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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Cry of the Persecuted

By Letters of the Quakers

[New England Judged. The Second Part. 1667.]

Joint Letter from Mary Traske and Margaret Smith, Written in 1660.

TO thee, John Endicott, and the rest of the rulers of this jurisdiction, who are given up to fight against the Lord and his truth in this day wherein it is springing forth, and by the comeliness of it hath the Lord our God constrained us to take up the cross and follow him through great trials and sufferings as to the outward. And herein we can rejoice that we are counted worthy and called thereunto to bear a testimony against a cruel and hard-hearted people, who are slighting the day of their visitation and foolishly requiting the Lord for his goodness, and shamefully entreating his hidden ones whom he hath sent amongst you to call you from the evil of your ways, that ye might come with them to partake of his love and feel his life and power in your own hearts; that with us ye might have been brought to be subject to the higher power, Christ Jesus; whom you should have been obedient unto, and hearkened to his judgments while he stood at the door and knocked (for he will not always strive with man), and then it should have been well with you. But seeing you are gone from this that leadeth into tenderness, love and meekness, and to do unto all as you would be done unto; therefore you are given up unto a Spirit of Error and hardness of heart and blindness of mind; the eye of your minds being blinded by the god of this world; so that you cannot see our life which is hid with Christ in God, who is become our light and life, and hope of glory, and our exceeding great reward; in whom we do rejoice. Yea, surely the God of Jacob is with us whatever you may be able to say against us; for behold the Lord our God is arising as a mighty and terrible one to plead the cause of his people and to clear the cause of the innocent; but surely He will in nowise acquit the guilty who have shed the blood of the innocent; and you shall assuredly feel his judgments who have wilfully put forth your hands against his Chosen. You have cut off the righteous from amongst you and are still taking counsel against the Lord, to proceed against more of his people, but this know, the Lord our God will confound your counsel and lay your glory in the dust. Unto whom will you flee for help, and whither will ye go to hide yourselves? For verily the Lord will strip off all your coverings, for you are not covered with the Spirit of the Lord, therefore the woe is gone out against you; for your place of defence is a refuge of lies and under falsehoods you have hid yourselves.

Woe, woe unto you, for you have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters, and are greedily swallowing the polluted waters that comes through the stinking channel of your hireling masters, unclean spirits, whom Christ cries woe against, and who cannot cease from sin, having hearts exercised with covetous practices. Woe unto them (saith the Scripture), for they have run greedily after the error of Balaam who loved the wages of unrighteousness; and are seeking enchantments against the seed of Jacob; their divinations against Israel the Lord will confound; and all your wicked counsel bring to naught. Woe unto you that decree unrighteous decrees and write grievousness, which you have prescribed to turn away the poor and needy from their right. Have you not sold yourselves to work wickedness, and are strengthening yourselves in your abominations till the measure of your iniquity be full? Surely the overflowing scourge will pass over you and sweep away your refuge of lies, and your covenant with hell shall be disannulled; for lo, destruction and misery is in your way and the way of peace you do not know, for you are gone from the good old way after your own ways, therefore the way of holiness is hid from your eyes. Oh, that you had owned the day of your visitation before it had been too late, and had hearkened to the voice of his servants whom He hath sent unto you again and again in love and tenderness to your souls; but ye would not hearken unto the Lord when He called, therefore when ye cry and call He will not hear you. Although you may call unto him yet He will not answer; He will laugh at your calamity when it cometh, for you have set at naught all his counsel, and have chosen rather to walk in your own counsel. But this know, that if ye had hearkened to the counsel of the Lord, the light, which is now your condemnation, and had waited there to know his will, then you should have known it; and then these wicked laws had never been made nor prosecuted by you, which you have made in your own wills, contrary to the law of God, which is pure and leadeth all that yieldeth obedience to it into purity and holiness of life. And for our being obedient to this law which the Lord hath written in our hearts, we are hated and persecuted by you who are in Cain’s nature murdering the just; yea, surely the cause is the Lord’s, for which we have suffered all this time, and the battle is the Lord’s, and He will arise and stand up for them that faithfully bear forth their testimony to the end. And ye shall be as broken vessels before him, which cannot be joined together again; therefore fear and tremble before the Lord, who is coming upon you as a thief in the night; from whom you shall not be able to hide yourselves, and will reward you according to your works; whose judgments are just; and He is risen to plead with the unjust rulers, priests and people, who are joined together in a profession of godliness, and of glorying in it, but denying the power thereof in them where it appears. But your glorying will be turned into shame and confusion of face, and your beauty will be as the fading flower which suddenly withereth away; and this you shall find to be true in the day when the Lord shall accomplish it upon you. And we have written to clear our consciences, and if ye account us your enemies for speaking the truth, and heat the furnace of our affliction hotter, yet know we shall not fall down and worship your wills; neither esteem all the dumb idols, after which you are led, of no other use but to be thrown aside to the moles and the bats; for what are the shadows, if it were of good things to come, to the substance? And that which seemed glorious hath no glory in respect of that which excelleth; and all the sufferings that we have endured from you for Christ have not at all marred his visage to us, but we still see more beauty in him; well knowing, that as they did unto him so they do unto us, and now they are come to pass, we remember that He said these things.

From your house of Correction where we have been unjustly restrained from our children and habitations, one of us above ten months, and the other about eight; and where we are yet continued by your oppressors that know no shame;

BOSTON, 21st of the 10th Month, 1660.