The Beginnings of Quakerism

By William C. Braithwaite | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
ITINERATING WORK OF THE LEADERS IN GREAT BRITAIN, 1656-1660

Dear Friends and Lambs, put on the armour of light and the shield of truth, and the breastplate of righteousness that ye may stand in battle against all the Philistians . . . being led and guided with the Spirit up to God . . . that what ye do beget may be to Him, and into His image, and that which ye do present it may be perfect. . . . Stir abroad whilst the door is open and the light shineth. . . . In the life of God wait . . . that ye may beget to God, that as good plowmen and good thresher-men ye may be, to bring out the wheat.-- Fox, Epistles, No. 135, to Howgill and Burrough, about 1657.

WE must now glance at the further work of the itinerating leaders during the remaining years of the Commonwealth period. The importance to the Church of their vital and vitalizing influence is everywhere apparent. They brought spiritual freshness and inspiration to the local groups of Friends, and were continually presenting to them the interests and claims of the wider movement. They also out of the maturity of their own experience were able to guide the healthy growth of the new community.

Among Friends of spiritual discernment these services were clearly recognized. Devonshire Friends, for example, depended much on the help of Thomas Salthouse, who devoted himself to work in the West of England. Arthur Cotton, of Plymouth, in March 16591 complained to Fox of the destitute condition of Devon and Cornwall, because there were at the time no itinerating ministers in either county, to 11 pass to and again amongst Friends in dread and wisdom, to stand out of all parties, and that

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1
To Fox, Swarthm. Colln. iv. 169.

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