Dear friends,—I was moved to write these things to you in all those plantations. God, that made the world, and all things therein, giveth life and breath to all [Acts 17:25], and they all have their life and moving, and their being in him [Acts 17:28], he is the God of the spirits of all flesh [Num 16:22], and is no respecter of persons; but ‘whosoever feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him.’ [Acts 10:34f] And he hath made all nations of one blood to dwell upon the face of the earth [Acts 17:26], and his eyes are over all the works of his hands, and seeth every thing that is done under the whole heavens; and the ‘earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof.’ [Psa 24:1] And he causeth the rain to fall upon the just and upon the unjust, and also he causeth the sun to shine upon the just and the unjust [Mat 5:45]; and he commands to ‘love all men [1 Th 3:12],’ for Christ loved all, so that he ‘died for sinners. [Rom 5:8]’ And this is God's love to the world, in giving his son into the world; ‘that whosoever believeth in him should not perish.’ [John 3:16] And he doth ‘enlighten every man that cometh into the world,’ [John 1:9] that they might believe in the son. And the gospel is preached to every creature under heaven [Col 1:23]; which is the power that giveth liberty and freedom, and is glad tidings to every captivated creature [Isa 61:1] under the whole heavens. And the word of God is in the heart and mouth, to obey and do it, and not for them to ascend or descend for it; and this is the word of faith which was and is preached [Rom 10:6-8]. For Christ is given for a covenant to the people, and a light to the Gentiles [Isa 42:6], and to enlighten them, who is the <145> glory of Israel [Luke 2:32], and God's ‘salvation to the ends of the earth [Isa 49:6].’ And so ye are to have the mind of Christ [Gal 2:16], and to be merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful [Luke 6:36].
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O friends! keep out of that state, which is out of and below the chaste nature; for all unchasteness, by the power of the Lord and his truth and light, is to be judged. Therefore live in the truth and in the light of God, that keeps you all chaste, for in that is the unity, and out of that is the war. For from the lusts are the wars and strife [James 4:1]. Oh! keep over that nature, that purity may flow, and righteousness spread, and truth flourish, and love and peace abound in and amongst all the family of God. Keep down the unchaste, keep down the adulterous eye [2 Pet 2:14], and keep down the lust of the flesh, which is not of the Father but of the world [1 Jn 2:16]; and lust is against the spiritual fellowship, and spiritual union, and spiritual dominion, for that would be as a lord, to lord above the spirit, which the spirit of God is Lord over, and judges it. Keep down the lustful heart and eye, for that leads from God, and joins with the adulterate in any thing, or with any thing that is evil; keep truth and a pure conscience [1 Tim 3:9], and there ye have an unspotted life [James 1:27], in which ye may see over the spotted life, where no chastity nor purity is. Therefore live in that which keeps you chaste, then ye follow Christ the Lamb; for there are the holy joy, and peace, and comfort, and unity known, in the life and fellowship with the God of life. For what is the cause of all the lusting spirits to envy, and of the wisdom that is sensual, earthly, and devilish [Jas 3:15], but a living and a going out from the truth and the life? Which (truth and life) is the mark of the high calling of God in Christ [Phil 3:14], where the peace is. And so the spirit of this world lusts to envy [Jas 4:5], it lusts to strife, it lusts to contention [Hab 1:3], it lusts against the spirit of God; the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life, and the lusts of the flesh [1 Jn 2:16], clothed with flesh, covered with flesh, not with the spirit, such are unchaste, and follow the lust, not the Lamb, and so live in that which the war proceeds from, and in strife and contention. And, therefore, mark that spirit with the eternal power of God, for it judges with evil thoughts [Jas 2:4], being in the earth, and thinks all to be like itself, being in the bad, and in the lust, and in the adultery; it judges all to be like itself.
