My dear friends,—Look above all sufferings that are outward, at the seed of God, which was before that was which makes to suffer; and the seed of God, Christ Jesus, will stand, when that which makes to suffer, is gone: and so, in the seed of God live, and lie down in the same, which is Christ, the life, the way to God [John 14:6] the Father of life. The tithes of the Jews, and the tithes of the apostate christians must all be borne testimony against, by them that be redeemed from the earth [Rev 14:3], and reign above it, in his life, and power, and wisdom. And so, be of good faith, and never heed, but make war in righteousness with the beast, dragon, whore, and her followers; for by the Lord many walls and troops have ye gone through and leaped over [Psa 18:29], and the Lord hath given you dominion over that which warred against you [Rev 17:14]; and by the power of the Lord ye have overcome, and in the power of the Lord ye will overcome all, and in it will stand, when all the contrary is gone. And know your portion, and sit down in the possession of it: so, every one of you to be in your possessions and inheritances, and with the shield of faith and helmet of salvation, and the breast-plate of righteousness, and the sword of the spirit [Eph 6:14-17], the word of God [Heb 4:12], which was before deceit was, which will hammer [Jer 23:29], and break, and cut down all that which is contrary. And being shod with the preparation of the gospel [Eph 6:15], which is the power of God [Rom 1:16], which was before the fall was, in that stand, in the power of God, which was before the devil was, and will remain when he is gone.
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All ye prisoners of the Lord [Eph 4:1] for his truth sake, and for keeping the testimony of Jesus Christ, against all the inventions, traditions, rudiments [Col 2:8], will-worships, feigned humilities [Col 2:23] and self-righteousnesses, that are in the fall, (and are out of God's power and righteousness,) who have no weapons but carnal [2 Cor 10:4], like themselves; your patience must overcome all the rough spirits in the world, and your love must bear all things [1 Cor 3:7]. For patience obtains the crown which is immortal, which runs the race [Heb 12:1/1 Cor 9:24f]: so, it is the Lamb must have the victory [Rev 17:14] over all the unclean, airy spirits, and over him that is out of the truth [John 8:44]. So, be meek and low, then ye follow the example of Christ, and come to bear the image of the just, who suffered by the unjust [1 Pet 3:18]; and put on his righteousness, who suffered by the unrighteous, whose back was struck, hair was plucked off, and face was spit upon [Isa 50:6, Mat 26:67], and yet cried, ‘Father, forgive them [Luke 23:34]:’ here he kept his dominion, though a sufferer, who had the victory, which the followers of the Lamb do (in measure) attain to. So, put on courage, put on patience: let your loyalty be known for your King, that hath conquered the devil, death, and hell; in walking in righteousness, peace, and truth, feeling the power of God preaching and reaching the witness of God in every one, when words are not uttered. And let your faith be in the power, that goes through all things, and over all things, and every one hearken to it. So, the power of the mighty God then ye will know, and his arm, how it works, and the hand, how it carries you, which will bring you out of tribulation and thraldom, and spiritual Egypt [Rev 11:8], into peace. And this is the power of God, in which live and dwell, in which ye will feel him, which was before enmity was. And be at peace one with another, then ye will live in the Prince of princes [Dan 8:25]' peace, and in his kingdom, dominion, and life, in which is unity, which was before enmity was, and which destroys it [Eph 2:16]. And so, in the power of the Lord God ye are made strong [Eph 6:10], which goes over the power of darkness [Col 1:13], and was before all that was which is out of the power of God. . . . For all people that are gone from the witness of God in their own particulars, that are erred from it, and hate the light [John 3:20], they are full of darkness, sin, and iniquity, and <209> are far from inspiration and revelation, while their minds are erred from the spirit [Isa 29:24] of God in themselves, that is hid from them. . . .
