When the Lord first sent me forth in the year 1643, I was sent as an innocent lamb (and young in years) amongst (men in the nature of) wolves [Lk 10:3], dogs, bears, lions, and tigers into the world, which the devil had made like a wilderness [Isa 14:16f], no right way then found out of it. And I was sent ‘To turn people from darkness to the light,’ [Acts 26:18] which Christ, the second Adam [1 Cor 15:45], did enlighten them withal [John 1:9]; that so they might see Christ, their way to God [John 14:6], with the spirit of God, which he doth pour upon all flesh [Joel 2:28], that with it they might have an understanding to know the things of God [1 Cor 2:10f], and to know him, and his son Jesus Christ, which is eternal life [John 17:3]; and so might worship and serve the living God, their maker and creator, who takes care for all, who is Lord of all; and with the light and spirit of God they might know the scriptures, which were given forth from the spirit of God in the saints, and holy men and women of God [2 Pet 1:21].
And when many began to be turned to the light (which is the life in Christ) and the spirit of God, which gave them an understanding, and had found the path of the just, the shining light [Prov 4:18], then did the wolves, dogs, dragons, bears, lions, tigers, wild beasts, and birds of prey make a roaring and a screeching noise against the lambs, sheep, doves, and children of Christ, and were ready to devour them and me, and to tear us to pieces. But the Lord's arm and power did preserve me; though many times I was in danger of my life, and very often cast into dungeons and prisons, and haled before magistrates. But all things did <10> work together for good [Rom 8:28]: and the more I was cast into outward prisons, the more people came out of their spiritual and inward prison, (through the preaching of the gospel [1 Pet 3:19].) But the priests and professors were in such a great rage, and made the rude and profane people in such a fury, that I could hardly walk in the streets, or go in the highways, but they were ready oft-times to do me a mischief. But Christ, who hath all power in heaven and in the earth [Mat 28:28], did so restrain and limit them with his power, that my life was preserved; though many times I was near killed.
Oh! the burdens and travails, that I went under! Often my life pressed down under the spirits of professors and teachers without life, and the profane! And besides, the troubles afterwards with backsliders, apostates, and false brethren [2 Cor 11:26], which were like so many Judas's in betraying the truth [Mat 10:4], and God's faithful and chosen [Rev 17:14] seed, and causing the way of truth to be evil spoken of [2 Pet 2:2]! But the Lord blasted, wasted, and confounded them, so that none stood long; for the Lord did either destroy them, or bring them to nought, and his truth flourished, and his people in it, to the praise of God, who is the revenger of his chosen.
And the truth sprang up [Mark 4:8, Luke 8:8] first (to us, as to be a people to the Lord,) in Leicestershire in 1644, and in Warwickshire in 1645, and in Nottinghamshire in 1646, and in Darbyshire in 1647, and in the adjacent countries in 1648, 1649, and 1650, and in Yorkshire in 1651, and in Lancashire and Westmoreland in 1652, and in Cumberland, and Bishoprick, and Northumberland in 1653, and in London, and most parts of the nation of England, and Scotland, and Ireland in 1654, &c.…
<11> <12> ….
And many books I gave forth against tithes, and how the priesthood was changed that took them [Heb 7:1-12]. And that Christ sent forth his twelve [Mat 10:5, Luke 9:1] (and after, seventy [Luke 10:1]) disciples, and said unto them, ‘Freely they had received, and freely they were to give. [Mat 10:8]’ And so all that are transgressors, and do not obey the doctrine and command of Christ therein, we cannot receive them….
