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WILLIAM PENN, in his Preface to George Fox's
journal, says of him :
He was a man that God endued with a clear and wonderful depth, a discerner of others' spirits, and very much a master of his own; and though the side of his understanding which lay next to the world, and especially the expression of it, might sound uncouth and unfashionable to nice ears, his matter was nevertheless very profound, and would not only bear to be often considered, but the more it was so the more weighty and instructing it appeared. And as abruptly and brokenly as sometimes his sentences would fall from him about Divine things, it is well known they were often as texts to many fairer declarations. And indeed it showed beyond all contradiction that God sent him, that no arts or parts had any share in his matter or manner of his ministry; and that so many great, excellent, and necessary truths as he came forth to preach to mankind, had therefore nothing of man's wit or wisdom
to recommend them. So that as to man he was an original, being no man's copy. And his ministry and writings show they are from one that was not taught of man, nor had learned what he said by study. Nor were they notional or speculative, but sensible and practical truths, tending to conversion and regeneration, and the setting up the kingdom of God in the hearts of men, and the way of it was his work. So that I have many times been overcome in myself, and been made to say with my Lord and Master upon the like occasion, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent of this world and revealed them to babes. For many times hath my soul bowed in an humble thankfulness to the Lord that He did not choose any of the wise and learned of this world to be the first messenger in our age of his blessed truth to men; but that he took one that was not of high degree, or elegant speech, or learned after the way of this world, that his message and work He sent him to do might come with less suspicion or jealousy of human wisdom and interest, and with more force and clearness upon the consciences of those that sincerely sought the way of truth in the love of it.
He had an extraordinary gift in opening the Scriptures. IIe would go to the marrow of things, and show the mind, harmony, and fulfilling of them with much plainness, and to great comfort and edification.
But above all, he excelled in prayer. The inwardness
and weight of his spirit, the reverence and solemnity of his address and behaviour, and the fewness and fulness of his words have often struck even strangers with admiration, as they used to reach others with consolation. The most awful, living, reverent frame I ever felt or beheld, I must say, was his in prayer. And truly it was a testimony he knew and lived nearer to the Lord than other men; for they that know him most will see most reason to approach him with reverence and fear.
He was of an innocent life, no busy-body nor self-seeker, neither touchy nor critical; what fell from him was very inoffensive, if not very edifying. So meek, contented, modest, easy, steady, tender, it was a pleasure to be in his company. He exercised no authority but over evil, and that everywhere and in all, but with love, compassion, and long suffering. A most merciful man, as ready to forgive as unapt to take or give an offence. Thousands can truly say he was of an excellent spirit and savour among them, and because thereof the most excellent spirits loved him with an unfeigned and unfading love.
Though God had visibly clothed him with a Divine preference and authority, and indeed his very presence expressed a religious majesty, yet he never abused it, but held his place in the Church of God with great meekness, and a most engaging humility and moderation. For upon all occasions, like his blessed Master, he was a servant to all; holding and exercising his eldership in the Invisible