Friends,—All outward things, figures, types, shadows, and inventions, have been set up since Adam fell; which inventions Christ destroys, and the types, figures, and shadows of him he fulfils [Heb 9 - 10], and brings man up out of the fall, to the seed he was in before he fell; and so in the power of God, into peace, love, and unity, and into the everlasting fellowship. Cain differed from Abel in matter of worship [Gen 4:3-5]; Abraham from his countrymen and nation. Likewise in matter of worship, Moses and <266> the children of Israel differed from the Egyptians and the Canaanites, and other nations, in matter of worship. Yet after the children of Israel were brought out of Egypt by the power of God, how soon after did they set up a calf [Exo 32], an outward thing? Therefore in the power of God keep over all things, and in his wisdom. And how soon Cora, Dathan, and Abiram began to offer a strange sacrifice [Num 16], after they were brought out of Egypt by the power of God; and went from the power of God, in which they should have offered; therefore in the power of God keep.
And how soon the children of Israel (when they multiplied and grew numerous,) offered out of the life of the law, and the power of God; then their sacrifices were like unto the cutting off a dog's neck, and blessing idols [Isa 66:3]: therefore keep in the life and power of God. And ye may see Daniel's religion and worship differed from Nebuchadnezzar's the emperor of Babylon, [Dan 3] and likewise differed from the Chaldeans and Persians [Dan 6], as yours comes to differ now from all the apostates, gone from the apostles' and Christ's life and doctrine. And there is the mystery of Babylon [Rev 17:5], as the Jews differed from outward Babylon; therefore keep in the power of God, that keeps you to the beginning. And also ye may see what differences there were among the churches in the primitive times, about meats, drinks, days, and times [Col 2:16], but the apostle tells them the kingdom of God stands not in such things, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy ghost [Rom 14:17]. And they were not to judge one another about such things [Col 2:16]; for meats were for the belly, and the belly for meats, but God would destroy both them and it [1 Cor 6:13], and showed them that it was below christians to jangle about such things. And also what jangling was there in the church in the primitive times about circumcision, which the apostle brings them off, and tells them, that circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth nothing, but a new creature [Gal 6:15]. Therefore mind that new creature, and the faith that works by love [Gal 5:6]. And how also there were janglings about baptism [1 Cor 1:13-17] and the supper [1 Cor 11:20-34], and about men, some for Paul, and some for Apollo [1 Cor 1:12, 3:4], &c. But the apostle directed them all to know Christ the seed, in the male and female [Gal 3:28f], and told them he preached Christ in them, and bid them examine themselves, and prove themselves, and to know him to be in them, otherwise they were reprobates [2 Cor 13:5]; and he brings them off from things that are seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal [2 Cor 4:18]. Now these things which they jangled about, were things that were seen, and not eternal things, but temporal; for, if they did not come to Christ Jesus, the substance of those things, they remained in the reprobation from the life, truth, and substance. And also what janglings there were amongst the primitive christians, about marriage of believers and unbelievers, and the departing of the believers <267> from the unbelievers; which the apostle told them, that marriage was honourable in all, and the bed undefiled [Heb 13:4]; and how that they should abide together, the believer with the unbeliever; and how that the believer sanctifieth the unbeliever, by which their children were not unholy, but clean [1 Cor 7:14]; and how it was better to marry than to burn [1 Cor 7:9]; though he spake to the same Corinthians of a state which was beyond that [1 Cor 7:1,7]. And likewise, also how there were janglings about ministers and teachers, about such as transformed themselves as into angels of light [2 Cor 11:13-15], and such as preached for filthy lucre [1 Pet 5:2/Micah 3:11], and such as served not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies [Rom 16:18]; the apostle stops all such, and brings them to the life, and seed, and power of God over them all; and shows concerning marriage, how God made them male and female in the beginning [Gen 1:27, Mat 19:4]; which was the honourable marriage before the defiled state was.