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My dear friends,—In the power of God and his immortal seed dwell, in which ye all will have life eternal, and inherit the substance [Prov 8:21] and dominion, and a kingdom of life, which never fadeth [1 Pet 1:4?], nor shall have an end. And so dwell all in the power of the Lord God, in which ye may all feel and know your strength renewed [Isa 40:31] in that which is immortal; and be of one mind in the power of God, and live in love and peace, knowing the kingdom of the same, which stands in the power [1 Cor 4:20] of God, which was before the power of satan. And your fellowship being in the same power of God, your fellowship is in that which is everlasting, and that never hath an end. And the church-fellowship is in God, and the worship is in the spirit, and in the truth [John 4:24]; which truth was before the untruth was, and stands when all the untruth in the world is gone [1 Esd 4:38]. In this live and dwell, in which ye will all have unity and fellowship; in which ye will feel life eternal amongst you. In that meet and keep your meetings, and wait together upon the Lord, who are gathered together in the name of Jesus [Mat 18:20]; whose name is above every name [Phil 2:9]. So is his gathering above all other gatherings; which gathering stands when all other gatherings are ended. And not in any other name under heaven is salvation brought [Acts 4:12], but in the name of Jesus; in which name are your gatherings; in which name ye all know your salvation, and shall all know it; as ye abide all in the power of God, that keeps unto the day of salvation [Isa 49:8]. And so be faithful unto the Lord God, minding the seed, and feeling it, and knowing it in yourselves; which destroys the devil [Heb 2:14], the destroyer, and the oppressor, murderer, and liar [John 8:44], the <210> father of all unrighteousness and ungodliness, and all that is bad, which the seed destroys, which seed is Christ. Therefore know that reign, and the top-stone over all laid; in which ye will all feel life, and have life eternal, coming to be heirs of the power of God, knowing every one that to be your portion, and heirs of the gospel, and inheriting it. Then ye possess fellowship, the gospel fellowship, which is everlasting, which is the power of God. And so farewell! And the Lord God Almighty preserve you, and keep you. So my love in the everlasting seed of God is to you all.
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From Mendlesham, this 11th day of the 1st month.
Friends,—All ye that have known the way of truth, and tasted of <211> the power of the same, and now turn back into the world's fashions and customs [2 Pet 2:20], ye stop them that are coming out of the world, ye make them to stumble at the truth [Mal 2:8], ye make them to question the way of the Lord, which is out of the way of the world, and its ways; and ye grieve the righteous, and sadden the hearts of the upright and simple. Ye had better never have known the way of light, life, and power; ye are the cause of many keeping in darkness; you are the cause of the boasting of the wicked, and make the wicked to take you for an example, and their object against truth, and them that live in it, to plead against its ways. Ye had better never have been born [Mark 14:21] ; your days will be sad, trouble and vengeance will be your garment and clothing [Isa 59:17] in that state; and a hard thing it will be for any of you to repent, for you will find a more subtle thing in you than was before you knew the way of truth; who have neglected hearing the voice of God, through which your hearts are hardened. . . . Wo and misery is for you! ye had better never have been born [Mark 14:21], nor known the way of truth [2 Pet 2:21]; whose latter end is worse than the beginning [2 Pet 2:20], when the way of peace is hid from your eyes [Rom 3:17f], and a place of repentance ye cannot find [Heb 12:17], though ye wash your altar with tears [Mal 2:13]; being in the stained life, where all the tattlers, tale-carriers, unclean persons, envious, murmurers and complainers [Jude 1:16] are, and are out of the life, and power, and wisdom of God, which hath the royal dominion, and possession of the royal seed. Therefore turn, turn all that are not hardened and past feeling, and hear the voice, that the way of peace and repentance, and the way of life and salvation ye may know, and live in; and upon all your disorderly carriages, walkings, words, and actions [2 Th 3:6f], ye may come to receive judgment, and through that ye may receive power to live a new life, in which God is served in the truth, and not the devil, who is out of the truth [John 8:44]; for in the truth is the holy unity and the pure dominion, and the everlasting life promised and received, and the royal seed, which the elect have, wherein they have the bread of life [John 6:35].
