Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. III. Seventeenth Century
A Sense of the Blood of Martyrs
By George Fox (16241691)
From the Journal
AND as I was walking along with several friends, I lifted up my head, and I saw three steeple-house spires, and they struck at my life; and I asked friends what place that was, and they said Lichfield; immediately the word of the Lord came to me, that I must go thither. So being come to the house we were going to, I wished friends that were with me to walk into the house, saying nothing to them whither I was to go; and as soon as they were gone, I stepped away, and went by my eye over hedge and ditch, till I came within a mile of Lichfield, where, in a great field, there were shepherds keeping their sheep. Then I was commanded by the Lord to pull off my shoes; and I stood still (for it was winter); and the word of the Lord was like a fire in me. So I put off my shoes, and left them with the shepherds, and the poor shepherds trembled and were astonished. Then I walked on about a mile till I came into the city, and as soon as I was got within the city, the word of the Lord came to me again, saying, Cry, Woe unto the bloody city of Lichfield. So I went up and down the streets, crying with a loud voice, Woe to the bloody city of Lichfield! And it being market day, I went into the market place, and to and fro in the several parts of it and made stands, crying as before, Woe to the bloody city of Lichfield! And no one laid hands on me; but as I went thus crying through the streets, there seemed to me to be a channel of blood running down the streets, and the market place appeared like a pool of blood. Now when I had declared what was upon me, and felt myself clear, I went out of the town in peace, and returning to the shepherds, gave them some money, and took my shoes of them again. But the fire of the Lord was so in my feet, and all over me, that I did not matter to put on my shoes any more, and was at a stand whether I should or no, till I felt freedom from the Lord so to do; and then, after I had washed my feet, I put on my shoes again. After this a deep consideration came upon me, why, or for what reason, I should be sent to cry against that city, and call it the bloody city. For though the parliament had the minster one while and the king another while, and much blood had been shed in the town during the wars between them, yet that was no more than had befallen many other places. But afterwards I came to understand that in the emperor Diocletians time, a thousand Christians were martyred in Lichfield. So I was to go, without my shoes, through the channel of their blood, and into the pool of their blood in the market place, that I might raise up the memorial of the blood of those martyrs which had been shed above a thousand years before, and lay cold in their streets. So the sense of this blood was upon me, and I obeyed the word of the Lord. Ancient records testify how many of the Christian Britons suffered there; and much I could write of the sense I had of the blood of the martyrs that hath been shed in this nation, for the name of Christ, both under the ten persecutions and since; but I leave it to the Lord, and to His book, out of which all shall be judged; for His book is a most certain, true record, and His spirit a true recorder.