And likewise what janglings there were, whether the woman should be covered, or the man should be covered, when they prayed or prophesied [1 Cor 11:3-17]; in which the apostle set forth a comeliness among them, of the man's being uncovered, and the woman covered; inasmuch as the man was the image and glory of God, and the woman the glory of the man [1 Cor 11:7]. Nevertheless, he would have them to know, that God was the head of Christ, and Christ was the head of the man, and the man was the head of the woman [1 Cor 11:3]; and the woman was made for the man, and not the man for the woman [1Cor 11:9]. And thus ye may see that these Corinthians were not come up to the state of Adam before he fell, and of Eve, by the apostles setting thus forth their states. And whereas it is said by some, ‘that Christ is the head of the man,’ &c. which head of man, (say they,) is the same that is head of the woman. Mark, now, if it be so, according to this interpretation, (which is wresting [2 Pet 3:16],) then Christ must be covered in the woman, when she prays or prophesies, and the woman must have power over Christ, and she be uncovered, then Christ must be shorn or shaven; which is ridiculous, and shows then a difference of Christ in the male and the female; which is not so, for God is the head of Christ, and Christ the head of man, as he was made, and man the head of the woman. But as woman received the temptation, and likewise also the man, and so are both in the fall; now this was spoken as man was made before he fell, which as man comes up again out of the fall, and woman, Christ in the male and in the female is head of both. But now this was spoken to the Corinthians, (who were not come up to the state that Adam and Eve were in before they fell,) among whom this difference about covering or uncovering was, whether the man should be uncovered, and the woman covered when they prayed, &c. Which was the comely order which the apostle set amongst them, and told them there should be heresies among them, that they that were <268> approved might be made manifest [1 Cor 11:19], and looked upon them as heretics, who jangled contrary to his comely order and practice, which was, as said before, spoken to such as were not come to the state of Adam and Eve before they fell; for they that are come thither, to that state, by Christ, are come before outward coverings were; and them that are come to Christ, are come to the end of prophecy [Dan 9:24], to the seed Christ [Gal 3:16], the top-stone, in whom all things end; which top and corner-stone [Eph 2:20] is over all that laid that ends and changes. So let your life be in that which never ends, nor never changes [Heb 13:8], and in whom there is no changing nor altering [James 1:17]. And who are come to this will not go back again into outward things. And also ye may see what jangling there was amongst such as did forbid meats, and drinks [Col 2:16], and marriages; and such got up into worshipping of angels [Col 2:18] and compelling ways, which after a time did separate, and apostatize from Christ, and the apostles, and so afterwards became antichrists [1 Jn 2:18], in an anti-liberty [2 Pet 2:19], and anti-freedom, to such as know all things good and blessed as they were in the beginning; which, who are there, are out of the state which Adam and Eve were in before the fall, where all the janglings are about outward things [1 Tim 1:6], which is in the fallen wisdom; . . . now ye that have seen the everlasting gospel Rev 14:6], and known the everlasting gospel preached again, which was among the apostles, and have been reaped out from among the apostates [Mat 13:30?], got up since the apostles' days; I say, live in it, and dwell in it; in which life and power ye see over to the apostles' days, by the spirit that gives to have an understanding of things; in which power of God [Rom 1:16] ye do not only see to the apostles' days, but over the Jews' law without, and its figures, types, and shadows, which were <269> given to the sons of men, and of Adam after he fell, in the fall, which type out the life, that is to say, Christ, who redeems up out of the fall, which man was in before he fell, and up into the state of Christ, which shall never fall, unto himself. And in this man seeth the blessed state, how all things were good and blessed, and how all the works of God are perfect, and he himself God's work, who set him in dominion before he fell, as he was in the power, image, and righteousness of God [Gen 1:27f]. . . . Now the janglings of the Jews against the christians were, about their outward things, in the first covenant, law, and first priesthood, that held up these things (in opposition to the christians) which God had commanded, not seeing him whom the true christians witnessed, who restored them out of all the changeable things, up into the state man was in before he fell, and before those types, figures, and changeable things were, which since the days of the apostles, and also in their days, things were getting up, which the apostles judged; and setting up also by such whom the apostles judged and denied, and set forth orders and comeliness among the saints, and preached up the substance Christ, in whom there is no shadow, changing, nor variableness [James 1:17]. And that the heat of some spirits [Ezek 3:14?] got up so high about their outward things, that when they were not owned nor received, their sacrifices, and their will-worships, and their feigned humility [Col 2:23], and their observing of days, and times [Gal 4:10], and forbidding marriages, setting up their doctrines and traditions, which were not to be touched, tasted, nor handled [Col 2:21], they went enviously into Cain's way [Jude 1:11], and Balaam's [2 Pet 2:15], and got great men on their sides, and admired their persons because of their advantage ;Jude 1:16]. Such went from the voice of God, which brought them out of Egypt, as Core did [Num 16].
