. . . . <329> . . . . And in all your men and women's meetings, let all things be done in love, which doth edify the body [Eph 4:16]; and let nothing be done in strife and vain glory [Phil 2:3], but keep in the unity of the spirit, which is the bond of peace [Eph 4:3]. And let all things be done in the wisdom of God, which is pure and gentle, from above, above the earthly, which is below, sensual, and devilish [James 3:17,15]. . . .
And keep your testimony against all the filthy rags [Isa 64:4] of the old world; and for your fine linen, the righteousness of Christ Jesus [Rev 19:8].
And keep your testimony for your liberty in Christ Jesus [Gal 2:4], and stand fast in it [Gal 5:1], against all the false liberties in old Adam; and your liberty in the spirit of God, and in the gospel of Christ Jesus, against all the false and loose liberties in the flesh [Gal 5:13].
And train up all your children in the fear of the Lord [Psa 34:11/Prov 22:6], and in his new covenant, Christ Jesus; as the Jews did their children and servants in the old covenant, and so do you admonish your children and servants. And let no man or any live to themselves, but in that love that seeks not her own [1 Cor 13:5].
And have an eye over them that come to spy out your liberty in Christ [Gal 2:4], and will report out of your meetings things to make advantage, and to the defaming of persons.
And let every one seek the good of one another, and their welfare in the truth, and make others' condition their own; and this keeps as a father and mother to condescend to a child. And all live in the seed which hath the blessing, and in the wisdom by which you may order all things to God's glory [Wis 8:1/1 Cor 10:31], over the evil seed, that is out of the truth [John 8:44]. . . .
And stop all bad reports, (for thou shalt not raise a false report [Exo 23:1] upon my people, saith the Lord,) and minister justice upon it presently, so that no man or woman may be defiled or defamed with such things.
G. F. Top
Read this in the Men and Women's Meeting in the fear of the Lord, as often as you see occasion, and record it in your book.
Friends' fellowship must be in the spirit [Phil 2:1], and all Friends must know one another in the spirit and power of God.
And in all the meetings of the county, two or three may be appointed from them, to go to the Quarterly Meetings, for to give notice one to another, if there be any that walk not in the truth, and have been convinced, and gone from the truth, and so have dishonoured God [Rom 2:23]. . . .
And so to query and search out all such, as live not as becomes the truth of the gospel [Phil 1:27], and yet do profess it, so that they all may walk in it, as well as talk of it; for none hath the heavenly comfort of it, but who do walk in it. . . .
And to see, that all that come amongst Friends, and profess truth, keep to yea and nay [Mat 5:37], in their dealings and communications, in justice and equity, and not in oppression. . . .
And Friends, my desire is, that ye all may be preserved in the Lord's <332> power, and in his everlasting seed, and so in the order of the gospel, and in the government of Christ Jesus; of the increase of which there is no end [Isa 9:7]. And that ye may keep up your ancient testimony, (in the power and spirit of God,) against tithes; and that ye may keep up your ancient testimony in the sincere life for Christ, your high priest, against the hireling priests and their old temples; manifesting that ye are the temples of God [1 Cor 3:16]. . . .
And that ye may keep your ancient testimony for the church which is in God [1 Th 1:1], the living members, which Christ, the spiritual man, is the holy head of [Col 1:18], and your heavenly rock and foundation.
And all such as marry by the priests, who have some of them the rough hands of Esau [Gen 27:11,16,21-3] , and fists of wickedness [Isa 58;6], and who have had their hands dipped in the blood of our brethren in New England, and who have been the cause of the banishment of some of our brethren, and have spoiled so many of their goods, casting them into prisons, and keeping so many of them in prison at this day: all such as go to them for wives or husbands, must come to judgment and condemnation of themselves, and that spirit that led them to the priests to marry them; or else Friends, that keep their habitations [Jude 1:6], must write and bear their testimony against them both. For from Genesis to the Revelations you never read of any priests that married any people, but it is God's ordinance; and whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder [Mat 9:16]. And they took one another formerly in the assemblies of the righteous, (when all things were clear,) therefore let all these things be inquired into, and brought to the Quarterly Meeting; and from thence some ordered to go to them, and to return what they say, at your next meeting. And let all this be done before they, or any of them, be declared as heathens, or written against, let them be three or four times admonished, that they may have gospel order [Mat 18:15-17], so that if it be possible, they may come to that which at first did convince them, and to repent and condemn their unrighteous doings. So that ye may not leave, if possible, a hoof in Egypt [Exo 10:26].
