Early Quaker and Healer
George Fox was active in Britain during the second half of the seventeenth century. He is best known for being a central figure in establishing the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and is less well known today as a healer but during his lifetime he was very well known for his healing ministry.
George Fox’s Journal and other contemporary records bear witness to the amount of healing that he is associated with.
The gift of healing manifested in George Fox in two ways; firstly as self healing and secondly as the healing of a variety of diseases and conditions in others.
A major aspect of George Fox’s spirituality was his obvious total trust in the Divine will and in the protection afforded him and others while they sought to carry out that will. Often he would be badly beaten and abused for his spiritual and religious beliefs but was able to overcome the effects of his, sometimes serious, injuries by means of self healing and there are examples of this in David Hodges’ book George Fox and the Healing Ministry.
There are many records of George Fox’s healing gifts and they show that he was unusually willing (for those times), to help the sick and injured as the need presented itself or when he was specifically asked to intervene. Healing seems to have been a regular and not uncommon part of his overall ministry. Most of those who he sought to help came from the poor and humble folk among whom he largely moved, although he treated those of a more exalted station, such as Lady Elizabeth Claypole the daughter of Oliver Cromwell.
The majority of healings were of physical disease or injury although there are instances of mental or psychological problems being addressed and they were variously recorded at the time as ‘distracted’, ‘moping’, ‘possessed’ and ‘troubled’.
The seventeenth century was a time of spiritual ferment. The Quaker movement in its early days was the outcome of a very intense spiritual experience which raised George Fox and others into a realisation of the Divine presence and power that flooded their whole inner being with a new light and moral energy. It is not surprising therefore that in those days many Friends were able to become channels of a Divine healing energy of such nature and power that they were able to perform healings that seemed miraculous and thus the healings that took place in the seventeenth century were called miracles.
There are several publications about George Fox’s Journal and these are obtainable from the Quaker Bookstore. In particular there is Henry Cadbury’s original 1948 book and a subsequent version.
George Fox and the Healing Ministry (ISBN 1-873048-98-X) may be obtained via the FFH Publications Page
Readers may also be interested in George Fox's Book of Miracles, edited and with an introduction and notes by Henry Cadbury; 1973 paperback edition with forewords by Rufus Jones, Jim Pym and Paul Anderson.