And all the envious spirits [James 4:5?] rose against them that were in the power of God in all ages, because they could not observe their outward things which they had set up to be observed, which they that were in the universal power of God, which was before the fall was, could never do; for their freedom stands in that; therefore is Cain wrathful [Gen 4:5] (against his brother,) who is the wanderer and vagabond [Gen 4:12,14] from God's voice, way, life, and acceptation.
. . . <270> . . . . Adam and Eve lost their habitation [Gen 3:23f]; Cain lost his habitation not doing well [Gen 4:7,12]; Balaam went from his prophecy and his habitation not doing well; And all they that went from the apostles in Cain, Core and Balaam's way [Jude 1:11, 2 Pet 2:15], lost their habitations, and so came under a chain of darkness [Jude 1:6]. As likewise all they that are inwardly ravened [Mat 7:15] from the spirit of God, who are gone into outward things since the apostles' days, in the apostacy, have lost their habitation, and set up outward things to keep others out of their habitations, and then if they do not observe them, they are wrathful against them like Cain. And Core went from his habitation, from the power that brought him out of Egypt; and so such come under the chain of darkness, who lose their habitations, and they that lose their habitations [Jude 1:6], lose their first love [Rev 2:4]. . . .span class="page" id="p271"><271>
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We are not against any man, but desire that the blessing of the Lord may come upon all men, and that which brings the curse may be destroyed; and in patience do we wait for that, and with spiritual weapons against it do we wrestle [Eph 6:12f], and not against any man or woman's person. For amongst us Christ is King, who bringeth the blessing, and destroyeth that which brought the curse. And whoever dwells in righteousness, (man or woman,) and loves mercy, and doth justly, and walks humbly with God [Mic 6:8], and hath the humility, which goes before the honour [Prov 15:33,18:12], we are not against. But whosoever doth unrighteously, or doth not justly, nor righteously, nor walk humbly before God, and will have honour before humility, God will overturn such by his power. And in that let your faith be; for we look not at persons, but at the power of God; and know the reign of Christ amongst us. And as it is said, ‘God save the king,’ or ‘God bless the king;’ we would not have him nor any man destroyed, but saved; and so blessed.
And the saved man will not suffer any thing to rule that destroys; and so our mind is, and we would that all men were saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth [1 Tim 2:4], which the persecutors are out of.
And all Friends, dwell in the endless power of the Lord, in which the supremacy is known, and the power which hath no end; whose dominion is over all dominions, and will stand when all other have an <273> end [Dan 4:34]; and in that is the patience felt, which runneth the race, and obtaineth the crown [Heb 12:1/1 Cor 9:24f]; and that hath the wisdom, which is sweet, and cool, and pure [James 3:17], whereby the living truth hath the supremacy and dominion [1 Esd 4:35-41], and in that keep your meetings.
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O friends!—You all that have tasted of the power of the Lord God, and of his truth, that is pure, and doth not admit of any impurity nor change. Oh! therefore the holy truth mind, which will let nothing that is unholy in you live. For nothing that is unholy can enter into the kingdom of God [Rev 21:27?]; and none that are disobedient to truth must enter into the paradise of God; for, because of disobedience was man and woman put out of paradise. And therefore all every where, mind the pure power of the Lord God, and the truth which first convinced you; and whatsoever is gotten up through the carnal reason [Rom 8:6f], and your eyes going from the power of God, and that which did convince you; let that be purged out of your hearts; if not, it will lift up your hearts to consultations, subtilty, questionings, reasonings, and disputes [1 Tim 6:4f]. Oh! I feel too much of that which hath gotten up into the wrong understanding part, through which wrong liberty [Gal 5:13, 2 Pet 2:19] gets up, which will bring a plague into the heart, which is worse than an outward plague [1 Ki 8:37f]. Oh! therefore consider, the life and the power of God hath not the supremacy in all your hearts; for I feel some minds, and some bodies have let in that which hath defiled them, and doth defile them. Oh! cleanse, cleanse, cleanse, and join to the pure immortal power; for the power of the Lord God will make room for itself, either in cleansing or in <274> vomiting or casting out them and that that doth not join to the power of God. Sodom, that whorish and adulterous spirit [Hos 4:12], it must to the fire [Jude 1:7]; and gainsaying Core [Jude 1:11] into the earth. And it will throw down that which hath been lifted up. The besom of the Lord is going forth to sweep [Isa 14:23], the candle of the Lord [Prov 20:27] is lighted to search every corner of your houses [Luke 15:8f]; for the just walk in the path which is a shining light [Prov 4:18], which admits of no