Now, all Friends, who have known the power of God, and do believe in the light [John 12:36] of Jesus Christ, who is your high priest, who is made higher than the heavens [Heb 7:26]; you come to know him to be your teacher, and to hear him in all things [Acts 3:22], and that God may work all your works in you <333> and for you. . . . And marriage is honourable in all, the bed being undefiled [Heb 13:4]. And they took one another in the assemblies of the righteous, the saints, and the holy ones of God, who were of the seed of the righteous. Which practice is now followed amongst the people of God, called Quakers, who are of the seed and generation of the righteous [Prov 11:21, Psa 14:5], the elect people of God. And also you may read, how Jacob, who was of the seed of the righteous, took his wife in the assembly at Laban's house, who gathered the people together when he took her [Gen 29:22f], having declared it before; and all parties were satisfied. And Jacob was the beloved of God [Mal 1:2, Rom 9:13], who took his wife of the best sort of people; his father and mother would not have him unequally yoked [2 Cor 6:14], as Esau had been before. And also you may read Isaac's marriage, in whom the blessed seed was called, as the apostle saith; ‘In Isaac shall thy seed be called [Heb 11:8].’ And how wonderfully it was carried on by the Lord! See Gen. xxiv. 25 [Gen 24]. And also read, how Boaz took his wife Ruth, (after both sides were satisfied,) in <334> the assembly of the people and elders; and how he declared it unto the elders, ‘Ye are witnesses this day, that I take Ruth to be my wife; and they said, we are thy witnesses [Ruth 4:9-11].’ And of this Boaz came the line of Christ. For Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David [Ruth 4:21]. And also Isaiah the prophet, who prophesied of Christ's birth, sufferings, and death, God commanded him, when he was to go to the prophetess, that he should take witnesses, and write it in a roll [Isa 8:1-3]; and this was the command of God; and he was of the seed of the righteous. And likewise the children of Israel, when they were carried into captivity, when any married, and all things on both sides were clear, they took one another, according to the law of Moses. As for example, see Tobias [Tobit 7]. And also Christ Jesus went to a marriage in Cana in Galilee [John 2:1f], (who ended the first priesthood, who is the everlasting priest [Heb 6:20, etc.].) And he went with his disciples and the mother of Jesus. Whence it is clear that there was a meeting and an assembly of people. And marriage being God's ordinance, and God's joining, here Christ owns it; for it was God's joining before the fall; and God's giving before the fall; and it is so in the restoration out of the fall again by Christ Jesus: who are come into the spirit and power of God, they know it is God's joining again in the restoration; and whom he joins together, let no man put asunder. And so marriage was a figure of Christ and his church [Eph 5:23-25], as the apostle instanceth in Ephesians. And therefore they were not to be unequally yoked, believers with unbelievers [2 Cor 6:14]. The law of God did forbid it; they were not to give their sons and daughters to the heathen, or marry with them, for it grieved the Lord in the old world, and brought destruction upon those bad marriages. When the sons of God saw the daughters of men were fair, and they took them wives of all which they chose, who corrupted the earth, and filled it with violence [Gen 6:2-6]. Yet the holy men of God, their marriages were never judged of God in the old world. Neither Seth's, Lamech's, nor Mahalaleel, nor Methusalah [Gen 5:21-31], nor Noah, nor Abraham, Isaac nor Jacob; and so none before the law, nor none in the law, not in the time of the gospel, their marriages were not judged by the Lord, who walked in the power and spirit of the Lord, and knew God's joining; who brings the man and woman together. But such as mingled with the heathen and unbelievers, and followed strange flesh [Jude 1:7], they went from the spirit, they lost the sonship; through such the earth was corrupted and filled with violence; and such could not know God's joining, who went from the spirit, and from the law and gospel; and such are mingled among heathens and unbelievers, and follow strange flesh, and corrupt their own, who go from the spirit, by which they have been sanctified [1 Cor 6:11] and led into the sonship.