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[CCXII. (212) — To a Friend under an exercise of spirit.] <212>
Dear friends,—In the life and power of God dwell, by which ye were raised, and by which ye are nourished and refreshed; it is the sure foundation [Isa 28:16] which shall never be raced out, for it is laid of God, and no man can lay another [1 Cor 3:11]. And ye that feel the life and power of God in yourselves, ye feel Christ the salvation, righteousness, and wisdom of God [1 Cor 1:24], and so ye by the power and wisdom of God are kept and preserved in sincerity and integrity to God; and thereby come to be established upon the rock, which the gates of hell cannot prevail against [Mat 16:18], nor all <213> the fiery darts of the wicked [Eph 6:16] touch. And in the power of God, ye being gathered and established, ye stand and live in that which scatters the clouds [Job 37:11], and keeps your eye clear to the Lord God; by which power ye see him (in measure) with a good understanding, through all the evil powers and spirits which work in the darkness against him, and by the power of God are preserved out of them, and set above them, where ye reign as kings [1 Cor 4:8] in the immortal seed of God, by which the serpent's head is broken, and his seed destroyed [Gen 3:15]. For the true freedom is in the son [John 8:36], who suffered and died, and is risen again [Rom 8:34] in life, and hath brought life and immortality to light [2 Tim 1:10] again; in which life and light ye are the children of the Most High God [Psa 82:6], and heirs of the everlasting kingdom [James 2:5] of God, where ye have a sure portion in the joy, and peace, [Rom 14:17] and blessing of God, in which sit ye down and keep your habitation. And the God of life and peace, and endless love be with you all, and clothe you with the garment of everlasting praise [Isa 61:3]; that in all things ye may give him the glory who lives for evermore.
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Friends, the power of the Lord God is over all them that keep on their hats in prayer, and they do not keep on their hats in prayer neither by the motion, nor the power of God, nor by the spirit of God, but (by an earthly, dark spirit) against it, and them that are in the power of God. . . . <214> . . .
If they, that are and have been in this dark, earthly spirit, had but had a regard to the power of God and his truth, they would have been tender, and afraid of giving any occasion of offence, both to them that are within, and to them that are without, to draw out their minds to look at that which their earthly spirit has promoted; and so to lay stumbling blocks, and set up an idol [Rev 2:14?], and an image to look at, which draws people's eyes from the witness of God in themselves [1 Jn 5:9f]. But the power of God is gone over it, and will break it down. And so, this Belial's spirit [Deut 13:13], which would be without yoke, cries, (to such as in love exhort them, and judge it,) ye lord over us [Psa 12:4]. And so this earthly, dark spirit, (which is gotten above the witness of God [1 Jn 5:9] in themselves, which is not sensible of the moving spirit and power of God,) it sets up its own earthly form, which the power of God never set up, but judges. . . . And thus many of them are darkened with a cankered, rusty spirit, which will corrupt them [James 5:2f], and hath destroyed many. And this is that that has brought the plague of hardness of heart, through which there has been strangeness, and not unity, nor familiarness, nor nighness in the truth; for how should it, when they are gone from that which first convinced them [2 Pet 2:20]? <215> To that all must come, before they have fellowship and true unity in the power and truth of God; which, if that had been minded, would have led to follow, ‘whatsoever things are comely, whatsoever things are decent, whatsoever things are of good report [Phil 4:8],’ and such things as make for peace [Rom 14:19]. But this spirit has followed the contrary, and therefore the power of the Lord God, and the life and truth, are against it, and over it are gone, and reign. . . .
