Friends every where, dwell in the power of the Lord God, which is without end, in which ye may all have unity. And take heed of striving about earthly things, which is the unredeemed part, that is out of the paradise and the garden of God; but that with the wisdom of God ye may come to be ordered [Wis 8:1], and order the creatures by that by which they were made and created, that by it ye may know yourselves to be governed. And after that riches increase, take heed of setting your hearts upon them [Psa 62:10], lest they become a curse and a plague to you. . . .
And all Friends, take heed of jars and strife, for that is it which will eat out the seed in you; therefore let not that harbour in your bosoms, lest it eat out the good in you, and ye come to suffer in your own particulars. Therefore dwell in love and life, and in the power and seed <127> of God, which is the honourable, royal state. And all that speak or preach abroad, see that ye be in the life, and power, and seed of God, which will edify the body, and not in a brittle, peevish, hasty, fretful mind; but dwell in that which keeps down the contrary, that that may speak which edifies the body in love [Eph 4:16]. And all take heed of vain words, and tattling idle words [1 Tim 5:13?], but every where stop such; that love may continue in the body, and that the seed may spread over all, that unity may be kept. And all Friends every where, if Friends be poor, and in want, or in prison, that ye may in wisdom relieve and cherish such. And all Friends every where, stop the deceit, that would devour and destroy, which is out of the truth, and true wisdom; which must be limited, that transgresseth the spirit of God. For since the days of the apostles, the true church hath been in the wilderness [Rev 12:6], and the beast, false prophet [Rev 16:13], antichrist, and false church have ruled and reigned; amongst whom have been the many names and horns [Rev 13:1] amongst the apostate christians, who have professed themselves to be elders. Amongst this eldership have they had outward and earthly rulers, which have got up since the days of the apostles: but who come to Christ, who was and is the true christian's head [Col 1:18], he is their ruler; by whom all things were made [John 1:3]. And when the apostate christians went from the apostles' doctrines into the world, they set up many rulers amongst them, and many heads; when they went from the seed of God in themselves, in the male and in the female [Gal 3:28?], then they forsook their head, Christ Jesus. And so, whosoever go from the seed of God in themselves, and set up other heads, they lose the one head, which is Christ Jesus; and then come to be covered with darkness [Isa 60:2], and the seed comes to be loaden, as a cart with sheaves [Amos 2:13]: and then they break into the many ways, and set up the many heads, when they go from the seed in the male and in the female, which is the one head. And then come up the fightings about earthly things, and warrings with carnal weapons [2 Cor 10:4] about earthly things, and self-interest, and man's honour and titles, and about their churches, and religions, and worships, and ministry, which have been set up since the days of the apostles, and since the fall. The Jews did kill with the outward sword the heathen, and one another; but Christ Jesus, the prince of life [Acts 3:15], fulfils the law [Mat 5:17], and ends the outward Jews' types, figures, and shadows, ordinances and carnal weapons, who is the king of the whole earth, who comes to save men's lives [Luke 9:56], yet slays and ‘kills with the sword of the spirit, which is the word of his mouth [Eph 6:17, Hos 6:5].’ And the apostles, who followed Christ, wrestled not with flesh and blood [Eph 6:12]; so all, who come to witness Christ to reign and to rule, (who is the prince of life, that saves men's lives,) and follow him, do not wrestle with flesh and blood, nor seek to destroy men's lives. And here comes the wisdom to be known, that is from above, that is pure and <128> gentle, and easy to be entreated [James 3:17], that is not sensual, carnal, and devilish [James 3:15]. So in the time of the law among the Jews there was fighting outwardly; but in the time of the gospel of Christ Jesus, who came to end the law, they were to love enemies, and not to kill them; and love them that hate them, and not kill them [Mat 5:44]. But in the times since the days of the apostles, in the apostate christians' time, they are crying up the outward sword again; and this is the dragon's and the beast's power [Rev 13:2,4], the prince of death, which hath reigned since the apostles' days. But who come to follow Christ, they come to reign in spirit, over all these fighters with carnal weapons, that are got up since the days of the apostles. Therefore who are come now into the power of the Lord God, and to the seed that is royal, who was the elected, before the world began, keep your meetings, and dwell in the power of God, in which ye may know his image, and come into it; with which ye may spiritually reign, and have dominion over all the world, and rule in it