And such as marry with unbelievers and heathen, go contrary to the law of God, and grieve him and their righteous parents. <335>
So marriage is God's holy ordinance, and Christ, that comes to restore all things again into their place, saith, ‘Whom God joins together, let no man put asunder.’ And brings it to the beginning again, how God made them male and female. So in the restoration in the image of God and sanctification, they are brought to the joining one male with one female again; not for one man to have many women at once, God did not make many for him; but in the fall from the righteousness of God and his image, there they run together like beasts, a man and many women. There men join and put asunder; ‘but in the beginning it was not so [Mat 19:8],’ saith Christ, the heavenly man, the second Adam [1 Cor 15:47], ‘for God made them male and female, and whom he joins together, let no man put asunder [Gen 1:27; Mat 19:4,6].’ And so God joins with his spirit and power, for he is a spirit; and this is a heavenly and spiritual joining; and them that God joins, they do not follow strange flesh [Jude 1:7], but the spirit of God; and such a marriage is sanctified by the spirit [1 Cor 6:11], and by the Lord, and such know his heavenly ordinance. And this is the marriage Christ owns, and sets up and encourages, who is the covenant and the quickening spirit [1 Cor 15:45]. And so God, who is a spirit, joins with his spirit, power, and light; this joining is in the covenant of God, all such marriages are honourable in all things, for their bed is not defiled [Heb 13:4]; but where the bed is defiled, that marriage is not honourable. And all that forbid marriage are in the doctrines of devils [1 Tim 4:1]; and they that are in the doctrine of devils, are out of truth, who destroys the creation, and destroys some one way and some another, that are under his power and command from truth; but they that obey the truth, and obey Christ, and obeys God, are over him and his doctrine, and the defiled bed, and strange flesh; and the spirit gives them an understanding to know God, and his joining by his spirit, who is blessed for ever.
Now if any should say, that Adam took his wife alone; and so run into the works of darkness, and go together in the dark, contrary to the righteous seed and holy generation: such are judged by the holy seed and by them in the holy life and law of God, and with the light of Christ Jesus condemned.
And as for Adam taking his wife alone, that was before there were any witnesses. But there was a form of words betwixt them before they went together, or he knew her, (as followeth,) viz. ‘And when the Lord God brought the woman to Adam, Adam said to the Lord, This is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man; and they shall be one flesh [Gen 2:23].’ But this form of words of Adam's, and his doing, is nothing to them that are workers of darkness, and run together in the dark. For after the earth was peopled, you may read how the generations of the righteous <336> did take one another in the assemblies of the righteous, and it was recorded before witnesses. . . .
<337> . . . . <338> . . . . <339> . . .
Dear friends, if there happen any difference betwixt Friend and Friend, let them speak to one another; and, if they will not hear, let them take two or three of the meeting they belong to, that they may end it, if they can. And if they cannot end it, then it may be laid before the Monthly Meeting [Mat 18:15-17]. . . .
And if any brother or sister hear any report of any brother or sister, let him or her go to the party, and know the truth of the report; and if true, let the thing be judged: if false, go then to the reporter, and let him or her be judged. And if any should report it at a second or third hand, without going to the party of whom the report goes, let such be brought to judgment: ‘for thou shalt neither raise nor suffer a false report [Exo 23:1] to lie upon my people,’ saith the Lord; for they are to be holy, as he is holy [Lev 11:44f] ; and just, as he is just. . . .
<340> . . . .
And no condemnation ought to go further than the transgression is known; and if he or she returns, and gives forth a paper of condemnation against him, or herself, (which is more desirable, than that we should do it,) this is a testimony of his or her repentance and resurrection before God, his people, and the whole world; as David, Psalm lvii. when Nathan came to admonish him [Psa 51]. . . .
<341> . . . .
And dear friends, in the power of the Lord God, you who are gathered with it, which is the authority of your men's and women's meetings; in the power of the Lord Jesus see, that all things be well amongst you, and that all do walk in the truth [3 Jn 1:3, etc], and as becometh the gospel of Christ [Phil 1:27], and his glorious light and life, so that all may stand up for God's glory, and be valiant for his truth [Jer 9:3], and all to grow up in it. And if any hear reports, or have any thing against any brother or sister, let them first speak to them, before that they declare it abroad [Mat 18:15]; and this will keep down backbiting and whispering, and preserve in brotherly love. And all looseness whatsoever, let it be reproved: and admonish, and exhort, and encourage such as are young and tender, to keep and preserve them in the way of life; and so watch over one another for good [Jer 44:27]. . . .