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Dear friends and brethren, amongst whom the vine is manifest, and who are (by faith) grafting into it [Rom 11:23], through and in which ye may bear fruit to glorify God [John 15:8]; be wise in all things, and harmless [Mat 10:16], that your lives, conversations, and innocency may preach, and reach to the hearts of all your opposers and persecutors. And be faithful and valiant for the truth upon the earth [Jer 9:3], and tender to one another in all convenient outward things, for that is the least love. And dwell in that which redeems you from the earth [Rev 14:3], the power of God, in which ye may know the kingdom which is everlasting, and come to be heirs of that [James 2:5] ; that ye may sit down in your own possession, knowing the seed of God, which was before the seed of the serpent was, knowing the birth born of the spirit, which was before the birth born of the flesh was. And so live in the truth, by which ye may see over that which stains, corrupts, cankers, loads, and burdens the creation; by which power of God and truth ye may answer the spirit of God in all, which the wicked grieve [Eph 4:30], vex [Isa 63:10], and quench [1 Th 5:19] by their ungodly lusts [Jude 1:8], and filthy conversation [2 Pet 2:7], and unsavoury words. Fear not sufferings, which bring to wear the crown [Rev 2:10]. Fear not him that can kill the body only, but cannot hurt the soul [Mat 10:28]; for that that is immortal goes over him. Fear God, and fear not him that can spoil the goods [Heb 10:34]; for the earth is the Lord's and the fulness of it [Psa 24:1]. But mind <216> God's power, and let your patience be perfect [James 1:4], and all your words seasoned with grace [Col 4:6], that they may edify; by which ye may season the earth [Mat 5:13], your hearts being established in the same [Heb 13:9], over all the unsavoury words and talkers, and live in the truth above them. And let your backs and cheeks be ready to the smiters [Isa 50:6]; that ye may overcome the evil with the good, and may heap coals of fire upon their heads [Rom 12:20f]. For it is the good that overcomes the evil, and the lamb that hath the victory [Rev 17:14]; the rough goat must not [Dan 8:21,25]. So let your moderation be known unto all men [Phil 4:5], honouring all men [1 Pet 2:17], that is, having them all in esteem; that ye may set them in the way of salvation and life. That the power of God may come over them, that your meekness and gentleness may prevail over the rough, and in boldness in the unalterable, holy way, you may be preserved; which is the new and living way [Heb 10:20], which is the light and life, which brings into covenant with God, in which there is peace. In which the Lord God Almighty give you dominion, and preserve you by his power, into the endless life [Heb 7:16], where ye all may know happiness and peace in the pasture of life, where all the sheep and lambs feed [Ezek 34:14]; in that the Lord God Almighty preserve you!
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Let copies be sent to Virginia and Maryland.
To all my dear friends and brethren, among whom the precious truth and power of God hath been declared, and joyfully received, whose belief, confidence, and innocency are spread abroad who are come to the vine, Christ Jesus [John 15:1], that is your shade [Psa 121:5]; whom bonds and death have not dismayed, for the worth of truth sake. And fetters, irons, whippings, stripes, and spoilings of goods, and the like cruelties and persecutions have not daunted ye, whose courage, valiantness, and boldness for the truth, have much appeared among a crooked and perverse generation [Deut 32:5], that professed Christ, and among whom he hath not had so much place of entertainment as in their manger in the outward [Luke 2:7]; whose hearts are dens of dragons [Jer 9:11], and places of darkness, and whose religion and profession they have shamed, being unfruitful in the ways of God and Christ, workers of darkness, whose iniquity hath flourished and sins sprung as the grass [Psa 92:7]; that their folly and shame might cover them, and that they might be confounded in their iniquity.
