The danger for any spirit-inspired religion is individualism carried to excess. In the seventeenth century, this was seen amongst those called Ranters. Friends, too, ran this risk. What preserved them was the discovery of 'gospel-order', the setting up of meetings for church affairs where individual insight was tested against the insight of the gathered group. A series of meetings for church affairs, some local, some regional or national, had developed from 1654 onwards, though it was during the years 1667-1669 that George Fox journeyed throughout the country, creating from a series of ad-hoc meetings a regular structure of monthly and quarterly meetings as part of a yearly meeting for the whole nation.
A system grew up where by and large men and women Friends held separate meetings for church affairs, a practice which continued until the end of the nineteenth century. Some meetings were held jointly, and some Friends objected to the existence of women's meetings altogether. George Fox defended them:
For man and woman were helpsmeet in the image of God ... in the dominion before they fell; but after the Fall ... the man was to rule over his wife; but in the restoration by Christ, into the image of God ... in that they are helpsmeet, man and woman, as they were in before the Fall.