over them and their vanities, and work them down without a carnal weapon, in the power of God. So keep your meetings, both particular and in the general, in the power of the Lord God, and dwell in the life, and power, and wisdom of the Lord, that all uncleanness whatsoever may by the power of the Lord be brought down and rooted out; and that such have no rule nor authority amongst you, though they be never so fair or excellent of speech [Rom 16:18; Prov 7:21, 17:7?]: but let all such be brought under by the power of the Lord God, who is to reign over it; that in the sweetness and unity ye all may be brought to be a sweet savour to the Lord God [2 Cor 2:15], and in the hearts of one another, and let no uncleanness be amongst you. And all Friends every where, take heed of printing any thing more than ye are required of the Lord God. . . . <129>
G. F. Top
All Friends and brethren every where, walk in the truth, and know one another in the measure of life, that in it your minds may be guided up to the Father of life; and stand in his counsel, that he alone may be loved with all your strength, with all your minds, and with all your souls [Mark 12:30]; so that ye may all know one another in the life and light, that ye may all be kept from idols [1 Jn 5:21]. For if ye know one another in the flesh only, that love which will rise out of that knowledge is feigned, and that will wither, and under the condemnation of the light must come. Therefore all wait in the measure of life, that with it your hearts may be knit together [Col 2:2]. And none to be hasty, nor to will any thing; there is not any thing received from God by him who willeth with his own will. For ‘no prophecy of the scripture came by the will of man [2 Pet 1:21];’ Peter, that was not learned of man, but of Christ, saw this. And the scripture is for the ‘perfecting of the man of God [2 Tim 3:16f],’ which is learned of God, and came not by man's will. So now mind your growth, and your perfecting, and your steadfastness in the light, in which is the unity. So every one wait in the light, which comes from Christ the head [Eph 4:15], from whence nourishment comes, which nourishes the body and all the members; from whence comes the bread of life [John 6:35], which is from above, and the water of life [Rev 21:6]. Therefore all wait in your measure, and walk after your line [2 Cor 10:16], which is the light which comes from Christ who is your life [John 1:4]; that every one of you may have praise and comfort in the same, and every one of you may be kept in the way of righteousness and peace up to the Lord, who is righteousness and peace, where the blessed hope is seen [Titus 2:13] with the light that comes from him by whom the world was made [John 1:3]. That so the covenant of light, life, and peace [Isa 42:6, Ezek 37:26] ye may all come to witness, and every one come to have dominion and rule over <130> your own spirits [Prov 25:28]; for the spirit of man lusteth to envy [James 4:5], if it be not subdued by the spirit of the living God [2 Cor 3:3]. Therefore wait and take heed, lest any nakedness appear [Rev 3:18], and that which is not justified in the sight of God. And take heed of presumption, lest ye go from the living God; but in the spirit dwell, that over all that ye may reign, and come to be recorded in the book of life [Rev 21:27], which life was before the world was. And this brings you to see and read one another, as epistles written in one another's hearts [2 Cor 3:2], where in unity, love, and peace ye will come to dwell, in the life of the spirit of the living God, in which the saints had unity, which brought them to be taught of the living God [Isa 54:13]; and so they gave forth the scriptures, as they were moved by the holy ghost. So no prophecy in the old time came by the will of man [2 Pet 1:21]., but was learned of God. So now ye waiting in the spirit every one, to be taught of God the Father of spirits [Heb 12:9], your teacher is with you present, and one in you all, according to your measures. Which spirit is given to every one of you to profit withal [1 Cor 12:7]; by which holy spirit the scripture was given forth. Which scripture the world hath got, who are sensual, not having the spirit, and there they are fighting about the outside and the languages. And there is the sea, which the beast ariseth out of [Rev 13:1], which the world wonders after [Rev 13:3]; and there is the mother of harlots [Rev 17:5], with all her false colours, whose eyes are out from the light which comes from him by whom the world was made; there ye may go, and have a name to live, but are dead. Now all be willing to wait in the measure of that which is eternal, that no fornication be found amongst you, nor deceit; that all may come to receive wisdom from Christ, who is the wisdom of God [1 Cor 1:24]. That this wisdom may be justified [Mat 11:19] in you all, and ye all in the light preserved, and that which is contrary condemned. So that ye may all be kept from deadness and slothfulness, in the fear of the Lord God, and therein your hearts kept clean. And so the Lord God Almighty preserve you!