And several books I was moved to give forth against swearing, and that our yea and nay might be taken instead of an oath; and if we broke that, let us suffer the same punishment that they did that broke their oaths. And in Jamaica the governor granted the thing, and the assembly; and it is also granted in some other places. And several of the parliament-men in England have acknowledged the reasonableness of the thing. For the true oath of God was but to tie people to swear by the Lord, and to say and to do truth, since man and woman fell, in the time of the law, and not before the fall. And this was the oath that Christ came to fulfil and end; and he saith, ‘Swear not at all.’ [Mat 5:34] And I say, Christ fulfils and ends this oath, which men were to perform to the Lord [Mat 5:33], who performs God's oath, which he swore by himself [Heb 6:13], and fulfils that; and he sets up yea, yea, and nay, nay, instead thereof [Mat 5:37]. Concerning which I and my Friends have written at large in our books touching this subject. And the magistrates, after some time, when they saw our faithfulness in yea and nay, that were they moderate, (both before and since the king came in,) would put Friends into offices without an oath. But they that were cruel and envious, would fine Friends to get money of them; though Friends could not pay them any. <13>
And thus the Lord's power hath carried us through all, and over all, to his everlasting glory and praise! For God's power, which was before the devil's was, hath been our hedge [Job 1:10, Isa 5:5], our wall, and our keeper, and the preserver of his plants and vineyard, who have not had the magistrates sword and staff to help them, nor ever trusted in the arm of flesh [Jer 17:5]. And have gone, without Judas's bag [John 12:6] or the magistrates' sword and staff, to preach the word of life [1 Jn 1:1], which was in the beginning [John 1:1], before they were; which word reconciles to God. And thousands have received the word of reconciliation, [2 Cor 5:19] and are born again of the immortal seed by the word of God [1 Pet 1:23], and are feeding upon the milk of the word [1 Pet 2:2], which lives, and abides, and endures for ever. And many have suffered to death for their testimony, both in England and beyond the seas, both before and since the king came in…
<14> <15> …
For since the Christians denied the Jews' temple, storehouse, and priests, where the widows, strangers, and fatherless were relieved [Deut 14:28, Mal 3:8-10]; they set up a men's meeting in the power of God, and in the holy ghost [Acts 6:1-6], (and they had Deaconesses also,) to see that widows, fatherless, and strangers were relieved, and that nothing was wanting among them [1 Th 4:12]. Now, though this practice hath been lost since the apostles' days, since men have gone from the power of God, and the holy ghost, that the apostles were in, (and therefore are the streets and country so full of widows, strangers, and beggars, and so full of wants, who want the sense of the good spirit and power to open their hearts, that the apostles and primitive christians were in.) But the everlasting gospel being preached [Rev 14:6] again by the same holy ghost that the apostles were in; and received from heaven as they received it; and many thousands having received this gospel now again, men's meetings are set up, (as were in the days of the apostles,) in the power of God, and in the holy ghost. And women's meetings as mothers, and that they may be teachers of good things [Tit 2:3], and so to see, that nothing be lacking amongst them; and so to do good unto all, but especially to the household of faith [Gal 6:10].
And now, the power of God is the authority of both our men's and women's meetings, and all our other meetings; which power of God was before the apostacy was from the apostles, and before the fall and <16> the devil were, and is over all; and all are to take their possessions of it, and in it to do God's service and business. So these meetings are for the converted and elect, ‘before the world began,’ [2 Tim 1:9] and such as are heirs of the power, and do possess it; and what they do and act in the spirit and power of God, they do it in that which shall never have an end, to the glory of God for ever. Amen!
G. F. Top
[Epistle I (1)]
Friends,—The children of the devil, how expert are they in evil, in all deceit in his kingdom; and yet they may speak of the things of God: but no vulturous eye [Job 28:7] or venomous beast [Acts 28:4] ever trod in the steps of the just, though they may talk of the way. For who have their conversation in this world, and only mind the things of this world, in vain do they profess godliness.
