chapter  16
10 Pages

Looking Within

A Nontheist Perspective
ByDavid Boulton

Quaker discourse on good and evil often takes as its starting point words Thomas Ellwood ascribed to George Fox when he wrote the early section of Fox's Journal. The entire body of his work thus precisely coincides with the beginnings of Quakerism as bounded by Fox's early wanderings among sundry separatists in the late forties and the moment of Quaker lift-off in 1652 when a leader seeking a following met seekers seeking a leader. Among his associates by the time he was writing The New Law was the Kingston radical John Fielder, who would continue his agitation as a Quaker under the new republican regime. A Quaker equivalent of the despised church courts was set up to judge and disown not only behaviour prejudicial to the reputation of 'the saints' but also 'all imagined unreasonable and untimely prophesyings'.