Oh! therefore mind the holy life, the chaste life! That is the bride's clothing, by which she adorns herself for her husband [Isa 61:10, Rev 21:2], Christ Jesus. Therefore live in that which keeps your peace, there is your life and dominion; that weeds may not grow, nor brambles, but that they all may be cut down and weeded out. For those grow through the liberty <146> of the flesh [Gal 5:13], and by that ye come to be darkened, and lose your discerning and feeling; and there gets the beam into the eye, by which ye come to judge with that judgment which is for judgment [Mat 7:2-5], which should be judged down by the spirit of truth and peace. And so live in the same peace with God, and one with another, and have fellowship in the chaste life, and in the spirit and power of God. And keep down that which lusts to envy, and strife, and contention [James 4:1], for that will not, nor cannot bear true judgment, but will flatter and fawn, and sow dissention; and so in the end will bring dishonour both to God and his people. That can never abide true judgment or sound doctrine [2 Tim 4:3], for that adulterates from God, and joins in marriage with that which is adulterated from God. And so the unchaste follows the whore and the adulterer, and goes to the marriage supper of the adulterer and the whore; but the chaste virgin follows the Lamb, and goes to the marriage supper of the Lamb [Rev19:9]. Therefore all live in the chaste life, by which ye may follow the Lamb of God to his supper and marriage. And keep ye all out of that from whence contentions, and strife, and wars arise, which are the fruits of them that live in the lust, which is seen with the everlasting power, the ground from whence strife, and contention, and wars come, the unchaste, which live in the lust; which lust will defile all that receive it. Therefore, all Friends every where, your fellowship is to be in the gospel, the power of God [Rom 1:16], and in the spirit, the fruits of which is peace [Gal 5:22]; in which ye all will be kept in dominion, pure and chaste to God, and one towards another. For all that come to the sabbath of rest must put off their old clothes, which they have worn in their old works, labours, and travels. For six days the Jews were to labour, but the seventh day was their rest [Exo 20:9], which is perfection.
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Friends,—Ye that be turned to the light in it wait, in it meet together, that with it your hearts may be joined together up to Christ, the head, from whence the light doth come; with which ye may see all the world and all the gatherings that are out of the light, which are in the vanities of their minds, and in the rebelliousness of their hearts, and stubbornness of it from the light. But ye believing in the light [John 12:36] and receiving it, ye receive and come into the covenant with God, and peace with God; and into that which gives the knowledge of his glory [2 Cor 4:6] and of his image. And this belief giveth the victory over the world [1 Jn 5:4], and brings unto God, and into his likeness, and separates you from the world, and its likeness, and image, and its fashion, which are out of the light; and its knowledge, and its wisdom, and its honour, and its fear, <147> and its love, and its rejoicing, which are out of the light in the flesh, and in the iniquity, where the soul is in death. But in the light rejoicing and walking, ye receive the love of God shed abroad into your hearts [Rom 5:5], which love rejoiceth in the truth [1 Cor 13:6], (mark,) in that which the devil abode not in [John 8;44]. With that ye know and will know the increase of God [Col 2:19], and know God and his law put in your minds, and in your hearts written [Rom 2:15], where the fear is placed [Jer 32:40], where the secrets of the Lord are revealed [Deut 29:29], and the light, which is the truth, comes to be walked in. Here is a joy in the Lord where no flesh glories [1 Cor 1:29]. In this waiting, (in the light,) the world where there is no end it gives you to see; and the power of the world which is to come, ye will come to see and be partakers of. Which power ye receiving (who are in the light,) it brings you to become the sons of God [John 1:12], and to be heirs of the world where there is no end, and of the everlasting inheritance which fadeth not away [1 Pet 1:4], and the riches which are durable [Prov 8:18], where no thief can come, nor nothing to rust or canker [Mat 6:19f]; for that is out of the light that doth thieve, rust, or canker, and in the transgression. Therefore, ye saints in the light [Col 1:12] of the most high God [Dan 3:26, Acts 16:17], whose name is dreadful amongst you [Mal 1:14], and his power made manifest in measure, and his glory appearing, walk worthy of the high calling [Eph 4:1, Phil 3:14]! Keep your dominion, keep your place of rest in the power and strength of the Almighty, and meet together in the love, unity, and peace, and know one another in this love that changeth not; which being received, ye walk in that which condemns that which is changeable. This love rejoiceth in the truth, and hath dominion over him that abode not in the truth, but rejoiceth in that which the devil abode not in. And here the spirit is received in which God is worshipped [John 4:24], the Father of spirits [Heb 12:9]. He that believeth here believes in the Lord, and shall never be confounded; for he believes in that which doth confound and condemn those who are out of the light, and gone from the word of God in the heart, and from the power of God, and from the light of the glorious gospel, which is the power of God [Rom 1:16]. The God of the world hath blinded their eyes [2 Cor 4:4] that abide not in the truth, they are gone from the light which is the truth; and all that are blinded by the god of the world, these are out of the light and out of the truth. Therefore ye being in the light, and to it turned, (the light of the glorious gospel,) the image of God is seen, and the glorious