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Fox's speller?

While hunting for A New-England Fire-Brand Quenched, a book of George Fox's that doesn't seem to be available online or in the Works, I stumbled upon Instructions for Right Spelling and Plain Directions for Reading and Writing True English, apparently a speller with religious instruction. I hadn't seen it referenced before, and it also appears to be largely unavailable except in libraries. (You can see card catalog entries for this book at Cornell.)

The title page identifies it as "By G.F. and E.H. Enlarged by A.S.", and it's listed under Fox regularly. "E. H." is probably Ellis Hookes, with whom Fox wrote The Arraignment of Popery in 1669. Cornell dates the original speller at 1673, though the edition I have is 1691. (Update: I found a bit more on it, focusing on the catechism, and confirming Fox's participation.)

The piece that intrigues me most is "The Child's Lesson", pages 8 to 12 of the speller. It reads like it could be Fox, or might not be. It could be Ellis Hookes, or the mysterious "A.S." (If anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear them.) Most of it is in blackletter script, but once transcribed, it looks like:

The Child's Lesson

Christ is the Truth. Christ is the Light. Christ is My Way. Christ is my Life. Christ is my saviour. Christ is my hope of Glory.

Christ is my Redeemer. Christ is my Rock. Christ is the Door. Christ is my king, and Lord of Lords. Christ is the Corner-stone. Christ is the Lamb of God that takes away my sin.

Christ is the Power of God. Christ is my wisdom. Christ is my Righteousness. Christ is my Sanctification. Christ is my Justification. Christ is the Seed, Christ is the Resurrection.

Christ destroyeth the Devil and his Works, which leadeth Man and Woman from God; and so Christ is the Way to God again.

Sarah was a good Woman.

Jezebel was a bad Woman, who killed the Just, and turned against the Lord's Prophets, with her attired head and painted face, peeping out of the Window.

Christ I must feel within me, who is my Life and my Light, and the Truth; and that is God that sheweth me my Thoughts and Imaginations of my heart; and that is the Lord God that doth search my heart.

It is the Spirit of Truth that doth lead into all Truth.

It is the Spirit of Truth that reproves the World of Sin.

And that is the good Spirit which reproves the bad and his Works.

And the Light manifesteth and reproveth; and that which doth make manifest and reprove, is the Light.

And that which giveth the Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, is the Light which shineth in the heart.

And that which may be known of God is manifest within, which God hath shewn unto you; that is that which shews you Sin and Evil.

The Gospel is the Power of God.

The Cross of Christ is the Power of God, which crucifieth from the State of Adam and Eve in the Fall; in that Power is the Glorying, an Everlasting Glorying: And this is above the fleshly Glorying of Adam and Eve in the fall, with his Sons and Daughters.

The Church is in God the Father of Christ, and not a Steeple-house, and that is the Spirit that mortifies from my Sin.

And they that are led by the Spirit of God are the Suns [sic] of God; and that is the Spirit of God, which doth instruct me in God's ways, which are good, and that is the bad Spirit which leadeth into bad ways.

And if I be a Child of God, I must not grieve him, but must be meek, and sober, and gentle, and loving and quiet, righteous and humble, and live in the fear of God, and live godly, and not Lye, nor do any wrong to any one.

So if I be wild, froward, wicked, heady, high-minded, wilful, stubborn, proud, envious, disdainful, scornful, unrighteous, ungodly, and Lye, and do not the Truth, and forget God, such God turneth into hell, that Grieveth him.

In the beginning was the Word.

Since the beginning were the Words; and since the beginning was Babel; which is the beginning of Tongues, which is the Priests Original, but the Saints Original is the Word before Babel was, and that is the Originel [sic], makes Divine, and not the Tongues that began at Babel.

And it cost second Adam his Blood, to purchase me out of the state of Adam and Eve in the Fall, to set me in the state that he was in before he fell, to that which is a blessed state, out of the cursed state, and not only to the blessed state that Adam and Eve were in before they fell; but to Christ that never fell, to his Stature.

A Child being fallen from the Image of God, he hath not Peace.

A Child being in the Image of God, he hath Peace.

A Child being fallen from the holiness, he doth not see God, but being in the holinese he doth see God.

And the image of God is Righteousness and true holiness.

In six Days the Lord made the heavens and the Earth, and all things therein; and the sixth Day made Man and Woman, and had him have Dominion over the Works of his hands.

Christ is my foundation.

And Christ is the first and the last.

And Christ is a quickening Spirit.

Abel was a good Man.

Cain was a bad man, full of Envy and Wrath, and killed his Brother about Religion.

Isaac was a good man.

Ishmael was a wild Mocker and a scorning Archer, and turned into the Wilderness.

Jacob was a good man; Esau was a prophane man (who turned against Jacob) who bore the Sword.

The Spirit of Truth is my Leader into all Truth, and sheweth me things to come.

And the Power of God is my Keeper from Sin and Evil. And the Worship of God is in the Spirit and in the Truth.

The next section is titled "Proper Names in Scripture divided into Syllables, and the Significations of them in English; together with other memorable Passages mentioned in the Scripture, necessary and delightful for Children to Read and Learn." There's also a catechism.

If anyone knows anything about this book, please leave information in the comments.


I read it in microfiche version in a university library 20 years ago and have recently been trying to locate a publically accessible copy again. As I recall it was catalogued with early English primers and not with religious tracts by the cataloguing system.

Don't know if this helps. If you locate a publically viewable source - I know longe rhave a university library card -- feel free to let me know.

I believe A.S. is Andrew Sowle, who was one of the longstanding Quaker printers. The Oxford DNB says Quaker printers often hid their names due to fear of reprisal, which is probably why it's listed as just A.S.

So does Cornell have a copy?! Or do they have EEBO?

They have EEBO, but I don't know the copyright status on that, so I transcribed it from the microfilm they also have.

(That's also what I'm doing with A New-England Fire-brand Quenched. Print copies would make me feel calmer about copyright issues, but I'll take what I can...)

Have you seen this article by Angell?

Quaker Theology #9 -- Fall-Winter 2003

The Catechisms of George Fox: By Stephen W. Angell