But the children of God, who are conceived and begotten of him, are <17> not of this world, neither do they mind only the things of this world, but the things which are eternal. But the children of this world do mostly mind the external things, and their love is in them, and the other live by faith [Rom 1:17]; the one is sanctified by the word [John 17:17], the other painted with the words. The children of God are pure in heart [Mat 5:8], not looking only at the outside. The favour of the world and friendship thereof is enmity to God [Jas 4:4], man may soon be stained with it. Oh! love the stranger [Deut 10:19], and be as strangers in the world [Heb 11:13], and to the world! For they that followed Christ in his cross, they were strangers in the world, and wonders to the world, and condemned by the world; and the world knew him not [John 1:10], neither doth it them that follow him now. So, marvel not if the world hate you [1 Jn 3:13] ; for the world lieth in hatred and wickedness [1 Jn 5:19]. Who love this world, are enemies to Christ [1 Jn 2:15/Jas 4:4]; and who love the Lord Jesus Christ, and have him for their Lord over them, they are redeemed out of the world. The world would have a Christ, but not to rule over them; the nature of the world is above Christ in man, until Christ hath subdued that nature in man. While the nature of the world doth rule in man, Oh! the deaf ears and blind eyes, and the understandings, that are all shut up amongst them, with which they judge! But who love the Lord Jesus Christ, do not mind the world's judgment, nor are troubled at it; but consider all our brethren, who have gone before us.
When ye think ye are past all crosses, when the trial doth come, ye will find a cross to that will which doth meddle with the things of God presumptuously; that man may live in joy, but the spirit is in bondage. Rejoice not in the flesh, but in the spirit, which crucifieth all fleshly boastings: if the fleshly will be fed, then carelessness cometh up, and they fall into flatness, (from the spirit,) and are mindless of the Lord God; such are soon up and down. The serpent tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, and she took and gave to her husband [Gen 3:1-6], and so they fell under the serpent's power, and the creatures, out of the power of God, which would have kept them in dominion. And so, Adam and Eve, and the serpent, all went out of truth. And Eve eating of the tree of knowledge, she had knowledge and wisdom after the fall, but not in the dominion, in the power of God. But the seed Christ [Gal 3:16], which was in the beginning [John 1:1], bruiseth the serpent's head [Gen 3:15], and he is the wisdom of God [1 Cor 1:24].
G. F. Top
Friends,—There is an eye, that hath looked to see the good seed, that was sown, and queried, from whence came these tares? The answer was and is; ‘The wicked one hath sown them.’ Now read the tares, and what is the effect of them, and their work? And what they <18> do, and have done? How they hang amongst the wheat? But now is the time of harvest, that both wheat and tares are seen, and each distinguished, the one from the other. [Mat 13:24-30]
G. F. Top
All Friends, mind that which is pure in you to guide you to God, out of Babylon, out of confusion: there all the world is; there is the seat of the beast; there are the false prophets and deceivers [Mat 24:11], as well within as without. One voice of deceit knows not another, nor any of them the voice of the living God [Deut 5:26]. But, dear friends, mind the light of God in your consciences, which will show you all deceit; dwelling in it, guides out of the many things into one spirit, which cannot lie, nor deceive. They that are guided by it, are one, who have been made to drink into one spirit [1 Cor 12:13]; and the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. [1 Cor 14:32f] All jarrings, all schisms, all rents are out of the spirit, for God hath tempered the body together, that there should be no schism in the body, but all worship him with one consent. [Zeph 3:9] And as the power and life of truth are made manifest, watch in the discerning one over another.
And beware of discouraging any in the work of God: the labourers are few, [Mat 9:37] that are faithful for God. Take heed of hurting the gift, which God hath given to profit withal [1 Cor 12:7], whereby ye have received life through death, and a measure of peace by the destruction of evil. Pray, that peace may be multiplied [Dan 4:1], and the ministration of life, to the raising of the dead, that ‘the seed of the woman may bruise the serpent's head, [Gen 3:15]’ discover all deceit, and rend all veils and coverings, that the pure may come to life, which deceit hath trampled upon.