gospel received. Therefore walk in the light [John 1:7] as the children of the light [Eph 5:8], and know the wisdom that is of her children justified [Mat 11:19]; that ye may answer the light in every one (that comes into the world) that hateth it [Col 4:6/John 1:9/John 3:19f]. And keep your habitations [Jude 1:6], that ye may every one feel your spring in the light which comes from the Lord, and feel your nourishment and refreshment; which waters the plants and causeth them to grow up in the Lord, from whom the pure, living springs come. And <148> here is the water which is the witness in the earth, which doth wash; and here comes the spirit to be known, the witness which doth baptize, and the witness the blood, which doth cleanse, which agrees with the witness in heaven [1 Jn 5:6-8]. So, he that believes hath the witness in himself [1 Jn 5:10]. (Mark and take notice.) And so, ye being in the light, every one in particular feed upon the bread of life which comes from above, which nourisheth up to eternal life [John 6:35-58]; wherein as every one grows up, here every one gives glory to the Father, and to the son, and knows the light which is the way, the truth, and the life [John 14:6]. Every one of you that are turned to it, ye are in the one way, truth, light, and life, feeding upon the one bread which comes from above; which whosoever doth eat of lives for ever, and shall never die [John 6:51].
Let this be read among all Friends every where, in this nation and elsewhere, that to the light are turned and in it are kept, that in the unity they may all be kept. And in it God Almighty preserve and keep you, that ye may feel his promises, which are to the seed; and know the seed to which the blessing is, and know the flesh of Christ, that ye may be flesh of his flesh [Gen 2:23]. And friends, live at peace among yourselves, waiting upon the Lord; and the Lord God of life and peace be with you.
Let no Friends be discouraged; but walk in the truth [3 Jn 1:3] and the love of it, and to it bend.
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All Friends,—I do warn and charge you in the presence of the living God, in his wisdom and life keep, that no ill savour be nor get up amongst you. For ye are the salt of the earth, to season and to make savoury to God; but if the salt have lost its savour, it is henceforth good for nothing [Mat 5:13]. Therefore I do warn you all, mind that which doth keep your peace; whereby ye all may grow in love, and know Christ in you all, in whom is peace. Ye are the light of the world [Mat 5:14] to answer the light in every one, that with the light they may see your good works, and by seeing them, they may glorify your Father which is in heaven [Mat 5:16]; for all deceit is judged and condemned by it. And every one keep in the measure of the life of God, and see that there be no strife nor presumption among you; but all serve one another in love [Gal 5:13], and let that of God guide every one of you, in which ye may have unity one with another and with God. And in his life wait to receive power to bind and chain all down which is contrary to truth. And so, in the life and power of God, the Lord God Almighty preserve you to his glory. Amen.
The light is precious to him that believes in it, and walks according <149> to its leading. So, while ye have the light, walk in the light [John 12:35f], and live in the light, Christ the truth: that ye may, through obedience to it, be the children of the light and of the day [1 Th 5:5]. For the light and the truth were before darkness and deceit were.
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Friends,—By the wisdom of God were all things made [John 1:3, Wis 7:22], and by the wisdom of God must all things be ordered again to God's glory [Wis 8:1, 1 Cor 10:31]. Transgression and sin bring death and destruction; but that wisdom is hid from all their eyes that live in sin, by which wisdom all things were made and created; which was, before sin, death, and destruction were. And so, that is it, which the creatures and creation of God must be ordered by, that wisdom which made them, and doth not change; which is hid from death and destruction, and from that which is in the transgression of life, and must not rule. So Friends every where, be tender to those that have forsaken any thing for truth. And if that their parents have put them out from them, or their masters put them away for truth's sake, and them that are put out of their places for truth's sake, such in the truth receive and cherish; that they may be kept in the service of the creation to God's glory, answering that of God in all. For every one is to abide in their places [Exo 16:29], and there to be faithful, except they be put out, or put away, and be buffeted for no fault, and take it patiently; that is thanksworthy. And do good unto all, especially to them that are of the household of faith [Gal 6:10], and be as the church of God, guided in the wisdom of the Most High, who causeth his rain to fall upon the just and upon the unjust [Mat 5:45]. And so, be ye merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful [Luke 6:36]. And know the seed of God that is heir of the promise [Gal 3:29] in every one of you, and the wisdom, by which all things must be ordered to his glory, who upholds all things by his word of power [Heb 1:3]. By which word of wisdom all things were created, and must be ordered again to the glory of the Creator; in which man will be kept clean unto God, and honour God with his substance, and glorify God in his spirit. Whereby every one's conversation will come to be ordered aright [Psa 50:23], and ye come to set down in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus [E;ph 2:6]; and to know the high calling of God in Christ Jesus [Phil 3:14], who calls out of darkness into the light [1 Pet 2:9], out of death into life. For he that calls, is holy [1 Pet 1:15], and calls into holiness [1 Th 4:7], without which none shall see the Lord [Heb 12:14].