<342> . . . .
And in all your meetings, let notice be given to the Quarterly Meeting of all poor Friends: and when ye have heard, that there is many more poor belonging to one meeting than to another, and that meeting thereby is burdened and oppressed, let the rest of the meetings assist and help them, so that ye may ease one another, and help to bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ [Gal 6:2\. And so see that ‘nothing be lacking [1 Th 4:12],’ according to the apostle's words, mark, ‘nothing lacking;’ then all is well. For the Jews outward, though they were as the stars of heaven, and as the sand upon the sea-shore for multitude [Gen 22:17], yet there was not to be a beggar amongst them, according to the law of God [Deut 15:7-11?]. And amongst the christians in the first age, there was a men's meeting set up at Jerusalem to see that nothing was lacking [Acts 6:3], which was the gospel-order, according to the law of Jesus; and this continued as long as they lived in the life, power, and spirit of God. But when the apostacy came in, and the true church fled into the wilderness, which was to continue there one thousand two hundred and sixty days [Rev 12:6], and the witnesses prophesied in sackcloth one thousand two hundred and sixty days [Rev 11:3], and the beast was worshipped just so long, one thousand two hundred and sixty days; and then all things went out of order, and every thing was wanting in that time they worshipped the dragon and the beast; and the devil made the world like a wilderness [Isa 14:12-17]. But now the judgment of the great whore, and of the beast is come, and with them the false prophet and the dragon, who shall be cast alive into the lake of fire [Rev 19:20]; and the true church is coming up out of the wilderness, and the man child, (which was caught up into heaven,) is come down again to rule all nations with a rod of iron [Rev 12:5]: and the marriage of the Lamb is come [Rev 19:7], and the Lamb and the saints shall have the victory [Rev 17:14, Dan 7:22], and the everlasting gospel is and shall be preached [Rev 14:6] again, as was among the apostles; and the gospel-order shall be set up, as was amongst them; and a men's meeting, as was at the first conversion, to see that nothing be lacking <343> in the church; then all is well. So there is not to be a beggar now amongst the christians, according to the law of Jesus, as there was not to be any among the Jews, according to the law of Moses.
And dear friends, who feel the power of the everlasting God, (for all who are out of it, are in confusion,) you being come into God's fear, which is the beginning of true wisdom [Psa 111:10, Prov 9:10], by which all things were created [Wis 7:22]; and by it all things must be ordered again [Wis 8:1] to God's glory [1 Cor 10:31]. All that are out of this wisdom are in the earthly, devilish [James 3:15], and destroying state; but the wisdom from above is gentle and pure [James 3:17], and preserves you, yea, and the whole creation, to the glory of God. . . .
And dear friends, know in all your meetings who is sick, and weak, and in want, and widows, and fatherless, and aged people, that cannot help themselves; and such as God hath distributed unto, of that which <344> God has distributed, to lay aside for the necessities of others, as you are moved and commanded of the Lord God by his power and spirit; for he that gives to the poor, lendeth to the Lord [Prov 18:17]; and he loves a cheerful giver [2 Cor 9:7]. . . .
<345> . . . .
And all Friends, see that your children be trained up in soberness, and holiness, and righteousness, and temperance, and meekness, and gentleness, and lowliness, and modesty in their apparel and carriage, and so to exhort your children and families in the truth, that the Lord may be glorified in all your families. And teach your children when they are young, then will they remember it when they are old [Prov 22:6], according to Solomon's counsel. So that your children may be a blessing to you, and not a curse. . . .
And so, whatsoever things are of good report, or whatsoever things are lovely, or whatsoever things are pure, and decent, and virtuous, <346> and godly, and righteous, and holy, and just, those follow after [Phil 4:8]; and do the works of charity, and not your own, but the good works of hospitality, which are accepted of God.