So ye in the power of the Lord God, in his might, and strength, and hand, that brings your salvation, stand [1 Cor 2:5/Mic 5:4]; in which power and arm ye see over that which brought destruction; in which power, (that is the gospel,) [Rom 1:16] life and immortality come to light [2 Tim 1:10], and captivate that which hid life and immortality; living in the power of God, see over <217> it, and in that standing, all your feet are sure. In which power of God, (the gospel,) which goes over the power of darkness, and was before it was, ye see before all transgression, and how all things were blessed; which power goes over all that which bringeth the curse, wrath, wo, misery, thraldom, bondage, and captivity, by which power of God that is taken captive, in that live and dwell; in which ye all have unity, peace, concord, love, and fellowship in the gospel [Phil 1:5], which goes over the enmity [Eph 2:16], and was before it was; in that ye bind and unite, and are established, and are gathered up to Christ, who was before transgression was, which hath scattered from God. In the power of God see over all the meetings and the gatherings, that are in the transgression, unestablished, like water; in this power is the praying to the living God, that lives for evermore. And then is the gospel, that is everlasting, preached unto all nations of mankind [Rev 14:6], and all that are driven out from God in the power of darkness; to the intent that they may all come up again to God, and have life and immortality brought to light by his Almighty power, that expels death and darkness. So, in this gospel, the power of God, let all your faith be and stand, then are ye all but one. And so all ye that have tasted of the power, sit down under your own vine [Micah 4:4], and abide in it, then will ye bring forth fruit through the power of God and Christ Jesus, who is the vine [John 15:4f] , which goes over the powers of darkness, which is the cause of unfruitfulness [Eph 5:11]. Which power of God, Christ Jesus [1 Cor 1:24], destroys the devil and his works [Heb 2:14/1 Jn 3:8] of darkness; and dwelling all in the power of God, ye will have every one of you a habitation in it. For God's power is sprung up in your hearts, so in nowise abuse it through strife or jangling, for that eats out. But all in the power of God live and dwell, which makes you subject to God, and one to another in his fear, that keeps you from sin and evil, which is the author of strife; and through the power of God ye will be all kept in unity, and peace, and love. And as many as receive the light, Christ Jesus, the power of God, which he hath lighted you with, (who hath all the power in heaven and earth given him [Mat 28:18],) he will give you power to become the sons of God [John 1:12]. Therefore every one receive Christ the light, that hath enlightened you [John 1:9], and ye shall feel the power, in which light ye shall all have fellowship; which light will give every one of you the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus [2 Cor 4:6], your saviour. And in the power of the Lord God, which hath gathered you over the powers of darkness, and all the meetings therein, in that power of God live, which is everlasting, and keep your meetings; in that ye may feel fulness of life, and wisdom from above [James 3:17], before that which is below was, by which ye may all be ordered to God's glory [Wis 8:1, 1 Cor 10:31], and order all things under your hands to his honour. Through which wisdom ye may be a blessing to the Lord God in your generation, and a sweet savour [2 Cor 2:15] to him <218> in the hearts of all people upon the earth, yea, the very heathen, who are enlightened, to bring them to the light, which Christ Jesus hath enlightened them withal; that they may come to the knowledge of the same salvation or condemnation.
So spread the truth abroad, ye that are in it, and have it, which the devil is out of [John 8:44], who hath darkened people from God, and his covenant, and his way; through which they are strangers to his life, and kingdom that hath no end, and dominion that is everlasting [Dan 4:3,34]; wandering in strange paths in the dark world, that lies in unrighteousness, which the devil hath made like a wilderness [Isa 14:17], full of briers and thorns, that the lambs in it can hardly walk or work. Yet work ye and labour in the power of the Lord God that lives for ever; in it make vineyards and plantations, to the renewing of people's minds in the light and power of God, and the knowledge of Christ Jesus, turning them from the enmity and the darkness, (the power of satan,) to the light, and to God [Acts 26:18], that they may be renewed into his image and likeness [Col 3:10]; that the image of the devil, and his likeness, may be defaced, which is gotten up in the hearts of men and people since the beginning, in transgression. So bring them to the great sacrifice, the Lord Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman [Gen 3:15], who offered up himself for the sin of the world [Heb 7:27], the top-stone, which is over all laid, who is restoring by his power, who hath all power in heaven and earth [Mat 28:18], who is restoring all things into the place, as they were in the beginning, and reconciling in one, by his power, things in heaven and things in earth [Col 1:20], destroying that which made the separation, and broke unity, which is the enmity [Eph 2:15f] in people's minds, which the light that doth enlighten every one that cometh into the world destroys: through which all people come to have peace with God, and fellowship, who do believe in it.