And all Friends, be faithful in the seed and life of the Lord God; that is it which abideth in the love of God for ever, where every one hath his bread which comes down from above [John 6:35-58]. That is the birth, <150> which abideth in the house of the Lord God for ever [Psa 23:6], and shall go no more forth; which is greater than he that is in the world [1 Jn 4:4]. And in the seed and life keep your meetings with God and one with another. So in that the Lord God Almighty preserve you all to his glory.
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Friends and brethren every where, dwell in that which makes for peace [Rom 14:19] and love; for ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for theirs is the kingdom [Mat 5:8],’ that stands in righteousness, joy, and peace in the holy ghost [Rom 14:17], and in power. Therefore seek the peace, in which is the welfare and good of every one. And take heed of strife and contention [Hab 1:3], for that eats out the good, and does not edify, nor make for peace, for it is love that edifies the body [1 Cor 8:1. Therefore keep in the seed, and know that which was before enmity was, in which there is both peace and life. And all be careful to watch over one another, for one another's good; and be patient, and keep low and down in the power of the Lord God, that there ye may come to enjoy the kingdom of peace, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the same [Mat 8:11]. For blessed are all ye that lie down in the power of the Lord, and rise up in it, and in faith remain; through which power ye come to be preserved and united to the God of life and truth. And take heed of any words or carriage that do not tend to edification and building up in the love and life. Therefore, ye that have tasted of the power of God, and of his good word, and of his light, wait for wisdom, and in it walk [Col 4:5], that ye may be preserved in unity, in the light and life, and in fellowship with God, and one with another; that to the Lord God ye may be a good savour, and to him a blessing in your generation, strengthening one another in the faith, in the grace, in the word by which all things were made and created [John 1:3]. And keeping the word of patience [Rev 3:10], herein ye will see the Lord keeping you from all the temptations, which come to try them that dwell upon the earth; by which word of God ye may all be preserved in the sweet and holy life, in which there is unity in the word, which was before enmity; which word doth fulfil the words. Therefore in that live, that ye may all feel life abundantly through the light and power, that come from the word which was in the beginning [John 1:1]; through which immortal word your immortal souls may be brought up to the immortal God, where is joy, peace, and comfort. So, above all things, live in that which stops strife, contentions, and janglings, and live in that by which ye come to serve one another in love [Gal 5:13], even in the love of God, which thinks no evil, nor envies not, neither is it easily provoked [1 Cor 13:4f]. Therefore, live in that which is not easily provoked, <151> and thinks no evil; which fulfils the law [Rom 13:10], which is love out of a pure heart [1 Pet 1:22]. And let not prejudice boil in any of your hearts, but let it be cast out by the power of God, in which is the unity, and the everlasting kingdom; that ye may all witness your being made heirs of the same kingdom of peace, and to be inheritors of it, sitting down in the same, knowing your own portion, and increasing in the heavenly riches. And this above all strife, that is below, and the man of it, which is born of the Egyptian woman, which genders to bondage [Gal 4:24]. Therefore know the seed, the second man, the heir of the promise [Gal 3:29, 1 Cor 15:47] set over all, and the blessing and presence of the Lord, which were before strife was. Therefore know the seed of life and peace to reign in you all, which possesses the kingdom, where there is no end.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, to teach, season, and establish you, which brings your salvation [Tit 2:11].
