Margaret Fox was born at Marsh Grange, in the parish of Dalton, in Fournis, Lancashire) England, in the year 1614. She was the daughter of John Askew, who was of an ancient and honourable family ; he was honest, pious and charitable, and a man of estate and education.
She was married, in her eighteenth year, to Thomas Fell, of Swarthmore, a barrister-at-law, afterwards a justice of the Quorum in his county, a member of Bcveral Parliaments, vice-chancellor of the coun^ Falatino of Lancaster, aod also a judge in the circuit of West Cheater and North AVales, 4c. Strict integrity and loTC of justice, tempered with mercy and moderation, were conspicuous traita in his character.
“We lived together twenty-six years, in which time we had nine children. He was a tender and loving husband to me, and a tender father to his children, and one that sought after God in the best way that was made known to him. I was about sixteen years younger than he, and was one that sought ai^r the best tilings, being desirous to serve God, so that I might be accepted of Him; and was inquiring after the way of the Lord, and went often to hear the best ministers that came into our parts, whom we frequently entertained at our bouse ; many of those that were accounted the most serious, godly men, some of whom we then called lecturing ministers; and often had prayers and religious exercises in our family.
This I hoped I did well in, but often feared I was short of the right way; and after this manner I was inquiring and seeking about twenty years, when, in 1652, it pleased the Lord, in his infinite mercy and goodness, to send George Fox into our country, who declared unto us the eternal truth, as it is in Jesus; by the Word and power of the eternal God, turned many in darkness unto light and from the power of Satan unto God.”
The powerful and awakening nature of the spiritual ministry of George Fox, and the effect produced by it on her own mind, and his discourse on this occasion, she thus describes :
“Our house being a place open to entertain ministers and religious people, one of George Fox’s friends brought him thither, where he staid all night ; and the next day being a lecture or fast-day, he went to Ulverstone steeple-house, but came not in till people were gathered; I and my children had been a long time there before. And when they were singing, before the sermon, he came in ; and when they had done, he stood up, upon a seat or form, and desired ‘ that he might have liberty to speak ;’ and he that was in the pulpit said he might. And the first words that he spoke were as followeth : ‘He is not a Jew that is one outward, neither is that circumcision which is outward ; but he is a Jew that is one inward, and that is circumcision which is of the heart.’ And so he went on and said ‘that Christ was the light of the world, and lighteth every man that cometh into the world ; and that by this light they might be gathered to God,’
I stood up in my pew, and wondered at his doctrine; for I had never heard such before : and then he went on, and opened the Scriptures, and said:
‘The Scriptures were the prophet’s words, and Christ’s and the apostles’ words ; and what, as they spoke, they enjoyed and possessed, and had it from the Lord :’ and said :
‘ Then what had any to do with the Scriptures, but as they came to the spirit that gave them forth. Yon will Bay Christ Saith this, and the apostles say this ; but what canst thou say? Art thou a, child of light, and hast walked in the light; and wliat thou speaketh, is it inwardly from God.’
This opened me so, that it cut me to the heart; and then I saw clearly we were all wrong. So I sat down in my pew again, and cried bitterly ; and I cried ” my spirit to the Lord ; ‘ We are all thieves ; wc are all thieves ;* we have taken the Scriptures in words, and know nothing of them in n-ir ‘ves.’ So that served me, that cannot well tell wunt he spoke afterwards; but he went on declaring against fa.lBe prophets, priests and deceivers of the people. And he came to our house again that night, and spoke in the family amongst the servants, and they were all generally convinced. And I was struck into such sadness, I knew not what to do, my husband being from home. I saw it was the truth, and I could not deny it; and I did as the apostle saith : ‘ I received the truth in the love of it ;’ and it was opened to me so clear, that I had never a tittle in my heart against it ; but I desired the Lord that I might be kept in it, and then I desired no greater portion.”
Margaret Fell continues, speaking of her husband :
‘ He lived about six years after I was convinced, in which time it pleased the Lord to visit him with sickness, wherein he became more than usually loving and kind to our friends called Quakers, having been a merciful man to ihe Lord’s people. I and many other Friends were well satisfied, the Lord in mercy received him to Himself.’
His death occurred in the eighth month, 1658, he being about sixty years of age.
From the book The Life of Margaret Fox, Wife of George Fox by Margaret Fox
**Note from Administrator: I believe this book had been translated, which is why there are some errors and unclear language. However, the content is valuable.