rubbish in it. Oh! come out of all these things which you have entertained in your minds, which you received not from them that came to minister unto you in the beginning. Oh! dwell in the power of the Lord God, for to keep you low; and take heed of getting up into conceitedness and the air, and to set up that which pertains not to the kingdom of God, but to strife, which never the apostles, nor the saints since, in the power of God set up; for if you do, the power of God will sweep it and you all away. And Oh! you that come to be vessels of honour, and vessels of the mercies of God, have esteem of your bodies; for such as defile their bodies, are neither vessels of honour, nor vessels of the mercies, but of wrath, and are for the wrath [Rom 9:21-23]. Therefore keep out strife, keep out fornication and the adulterous spirit; keep out the lusts of the eye, the lusts of the flesh, and pride of life, which is not of the Father [1 Jn 2:16]; that that which is of the Father, may be received, and have an entrance into every vessel. Oh! be not lifted up with a vain mind; and let Balaam's nature be slain, that erreth from the spirit [Jude 1:11,Isa 29:24], and raiseth stumbling-blocks [Rev 2:14]; and such as keep not their first habitation [Jude 1:6] in the power of God and his truth, become enemies to such as are heirs of the kingdom [James 2:5], and the power of an endless life [Heb 7:16]. Therefore all Friends and people, mind that which first convinced you, that power of God which first awakened you, and arise and live in it, that all your eyes, minds, and hearts may be kept single and naked to God, and to one another; and unclothed of all that which is contrary, and is got up since. For the seed, the life of Christ Jesus, reigns and rules: glory to him for ever.
I have been incapable to write or receive writing a long time, or to speak, or bear to be spoken to, but have been as a man buried alive, for else I should have written to you before now; and therefore, O dear friends! give no occasion of stumbling [1 Jn 2:10]; keep tender; for hardness of heart is worse than an outward plague, for that brings destruction many ways. And so grieve not the spirit [Eph 4:30] in others, nor in yourselves. And whatsoever is decent and comely follow; honest and of a good report [Phil 4:8]; that makes for peace [Rom 14:19], and not for strife under pretence of love; for that is not of God. For God who is love [1 Jn 4:8,16], is not the author of strife and confusion, but of peace [1 Cor 14:33].
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All my dear friends every where, live in the noble seed Christ [Gal 3:16] Jesus, the saviour and the anointed one, and the righteous holy one, that your minds, hearts, souls, spirits, and bodies may be righteous, living in the righteousness of Christ Jesus, in all love, virtue, truth, and holiness, without which none can see God [Heb 12:14]. For the Lord loveth the righteous [Psa 146:8], and the righteous are in peace, and all workers of iniquity their mouths shall be stopped [Psa 107:42]. The throne of iniquity [Psa 94:20] must down, and the chamber of imagery [Ezek 8:12] in every heart; for the Lord must have the heart, for it is to be his offering and sacrifice [Psa 51:17]. All lips must be pure, and hands clean, that confess the Lord Jesus Christ, and all tongues and eyes single [Mat 6:22] to God and one to another; and all mind the Lord's business in the truth, and be given up to him, and in it, serving the Lord God in newness of life [Rom 6:4/7:6]; that all your feet may be guided in the way of peace [Luke 1:79], and to walk uprightly before the Lord in his way, which is Christ Jesus the light, which is perfect. This is the way of the just, which is a shining light [Prov 4:18]; and in this way is the living God well pleased with you. And you that grow rich in the world in earthly things, who have had a stirring in you formerly in the service of God, take heed lest your minds run into your outward businesses, about outward things, and therein be lifted up above the good and just spirit, and so leave the service of the Lord and his business, in minding your own. For outward riches, and the things of this world, will pass away with the outward riches therein, for they have wings [Prov 23:5]: but the word of the Lord, which lives and abides, and endures for ever, will remain [1 Pet 1:23]. Labour for the riches of it, for that will endure with you; and seek the kingdom of God [Mat 6:33], which will never have an end, that stands in righteousness and in holiness, in which you have joy and peace in the holy ghost [Rom 14:17]; then all outward things will follow, which are below. So that in righteousness, holiness, and truth, as just men and holy men, and men fearing God, and as righteous men, sons, and servants, and children of God, you may all live, in all righteousness, holiness, pureness, truth, justice, and equity, in all manner of life and conversation; so that your conversations may shine as lights of the world [Mat 5:14], knowing that all unrighteousness, uncleanness, unholiness, injustice, untruth, and impurity are not of God, but are out of the kingdom of God; and likewise all cheaters and cozeners, who do enrich themselves by falsehood; and all