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Postscript.—The people that know their God, they prosper and prevail, and they that understand shall instruct many: and though they may fall, and go into captivity, and be spoiled now; yet when they shall so fall, they shall be helped; and when they are helped, many shall cleave unto them. And some of understanding may fall, for to try and purge them, and to make them white, till the time be out [Dan 11:32-35]: for there is a time appointed to liberty, for the faithful sufferers, that <152> come from and through the great tribulations [Rev 7:14]; and ‘Michael shall stand up for the children of thy people [Dan 12:1],’ and every one shall be delivered, that shall be found written in the Lamb's book of life [Rev 21:17].
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[CLX. (160) To Friends in Bristol.]
O friends! do not die from the good through the wantonness of fleshly lusts [2 Pet 2:18], neither be choked with the cares of this life [Mat 13:22], nor fear the shearers [Isa 53:7], neither let the heat scorch your green blade [Mat 13:6]; but dwell under the shadow of the Almighty [Psa 91:1], who will shade you from the heat and cold. Neither be cumbered nor surfeited with the riches of this world [Rom 11:12], nor bound, nor straitened with them, nor married to them; but be free and loose from them, and be married to the Lord [Rom 7:4]. The sufferings in all ages, of the righteous and just, were, because they could not join to the nations' vain worships [Mat 15:9], evil customs, rudiments, traditions [Col 2:8], and carnal inventions, but joined to the Lord [Jer 50:5, 1 Cor 6:17, etc], and not to them; and therefore they suffered, and kept single to the Lord God [Mat 6:22,24] in following him and his truth, and living in it, the amen, [Rev 3:14] the crown, life, virtue, and righteousness [Rev 2:10/2 Tim 4:8], that floweth over all [Amos 5:24], in which the righteous have peace.
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[CLXII. (162)] <153>
My dear friends,—Keep your meetings in the power of the Lord God, in which ye may all feel life eternal among you. And do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together [Heb 10:25], but provoke one another to love [Heb 10:24], in which is edification, life, peace, truth, and dominion; in which ye may feel the blessing of God covering you, ye dwelling in the same. And so, meet together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ [Mat 18:20], whose gathering is above the gatherings of the sons and daughters of Adam in the fall, and will stand when they are all gone . . . . And so, in that the Lord God Almighty preserve you all to his glory; that to the Lord God <154> ye may be a blessing in your generation, and a good savour to God [2 Cor 2:15], and in the hearts of all people. That none may say, ye are an unstayed, unestablished, or a fickle people, and have your religion, truth, and worship to seek; but that ye have it already, and are established in the life and power of God, and in his worship, church, and religion, which Christ is the head and the life of [Col 1:18], (which destroyeth the devil and his works [Heb 2:14/1 Jn 3:8],) who is the pasture of life, who was before death was. And so, feel him set over all that, which makes to suffer, who was before it was, and will remain when it is gone: and so, feel the top-stone over all laid, and Christ to reign.
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Dear friends,—In the power and light is my love to you all, in which the virtue, life, holiness, and righteousness are known, and the riches, that never fade away [Prov 8:18]. Live in the truth, which ye first received, that it may be your crown and your clothing. And dwell in love, and peace, and unity one with another in the truth of God, which the devil is out of [John 8:44], and keep your meetings in the name of Christ Jesus, that never fell [1 Pet 2:22]; and then ye will see over all the gatherings in the fall, in whom the peace, life, and the blessing are. And all know one another in him, who <155> is the substance [Col 2:17], and him to be your way [John 14:6] and teacher [John 3:2], priest [Heb 6:20, etc.] and prophet [Acts 3:22], that never fell; and then ye will see over all the false ways, prophets, priests, and teachers in the fall, ye being in him that never fell, your priest and prophet. Be faithful to God every one in your measure of light, life, and truth; which truth is over the whole world, and all that is in it. And so, living in the light and truth, ye may answer the light and truth in every man and woman [Col 4:6]; and be a good savour to God [2 Cor 2:15f] in the hearts of all people. And keeping your habitations [Jude 1:6] in the truth, and in the light and life, then ye will see over Adam and Eve, their sons and daughters' habitations in the fall, who cannot abide the truth, light, and life in the inward parts [Psa 51:6/John 3:20]; therefore they are not in peace one with another, being not in the habitation that Adam was in before he fell, nor in Christ that never fell, in whom the saints sit down [Eph 2:6], in the life, Christ, who was with the Father before the world began. Adam lost his habitation [Gen 3:23f], and the Jews lost their habitations, the one went into the earth, and the other into captivity, where the apostates are; and so are become like untimely figs [Rev 6:13], or like unto the corn upon the house top [Psa 129:6]. Now this is the word of the Lord God unto you all, keep your habitations in the light, life, and power, which ye first received and felt in yourselves; that ye may be clothed with the blessing of the Lord, which was before the curse was. And live in the unity in the light, which was before darkness was, or the power of it; and in the life which was before death was; and in the truth which was before the devil was; and in the power of God, which was before the power of satan was. All live in this, that ye may be clothed with that which is immortal, and attain to the crown of life [James 1:12, Rev 2:10], and to know the election before the world began [1 Th 1:4, 2 Tim 1:9]. He that is the first and the last, that is the beginning and the ending [Rev 22:13], sit down in him, not in Adam in the fall, but sit down in Christ, that never fell; and there that life ye will come to know, which was with the Father before the world began. And so, live in the substance, which is the seed [Isa 6:13], Christ, who ends the prophets, first covenant, first priesthood, and all the types, and figures, and shadows given after the fall.
