My dear friends, all every where, the power of the Lord God, that first convinced you, and his light and truth, all wait and walk in, and keep your first habitations [Jude 1:6] in the power of the Lord God, and in his light, and life, and spirit, by which all your minds may be stayed, and kept up to theLord God [Isa 26:3], in the unchangeable light, life, power, and spirit. And so ye living in the unchangeable life and light, ye see Christ, that does not change [Heb 13:8], but ends all changeable things, types, figures, and shadows [Heb 9,10], and destroys the author of all evil inventions and traditions among all the sons and daughters of Adam in the fall. . . . which will draw the mind outward from the power, and so from your habitation of peace [Isa 32:18]; through which trouble will enter, as it hath done upon some, who now do see how they have gone from their habitation. Therefore in the power of the Lord God, which is everlasting, in which is the fellowship live; which power of God is perfect, in which is the perfect fellowship, which was before imperfection was. In which power of God is the joy and life; and ye keeping in your habitations of the light, life, and power of God, (the gospel,) by which you all see and discern your own conditions, with the spirit of discerning, laying hands on no man suddenly [1 Tim 5:22], but proving and trying all things [1 Th 5:21]; seeing your own conditions by the power of the Lord, and his light, by which ye may have <224> the spirit of discerning ]1 Cor 2:14], waiting and walking in the truth [3 Jn 1:3], that ye may adorn it; walking in the truth, which was before untruth was. And whatsoever is comely, decent, and of good report [Phil 4:8] follow and walk in, which is to the answering that of God in every one [Col 4:6/Rom 1:19]. . . . Therefore mind the power of God, and the righteousness and holiness, and your renewings into it, (which was before the fall was,) and follow that which makes for peace [Rom 14:19] in the truth, and in the life and power of God, which peace will stand, in the same dwelling in love and unity [1 Jn 4:16, Psa 133:1], by which ye may all honour the truth, which will keep you over all the fallen spirits, that are striving, and are busy about that which is in the fall, manifesting that they be fallen from the power of God, and gone from their first habitation [Jude 1:6]; in which power of God is the peace, in which the kingdom stands. Therefore all mind that, and to be heirs of that kingdom that stands in righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy ghost [Rom 14:17]. And so feel the seed of God over all that set that makes to suffer, which was before that was, and will stand and remain when that which makes to suffer is gone, in which you may all feel the life, which was in the Father before the world began; and feel Christ to reign amongst you, who is the prince of peace and life [Isa 9:6, Acts 3:15]; and this will keep you from being tossed and carried about with strange doctrines [Eph 4:14], (for the seed Christ [Gal 3:16] was before they all were, and will remain when they are all gone,) in a pretence of new discoveries and outward things, to bring people's minds from their habitations of life and truth; which comprehends all things, and sees all things. Therefore mind the spirit of truth, and the unfeigned love [1 Pet 1:22], and faith that works by it [Gal 5:6], over all the feignedness, that by the shield of faith, the sword of the spirit [Eph 6:16f], that may be cut down, that none may be deceived by that, but keep the unity of the faith [Eph 4:13], that gives you the victory [1 Jn 5:4] and access to God [Rom 5:2], and the unity of the spirit, the bond of peace [Eph 4:3], and the fellowship of the gospel [Phil 1:5], which is the power of God [Rom 1:16]; which power of God was before the power of satan was, in that live, <225> and meet and walk in the name of the Lord, which is a strong tower [Prov 18:10], (whose name is the power,) and in the tower is the safety over wickedness, and before it was; sitting under your own vine [Mic 4:4], and abiding in it, then ye abide in Christ [John 15:4], by whom the world was made [John 1:3], who is the light, life, and truth [John 1:4, 14:6] and the power of God [1 Cor 1:24]; and as ye abide there, ye bear fruit to the glory of God [John 15:8], and through him ye come every one to have a habitation in God, who brings out of the fall, where the curse is, to the state that man was in before he fell, and to the blessing, and not only to that state, but to him that never fell [1 Pet 2:22], in whom the saints sit down [Eph 2:6], in whom are the pastures of life, and riches eternal, everlasting, and the blessing of the Lord, that with that ye may be clothed. And so farewell! My love to all Friends in the everlasting seed of God, that never changes, which was before changings were, and stands when all changings are gone, that ye may know Christ to reign amongst you, the prince of life [Acts 3:15], and the prince of peace, and the counsellor [Isa 9:6] hearing the voice of the light, the life, the power of God, and truth's voice, which goes before you, who will give you life abundantly [John 10:10], even that which is eternal.