And all take heed to your spirits; that which is hasty, discerns not the good seed. Take heed of being corrupted by flatteries; they that know their God, shall be strong [Dan 11:32]. But take heed of labouring to turn the just aside for a thing of nought [Isa 29:21], but know the precious from the vile [Jer 15:19], the clean from the unclean [Lev 10:10]; ‘These shall be as my mouth,’ [Jer 15:19] saith the Lord, for his work is great, and his gifts diverse [1 Cor 12:4]. And therefore all mind your gift, mind your measure; mind your calling and your work. Some speak to the conscience; some plough and break the clods; some weed out, and some sow; some wait, that fowls devour not the seed. But wait all for the gathering of the simple-hearted ones; for ‘they that turn many to righteousness, shall shine for ever.’ [Dan 12:3]
Mind the light, that all may be refreshed one in another, and all in one. And the God of power and love keep all Friends in power, in love, that there be no surmisings, but pure refreshings in the unlimited love of God, which makes one another known in the conscience, to read one <19> another's hearts: being comprehended into this love, it is inseparable, and all are here one. And keep in the oneness, and note them that cause dissention, contrary to the gospel ye have received; that one pure faith may be held in all, to guide and preserve all in the unity of the spirit and bond of peace [Eph 4:3]; all one family of love, children of one father [Mal 2:10], and of the household of God [Eph 2:19].
G. F. Top
[V. (5) — To his Parents.]
[VI. (6) — To Friends.]
[VII.(7) — To Friends at Swarthmore.] <20>
Friends,—That which is set up by the sword, is held up by the sword; and that which is set up by spiritual weapons, is held up by spiritual weapons, and not by carnal weapons [2 Cor 10:4]. The peacemaker hath the kingdom [Mat 5:9], and is in it; and hath the dominion over the peace-breaker, to calm him in the power of God.
And friends, let the waves break over your heads. There is rising a new and living way [Heb 10:20] out of the north, which makes the nations like waters [Jer 47:2?]. Hurt not the vines, nor the oil [Rev 6:5], nor such as know that ‘the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.’ [Psa 24:1] The days of virtue, love, and peace, are come and coming, and the Lamb had and hath the kings of the earth to war withal, and to fight withal, who will overcome with the sword of the spirit, the word of his mouth [Rev 19:11-21]; for the Lamb shall have the victory. [Rev 17:14]
And are not some like Ephraim, with a miscarrying womb? which have not brought forth the sutance, the birth from above; but have brought forth children to murder? [Hos 9:13f]
G. F. Top
Friends,—Whatever ye are addicted to, the tempter will come in that thing; and when he can trouble you, then he gets advantage over you [2 Cor 2:11], and then ye are gone. Stand still in that which is pure, after ye see yourselves; and then mercy comes in. After thou seest thy thoughts, and the temptations, do not think, but submit; and then power comes. Stand still in that which shows and discovers; and there doth strength immediately come. And stand still in the light, and submit to it, and the other will be hushed and gone; and then content comes. And when temptations and troubles appear, sink down in that which is pure, and all will be hushed, and fly away. Your strength is to stand still, after ye see yourselves; whatsoever ye see yourselves addicted to, temptations, <21> corruption, uncleanness, &c. then ye think ye shall never overcome. And earthly reason will tell you, what ye shall lose; hearken not to that, but stand still in the light that shows them to you, and then strength comes from the Lord, and help contrary to your expectation. Then ye grow up in peace, and no trouble shall move you. David fretted himself, when he looked out [Eccl 12:3]; but when he was still, no trouble could move him. [Psa 37:1,7f] When your thoughts are out, abroad, then troubles move you. But come to stay your minds upon that spirit [Isa 26:3] which was before the letter; here ye learn to read the scriptures aright. If ye do any thing in your own wills, then ye tempt God; but stand still in that power which brings peace.