Friends, keep your meetings every where, waiting upon the Lord, that to him ye may be a sweet savour [2 Cor 2:15]. And watch over one another with the measure of the spirit of the Lord. The Lord God Almighty preserve you, and keep you in his will, wisdom, light, life, and power.
G. F. Top
Let this be read among Friends.
Friends,—Towards all men walk in wisdom, and be gentle to all men [2 Tim 2:24]; ‘for the meek inherit the earth ,’ and receive the blessing [Mat 5:5]. ‘And they that thirst after righteousness shall inherit righteousness,’ and the blessing [Mat 5:6]. And the ‘merciful do obtain mercy’ and the blessing [Mat 5:7]. And the <131> ‘pure in heart shall see God,’ and receive the blessing [Mat 5:8]. And ‘Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted [Mat 5:4].’ And ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are the children of God [Mat 5:9].’ And ‘Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God [Mat 5:10].’ And ‘Blessed are ye when men shall revile and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for Christ's sake [Mat 5:11].’ And it is love that edifieth [1 Cor 8:1], and the edifying is in the most holy faith [Jude 1:20, 1 Tim 1:4], which faith is the gift of God [Eph 2:8], which giveth victory over the world [1 Jn 5:4]; and in this is the blessing, which purifieth the heart [Acts 15:9], and this is it which bringeth to please God [Heb 11:6]. And that which edifieth is the living faith, and not the dead faith [James 2:17]; and love rejoiceth in the truth, and not in the iniquity [1 Cor 13:6], for that is not in love. So ye that are the Lord's lot, (mark!) and are his inheritance [Psa 16:5], and are in covenant with God, with him ye have peace; which covenant is given to all the world. But they that hate the light are out of covenant with God, and by the light they are condemned [John 3:19f]; and those which the light doth condemn are out of the covenant.
G. F. Top
Dear friends and lambs, put on the armour of light [Rom 13:12], and the shield of truth [Psa 91:4], and the breast-plate of righteousness [Eph 6:14], that ye may stand in battle against all the Philistines, and the enemies of God, being led and guided with the spirit up to God, the Father of spirits [Heb 12:9]; that what ye do beget may be to him and into his image, and that which ye do present, it may be perfect [Col 1:28?]. And so mind this. Sow not sparingly [2 Cor 9:6], for the <132> Lord hath a seed that-aways. So the Lord God Almighty preserve you! And stir abroad whilst the door is open, and the light shineth; and so go on in that which letteth you see the world, to comprehend it, and to see what is imprisoned by it and suffereth by it. So the Lord give you an understanding in all things, and his arm go along with you, that ye may be to his glory. And the blessing of the Lord be with you!
Dear Francis and Edward, in the life of God wait, that ye may be with it led and kept to receive wisdom from God, that ye may order all things [Wis 8:1] there with it, and be manifest to the witness of God in all [1 Jn 5:9f] that ye may beget to God; that as good ploughmen, and good threshermen [1 Cor 9:10] ye may be, to bring out the wheat. So the Lord God Almighty keep and preserve you.
G. F. Top
[CXXXVI. (136) — To Friends, to dwell in that which keeps peace.]