Now the professors may see, that the hireling is fled and flies, because he was an hireling [John 10:13], whose religion was for the summer, whilst the sun shined; but in a storm, a tempest, a mist, or the sun clouded, their religion they flee from; his flight is in the winter [Mat 24:20]. So the day manifests all things [1 Cor 3:13]. Our religion is in the power of God, before winter storms and tempests were, mists, fogs, or clouds; in the light which shines over them all is our religion, that does not change, in which there is fruit borne in the winter; by which power of God all their religions are seen, which must have an end, and will have an end, which people run into. But in the power of God, and his righteousness and holiness, which was before the fall was, live; which power of God never alters nor changes, in which is both life and peace which, remains for ever, in that dwell and live; and be faithful and valiant on earth, your hearts established with grace [Heb 13:9], and your words seasoned with the same [Col 4:6]; keeping yourselves in the love of God, and in the life, in which is peace, through which ye may be all a comfort one to another, living in the life, in which is the everlasting fellowship. And so in that the Lord God Almighty preserve and keep you all.
Let this be read in all your meetings in Barbadoes, New England, Nevis, and sent to Jamaica, Virginia, and Maryland, to Friends there; and to all the parts in the world, where there are Friends. A general epistle to them all, from Colchester in England.
G. F. Top
The 10th day of the 11th month, 1662.
My dear friends all every where, in the seed dwell, which is Christ the top-stone over all; feel it laid, in which is life eternal, which is over death, and before death was, and the devil, the power of it; every one sitting under their own vine [Micah 4:4], which is Christ the life, by whom the world was made, that in that ye may all bear fruit to God; and all walking in the name of the Lord, (which is the power,) then you will walk in safety. For blessed are all you that rise in the power of God, and lie down in the same power; your beds are pure, holy, and undefiled [Heb 13:4], who lie down in the power of God, before unholiness was. And so you that are gathered in the name of Jesus [Mat 18:20], who have bowed to the name of Jesus [Phil 2:10], whose name is called, the power of God, and the word, light, life, and truth; and for bowing to his name, for his name sake have ye suffered all along by many powers; his name is a strong tower [Prov 18:10]. So who have bowed to the name, and gathered in the name of the Lord, ye are in the strong tower, in which is safety and peace; for being gathered in the name of Christ Jesus, whose name is above every name [Phil 2:9], (for all things that were made, were made by Christ,) above all other names and gatherings are you gathered, who are gathered in the name of Jesus Christ, by whom all things were made and created; and being gathered in the name of Jesus Christ, by which salvation is brought, by the name of Christ, and not by any other name under heaven [Acts 4:12], but by the name of Jesus Christ is salvation brought, by whom all things were made. So ye being gathered in this name, by which salvation is given, here ye come to be heirs of salvation [Heb 1:14], and then to inherit salvation, which is Christ . . . . . . . <227> . . .
2dly. You must bow at the cross of Christ, which is the power of God [1 Cor 1:18], which since the apostles' days the apostate christians have lost; and therefore they bow to a cross, a stick, a stone, a piece of iron, a piece of wood. . . . So bow to the power of God. If all Christendom had done this, they had had a fellowship in this cross of Christ, which is a mystery [Eph 3:9]; but a cross stick, a cross piece of wood, or iron, or stone, this is not a mystery; but the power of God, that crosseth down the earthly, carnal, ungodly part in man and woman, and works over it, and strikes over it, and goes over it, and crosseth it. There is the mystery of the cross of Christ, the power of God, in which is the fellowship; which power of God keeps the mind over all outward things, in the everlasting power of God above them; for the power of God was before unrighteousness and uncleanness, and the idolatrous part in man was; which power of God is a cross to it, and in that is the true glorying in the cross of Christ, by which ye all are crucified to the world, and dead to the world, and the world is dead to you [Gal 6:14]; dead to the world through the power of the cross, and the world is dead from the power of the cross, (in which power is the fellowship of the cross of Christ.)