G. F. Top
[XII. (12) ]
Every one in your measure wait upon God, who is the true shepherd, and leads his flock into the green pastures [Psa 23:1f], and fresh springs he opens daily; this ye will see and experience. And mind that which is pure in one another, which joins you together; for nothing will join, or make fit, but what is pure; nor unite, nor build, but what is pure. Therefore every particular, fear God; for whatsoever ye build of yourselves will not stand, but will tumble down again; although it be as gold, or <22> silver, or brass, or iron, [Dan 2:35?] the strength of all these things, which is above the pure in you, will come to nothing, and this will not unite with the pure. Therefore wait every one in the measure which God hath given you; and none of you be sayers only, but doers of the word [Jas 1:22, Mat 23:3]. And so, walk in the truth, and be ye all servants to it, and it will lead you out of the world. The world would have the truth to serve them to talk of, to trade withal, and to contend withal; these are the wells without water [2 Pet 2:17], these are the trees without fruit [Jude 1:12]. But they who dwell in the spirit of the Lord, (which is pure, which joins together, and unites and builds up all in one spirit,) see all these things, and are separated from them. So if ye live in the spirit, and walk in it, ye will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh [Gal 5:16], which will lead into uncleanness, and into adultery, and into that which despiseth dignity, which defiles the flesh [Jude 1:8], and goes from the pure. Therefore the pure faith is to be contended for [Jude 1:3]; and those who were sanctified by God the Father, did contend for it, and were preserved by it in Christ Jesus. Therefore wait upon God for the living bread, that never fades away; which he that eats of, lives for ever [John 6:51]. So God Almighty bless you, and keep you in the measure of his gift, faithful to himself!
Dear hearts! to that which is pure in you I speak, (which the presumptuous mind would veil,) that God alone may be exalted, and all flesh shattered down. And all are to take warning, and not one to exalt himself above another: but that God alone may be exalted [Isa 2:11,17] among you all, and in you all, who alone is blessed for ever. And ye may see, from whence your heavenly food comes alone, and grow up by it; for God hath done great things in these northern parts [Ezek 38:15?], and the Lord is doing great things to the exaltation of his great name, and astonishing the heathen; notwithstanding the raging of the beast, and the opening of his mouth, to the blaspheming of God and his temple [Rev 13:6]. Therefore all be valiant in the Lord God; and so fare ye well! And the Lord God of power keep you.
G. F. Top
[XIV. (14) — A word from the Lord to Friends.]
Friends,—Every one in particular, who are of God, and not of the world, walk out of the world's vain customs [Jer 10:3], ordinances, and commands; and stand a witness against them all, in the testimony of Jesus, and witness him the substance of all, waiting in the light of God, and walking in it, then will ye have unity one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse you from all sin [1 Jn 1:7]; for through it and by it we do overcome; which blood of the new covenant is but one. There shall ye witness the lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world [John 1:29]. Oh! wait all in that which is pure, to be fed alone of God with the eternal, living food! Go not out among the swine, who feed upon the outside, the husk [Luke 15:16], among the merchants of Babylon [Rev 18:10f,23], and so forsake the living bread; but as ye have received Christ Jesus, in him walk [Col 2:6], that ye may all honour the Lord Jesus Christ, and adorn his gospel. And be famous in his light, and bold in his strength, which will carry you above the world, and above all the deceits of it. Oh! in love watch over one another for good, and for the better, and not for the worse [Jer 44:27]! And dwell in that which is pure of God in you, lest your thoughts get forth; and then evil thoughts get up, and surmising one against another, which ariseth out of the veiled mind, which darkens the pure discerning. But as ye dwell in that which is of God, it guides you up out of the elementary life, and out of the mortal into the immortal, (which is hid from all the fleshly ones,) where is peace and joy eternal to all that can witness the new birth. Babes in Christ [1 Cor 3:1], born again of the immortal seed [1 Pet 1:23], in it wait, my life is with you in perfect unity; bow down to nothing but the Lord God. Satan would have had Christ to have bowed down, but he would not [Mat 4:9f]; the same seed now, the same birth born in you now, which is the same to-day, yesterday, and for ever [Heb 13:8]. The tempter will come to you; and if ye look forth, and hearken to his words, and let them in, then ye bow down under him, and worship him. But I say unto you, and charge you in the presence of the Lord, mind the pure seed of God in you, and the mighty power of God will cherish you up <24> to the Lord God above all temptations, not to bow down to any thing; but feeding upon the immortal food, ye will feel yourselves supported, and carried over him by your Father and your God, who is over all, blessed for ever! Who is the virtue of all creatures, the wisdom of all things; all holy praises be unto the holy, glorious Lord God for ever!
