Josiah Coale (1632?-1668) was an early Friends minister. He journeyed throughout England, America and Holland, converting many to Quakerism. For his efforts, he was reviled, beaten and imprisoned by English and Dutch authorities and by the Puritans. Native Americans, however, welcomed him. His visit to Pennsylvania in 1660 was to treat with the Susquehanna Indians to purchase land there for a colony. Coale wrote prolifically about Quakerism (“To the King and Both Houses….”; “The Whore Unvaled….”; “Invitation to Love….”; “England’s Sad Estate….”). He died young, greatly mourned by Friends. Margaret Fell wrote “A Few Lines Concerning Josiah Coale”, an elegy, for him.
Coale composed an early Quaker poem, “A Song of the Judgments and Mercies of the Lord”, in 1662. He said it was “written at the movings of the spirit of the Lord”. The piece concerned the new revelation brought by Christ as reported by John in the New Testament. An excerpt:
“Until Johns Ministry I came to see, which was the great’st of all,
The Prophets which had gone before: from the great’st unto the small,
For then the way was made so straight, the path was made so plain
That, th’ Coming of Gods Son I saw in his great power to raign;
Whose kingdom now is Come with power, the Lamb is sets on’s throne”.
(Pamphlet of Coale’s “A Song of the Judgments and Mercies of the Lord” above).