drunkards, adulterers, whoremongers, fornicators, murderers, idolaters, and liars; these works and workers are out of the kingdom of God [1 Cor 6:9f] and his power, and they are of their father the devil, who is out of the truth [John 8:44]. And therefore in the truth live, which the devil and his works are out of; <276> and that truth makes you free [John 8:32]. In which truth and spirit is God worshipped [John 4:24]. All that do violence, cursed speakers and swearers, are out of the truth and the command of Christ Jesus; and therefore live you in the love of God, in which you may be sensible of his mercies; in which love, you living in the pure humility, you learn of Christ Jesus [Mat 11:29]. For presumption is learned of Adam in the fall, of the serpent that brought him into the fall, where all the defilement is and the profaneness. Being in the whoredom from God, where all manner of whoredom and uncleanness is, and deceit and falsehood, the liar, and all sin, and unrighteousness, and transgression. And this is comprehended all to be in the fall, with the serpent that brought them into the fall, whose head Christ comes to bruise [Gen 3:15], that is, to break his power and strength, and to destroy him and his works [Heb 2:14, 1 Jn 3:8]. And Christ is pure, the holy one that doth this, the righteous one, the holy one, and in him live, the second Adam [1 Cor 15:45,47] that never fell [1 Pet 2:22]; then shall you come to know a state that will never fall, in that which is first and last [Rev 1:11]. For Christ that sanctifies is pure, who sanctifies the impure; he who never fell, sanctifieth and washeth them that are in the fall; he who never transgressed, redeems out of transgression; he who never sinned, redeems out of sin, and makes an end of it; and he who never trespassed, comes to forgive trespasses and blot them out [Col 2:13f]. And every one that comes to witness this forgiveness by him, who have been the trespassers against God, they cannot but forgive men their trespasses against them [Mat 6:14f], as they come into the kingdom of glory and life, where the Lord hath his glory. Oh! the glory of the Lord which lasteth for ever! And glory, glory be to him for ever, whose everlasting glory, and life, and power shines over all, and spreads itself, and puts forth itself over all.
O friends! let righteousness flow amongst you all, truth and equity, uprightness and holiness, which become the house of God [Psa 93:5]; and live in the holy order of the life, spirit, and power of the everlasting God. Keep in the faith that works by love [Gal 5:6], that purifieth your hearts [Acts 15:9]; the mystery of which is held in a pure conscience [1 Tim 3:9]; which faith brings you to have access to God [Rom 5:2], and gives you victory [1 Jn 5:4] over that which separates from God [Rom 8:38f]. This is that by which you subdue mountains [1 Cor 13:2], and quench the fiery darts of satan [Eph 6:16], and overcome him withal; and in this you have all pure unity [Eph 4:13]; and you edify [ 1 Tim 1:4] and build up in the holy faith [Jude 1:20] the gift of God [Eph 2:8]; and this is that which is to be contended for, which is the same that was once delivered to the saints [Jude 1:3]. Oh! live in the pure hope, which purifies you as he is pure [1 Jn 3:3]; which hope is Christ [1 Tim 1:1], who was before the hypocrite's hope [Job 8:13] was, who both (him and his hope) are impure; and so feel Christ your hope, which anchors your immortal souls [Heb 6:19], that stays it in all waves, storms, and tempests, and is sure and safe in all weathers; Christ, who is the same to-day as he was yesterday [Heb 13:8]; so no new <277> thing. For he is the rock of ages [Isa 26:4-KJV margin], who was before ages; who is the corner-stone [Eph 2:20], and also the first and last [Rev 1:11], who will crush and bruise to pieces all giddy, wandering, and unestablished spirits, and confound them who are cunning, and hunt before the Lord [Gen 10:8f]; for the Lord should go before them, he should be the guide. For they that hunt before him, will not have the Lord to be their guide, who is the same to-day as he was yesterday, and so for ever. For Adam and Eve did not abide in their possession, nor Cain, nor Core, nor Balaam; see what came upon them, and what was their end. And likewise the Jews did not abide in the possession of the law of God, which was just and holy. And also the apostatized christians have gone from Christ, and did not abide in him, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; therefore they are gone into so many ways, and seek after so many new ways, and run into so many fables, as though Christ, who is obeyed one day, should not be obeyed next day. And this is disobedient Cain, wandering in the land of Nod, smiting at Abel [Gen 4:14,16.8], who obeys him [Heb 11:4], who is the same today as he was yesterday, and so for ever; yea a lamb slain from the foundation of the world [Rev 13:8]; who reigns over that nature that hath slain him, and will reign till he hath put all under his feet [1 Cor 15:25]. And therefore, friends, in Christ live, and in him walk; hear, obey, and follow him, who is the same to-day as he was yesterday, and so for ever. And so you that are the true believers, who are past from death [John 5:24], and sin that