G. F. Top
To all you, my dear friends, who have tasted of the immediate, working power of the Lord, and do find an alteration in your minds, and do see from whence virtue doth come, and strength, that doth renew the inward man [2 Cor 4:16], and doth refresh you; which draws you in love to forsake the world, and that which hath form and beauty in it [Isa 53:2] to the eye of the world; and hath turned your minds within, who see your houses foul, and corruptions strong, and the way narrow and straight, which leads to life eternal [Mat 7:14]; to you all I say, wait upon God in that which is pure. Though you see little, and know little, and have little, and see your emptiness, and see your nakedness, and barrenness, and unfruitfulness, and see the hardness of your hearts, and your own unworthiness; it is the light, that discovers all this, and the love of God to you, and it is that which is immediate, but the dark understanding cannot comprehend it [John 1:5]. So, wait upon God in that which is pure, in your measure, and stand still in it every one, to see your saviour, to make you free from that which the light doth discover to you to be evil. For the voice of the bridegroom is heard in our land [Rev 18:23/Song 2:12]; and Christ is come amongst the prisoners, to visit them in the prison houses; they have all hopes of releasement and free pardon, and to come out freely, for the debt is paid; wait for the manifestation of it, and he that comes out of prison shall reign [Eccl 4:14].
So, meet together all ye that fear the Lord God, and think upon his name, his mercies endure for ever; his mercies are in temptations and troubles, his mercies are in afflictions, in reproaches, and in scorns. Therefore rejoice, ye simple ones, who love simplicity [Prov 1:22], and meet and wait together to receive strength and wisdom from the Lord God; and in departing from sin and evil, ye will be able to speak to the praise of the Lord. And meeting and waiting in his power, which ye have received, in it all to improve your measure that God hath given you; [Mat 25:14-30] or ye never improve your measure, so long as ye rely upon any visible thing without you; but when ye come alone to wait upon God, ye shall every one have a reward according to your deserts, and every one your penny, who are called into the vineyard to labour [Mat 20:1-10]. Therefore be faithful to God, and mind that which is committed to you, as <25> faithful servants [Mat 25:14-30], labouring in love; some threshing, and some ploughing, and some to keep the sheep. He that can receive this let him. And all to watch over one another in the spirit of God. So God Almighty bless, guide, and prosper you unto his kingdom, where there is no tribulation. When your minds run into any thing outwardly, without the power, it covers and veils the pure in you.
