George Fox’s Commission

Some time after, the Lord commanded me to go abroad into the world which was like a briery, thorny wilderness. When I came, in the Lord’s mighty power, with the word of life into world, the world swelled and made a noise like the great raging waves of the sea. Priests and professors, magistrates and people, were all like a sea, when I came to proclaim the day of the Lord amongst them, and to preach repentance to them.

I was sent to turn people from darkness to the light, that they might receive Christ Jesus; for to as many as should receive him in his light, I saw he would give power to become the sons of God ; which I had obtained by receiving Christ. I was to direct people to the spirit, that gave forth the scriptures, by which they might be led into all truth, and so up to Christ and God, as those had been who gave them forth. I was to turn them to the grace of God, and to the truth in the heart, which came by Jesus; that by this grace they might be taught, which would bring them salvation, that their hearts might be established by it, their words might be seasoned, and all might come to know their salvation nigh. For I saw that Christ had died for all men, was a propitiation for all, and had enlightened all men and women with his divine and saving light; and that none could be true believers, but those that believed in it. I saw that the grace of God, which brings salvation, had appeared to all men, and that the manifestation of the spirit of God was given to every man, to profit withal. These things I did not see by the help of man, nor by the letter, though they are written in the letter; but I saw them in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by his immediate spirit and power, as did the holy men of God by whom the holy scriptures were written. Yet I had no slight esteem of the holy scriptures, they were very precious to me ; for I was in that spirit by which they were given forth ; and what the Lord opened in me, I afterwards found was agreeable to them. I could speak much of these things, and many volumes might be written ; but all would prove too short to set forth the infinite love, wisdom, and power of God, in preparing, fitting, and furnishing me for the service he had appointed me to; letting me see the depths of satan, on the one hand, and opening to me, on the other hand, the divine mysteries of his own everlasting kingdom.

When the Lord God and his son Jesus Christ sent me forth into the world to preach his everlasting gospel and kingdom, I was glad that I was commanded to turn people to that inward light, spirit, and grace, by which all might know their salvation and their way to God; even that divine spirit which would lead them into all truth, and which I infallibly knew would never deceive any.

But with and by this divine power and spirit of God, and the light of Jesus, I was to bring people off from all their own ways, to Christ the new and living way; from their churches, which men had made and gathered, to the church in God, the general assembly written in heaven, which Christ is the head of; and off from the world’s teachers made by men, to learn of Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life, of whom the Father said, This is my beloved son, hear ye him;’ and off from all the world’s worships, to know the spirit of truth in the inward parts, and to be led thereby, that in it they might worship the Father of spirits, who seeks such to worship him; which spirit they that worshipped not in, knew not what they worshipped. I was to bring people off from all the world’s religions, which are in vain; that they might know the pure religion, might visit the fatherless, the widows, and the strangers, and keep themselves from the spots of the world: then there would not be so many beggars; the sight of whom often grieved my heart, as it denoted so much hardheartedness amongst those that professed the name of Christ. I was to bring them off from all the world’s fellowships, prayings, and singings, which stood in forms without power, that their fellowship might be in the holy ghost, the eternal spirit of God; that they might pray in the holy ghost, sing in the spirit, and with the grace that comes by Jesus; making melody in their hearts to the Lord, who hath sent his beloved son to be their saviour, caused his heavenly sun to shine upon all the world, and through them all; and his heavenly rain to fall upon the just and the unjust, (as his outward rain doth fall, and his outward sun doth shine on all,) which is God’s unspeakable love to the world. I was to bring people off from Jewish ceremonies, from heathenish fables, from men’s inventions and windy doctrines, by which they blowed the people about, this way and the other way, from sect to sect; and from all their beggarly rudiments, with their schools and colleges, for making ministers of Christ, who are indeed ministers of their own making, but not of Christ’s; and from all their images, crosses, and sprinkling of infants, with all their holy-days, (so called.) and all their vain traditions, which they had got up since the apostles’ days, which the Lord’s power was against. In the dread and authority thereof was I moved to declare against them all, and against all that preached and not freely, as being such who had not received freely from Christ. (Works of Fox, Vol. I, pp. 89-91)