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My dear friends,—Be not carried away by good words and fair speeches [Rom 16:18], nor the affectionate part, which is taken with them; but every one have hold of the truth in yourselves, and the life, and light, and power of the Most High, by which ye may be stayed upon Christ, your bread of life [John 6:35]; he is the staff of your heavenly and eternal life; bread is the staff of life. Now friends, who have denied the world's songs and singing; sing ye in the spirit [1 Cor 14:15], and with grace [Col 3:16], making melody in your hearts to the <156> Lord [Eph 5:19]. And ye having denied the world's formal praying, pray ye always in the spirit, and watch in it [Eph 6:18]. And ye that have denied the world's giving of thanks, and their saying of grace, and living out of it; do ye in every thing give thanks to the Lord through Jesus Christ [Eph 5:20, 1 Th 5:18]. And ye that have denied the world's praising God with their lips, whilst their hearts are afar off [Isa 29:13]; do ye always praise the Lord night and day, and from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, praise ye the Lord [Psa 113:3]. And ye that have denied the world's fastings, and of their hanging down their heads like a bulrush for a day, who smite with the fist of wickedness, keep ye the fast of the Lord, that breaks the bond of iniquity, and lets the oppressed go free [Isa 58:4-6]; that your health may grow, and your light may shine as the morning [Isa 58:8].
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Friends all every where, who have tasted of the love, mercy, and kindness of God, and his power, ye are called to holiness and chastity. Therefore keep out of inordinate affections [Col 3:5], and inordinate fleshly love, and feigned flattery and desires, which are below the truth; which will bring you to infirmness. And keep out of fond affections, and fond love, that draws out the fleshly part, the fleshly eye, and brings into pride, and looseness, and false liberty [Gal 5:13], and to abuse the power of God [1 Cor 9:18]. Oh! keep out of all uncleanness, whatever may be pretended, and fleshly desires; for the ‘lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life are not of the Father, but of the world [1 Jn 2:16].’ And therefore keep down that which is not of the Father, but of the world. And take heed of dishonouring your bodies [Rom 1:24], and defiling your minds [Tit 1:15], but keep your bodies clean from all fornication, adultery, and uncleanness; for that which pretends otherwise, and doth so, defiles it, and is out of the truth [John 8:44], and is contrary to the law of God, and contrary to Christ's doctrine. And therefore defile not yourselves, but live pure, chaste, and holy, as becometh the saints [Eph 5:3]; for no adulterer nor fornicator hath any part in the kingdom of God [1 Cor 6:9]. Such go from that of God in themselves, and quench the spirit [1 Th 5:19] of God, and abuse his power, and go into fleshly love, and feigned desires, and flattering pretences, covering it with a false liberty [2 Pet 2:19] , and so are in the bondage to the beggarly, fleshly lusts [Gal 4:9]; and whom they overcome, they bring into the same bondage [2 Pet 2:19], and through their feigned flattery, and dissembling carriage rob, and beguile, and spoil, to fulfil their insatiable, ungodly desires, wills, and lusts [Jude 1:18]. Therefore live in the truth, for all such things are out of the truth, and such as do the same, whatsoever they be; therefore all that go into uncleanness under what fair pretence soever, are to be judged.