G. F. Top
All dear Friends every where, who have tasted of the everlasting power, and are made partakers of his divine nature [2 Pet 1:4], be faithful, and dwell in that which is pure. And take heed of the world's evil ways, words, worships, customs, and fashions; neither let fair speeches [Rom 16:18] draw you out, nor hard speeches trouble you and make you afraid: but fear the Lord God of heaven and earth, who by his mighty power upholds all things [Heb 1:3]. And be bold in the power of truth [1 Esd 4:40], and valiant for it upon the earth [Jer 9:3]; treading, triumphing over, and trampling all deceit under foot, inward and outward; having done it in yourselves in particular, ye have power over the world in general. And meet together every where, and keep the unity of the spirit, which is the bond of peace [Eph 4:3]; which circumciseth inwardly [Rom 2:29], and puts off the body of sin [Rom 6:6], and baptizeth all into one body with one spirit [1 Cor 12:13]. And being written all in <26> one another's hearts [2 Cor 3:2f], have all one voice, and the pure language of truth, where in all plainness of speech [2 Cor 3:12], things may be spoken in nakedness of heart one unto another, in the eternal unity in the one spirit, which draws off and weans you from all things, that are created and external, (which fade and pass away,) up to God, the fountain of life [Psa 36:9], and head of all things; to whom be glory, wisdom, riches, and honour, God blessed for ever! Who hath blessed us, and given to us eternal life [1 Jn 5:11], and this life is in his son; and he that hath the son, hath the Father also [1 Jn 2:23]. And that which the world doth profess and make a trade withal, the saints do enjoy and possess; which the world doth not know, but in the letter…
G. F. Top
Dear and tender Friends,—My love is to you all in the truth of God; and my prayers and soul's desire are to God, that ye may be kept in the simplicity of the truth in Christ Jesus [2 Cor 11:3], growing up in the power of his resurrection, and be made conformable to his death, and have fellowship with him in his sufferings [Phil 3:10]; and that all your hearts may be knit together in love [Col 2:2], and in one spirit to God, and be kept out of all the world's evil customs, fashions, words, works, manners, ordinances, and commandments, which will all perish [1 Cor 7:31/Col 2:20,22], which the world holdeth up in the carnal mind [Rom 8:7], and the carnal man doth act them. For whatsoever is seen with a carnal eye, is carnal. See, if ye do find something in your understandings made manifest, which is eternal, to guide your minds out of all external things, which wither away, and fade. For the cross is to the carnal mind; your carnal minds going into the carnal and earthly things, or your eyes and lusts into the earth, where lightness, rashness, crossness, bitterness, and presumption are, then the tongue will run at random, and is at liberty; and he that hath not power over his own tongue, his religion is vain [Jas 1:26], and the light mind ruleth. But the light within, which doth convince thee, will show thee, when the mind goeth forth; and show thee the daily cross, which is to crucify that carnal mind; for the carnal mind minds carnal things; and the cross is to the will of man, for it shall never enter.
Therefore give not way to your wills, nor busy yourselvesnor <27> minds with needless and careless words, or such things, for they will veil you, and draw your minds from God. But keep within. And when they shall say, ‘lo here,’ or ‘lo there is Christ,’ [Mat 24:23] go not forth; for Christ is within you. And they are seducers and antichrists, which draw your minds out from the within you. For the measure is within, and the light of God is within, and the pearl [Mat 13:46] is within you , which is hid; and the word of God is within you, and ye are the temples of God (1 Cor 3:16); and God hath said, he will dwell in you, and walk in you (2 Cor 6:16). And then what need ye go to the idols' temples without you? The true church (the saints) is in God; but the imitation of the church is in the world, without God. The seducers are in the world; antichrists and deceivers [2 Jn 1:7] are in the world, and false prophets are in the world; and covetousness is in the world; and all hypocrisy, and all heresy, and dissimulation, and all pride, and looking for honour is in the world; and he that seeketh for it, is of the devil. And all idle, foolish jesting, and all light, vain talking, which are not seemly nor convenient, are in the world.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness [Jas 1:21], and fear God, and give glory to him [Rev 14:7], and worship not the beast [Rev 14:9,11]; for the beast and the false prophet must be cast into the lake of fire [Rev 19:20]. The true figures and types were outward, and visible to the outward eye and mind; but the carnal mind [Rom 8:6f] is to be taken away, and destroyed. For the figures did type forth the substance; when the substance was come, the figures were taken away, and types were ended [Heb 9, 10:34]. And the (false) imitations of Christ and of God are in the world; and the vain worships of the world are the worships of the beast, and are not of God. For ‘God is a spirit; and he that worships him, must worship him in spirit and truth [John 4:24].’ The beastly nature in man and woman holdeth up the beast, and his customs and worships; and the plagues of God are to be poured upon the beast, and all them that worship the beast and false prophet [Rev 16]. And they that abide in the truth, worship not the beast inwardly, nor outwardly, but deny all the beast's worships and false prophets', and worship God in spirit and truth. And they which do not abide in the truth, hold up the beast's worship, and the false prophets'; and they that do so, shall have their portion together. Plagues will be poured upon such.