So spread the truth abroad, and be valiant for it upon the earth [Jer 9:3], improve your talent [Mat 25:14-30], and be the wise virgins, with oil in your lamps; that ye may enter in with the bridegroom [Mat 25:1-10]. Have salt in yourselves [Mark 9:50], that ye may savour all things, and keep your consciences clean and pure unto God and all men. Live in the cross of Christ, and rejoice in it, which is the power of God [1 Cor 1:18], and goes over all that which lives out from God, and which is in the transgression, and its fruits, to which it is death; to this cross, the power of God, all must bend and bow. And in the power of God is the fellowship of the cross, which keeps over all the fellowships in the world, and crucifies to them. And so ye who are heirs of the power of a world that hath no end, and a kingdom that is everlasting, sit down in your inheritances of the power, of the kingdom, of the blessing, of the promise, that are heirs of the same [Gal 3:29]; that ye may increase in the everlasting, in the blessing, and heavenly riches.
And though the oppressors of the earth will not let you have a foot <219> of ground, yet ye have the power of God to stand in, and so ye that are heirs of that, and Christ Jesus, whose the earth is and all things therein [Psa 24:1], and are in the power of God, separated from the power of darkness, the devil, and are come into that which was before he was, ye have nothing to lose, for all yours is the Lord's. For they that are separated by sin and transgression, drove into the earth, there they stick fast, and have much to lose; whose hearts are surfeited with the earth [Luke21:34], and to that glued; and all their fellowship is out of the cross of Christ, the power of God, and are within the power of darkness and its dominion, over whom it hath the supremacy; which the power of God goes over, in which is the son's liberty [Rom 8:21], and the saints' fellowship, that lives for ever, through which they have eternal life.
Let this be copied over, and sent abroad to the Isles, and unto New England and Virginia.
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All my dear friends and brethren, who of the mighty power of God have tasted, in which it hath brought you to the measure of the life of truth, and to feel after God in it: unto which ye are turned, as a way that is living [Heb 10:20] and has no end, which is Christ Jesus, who is the way of peace [Isa 59:8], and destroys the devil [Heb 2:14], the author of strife. All ye that are turned unto this living way by the power of the mighty God of heaven and earth, live in peace one with another, and unity; and do not judge one another [Rom 14:13], for that eats and wears out the good, and begets the enmity; and hinders growth in truth. Keep that down, and live in love and peace, that edifies [Eph 4:16/Rom 14:19].
And all every where, unto you this is the word of the Lord God: live in the power of the mighty God of heaven and earth, that goes over the unrighteous world, in which is the strife, and the devil, and his works; which power of God was before they were; in that ye will feel unity, which was before strife. So dwell in that, in which ye may have a kingdom that hath no end, and the dominion that is above all dominions [Dan 4:3,34] upon the earth. In which power of God ye may enlarge your borders [Exo 34:24], and spread truth abroad both to Jews, Christians, and heathens; having the power of God, that goes over them all, and was before they were. With that power of God ye will answer the witness of God in all [Col 4:6/1 Jn 5:9], and bring them to that; that with that they may have a part in the kingdom of God; and a share with you of the same; in which ye will have peace, life, joy [Rom 14:17], dominion, and prosperity. And so it will be your life to do good, and to beget into life, up to God; and in that power, that doth so, ye will not labour in vain [1 Cor 15:58]. . . . <220> . . .