Friends,—Ye that are the prisoners of the Lord Jesus Christ [Philem 1:9] in outward bonds, who witness him by whom the world was made [John 1:3], who is the King of saints [Rev 15:3], and who are his, and come under his dominion and government, ye are not your own [1 Cor 6:19]; but purchased with his blood Acts 20:28], which washes and makes you clean [1 Jn 1:7, Rev 1:5], and justifies [Rom 5:9], whose bodies are his temple [1 Cor 6:19]. Though he suffers you to be imprisoned, yet in his power your bodies are kept, and your spirits also; ye standing witnesses for your master, for your king, for your prophet, for your covenant of light [Isa 42:6], for your wisdom of God [1 Cor 1:24], (him by whom all things were made,) for the word and power, by which all things were made and upheld [Heb 1:3], against the powers of darkness, who are out of the light, out of the truth, who cannot bind, stop nor limit the unlimited power, which is over it, and comprehends it. They who are born of the word [1 Pet 1:23], and in the power which upholds all things, over that, (and the power of the evil one,) have victory, and sing over the false prophet. For the devil was the deceiver [Rev 12:9], who abode not in the truth [John 8:44]; and there is the false prophet, who speaks of his own, and not from the Lord [Jer 23:16]; and there is the beast, that makes the war against the lamb and his saints [Rev 13:7, 17:14] who witness the testimony of Jesus, and the word of God. Therefore mind the word of God, ye children of the light, who are in the light, that comes from the word; mind the word of the Lord, which is as a hammer, and as a fire [Jer 23:29], and sharper than a two-edged sword [Heb 4:12]. And ye who are the Lord's, are not your own; but they who are in their own time, see not the time which is in the Father's hand; their time is always, and they do their own works [Psa 106:39], and not the works of God, which the son of God did [John 10:37f].
G. F. Top
Friends,—Know the praying in the spirit, and with the understanding [1 Cor 14:15]; then ye will come to know the sighs and groans that cannot be uttered [Rom 8:26]. For such as have not the spirit that gave forth the scriptures to guide them, are as the Pharisees were, in the long prayers, and in the wrath, and in the doubting, and do not lift up holy hands [1 Tim 2:8]. This makes a difference between praying in the spirit, and the Pharisees' long prayers, that devoured widows' houses [Luke 20:47].
[And none owns the light as it is Jesus, but he that owns the light that Christ lighteth him withal [John 1:9]. And none owns the truth, but who <134> owns the light that cometh from Christ, the truth. And none cometh to the Father, but such who owns the light that cometh from Christ, which leads to him. Nor none owns the son, except he owns the light that cometh from him.
For all dwelling in the light that comes from Jesus, it leads out of wars, leads out of strife, leads out of the occasion of wars, and leads out of the earth up to God, out of earthly-mindedness to heavenly-mindedness, and bringeth your minds to be in heaven.
G. F. Top
[CXL. (140) — To Friends, concerning collecting their sufferings, &c.] <135>
All Friends every where, that are in any sufferings, let your sufferings be gathered up together in every county, ye that have suffered by justices, or constables, or bailiffs; let your names be set to your sufferings, and a name or two to witness them, and the names of them that caused you to suffer. . . . Now these not judging and doing justly, sheriffs, juries, constables not doing justly, righteously, or equally; the sufferings being gathered together, short and true, and their actions that have not been just and righteous, who caused the righteous to suffer and truth to fall in the gates, and in the streets, that equity cannot enter [Isa 59:14], (for equity cannot enter where truth is fallen ; for that which lets in equity is truth.) Gather up such your sufferings in every county, that suffer by the unjust and unrighteous, and deliver them to the judges that they may see it; that they may judge justly and see what is done in the family to whom they give their charge, and what their master's servants have done, justices, sheriff, constables. And if the judge that sits in the gate will not judge righteously, nor plead the cause of the innocent [Prov 31:19], nor help the helpless, nor break the jaws of the wicked [Job 29:17] that tear and rend the innocent, (but is light and vain,) God, who is just, is ready to plead their cause [various, e.g. Psa 35:1], and to judge and cast out the unjust judges [Luke 18:6]. For he that judgeth among the judges, (and relieves the oppressed, and helps the helpless, and strengthens the weak hands and feeble knees [Isa 36:3], and gives righteousness to every one that loves it, to every one whose intents are upright and <136> single,) gives true judgment agreeable to that of himself in every one, and crosses the ends and intents of every one that is from that, and gives judgment upon the unjust. . . .
