In That Triumph

Dwell in faith, patience, and hope, having the word of life to keep you, which is beyond the law; and having the oath of God, his covenant, Christ Jesus, which divides the waters asunder, and makes them to run all on heaps; in that stand, and ye will see all things work together for good to them that love God. In that triumph, when sufferings come, whatever they be.  –The Works of George Fox [1831] vol. 1, p. 385)

On the morning of Third month, the 13th, six gathered via Zoom to study a 1658 passage from Fox’s journal (1:381-5). Fox speaks of this time as one of “great suffering” for Friends who were being held in noxious prisons, despite their petitions and warnings to professors in parliament admonishing their persecution and hypocrisy: “ye imprison them that are in the life and power of truth, and yet profess to be the ministers of Christ; but if Christ had sent you, ye would bring out of prison, out of bondage, and receive strangers” (page 382).

A brief second epistle (page 385) shows Fox encouraging Friends – “in prison or out of prison” – to not let reports of persecution frighten them, but to stand in the covenant, Christ, where triumph is found. Offsetting the threats around them, Friends met to worship, and in this passage, Fox describes two gatherings as powerful in the Lord’s presence: one at Isaac Penington’s in Buckinghamshire, and the other near London where “the scriptures were largely and clearly opened, and Christ exalted above all, to the great satisfaction of the hearers” (page 384).

Our discussion begins at 14:12 with the observation that Fox asserts the power of the Lord is stronger than suffering or sin. From there, the mention of “fasting” in the text turns our thoughts to how forms of the tradition can be used to oppose Christ. Fox’s reference to Matthew 25:43 (page 382) brought forward some ideas on Jesus’s direction throughout Matthew 25 to those awaiting the coming of the Son of Man (23:25 in the recording). A new participant to our study offered a few initial responses to Fox’s writing (beginning at 31:15), and also some thoughts on the ability to grasp Fox’s thought requiring some knowledge of the Bible, a knowledge that often is lacking among present-day Quakers.

The recording has been edited to reduce silent times between speakers.

NFF discussion 3/13/21
Resurrection, 1460s Piero della Francesca
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