So, go on in the truth, answering it in every one in the inward parts [Psa 51:6], and in the power of God, which comprehends deceit, which was before it was, in that is your life, and in that the kingdom is felt that never hath an end, and the dominion over all dominions; in that stands your peace and joy, in the holy ghost [Rom 14:17], which is the spirit of God, that plungeth down that which made the separation from God; in that will be your fellowship, which will stand and remain when all the fellowships of the earth are gone. In which fellowship in the spirit [Phil 2:1] ye will have fellowship with God, the Father of spirits [Heb 12:9], and all the scriptures given forth [2 Tim 3:16] from the same spirit, and with all the saints that gave them forth, and with their spirits; through which spirit of God ye will be brought, and come to the spirits of just men, which are made perfect [Heb 2:23], and to God, the judge of all. In which, (as I said before,) ye will have an everlasting fellowship, in which spirit ye will have an understanding [Isa 11:2?], in which spirit ye will come to worship God, the Father of spirits, and in the truth, which the devil and his works are out of [John 8:44], and all the will-worshippers [Col 2:23]. So, in that ye will know the royal dominion and royal fellowship; in which spirit ye will have the spirit of wisdom, in which ye will know how to pray to God [Rom 8:26? Wis 7:7?], who is a spirit [John 4:24], and to praise and glorify the everlasting God, who lives for ever and ever, amen! And in that ye will come to know and see to the beginning, before the world began, and that which quencheth, and grieveth, and vexeth the spirit of God [1 Th 5:19; Eph 4:30; Isa 63:10]; and that prayeth, and that preacheth, and that praiseth, and yet grieveth, and vexeth, and quencheth the spirit of God; such God, the Father of spirits accepts not, that judge, rend to pieces, and tear one another about inventions.
Now ye being led by the spirit of God [Rom 8:14] up to God, the Father of spirits, in which ye have the fellowship, out of all that you will be kept; and in that spirit of God the Lord God Almighty preserve you and keep you, and in that meet and dwell, in which your meetings may be preserved over all that which is in the world, that are out of the spirit of God; who are in confusion, contending about the words [Gen 11:1-9]. Therefore ye in the spirit of God, answer that of God in them all. So, in that dwell and live, and let no man take your crown [Rev 3:11].
Send copies of this to all Friends that are convinced in New England, Barbadoes, and all the islands thereways.
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[CCXVIII. (218) — To Friends in Ireland.]
. . . <222> . . . If, among Friends, any reports or surmises be about any, or any backbitings, or whisperings, all such things must be stopped and searched out; for thus saith the Lord, ‘Thou shalt not raise a false report among my people [Exo 23:1]’ . . . .
And furthermore, that Friends take notice of all such Friends as go to sea, seamen, merchants, masters of ships and passengers, abroad and at home, that profess the truth, that if they have any ways dishonoured the Lord God [Rom 2:23], and brought an evil report, either in their trading, lives or conversations, upon the truth and the good land, and dishonoured the Lord God and his name, truth, and people; that they may search into the bottom of it; that so, if they have done any thing worthy of condemnation and judgment, it may be past upon them without any respect of persons [various, e.g. Lev 19:15]. And, if the report be false, let their innocency be manifest, and the reporter reproved. And so, that all that profess truth, may walk in the truth and the light of the Lord [Isa 2:5], who are ‘children of light [e,g. John 12:36],’ who have their name after the living God.
And all to be circumspect, diligent, and careful in all these things, that in nowise God may be dishonoured; but in all things your lives, and words may preach, that profess the truth. And all of them that have gone from England and dishonoured God beyond sea, to write over sea, to search out and know the ground of the matter, that all obstructions that have hindered the glory of God, and the spreading of his truth, may be taken away; that the Lord's name may not be dishonoured, nor his way and truth evil spoken of [2 Pet 2:2]. . . .
And all Friends that have dishonoured God, and his truth, and people, <223> and Friends have been to admonish them in a gospel-way, and they still go on in their wickedness and do not repent; Friends may draw up a paper at their meeting, (when they are clear of them,) against them and their disorderly walking [2 Th 3:6], and unruly spirits, and looseness, in general words, not mentioning the particulars, except they be notoriously known. And Friends to do this with speed, and to bring it to the meetings; and if any one be known to be an open offender, that then there may be an open testimony against him in the particular; showing that we have no unity nor fellowship with such workers of darkness [Eph 5:11], and how that they cast out themselves from amongst us, being gone from the life and power of God; in which our fellowship is. And that copies of the paper may be read in meetings, and the copies of the papers to be sent to the men's meetings in the countries where they live.