brought it, and the devil the author of it, are come to the life of Christ Jesus, (who, as I said before, is the same to-day as he was yesterday,) if your belief stand in him that is the first and last, the same to-day, yesterday, and for ever. And this is the believer that is born of God, the immortal birth; and this birth is he that overcomes the world, that doth not sin, that keeps himself, because he is born of God, and the seed of God remains in him [1 Jn 3:9]; and hereby the children of God, and the true believers are manifest from the false believers and children of the devil. He that doth righteousness is of God; he that doth not righteousness, is not of God [1 Jn 3:10]. Therefore you that feel the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, to have put down the law of sin and death in you, (that authority of putting it down,) be ye ordered by the law of the spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus, which makes you free from the law of sin and death [Rom 8:2]. So in this law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus have you fellowship, order, rule, and government, in the law of life, and in the law of peace that gives victory, which Christ Jesus is the author of, who renews you up into the righteousness and holiness in the image of God [Eph 4:24/Col 3:10], out of the unrighteousness and unholiness, and the image of satan. Here the Lord hath the glory, and Christ your holy redeemer and saviour is confessed, to the glory of God. So wait that you may all sit down in Christ [Eph 2:6], who is the first and the last [Rev 1:11], and the image of God [2 Cor 4:4], and wisdom <278> of God [1 Cor 1:24]; that by his wisdom, which is pure [Jas 3:17], righteous, and holy, you may come to order all things to God's glory [Wis 8:1/1 Cor 10:31].
Adam fell from the state God placed him in; and in the fall, Adam's sons and daughters turn from way to way of their own. But for man and woman to come out of all national corrupt ways, religions, churches, worships, fellowships, and teachers, to the state that Adam and Eve was in before they fell, and no farther; that is a state where he may fall again. But, to come to Christ, who was before the world began, who is first and last, beginning and ending [Rev 1:8,11], such abiding in him shall know a state that will never fall. For Adam's state before he fell, was above all the earthly and worldly wise, and knowing, and their dark understandings and perverse ways, which their perverse spirit leads into; where are all manner of uncleanness, unrighteousness, falsities, puffing-up and pride, and all the crooked, rough, cross ways, and mountains of sin [Isa 40:4], which are become as graves and prisons for the just. Adam's state before he fell is beyond all this, who fell into this; but Christ that never fell, is a state beyond Adam; and he is to be heard and followed that never fell; and in him are people to sit down [Eph 2:6], who is the rest, and peace, and life; who destroyeth the devil and his works [Heb 2:14, 1 Jn 3:8], and makes an end of sin, together with ungodliness and unrighteousness, which hath dishonoured God [Rom 2:23]; so bruiseth the head of the serpent [Gen 3:15], and breaks his power, and crusheth him to pieces, that the seed Christ [Gal 3:16] may rise in all; which honoureth the Father [John 5:23]. Now this being manifest and known in all, then the lamb is known to have the victory [Rev 17:14], which hath been slain from the foundation of the world [Rev 13:8]; and then in the seed you come to know your election before the world began [1 Th 1:4, 2 Tim 1:9]. And here the Lord's words are fulfilled, his glory he will not give to another [Isa 42:8, 48:11], who destroyeth that that took the glory to itself; which brings up to that noble seed and plant in man which gives the glory to God. And here as you live in the seed Christ Jesus, your election you know before the world began, and reprobation since the world began. For Core, Cain, Ishmael, Esau, Sodom, and Egypt, spiritual and temporal [Rev 11:8], have been since the world began. For Egypt is thraldom, bondage, anguish, and darkness [Exo 2:23, 10:21f], and Sodom is whoredom [Jude 1:7], and Cain disobeyed the voice of God [Gen 4:6-8], and Core gainsayed the law [Jude 1:11]; and whoever feels all this nature in them, they are vessels of wrath; and let them not complain and say, why hast thou made me thus? For there are vessels of honour, and vessels of dishonour. Vessels of mercy, vessels of wrath [Rom 9:20-23]. And it is not in him that willeth and runneth, but in God that showeth mercy [Rom 9:16]. Now Esau, the first birth, signifieth a worker. Jacob the second birth, signifieth a supplanter [Gen 27:36]; and when Jacob hath supplanted Esau the first birth, the profane nature, Jacob is called Israel; that is as much as to say, thou hast power with God now [Gen 32:28]. So where the election is risen, and hath put <279> down Cain, Core, Egypt, Sodom, the first birth slain, which brought all the wrath into the vessel, and the old bottle broken; here is a new bottle that holdeth the new wine [Mat 9:17], and vessels of honour, and vessels of mercy, in the election before the world began; and you have all things made new, a new heaven and a new earth [Rev 21:1,5].