3dly. The fellowship of the gospel, the power of God [Phil 1:5, Rom 1:16], expels away all that which hath darkened the understanding [Eph 4:18], darkened the mind, darkened the heart [Rom 1:21]; and by the power of God life and immortality are brought to light [2 Tim 1:10] in you. . . . <228> . . . It is the portion of man and woman; and they that inherit it, they inherit the power of God, which hath no end; which was before the power of darkness [Col 1:13] was, which hath darkened people from life and immortality, and loaded their spirits; but being heirs of that which was before that was, here you inherit the gospel, you inherit the power of God, in which is stability; here you are church members, and here you are living stones, and here you are built up together a spiritual household [1 Pet 2:5]; here the church in God is known, the Father of Christ, who is the way to God [John 14:6], where the church is; for now, as Adam and Eve were drove from God, and being in the fall, their sons and daughters have their churches enough, heaps upon heaps, one against another, and heads of every church, and there they plead for sin while they live upon the earth; but the church that is in God, the Father of Christ, doth not so; for as mankind were drove from God, they must come up again out of that state, where they are defiled, and be washed, sanctified, and cleansed [Eph 5:26], and brought up out of the fall, up to God again. . . . And this is beyond all the writings, subscribings, and promisings to the church fellowships that be among the sons and daughters of Adam in the fall; that when a storm <229> comes, or a tempest, they fly from their church and fellowship both. But the gospel stands, the church in God stands, the pillar and ground of truth [1 Tim 3:15]; which the gates of hell cannot prevail against [Mat 16:18]. Top
4thly. The worship of God is in the spirit and in the truth, that is the public worship which Christ set up; he preached it when he put down the worship at the mountain, and at Jerusalem, and said, ‘God is a spirit; and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and truth; and the hour is come, and now is, that the Father seeks such to worship him [John 4:23f].’ Then the hour was, that worship was set up, above sixteen hundred years since, when he denied and put down the worship at the mountain and at Jerusalem, where the forefathers worshipped [John 4:20f]. So this worship in the spirit and in the truth, was contrary to the forefathers. This is the public worship, and this is not private nor particular; the nation's worships are particular, which the sons of Adam are broken into, the several worships one against another; but this worship in the spirit and in the truth, hits all men and women; they must come to the spirit in themselves, and the truth in the inward parts [Psa 51:6]; . . . by which they must know God is a spirit, and will be worshipped in the spirit, and in the truth; and so no man must grieve, nor vex, nor quench the spirit [Eph 4:30, Isa 63:10, 1 Th 5:19], but all must worship in it, and they must come to the truth in the heart, to the hidden man in the heart, to a meek and quiet spirit [1 Pet 3:4]. And they must not rebel against the spirit [Isa 63:10], if they worship in it; and all coming to it, they have the adorning, that which beautifies and adorns them in the eyes of God; none must walk despitefully against the spirit of grace [Heb 10:29], nor turn the grace of God into wantonness [Jude 1:4], if they worship God in the spirit; if they grieve, vex, quench the spirit of God within, and turn the grace of God into wantonness, and walk despitefully against the spirit of God, and rebel against the spirit of God within, and are haters of the light [John 3:20]. These go from the public worship of God in the spirit and truth, to the particular, which fallen men have invented; but they that worship God in the spirit and in the truth, are in that which the devil is out of [John 8:44], and the dragon's worship, and the beast's worship [Rev 14:9,11], and the will-worship [Col 2:23] are out <230> of; who worship in the truth and in the spirit, are over all these worships. For truth is before they all were, (and the spirit,) and will stand when they are all gone [1 Esd 4:38].