G. F. Top
To all the elect, chosen and faithful [Rev 17:14], who are of the royal seed of God, living stones [1 Pet 2:5], elect and precious [1 Pet 2:6], knit and built up together [Col 2:19/1 Pet 2:5], and united, the family and household of God [Eph 2:19], and come to his mountain, that is established upon the top of all mountains [Isa 2:2], that walk in the light of the Lord [Isa 2:5], in unity and covenant with God, in the covenant of life and peace [Mal 2:5] with him. Who in this the Lamb's day are the gold tried in the fire [Zech 13:9]. Who have been tried by goods spoiling, by bonds, by whippings, by mockings, and reproaches in the day of the Lamb's power, and some have been tried unto death; and ye have proved to be the pure gold, that hath come out brighter and brighter. Who have not feared the waves of the sea, nor the winds [Mat 8:26]; who fear not the storms nor the weather; whose anchor holds, which is the hope, the mystery [Col 1:27], which anchors the soul [Heb 6:19] which is immortal, to the immortal God. Among whom the star of Jacob [Num 24:17] is seen, and the morning star [Rev 22:16] is risen, and the sun of righteousness [Mal 4:2] shines, and the Lamb's voice is known [Rev 18:23?], the church in her glory and beauty is appeared and appearing; the marriage of the lamb, and the bride [Rev 19:7], and the wedding day is known, in which there is unity; and the virgins sing praises, and follow the Lamb, because of his sweet ointment; and the virgins are upon Mount Zion. And the gospel is going forth unto all nations, kindreds, and tongues [Rev 5:9]; and life and immortality are coming to light through the gospel [2 Tim 1:10], which is the power of God [Rom 1:16]; and the mystery of the fellowship [Eph 3:9] is known, which is in the power. And for want of the power, the gospel, in which is the fellowship, hath Christendom been on heaps, and the heathen ignorant. And now ye who know the power of God, ye know the gospel; and ye who are in the power of God, ye are in the mystery of the fellowship. So mark, the fellowship is a mystery, and the mystery of the fellowship is everlasting. So, if any wants the power of God, he wants the mystery, in which is the fellowship, although he may have all the scriptures.
2. And now, friends, if any be moved of the Lord God by his power, be obedient to it, and wait in the life and in the power, and it will direct you to the glory of God, in his wisdom, not to abuse it; that whatsoever ye do, ye may do it to his glory [1 Cor 10:31], ye answering the just principle of God in every one.
3. If any be moved to go to the steeple-houses, or markets, or to reprove sin in the gate, or to exhort high or low, or to reprove them; reason not with flesh and blood [Gal 1:16], nor quench the spirit [1 Th 5:19]. And when ye have done, in the same spirit live; and then ye will have peace, and <158> rest, and fellowship with God, and one with another. For the unity is in the spirit, and it is the bond of peace [Eph 4:3].
4. And all Friends, in your meetings do not quench the spirit. And take heed, and do not judge one another in the meetings; but have patience until the meetings be done. So, if any have any thing upon him to speak to another, he may speak to him after the meeting is done [Mat 18:15]; that will cover one another's weakness, and not hurt others.
5. And all Friends every where, wait to feel the power of God in yourselves in your meetings. And take heed of sleeping, and feel the power of God in one another; that ye all may be in the mystery of the fellowship. For wo unto them, that are at ease in Zion [Amos 6:1]! I warn and charge you all in the presence of the living God, that none make their habitation in the earth, or build tabernacles there, lest ye become vagabonds from the Lord [Gen 4:14]. But let every one rest in his habitation in God, and here is no vagabond; but there shall every one know an heirship, a habitation, and an inheritance. And I warn and charge you from the Lord, not to make any of the world's jewels your God; but live all in the power of the Lord God, in which ye will be carried over the spirit of the world [1 Cor 2:2].
6. And Friends all every where, dwell in the love and fear of the Lord God, and in peace one with another, and in the power and life of the Lord God keep your meetings; and live in the mystery of the fellowship of the gospel [Phil 1:5], which is everlasting.
This is to go to all the meetings of Friends among them to be read. London, the 11 th of the 3 d month, 1658.
[CLXX. (170) — To Friends at Worcester.]