G. F. Top
All my dear friends,—Keep up your heads above the waters and the sea, in which there is a tempest. Fear not the devil, nor all his darts nor weapons, nor all his soldiers and instruments that he keeps in league with; but mind the power of God and the light of Jesus, and be clothed with, and put on the armour of light [Rom 13:12], and the helmet of salvation, and the breast-plate of righteousness, the shield of faith [Eph 6:14,16f], in which ye have victory [1 Jn 5:4], and unity [Eph 4:13], and access to God [Rom 5:2]. And dwell in patience and love to God, and one towards another; for the lamb must have the victory over them all, the wild beasts in the field or wilderness, who are in the fall from God. And though these beasts' horns be never so long, yet the lamb shall conquer them; who gets the victory, and overcomes [Rev 17:14], and takes away the sin [John 1:29]. And the lamb hath wisdom, the lamb hath power; follow him, then ye shall have his mind, wisdom, and patience; and in that ye follow the spirit of truth, and are led by that [John 16:13/Rom 8:14] (against which there is no law [Gal 5:23]) in which there is life and peace, and fellowship with the son and the Father, and all the saints, and their words. Therefore live in the truth, and then ye live in Christ the way [John 14:6], that lives, who was before the untruth was, in which the many ways in the wilderness are. And living in the truth ye live in the love and unity, yea, in that which was before the enmity was, and imperfection; in which truth is all perfection of love, and life, and light, which light, <137> life, and truth is the way to God, in whom the church is which Christ is the head of [Col 1:18]. And who come to this church they come into God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; and who come to God, they must come into the light, life, and truth. And that is the way in which people are renewed into God's image of holiness and righteousness again [Col 3:10/Eph 4:24], in which God is seen. Which way is out of the ways of man, that is fallen from the image of God's righteousness and true holiness; in which way are all the gadders abroad from God, out of the life.
G. F. Top
Friends,—Where there is strife among any of you, mind the light to judge it down and condemn it; by which light your minds may be guided up to Christ, where there is no strife, to learn of him [Mat 11:29], and to condemn all that with the light, which a ground to reproach truth, and to see your nakedness. For that which is out of the light will fall and confound itself. So mind that which keeps your <138> peace, and condemns that which leads into weakness; and that which will let in prejudice, goes from the light. All which is to be condemned with the light, which leads to Christ the covenant of peace [Ezek 37:26]. And where there is strife which leads out into many words [1 Tim 6:4?], such will wither and bring themselves under condemnation at last. Such must be silent and mind that which doth condemn them; that the life in them may arise, wherein is no strife. For where men's spirits are high, something is stirring that should be kept under; take heed that get not up into rule. So first learn the ministry of condemnation [2 Cor 3:9] in yourselves, that life may arise, before ministry in the spirit be known, which preacheth peace by Jesus Christ [Acts 10:36], where there is no strife. Therefore wait to know the time of silence [Eccl 3:7]. And all Friends, let your patience and moderation be known to all men [Phil 4:5]; for nothing is attained to that is good by strife, for that is out of Christ in the forward will, which is to be condemned with the light, (where is the unity,) which cometh from Christ, and leadeth up to Christ the covenant of life. And take heed, all Friends, of causing his name to be blasphemed through you among the heathen [Ezek 36:20-23], but mind and wait to receive the love of God which bears all things, and suffers all things [1 Cor 13:7]; and so comes to receive the armour of righteousness [2 Cor 6:7], which quenches all the fiery darts of satan [Eph 6:16], that the patience that bears and suffers all things may be witnessed.
G. F. Top
[CXLVI. (146) — To Friends in Ireland.]