5thly. To pray in the spirit [1 Cor 14:15], this was public, the public prayer set up among the christians; the temple was the public place of prayer among the Jews; but to pray in the spirit, is the public prayer set up by the apostles: every man, every woman then must come to the spirit of God in their own selves; for it will give them understanding and knowledge [Isa 11:2], and give them instruction [Neh 9:20], it will help their infirmities [Rom 8:26], it will let them see their wants. So, in that must every son and daughter of Adam pray in the spirit to God, who is a spirit: and this is public, the spirit of God in every man and woman to pray with unto God, who is a spirit; then in this spirit have they fellowship and unity, and a bond of peace [Eph 4:3]: and this moderates all people, and mortifies [Rom 8:13], circumciseth [Rom 2:29], and baptizeth [1 Cor 12:13]. . . for Christ the quickening spirit [1 Cor 15:45], and the spirit of the Lord within, is that which brings people to lift up their eyes to the Lord in spirit and truth, and to watch and pray [Mark 13:33], by which they know temptations; and the spirit giveth them understanding, and wisdom, and power to withstand them.
6thly. Singing in the spirit [1 Cor 14:15] is public; every man and every woman in the whole world, they must not grieve it, nor vex it, if they sing in it; . . . for in that is the bond of peace. Top
7thly. The teachers of the world told us (who called themselves ministers of Christ) that
they had received a gift from Christ, who ascended on high, and led
captivity captive [Eph 4:7f]; and this gift was for the work of the
ministry, and for the perfecting of the saints [Eph 4:12], and that they were to bring
people to the knowledge of the son of God, from whence they had
received this gift, and to the unity of the faith [Eph 4:13], which
faith <231> gives the victory [1 Jn 5:4], and brings to have access to God [Rom 5:2], and also to a perfect man's state, and to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ [Eph 4:13]. And thus
people followed them, and were glad that they would bring them to a perfect man's state, that is,
to the state of Adam and Eve before they fell, for they were perfect then; and when we had
followed them, some twenty, some thirty, some more, some less years; then they told us again,
that they hoped we would not look for perfection while we are upon the earth, on this side the
grave, for we must carry a body of sin [Rom 6:6] about us; and
they hoped we would not look for perfection, and would not hold the erroneous doctrine of
perfection; and yet told us, as before, that they would bring us to a perfect man's state; and so we
looked they would have fulfilled their words; for we had given our money,
and had spent our labour [Isa 55:2] in following after them, and hoped they would have
fulfilled their words, . . . and now the scriptures that speak of sin and imperfection, they bring to
prove that we should not be perfect, against their own promises and words; and all the scriptures
that speak of perfection or overcoming, they tell us there must be a meaning put to them: and thus
they deceived us, instead of bringing us to the measure of the stature of Christ, who never fell [1 Pet 2:22], the second Adam, the
Lord from heaven [1 Cor 15:47], who said, they would bring us to his stature; and now
they cannot bring us to the measure of the stature of the righteousness and holiness of our father
Adam and mother Eve, that they were in before they fell; for they had no body of sin before they
fell, nor spot, nor wrinkle, nor blemish [Eph 5:27]. . . .
<232> . . .