And all Friends, that be in any manner of sufferings, imprisonments, or banishments for Christ and his truth's sake, live in Christ and sit down in him, in whom you have all peace, life, virtue, and rest in Christ Jesus, who was before all that was that makes to suffer, and will remain when it is all gone; and was the ‘first and last, the beginning and ending, the same to-day, yesterday, and for ever [Heb 13:8].’ In him sit down and live, that doth not change; then your religion doth not change, your worship doth not change, your way doth not change; for Christ is your way [John 14:6], ‘who is the same to-day, yesterday, and for ever;’ and your fellowship, and unity, and community do not change, being with the Father, who doth not change, but is the same from everlasting to everlasting. And they whose religion, fellowship, and worship change, and who gad about, and change their ways, are fickle, and have itching ears [2 Tim 4:3] after the ways that change from Christ, who doth not change, who is the way, the ‘same to-day as he was yesterday,’ to be walked in. . . .
Ah! my dear friends and brethren every where! the power of the Lord God is over all, live in it, that you may feel a unity and fellowship in the power of the Lord God; that through that power of the Lord God you may all come to be heirs of the power of an endless life [Heb 7:16]; through which you may inherit eternity, and so to feel life eternal abiding in you; the manslayer hath not eternal life abiding in him; that is, he that envies his brother [1 Jn 3:15]. So all the persecutors that envy their brethren have not eternal life abiding in them. Under <280> this all the persecutors about church, religion, worship, faith, ministry, and fellowships, and envious persons, having not eternal life abiding in them, are comprehended. Therefore you all, feel this eternal life abiding in you. And he that hath the son of God hath life [1Jn 5:12] eternal abiding in him; and so in this eternal life you have an eternal fellowship with God and his son, and with one another. And in this the law of life, that is in Jesus Christ, passeth sentence on the law of sin and death [Rom 8:2] in every man and woman, and brings it to the execution. Through which law of life righteousness flows, and runs down as a stream [Amos 5:24], and also justice and truth. Here by this law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, (mark, in Christ Jesus,) you come to know the Lamb's throne, and the throne of iniquity [Psa 94:20] thrown down, its mouth stopped [Psa 107:42], and the chambers of imagery [Ezek 8:12] thrown down, and the household of God raised [Eph 2:19]; the fruitless trees thrown down [Luke 13:6f], and the plant of God raised up, which is of his own planting; a tree of righteousness [Isa 61:3], whose fruit is unto holiness, whose end is everlasting life [Rom 6:22]. So mark here the fruits of this tree, and the end of this tree. By this you distinguish man's planting, and man's plucking up; and God's building you will distinguish from man's building; and man's plucking down, and man's gathering together, you that are gathered in the name of Jesus distinguish, and his scattering [Mat 18:20, 12:30?]. Oh! therefore be valiant for the truth [Jer 9:3], which you are come to the knowledge of, and worship God in that truth which the devil is out of, and abode not in [John 4:24, 8:44]; this makes you free from the devil and his works, that are out of truth. Here in this worship, in the truth and in the spirit, the living God, who is a spirit, the God of all truth, hath his glory and honour from the spirit of the Lord in every heart. And so keep in the spirit, and truth, and power of the everlasting God, who is from everlasting to everlasting, that you may know him Lord of the earth and of the heaven, and of the heaven of heavens [Deut 10:14], ruling and reigning, whose eye is over all his works, that you may glorify him in his power and spirit, and serve him in the new life [Rom 6:4/7:6]; which will keep you over all men's fables and devices, whimsies and imaginations, out of all janglings and vain disputes of men of corrupt minds [1 Tim 6:5]: and so it is good for you all to live in him which is the ‘same to-day as he was yesterday,’ Christ Jesus, the power of God [1 Cor 1:24], and the seed of life, and word which was in the beginning [John 1:1]: so no new thing, but that which was and is to