Quaker persecution, 1664
Catalogue reference: SP 29/100, no. 106

For the Justices of the Peace for ye County of Berkes & the Bourough of Reading.

The Eternall God from whome no secreets can bee hid sees yo[ur]e doings And ye Eye of the Lorde behowlds the way you nowe walke in, & the Workes yt [that] you are aboute, who are persecuting his Lambs & imprisoning his People, who for the fullfilling of his Comands & walking in his Wayes have Chosen ye sufferings of this present World, rather then all ye Glory & pleasures that this World can afforde them; And wee have Counted up o[u]r Cost & doe finde upon serious Deliberation yt [that] it is better for us to Dye by the hands of the hardhearted & Cruell Men of this worlde in & under ye favour Love & frenshipp of the Lorde then to Loose our peace w[i]th him by makeing Shipwracke of our faith & peace of Consience w[hi]ch the Lorde hath Given us, And wee have truely debated, pondered, & Considered (this our present State of hard & Cruell Sufferings) in our owne Bosoms & Waighed our hearts in the Balence of Gods Truth & there is Nothing in all this World yt [that] coulde make us Leave our Wifes & famylyes our Callings, Estats & Imployments, But this very thing Namely ye Truth of o[u]r God, & the Worshipp of Christ Jesus the profession & practice of which at this day is the Grownde of this our Suffering, And whereas you press us so hard to Take ye Oath of Allegience, & Come to yo[u]r Church, wee doe Declare, in the Sincerity of o[u]r hearts; That the Grounde & Cause why wee Cannot take an Oath in any Case (although it bee to the Losse of our Estats & Lives) is because Jesus Christ & his Apostles, hath Comanded us not to Sweare at all, And it is not Lawefull for us (in any Case) to Breake Christs Comands, & if any of yo[u]r Ministers, Doctors, preists or Bishops can make it appeare by Gods Word, or the Scriptures, that it is Lawfull for us to Sweare & yt [that] wee may Sweare & not fall into Condemnation, wee will take it And therefore Cease calling to us to Sweare & breake Christs Comands till yo[u]r Doctors, Bishopes, Curats, or Ministers or some of them have convinced us yt [that] it may bee done & Christs Comands not broken for there is to much Swearing alredy & because of Swearing ye Land

[notation in left-hand margin] Mathew: 5.34. Jea [James] 5:12:

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