Now consider which of these three states do these shepherds pretend to keep their flocks in, that deny perfection, and say their sheep must carry a body of death [Rom 7:24] on their backs while on earth; for, ‘As the tree falls, it lies [Eccl 11:3],’ and there is no repentance in the grave [Eccl 9:10?] Whether it be not in Adam and Eve in the fall, with his sons and daughters? Or, in that state before they fell, which was a good state, in righteousness and holiness? Or, whether it be in Christ that never fell, whom it cost his blood and his life to fetch Adam and Eve, and his sons and daughters, out of that state in the fall, (out of the unjust state,) to set them in the state before they fell; and not only there, but to bring them into himself that never fell. Now what value, and price, and worth have they made of the blood of Christ, that cleanseth from sin [1 Jn 1:7] and death; and yet told people that they would bring them to the knowledge of the son of God, and to a perfect man, and now tell them they must not be perfect on the earth, but carry a body of sin about them to the grave? . . . But I say you are redeemed by Christ; it cost him his blood to purchase man out of this state he is in, in the fall, and bring him up to the state man was in before he fell; so Christ became a curse, to bring man out of the curse [Gal 3:13], and bore the wrath, to bring man to the peace of God, that he might come to the blessed state, and to Adam's state he was in before he fell; and not only thither, but to a state in Christ that shall never fall. . . . <233> . . . Now mark, the apostle said, ‘He hath quickened us, who were dead in sins and trespasses, and hath made us to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might show forth his exceeding riches and kindness towards us [Eph 2:1,6].’ Now the ages are come, glory to the Lord God over all, in the highest for ever, that this kindness and these riches are seen, that the apostle's preaching is fulfilled, who said, ‘He hath quickened us, and made us to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.’ So mark, in Christ Jesus, us the church, us the saints, us the believers and true christians, made us to sit together. Here was their meeting, here was their sitting in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, him that was glorified with the Father before the world began [John 17:5], him that never fell, but fetched man and woman out of the fall, to the state that man and woman were in before they fell; and they not to sit there in Adam in the fall, nor in Adam before he fell, but in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, before Adam fell. And there is the safe sitting, in Christ the new and living way [Heb 10:10], the word of God, the power of God, the light, the life, and truth, in the first, and in the last, in the beginning, and in the ending [Rev 22:13], in him in whom is no shadow of turnings nor variableness [James 1:17]; in him the saints sit, (the church,) in Christ the head [Eph 4:15], and there are the exceeding riches and the kindness [Eph 2:7] known again. For are not here kindness and riches, for man and woman to be brought out of that state in the fall, to the state of Adam and Eve before they fell. And he that doth bring them thither is Christ, and it is by his blood, it cost him his blood, his life, and he doth not leave them in the state that Adam and Eve were in before they fell, but he sets them down in himself, who never fell, a safer state than Adam was in before he fell. Now who sit here in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, the first and the last, the beginning and ending, the safe place, in the wisdom of God [1 Cor 1:24]. . . <234> . . . Top
So, as new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word [1 Pet 2:2], that you may grow thereby, (mark,) the milk that comes from the word which was in the beginning [John 1:1], by that milk is the growth, and not in the traditions, handle not them, nor the rudiments, nor the vain inventions of men neither, touch them not, taste them not, for they perish with the using of them [Col 2:20-2]; so then they do not grow by them. But they may say thou deniest the means, because thou dost not handle the doctrines, the commandments, the rudiments that perish with the using. Now that is not the means, but that is the means, the milk that comes from the word, by which thou must grow, thy growth is not by that which perisheth; but, as I said, by the milk that comes from the word, which was in the beginning, before the false doctrines, traditions, rudiments of men, false churches, false ways, false teachings, worship, and religion were; before <235> all these were the word of God was; thou dost not grow by any of those, if thou shouldst teach them all thy life-time, and spend thy days, thou art never the nearer, neither dost thou grow by them, nor by the tongues, which make their divines, the beginning of which was Babel, which builds up, and throws down [Gen 11:1-9], as you may see: did they not build up the church-faith and directory, and now throw them down again? . . . So the milk which cometh from the word, is it by which thou must grow up in the things of God; and this keeps the eye pure, and nourisheth thee up in the word of wisdom [1 Cor 12:8], word of life [Phil 2:16, 1 Jn 1:1], word of patience [Rev 3:10], by the milk that comes from it, up into the word of wisdom, (for wisdom is with the gray hairs [Wis 4:9],) and so up into the life, up into a living, abiding state; for the word liveth and abideth for ever [1 Pet 1:23]; and by the milk that cometh