Friends,—Live in the wisdom of the Lord, for that is it which doth preserve you pure, lively, and gentle, above that which is below. And in the increase of God [Col 2:19] live, and in his virtue, power, and love, that through it your hearts may be established and filled with the same; <139> that justice and truth may in all things be amongst you, and Christ Jesus known in the midst of you as a prophet, priest, and king, (who hath gathered you in his name,) [Mat 18:20] to open and reveal to you, and rule you, who is the quickening spirit [1 Cor 15:45] in whom the spiritual sacrifices are offered [1 Pet 2:5]. Therefore I say, know Christ, who is the substance [Col 2:17] of all the types, figures, and shadows, by whom the world was made [John 1:3], who destroys the enmity [Eph 2:15f] among people, and the devil the author of it; and in him is both life and peace. The heave offering [Lev 7:14] was a figure of Christ the one offering [Heb 10:10]; the priests, and the law, and the first covenant, were figures of the everlasting covenant [Heb 13:20], Christ Jesus. Oaths which ended strife [Heb 6:16] in the time of the law and before, were figures of Christ, the oath of God, who sware by himself [Heb 6:13]; which oath Christ Jesus endeth, and destroys the devil [Heb 2:14] the author of strife, and brings people to yea and nay [Mat 5:37], who judges the false oath and ends the true. For there were no oaths commanded before the fall; so there are none to be in the restoration and redemption by Christ. They see this doctrine that are renewed again (in measure) into God's image, [Col 3:10] and are come into obedience to Christ's doctrine and the apostle's, as in the primitive times; and see the ground of swearing among the Jews, and see the ground of swearing got up since the apostles' days, among the apostates from the primitive practice in the church in the apostles' days. And they see that oaths were not given to man before the fall, and see they are not to be in the restoration; nor were in the primitive times, nor in the beginning according to the doctrine of Christ, who is the first and the last [Rev 1:8, etc], who is to be minded, and his doctrine, who is the top and corner stone. And now is the bride his wife, coming up out of the wilderness, where she hath been driven, and been fed of God [Rev 12:6,14] in this time of the beast's, dragon's, false church's, and whore's worship, which hath gotten up since the apostles' days. Therefore all walk in the light of the lamb [Rev 21:23f], that by his blood ye may be washed [Rev 7:14]; that through it and the testimony of the Lord Jesus ye may overcome. And meet in the power of God, and in that keep your meetings; that ye and every one of you may inherit the power of God, and so come into your own inheritances. So live in love, peace, and unity, one with another; for the body doth edify itself in love [Eph 4:16]. And the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, amen! to teach you, and to season and to establish your hearts [1 Th 3:13], and to bring you salvation; and in that live which was before enmity was.
G. F. Top
O my dear friends and brethren every where! let all your cries and prayers be to the Lord in singleness of heart, in his spirit and <140> power, and in belief in God through Christ, to receive what ye pray for. For the Lord's ears are open to the cries of his poor and afflicted ones. So, day and night let your cries be to him [Psa 88:1], who will keep you in all distresses. For in your afflictions Christ is afflicted [Isa 63:9], and in all your oppressions he is oppressed, and in all your imprisonments he is imprisoned, and in all your sufferings he suffereth, and in all your persecutions he is persecuted. ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?’ said Christ [Acts 9:4]. And all Friends, keep out of the vain fashions of the world in your apparel, and run not after every new fashion the world inventeth and setteth up; keep in your plain fashion, that ye may judge the world's vanity and its spirit in its vain fashions, and show a constant spirit in the truth and plainness.