all eternity: let your fellowship be in that, and your unity and communion be in that; for this is seen by the eternal eye, the eternal unity, and the eternal God. So hear his voice, every one of you, that speaks from heaven, whose voice shakes the earth, and not the earth only, but the heavens also. The heaven imports joy: so all the false joys, the lifted-up joys, or exalted joys, and joys in vain glory, and joys in the world, or any outward thing or creature, and men or women; <281> his voice that speaks from heaven shakes the earth and the heavens; and these must be shaken and removed, both the heavens and the earth, before that doth appear that can never be shaken [Heb 12:26f], the noble, royal seed, elect and precious [1 Pet 2:6], before the world began. Being heirs of him, come to inherit him: in him you shall know that which cannot be shaken, and there is the true joy, in that which is from everlasting to everlasting, who is the beginning and ending: here are not any either lifted up or fallen down to despair. So, I say, hear his voice, harden not your hearts; for not hearing the voice, you harden your hearts, and then you provoke God to wrath and sore displeasure [Psa 95:7-11]. Let him have your ear, that speaks from heaven, that you may come to observe his counsel, teaching, instruction, and direction; for all the prophets and holy men of God [2 Pet 1:21], and the apostles, were attentive and obedient to this heavenly voice, who witnessed to the truth, who had a witness in heaven [Job 16:19] also. . . . Oh! the glory, glory of the Lord, that spreads over all! And here you have his savour, and can taste your meat in the power of the Lord God, feeding upon every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God [Deut 8:3], having every one's ear attentive to his voice: in this you grow up in the life that is eternal.
G. F. Top
O dear friends! mind every one your habitation in the power of the Lord God, that first convinced you, and keep your possession in it, in the sense of God's love and mercy to your souls; for your unity and fellowship lie in the spotless power, truth, and life of the everlasting God of life and power; and herein to you the springs of life will be opened, through which you may be daily refreshed up to the God of life. Oh! be tender of the spotless truth and life, through which you may come to answer it in all Friends, that they may have unity with you in the same life and power, through which you may be a good savour to God, and a blessing to him in your generations, serving the Lord God in the newness of life [Rom 6:4/7:6], as a chaste spouse and bride to him [2 Cor 11:2], in body, soul, and spirit, having an esteem of your bodies, which are for the Lord, and to be his temple [1 Cor 6:19], not for adultery or fornication [1 Cor 6:13], nor idolatry. Oh! therefore mind and keep in the holy life, and feel the moving and counselling power and spirit of the Almighty in you, directing you into the ways of truth and righteousness, peace and holiness, without which none shall see God [Heb 12:14]. Live in the peaceable life, and love it; eye that which makes for peace [Rom 14:19], for God is the author of peace, and not of confusion [1 Cor 14:33]. So live all in the precious truth of God, feeling it in its operation; through which unity and the peaceable life may be preserved amongst you in righteousness and peace; for wars, and strifes, and troubles, and fightings, come by unrighteous actions, which are below truth and righteousness; for truth leads into the modest, decent, and comely life, which is honourable and estimable to God, and in the hearts of all his people. So live in the truth and the power of it, that you may all come to be heirs of the power of an endless life [Heb 7:16], and to inherit and possess the endless life, the power of a world that hath no end. And so keep your eyes to your possessions, and to the life that hath no end; and herein you will increase in the truth, in the righteousness and holiness, and the power and virtue of the holy life; and so sit down in your possessions, that you may all serve the Lord in a pure mind, soul, and spirit, and none to defile your bodies, but have esteem of them, as vessels of honour, and vessels fitted to receive the treasures of the Lord [Rom 9:21-23].
London, the 16th of the 9th month, 1666.
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