from the word which was in the beginning, before the fall of man was, with all the confusions, false ways, worships, churches; the word was before they all were, and abides when they are all gone; feed of the word, the milk of it, and be quiet with the milk by which thou growest and art nourished up to everlasting life, by which thy fruits will be unto holiness, and the end everlasting life [Rom 6:22], feeding upon the milk that comes from the word which was before unholiness was, and stands and remains when all that is gone; by this you are all nourished, by this you all grow in a living and abiding state, up into the word Christ, whose ‘name is called the word of God [Rev 19:13],’ in whom is the sitting down; so heirs of Christ, and of salvation [Heb 1:14], inherit salvation, and heirs of the power of an endless life [Heb 7:16], and heirs of a kingdom that hath no end, and of a power of a world to come [Heb 6:5]. So know this to be your portion every one, that you may be heirs of the blessings, and inherit them, that with them you may be clothed, meeting in the name, in the strong tower [Prov 18:10], meeting in the spirit, in which you may pray unto and worship God, and sing [1 Cor 14:15], which is the public worship of God, which hath been lost since the apostles' days, by and amongst the inward raveners [Mat 7:15] from the spirit of God, which have been got up into particular worshipping and praying; which if they come to the public, they must come to the spirit of God, which their forefathers inwardly ravened from, and to the public praying in the spirit. So dwell in the love of God, and build up yourselves in the most <236> holy faith [Jude 1:20], and keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace [Eph 4:3]; and worship God in the spirit and truth [John 4:24], (which the devil is out of [John 8:44],) and in that meet in the truth, in the power of God, which was before the devil was, in which is the perfect fellowship, the gospel fellowship [Phil 1:5], which stands in the power of God [1 Cor 2:5], which was before the devil was, or the fall of man either, where all imperfection was, and is, which the power of God expels away, in which is the perfect fellowship, as I said before. The worship of God is a perfect worship, it is in the truth, in the spirit; so the truth is that the devil is out of, and all imperfection, which truth was before imperfection was. The worship in the truth never changeth, which is of the God of all truth, who is a spirit; and this is the perfect standing worship, which will stand when all the worships in the fall are gone, devil [Mat 4:9], dragon, beast [Rev 14:9,11], and will-worship [Col 2:23]; for truth was before they all were; for they are not perfect, being out of the truth, out of that which is perfect. So all Friends, be faithful and valiant for the truth of God upon the earth [Jer 9:3]. For there are religions only for the summer, while the sun shines, amongst the sons of Adam in the fall; but when the storm comes, their flight is in the winter [Mat 24:20]. So this day manifesteth every birth of what sort it is, and at that look; it is not professing God, nor Christ, nor the scriptures, nor the ordinances, but mind the birth, he that is born of the flesh, and he that is born of the spirit [Gal 4:29], together with each birth's fruits [Gal 5:19-23]. For he that is born of the spirit is the royal birth of God, whose fruits are above him that is born of the flesh below, not in righteousness and love, nor of the spirit; and so each birth hath its religion, hath its worship, hath its praying, and its singing; but when the winter comes, then is its flight, and then the wall-makers are discovered, the hireling fleeth because he is a hireling [John 10:13]; but ye, mind the power of God, which was before winter storms were, and such religions as are while the sun shines and the summer is; but when the winter comes are gone. . . . and hearing <237> the voice of Christ, which is the light, the light's voice, the life's voice, the truth's voice, the power of God's voice, which goes before you, through which ye may have life eternal [John 10:27f], in Christ's fold [John 10:16], where his sheep carry no body of sin [Rom 6:6] upon their backs, for that is carried in satan's fold, which Christ's sheep are put out of, in which life (Christ) did foresee the hirelings flying, when the wolf comes [John 10:12f]. And so christendom have more minded the hireling's voice, than Christ the light's voice, the truth's voice, the voice of the life and power of God in themselves; they have gone from that, and gone to the voice of the hireling, who flies when the wolf comes, and leaves his flock, and cares not for it. Therefore you that have heard the voice of Christ, who are his sheep, and follow him, who hath put you forth, who goeth before you, and ye have followed him [John 10:4]; follow him still, and he will give you life eternal, for he is the rest; and know the sitting down in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus [Eph 2:6], being heirs of grace [1 Pet 3:7], which grace comes by Christ [John 1:17]. Now the grace of God that brings salvation, hath appeared unto all men [Titus 2:11]; which if all men minded, this is public, it would teach them to live righteously, soberly, and godly [Titus 2:12], and to deny the contrary, and then come to be heirs of this grace, and inherit it, and so inherit their teacher that bringeth salvation, and so come to enjoy salvation, and inherit Christ, in whom are the light and life [John 1:4], and in him is the sitting down in the salvation.