And be moderate and chaste in all your families, and in all your imprisonments keep in the fast to the Lord [Phil 4:1, 1 Th 3:8?], which breaks down the bond of iniquity [Acts 8:23], by which every one's health groweth. And ye may also see, how Christ Jesus encourages to pray, Mark xiii. ‘Take ye heed, watch and pray; and what I say unto one, I say unto all, watch [Mark 13:33,37].’ And in Luke xi. 5.13. wherein he further encourages to pray, where Christ saith, ‘Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him. And he from within shall answer and say; trouble me not, the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed, I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, though he will not rise, and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise, and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.’ [Luke 11:5-10] And upon this Christ encourages to knock, pray, and seek. ‘For if a son shall ask bread of any of you, that is a Father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will be give him a scorpion? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the holy spirit to them that ask him. [Luke 11;11-13]’ And further he encourages to pray. Luke xviii. ‘He spake a parable unto them, that men ought always to pray, and not faint, saying, there was in a city a judge, that feared not God, neither regarded man. And there was a widow in that city, and she came to him, and said, avenge me of mine adversary; and he would not for awhile. But afterwards he said within himself, though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the <141> Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you, that he will avenge them speedily. [Luke 18:1-8]’ Here mind the promise of Christ, that doth not change, but will be fulfilled.
And Christ distinguishes in a parable of a Pharisee, (who was a public praying man,) and of a Publican, that stood afar off, and cried for mercy; who being in the fear, was more justified than the Pharisee, who was in the public praying. [Luke 18:10-14] So, pray in the spirit [Eph 6:18] and in the faith, nothing wavering [James 1:6] nor doubting [1 Tim 2:8]. And seek and watch in the spirit, every one in your measures, that ye have received, and therein to be preserved; and Christ the life will open to you, and the spirit will give you an understanding, and a distinction of the state of ‘asking, and not receiving, and of seeking, and not finding, and the praying in the wavering and in the doubting,’ which is not in the spirit of God. But such ask in that nature which doubts, and would consume it on their lusts [Jas 4:3]. So, ask in faith, that gives the victory over the wavering, doubting nature [Jas 1:6/1 Jn 5:4]. And whatsoever ye ask believing, it will be given unto you; it is Christ's promise. John xiv. 13, 14. For Christ saith, ‘Whatsoever ye ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. [John 14:13-15]’ So, every one's prayers are assured unto them, and their requests effectual in their obedience, and loving Christ, and keeping his commandments.
G. F. Top
All Friends every where meet together, and in the measure of God's spirit wait, that with it all your minds may be guided up to God, to receive wisdom from God; that ye may all come to know how ye may walk up to him in his wisdom, that it may be justified of you [Mat 11:19], and ye in it preserved up to God, and be glorified. And Friends meet together, and know one another in that which is eternal, which was before the world was. For knowing one another only in the letter and flesh, differs you little from the beasts of the field; for what they know they know naturally [Jude 1:10]. But all knowing one another in the light which was before the world was, this differs you from the beasts of the field, [common phrase] and from the world's knowledge, and brings you to know one another in the elect seed which was before the world was. And if ye turn from this light ye grow strange; and so neglecting meetings ye grow cold, and your minds run into the earth and grow weary and slothful, and careless, and heavy, and sottish, and dull, and dead. Ye may speak then of <142> things which were opened once from the light, though now ye be turned from it; but with the light in which is the unity is all that condemned [John 3:19f]. In which (light) is the fellowship with the son, from whence the light comes, which keeps in the liveliness, which keeps from slothfulness, and all those things before mentioned, which are contrary to the light; which who turns from, turns into. Therefore in the light wait and walk, that ye may have fellowship one with another [1 Jn 1:7]. I charge you all, in the presence of the living God, that none boast yourselves above your measure [2 Cor 10:13,15] of light; if ye do ye will be buffeted [2 Cor 12:7]. For such run into presumption, and so into reproof. Which reproof that spirit will not take patiently, but gets up into presumption; which is to be condemned with the light, in which is the unity, which keeps from desperation and presumption. They who go from the light, the enemy comes into them, and the envy, and the manslayer gets up within and slays the man; and no such one hath eternal life abiding in him, for he is turned from the light which comes from Christ Jesus, the life. All who dwell in the light which comes from Christ, come to receive the eternal life. And here the love of God is shed abroad in the heart [Rom 5:5]; and dwelling in love ye dwell in God [1 Jn 4:16], and from the life the eternal love doth flow, which life comes from the Father of life, whose love doth not change. And so with the light (ye dwelling in it which leads to the life) ye will come to witness the faith unfeigned [1 Tim 1:5], and the humility unfeigned [Col 2:18,23], and the faith which works by love [Gal 5:6], which purifies the heart [Acts 15:9]; waiting in the light which comes from Christ Jesus, this is received from him. For with the light man sees himself, which (light) comes from Christ, who is the author and finisher of his faith [Heb 12:2]; which faith gives him the victory [1 Jn 5:4] over that which he sees to be contrary to the light and to the word. And this is the one faith; and here the first Adam and the second Adam [1 Cor 15:45] are known and seen.
