the law of God. For equity and truth judgeth and condemneth all unsound
judgment, unrighteousness, partiality, and respecting of persons. Therefore, all you magistrates and rulers, so called, stoop to the witness of God, and bow to the light of Jesus Christ, own the light of the Son of God. For until you own and be led by the light of Jesus Christ, which leads into union with God, you cannot judge aright of the things of God. So, take heed how you do, for the line of true judgment is stretched over you all, with which you are measured, weighed, and tried in the just balance of Truth, and according to true judgment you are found wanting, and judged by the Spirit of Truth to be too light. Therefore be awakened, all you rulers and inhabitants of Boston, and elsewhere within your jurisdiction, and give over persecuting the saints of the Most High God.
This a warning to you all in New England, who have had a hand in persecuting the saints and children of the Lord, who are by you, in scorn and contempt, called Quakers, to give over your cruelty, and cease from oppressing the innocent; for the Lord God hath regard unto their sufferings, and the Lord God is risen, and arising, to plead their cause against all their enemies, and all their adversaries must fall before them; for the Lord is with them, and a shout of a mighty prince is among the innocent people called Quakers; and this is the day of their suffering, and the day of your cruelties and persecution upon them, within this New England. But the day of their deliverance draweth near, and the day wherein they shall rejoice in the Lord, the God of their salvation, who is mighty to save, and able to deliver them out of the hands and out of the mouths of devourers, and from the jaws of the ungodly and cruel men, who will take vengeance at that day upon all bloody-minded men and blind persecutors. And at that day you shall find that the Lord will be too hard for you, though you now boast in your wickedness. And thus far I am clear, and have cleared my conscience to you at this time; and, whether you will hear or forbear, I am clear of your blood,—I who am now a sufferer under you, with my brother and companion, whose lives are not dear unto us, to lay them down as a witness against such a bloody and unrighteous and hypocritical
generation; and this we are ready to seal with our blood, for the breaking of your bloody law.
In the common jail, in the bloody town of Boston. WILLIAM ROBINSON, MARMADUKE STEVENSON.
From us who are in scorn called
William Robinson, a faithful martyr, was banished upon pain of death, and robbed, and tortured with cruel whippings, and afterwards condemned to die with his fellow-sufferers, Marmaduke Stevenson and Mary Dyer, who all three, hand in hand, like innocent lambs, were led away, with the soldiers guarding, and the drums beating, that the people might not hear them speak, to the place of execution, where, by the priests, rulers, and professors, they were cruelly murdered for the Word of God, and the testimony of Jesus. Eleven days before their death, this salutation of his love to his fellow-prisoners proceeded from him as followeth :
My dear brethren and sisters, to whom my love abounds, I am filled with pure love unto you all, dear lambs; feel it in your own lives, and receive it into your own hearts as new oil; for truly the fear of the Lord is our strength, and the blessing of the Lord is our portion, which the Lord doth daily give unto us, blessed be His name forever. Oh, let us all keep in lowliness, and meekness, and tender love, one towards another, which is the seal and witness that the Lord is with us, where the Lord forever keeps us staid on Him, to receive our daily bread, which satisfieth the hungry soul. Dear friends, brethren, and sisters, this I am constrained to let you know, how mightily the love of the Lord our God abounds in my heart, and from my life towards you all; it runs forth as a living stream, refreshing the Spirit and life within us all, and every one as you feel it, and according to your measures, receive it into your hearts, to the
refreshing and strengthening of one another. Dear lambs, I was the first that the Lord God, our heavenly Father, did lay this thing upon, for which I now suffer bonds near to death, from the first day until now. The weight of the thing was laid upon me from the Lord God, in obedience to His holy will and command, I gave up, in which obedience the arm and power of the Lord hath been and is with me to this day; and the thing which the Lord hath said unto me, from the beginning of it to this day, which still remains with me, that my life must accomplish the thing, and by it must the powers of darkness fall, and yet will they seek and labour to take it from me, and through much difficulty and bustling will they be suffered, to the glory of our God, and to the rejoicing of the elect. So, my dear brethren and sisters, my love and life feel in your own hearts, for I am full unto you all in heavenly love, and my life is ever with you. The Lord forever keep us all as we are now, to the glory of His name, Amen. This was I moved to write unto you all, my dear brethren and sisters, my fellow-prisoners, that have any part or do partake with me herein. Your dear brother, In holy and heavenly joy, and true love and peace.
Written in the hole of the condemned, in Boston jail, in New England, the First-day of the week, being the 16th day of the Eighth month, 1659.
This is a copy of William Robinson's Letter to the Lord's people.
The streams of my Father's love run daily through me from the holy fountain of life, to the seed throughout the whole creation. I am overcome with love, for it is my life, and length of my days; it is my glory, and my daily strength. I am swallowed up with love, in love I live, and with it I am overcome, and in it I dwell with the holy seed, to which the blessing of love is given from God, who is love, who hath shed it abroad in my heart, which daily fills me with living joy, from the life from whence it comes. Ye children of the living God, feel me