All keep to the beauty of holiness [Psa 29:2]; for in holiness lies your beauty; and the fruits of righteousness is a tree of life [Prov 11:30], and the name of the Lord is a strong tower, and the righteous flee into it, and are safe [Prov 18:10].
G. F. Top
From Cockford in Essex the 12th day of the 11th month, 1662.
All friends and brethren, stand fast in the power of the Lord God Almighty, with the breast-plate of righteousness, with the shield of faith, your weapons [Eph 6:10-17], by which you have victory [1 Jn5: 4], and have access to God [Rom 5:2], in which you please him [Heb 11:6], and in which you have unity [Eph 4:13] one with another; take unto you all your spiritual weapons, and be ready with the sword of the spirit the word of God [Eph 6:17], which was in the beginning [John 1:1], before death and the power of it was. And all the false worships, churches, and teachers; and that your feet be shod with the gospel [Eph 6:15], the power of God [Rom 1:16], in which you have all fellowship [Phil 1:5], (which is a mystery [Eph 3:9],) by which life and immortality are brought to light in you all [2 Tim 1:10]; every one having the word of God, which hammereth [Jer 23:29] down all that which is gotten up since the beginning; and every one having the sword of the spirit, the word of God, which doth divide the precious from the vile [Jer 15:19], <238> in which you have wisdom, which cuts down all that for the fire; which hath gotten up since the beginning, who knows the earth in which dwells the righteousness [2 Pet 3:13], and dwell in righteousness, and truth, and justice, and equity, for in that ye dwell with God; and they that dwell not in this, dwell not with him, but are such as grieve, and vex, and quench God's spirit [Eph 4:20, Isa 63:10, 1 Th 5:19] in them. Be bold and valiant for the truth upon the earth [Jer 9:3], every one according to your measure, beholding the face of God. And fear not the power of the devil, but in the power of God, which was before he was, tread on his head [Gen 3:15]; and know the honour of the saints [Psa 149:9?], and the election in Christ the seed [1 Th 1:4], which was before the world began [2 Tim 1:9], and your salvation wrought out [Phil 2:12], and the glory of the Lord to be your reward. And keep your faith in the power of God, in which you may all know your health grow, and all your hearts to be established in grace [Heb 13:9], which is your teacher, and brings your salvation [Tit 2:11f], that all may see it is the grace of God, by which you stand, which establisheth, seasoneth, teacheth, and bringeth salvation. Heed not the earth, nor the rudiments [Col 2:8] of the world, nor the swine, nor dog's vomit [2 Pet 2:22], nor men's carnal understandings, wisdom, nor knowledge; but mind the wisdom of God, that is pure from above [James 3:17], and keeps so; and the spirit that gives the true understanding, and the right knowledge of God, which is life eternal [John 17:3]. And know your fellowship to be in the spirit, which is the bond of peace [Eph 4:3], in that live, and keep in it, in which you may have perfection, and the perfect gifts of God. And mind the worship of God, which is in the spirit and truth [John 4:24], which was before the devil was, which he is out of [John 8:44], and his ways. For God's ways are in the truth; and in his power meet, and in his life live, in which you may feed in the pastures of life [Ezek 34:14], in which pasture Christ is the leader and shepherd [John 10:11]. So all that be plucked out of the fall by his crook, which is the power of God, and that know him and his voice; follow him [John 10:4], and ye will have life abundantly [John 10:10], and riches eternal [Prov 8:18]. And every one keep on your watch and guard, against the enemy that led out from God, out of life and truth. For all the sufferings are by and through him that is out of the truth; so they that will live godly shall suffer persecution [2 Tim 3:13]; but you that suffer in the truth, and by the contrary for the truth's sake, the spirit of glory will rest upon you; and if you be evil spoken of for its sake, being faithful on your parts, Christ is glorified [1 Pet 4:14].