And ye that know God, dwell in the truth, and tread upon the deceit; for God will be glorified alone. To whom be glory and honour for ever! Amen.
G. F. Top
To all my dear brethren, whom the God of power hath enlightened with his eternal light, and discovered unto you his way of truth, and <28> brought you out of the dark ways, wherein ye have walked; which dark ways all the world walk in. But where the pure light of God is witnessed, it guides to himself. The light is but one, which leads out of darkness and the dark world, into the world which is without end. Therefore all Friends and brethren in the eternal truth of God, walk in it up to God, and be not sayers only, nor backsliders; for the backslider is a sayer, and not a doer, and there ariseth ambition, pride and presumption out of that nature [Jas 1:22, Mat 23:3-12]. But dwell in the pure light, which God hath made manifest to you in your understanding, and turn your minds to him, and walk as children of the light, and of the day [1 Th 5:5], and be not drunken in any thing, nor run to extremes in any thing; but be moderate and patient. Wait for the presence of the great God, and our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ; and be not so childish as to be tossed with men's words without life. And run not out after others' liberties, which they have got in their notions; for thou that dost so, wilt not abide in the truth; and so thou mayst come to be shaken, and shake others, who look at words. But wait every one in particular, (in the measure that God hath given you,) upon God, in the fear of God, then your hearts will be kept clean; and this is the sure way. And wait all to have the son made manifest in you [2 Cor 4:10f], and the son alone to set you free in yourselves in particular; and all that are made free by the son, [John 8:36] are one. But the first nature, that would have liberty, must go into captivity; which they that live in their carnal reasoning, seek freedom for. But here is man deceived in his first birth.
But ye all, in whom the immortal seed is brought to light, who are raised up to sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus [Eph 2:6], and are become children of the day, walk as children of the day, and as children of the light [1 Th 5:5], and ‘let your light so shine before men, that they may glorify your Father, which is in heaven.’ [Mat 5:16] All loving the light, ye love the one thing, which gathers your hearts together to the fountain of light and life [Psa 36:9]; and walking in it, ye have unity one with another, and the ‘blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth you from all sin.’ [1 Jn 1:7] The knowledge of the letter, which you formerly got into your notions and comprehensions, the dark mind gave dark meanings to it, and so kept you in the broad way [Mat 7:13]; but now wait all to have the same spirit manifested in your understandings, which was in them who gave forth the scriptures, who were come out of the broad way [Mat 7:13], holy men of God [2 Pet 1:21], who had escaped the pollutions of the world [2 Pet 2:20]. And if every particular of you know not a principle within, which is of God, to guide you to wait upon God, ye are still in your own knowledge, which is brutish [Jer 10:14] and sensual [Jas 3:15]. But waiting all upon God in that which is of God, ye are kept open to receive the teachings of God. And the pure wisdom and <29> knowledge is that, which comes from above [Jas 3:17], which is to know God, and Jesus Christ, the way [John 14:6], which is hidden from the world; and to walk out of your own ways, and out of your own thoughts. And dwelling in that which is pure, up to God, it commands your own reason to keep silent, and to cast your own thoughts out: and dwelling in that which is pure, it discovereth all this. So dwelling in the spirit, it keepeth all your hearts to God. To whom be all praise, honour, and glory for ever!
G. F. Top
From Judge Fell's in Lancashire, the 31st of 11th month, 1652.