G. F. Top
Let this be read amongst Friends every where.
Friends all every where, in the life and power of God live and dwell, and spread the truth abroad. Quench not the spirit [1 Th 5:19], but live in love and unity one with another; that with the wisdom of God ye may all be ordered to God's glory [Wis 8:1, 1 Cor 10:31]. And live all in patience one with another, and in the truth, that ye may feel and see to the beginning, before the world and its foundation was, in the faith which gives the victory [1 Jn 5:4]; that nothing may reign but the life and power amongst you. And live all as the family of God in love, in life, in truth, in power, having your house established atop of all the mountains [Isa 2:2] and hills; that ye may answer that of God in every man [Col 4:6/Rom 1:19], and the word of the Lord ye may witness to go <143> forth among you and be among you. So in this the Lord God Almighty preserve you and keep you. And in the son of God's power live, for all power in heaven and earth is given to him [Mat 28:18]; who is to subdue all the powers of darkness [Col 1:13], and to make the kingdoms of the world his kingdom [Rev 11:15]. And none go beyond the measure [2 Cor 10:14] of the spirit of God, nor quench it; for where it is quenched it cannot try things. So if any have any thing upon them to speak, in the life of God stand up and speak it, if it be but two or three words, and sit down again; and keep in the life, that ye may answer that of God in every man upon the earth. To you this is the word of the Lord God.
G. F. Top
Friends,—There was a time when the apostles preached Christ that died at Jerusalem; and they witnessed him forth, and brought (for proof) the prophets' testimonies who prophesied of him. And they that preached Christ's sufferings at Jerusalem, showed the fulfilling of the prophets and the law, and all that was written of him. And after, the apostles preached Christ the substance (the end of the types and figures) [Col 2:17] amongst them that had the prophets' words, and the law, and the outward temple; and they showed them out of the prophets' words, and out of the law, that that was the Christ that died at Jerusalem, and suffered without the gate [Heb 13:12].
And then there was a time that the apostles preached Christ in them, to them that did believe and had received him; ‘Know ye not, that Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?’ [2 Cor 13:5] And, ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’ [Col 1:17] And, ‘If Christ be in you, the body is dead.’ [Rom 8:10] And, ‘They that are Christ's, have crucified the affections and lusts, and all things are become new.’ [Gal 5:24] But this was spoken to them that believed, who where the saints, to them ‘Christ in them’ was preached, the substance of what the prophets prophesied of; and to believe in him who was risen, the resurrection. But to the world the apostles preached repentance [Luke 24:47], and to believe in Jesus Christ; and taught faith towards God. But to them who were redeemed out of the world, in and to whom the son of God was made manifest, (who were brought to God, the judge of all, and to the church in God, and to the innumerable company of angels [Heb 12:22], and to the spirits of just men, who were made perfect [Heb 12:23] in him through faith towards God,) preaching repentance and the doctrine of baptism was needless, in whom it was fulfilled, to and in such as were brought to God. He that can receive this may, for to it there is no private meaning.
There is a time of preaching faith towards God; and there is a time to be brought to God. But such as are here deny the first priesthood, <144> and witness the second with the eternal spirit of God; who witness him without father or mother [Heb 7:3], a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedeck [Heb 6:20].
[CLII. (152) — To Friends, concerning openings, &c.]