And, friends, your house being built upon the rock Christ Jesus, by whom the world was made, the storms, the floods, the tempests you fear not; but all whose house is built on the sands, the floods, the storms, beat down and wash away [Mat 7:24-7], as you may see before your eyes. So Friends that are come to the beginning, see over storms, and tempests, and floods, and live on the rock, which was before they were; on that you may rest safe, and in peace. And, friends, ‘Fear not him <239> that can kill the body [Mat 10:28],’ I say, fear him not that can spoil thy goods [Heb 10:34], be not afraid of them; for when they have done that, they can do no more; for the life is over them all, they cannot touch that. So mind that which is over them all.
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My dear friends,—In the everlasting seed and covenant of life, be valiant for the truth upon the earth [Jer 9:3], and dwell in the power of the Lord God, and never heed that which makes to suffer, but the power of the Lord, which was before it was; and all live in that, and spread <240> the truth abroad; and every one improve your Lord and master's money, your talent [Mat 25:14-30], to the advantage of your Lord. And be of good faith, and valiant for the truth. You who are gathered in the name of Jesus [Mat 18:20], keep your meetings in his name, over all the meetings which are gathered by the sons of Adam in the fall; and look over all prisons and outward bonds, which are in time, and will have an end; at the power of God look, which hath no end, in which your life is, and peace, crown, and dominion, and think not the time long that the rod of the wicked [Psa 125:3] should lie on your backs; but rejoice in tribulations and persecutions [Mat 5:12], which are for the trial of your faith, that it may be found more precious than gold that perisheth [1 Pet 1:7]. For remember that Christ the word, was tried, and Christ is the tried stone [Isa 28:16], and all the prophets, apostles, and martyrs were tried for their testimony to the precious pearl [Mat 13:45f], seed, and truth; and what sufferings they had in all ages were for the same, by the dark world, which was not worthy of them [Heb 11:38]; who were as pilgrims and strangers in the earth [Heb 11:13], and many of them forsook their native land and country. And so live in that which glorifieth the Lord, you who know the kindness, love, and mercies of God, and are made partakers of the heavenly riches, and of the inheritance that never fadeth away [1 Pet 1:4], and are heirs of the kingdom that never hath an end, and are partakers of the promises and blessings, that were before the curse was; and know the new covenant made manifest in your hearts, and the law of God there written, and the anointing within you to teach you, and then you need no man to teach you [1 Jn 2:27], but as it doth teach you. So abide in him [John 15:4], and learn of him [Mat 11:29] in whom God is well pleased [Mat 17:5]; and none turn to them whom God is not well pleased with. For you who are children of God, are not to look for salvation from the hills [Jer 3:23], neither to look at the arm of flesh, nor to put confidence in man [Jer 17:5], who are redeemed from under the curse [Gal 3:13], and the fear of man [Prov 29:25], and are bought with a price, the blood of Jesus Christ; and so are not your own [1 Cor 6:19f], and cannot do your own wills [John 5:30], nor other men's, but are to glorify your Father which is in heaven [Mat 5:16]. And so dwell in the love of God together, and in peace, and unity, and fellowship in the seed and life. For there is your growth, and therein ye grow in grace and faith together. The Lord God Almighty preserve you all in his everlasting arm and hand, which is his power, over all to his glory, bearing one with another in the gentle wisdom, which is peaceable and from above [John 3:17]. For how joyful a thing it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity [Psa 133:1]; and hereby it is known, that ‘you are the disciples of Christ, if you love one another [John 13:35];’ and a mark, that ‘you are passed from death to life [John 5:24],’ if you love one another. And so the Lord God preserve your minds, and souls, and hearts, all holy and pure to his glory; and all live and sit down in Christ the seed, who is the faithful witness, the amen [Rev 3:14], the <241> first and last, the beginning and ending [Rev 22:13]. No more, but my love is to you all, in the everlasting seed, Christ Jesus, that never fell [1 Pet 2:22].
And dear Friends keep low, for there is no danger.