And keep the order of the gospel, the power of God [Rom 1:16], which power of God was before the devil was, and is over him, which brings life and immortality to light [2 Tim 1:10] in men and women; and men and women they are to walk in this power of God, and to keep in it, being heirs of the same, and under the government of Christ Jesus, who bruiseth the serpent's head [Gen 3:15], and destroys him and his government; men and women being heirs of grace and life together, and of the power of God, and of the gospel of Christ Jesus, the amen [Rev 3:14]. And so as they come to possess and inherit him and his gospel order, they come to possess him and his government and order; of the increase of which there is no end [Isa 9:7].
And that notice be taken of all evil speakers, backbiters, slanderers, and foolish talkers, and idle jesters, for all these corrupt good manners [1 Cor 15:33], and are not according to the saints and holy men's practice, whose words were seasoned with salt, ministering grace to the hearers [Col 4:6]. . . .
<347> . . . .
And therefore keep your meetings solid and sober, and let the authority of your men and women's meetings be in the power of God; for every heir of the power has right to that authority, and in it keep the King of kings and Lord of lords [1 Tim 6:15, Rev 19:16]' peace in his church.
And so, the Lord give you wisdom, that by it you may be ordered to his glory, and that every one may have a care of God's glory, and of his name and truth; and that in his power you may see, that all do walk as becomes his glorious gospel [Phil 1:27], which hath brought life and immortality to light in you; which will preserve you in life and immortality, over the devil that has darkened you. So that nothing may get betwixt your souls and minds, and the Lord God, that he may be glorified in you all, and through you all, and over you all, blessed for ever. Amen. . . .
And that all Friends, who are not already provided, may speedily procure convenient burying places, and that thereby a testimony may stand against the superstitious idolizing of those places, called holy ground. For Abraham bought a place to bury his dead in [Gen 23], and would not bury them amongst the Egyptians and Canaanites. And Jacob was brought out of Egypt, and Joseph, and they were buried in their grandfather and father's burying places [Gen 50:13]. And so Friends, get decent burying places for your dead, and let them be decently and well fenced, that you may show a good example to the world in all things. <348>
And dear Friends, do all that you do in peace and love, and in the fear of God, condescending one unto another, in the simplicity and innocency of life, and truth, and in the wisdom of God, that that may be every one's crown, that nothing may be done in strife [Phil 2:3], to occasion words; for you are called to peace and holiness, in which the kingdom stands [Rom 14:17], and to serve one another in love [Gal 5:13]. And my love is to all Friends in the everlasting seed [1 Pet 1:23] of God, in which is life, purity, cleanness, and righteousness that shines over all.
And all Friends, do that which ye do in the power of God, and then you are the Lord's freemen in love, and not captives. For all which is done out of the power of God is in the captivity [Rom 7:23?]. So wait all in the power of the Lord, and in the light, in which you will feel life and peace, and the Lord's blessing. So in that the Lord God Almighty preserve you, and keep you over all that which is contrary, and give you victory and dominion. And in peace and love live, in the spirit and power of God, in which is the unity and the fellowship in the bond of peace [Eph 4:3], that truth and life may reign amongst you; that in all things you may adorn and grace the truth, that never hath an end [Psa 100:5, 1 Esd 4:38].
And the Lord God Almighty preserve you in his seed, life, and wisdom, and give you discerning victory and dominion over all that which is contrary, that you may feel Christ's reign and authority, in which you may all act in his power and authority. So in that, God Almighty preserve you.
And draw up an account of all that have died in prison, in every county, for truth's testimony, and lay them before the magistrates; and so to keep Friends clear from the blood of all men. And preserve a list of their sufferings, together with the number that have died in prison; that their blood may come upon them that have thirsted after it, and that their testimony may not be lost, who have sealed it with their blood, but that it may be preserved. And so keep a record of them in your Quarterly Meeting books. So that the memorial of the innocent sufferers for the truth and the name of Jesus, may not be lost nor forgotten; that his name and power, that hath supported them, may be exalted, that hath carried them over death, and their persecutors, and the spoiling of their goods [Heb 10:34]. So in the heavenly seed Christ Jesus [1 Pet 1:23?], that reigns, who is the living rock and foundation [1 Cor 10:4, 3:11], and stands sure for all his elect to build upon, stand above all the rocks and foundations that are below, and will have an end; and in him the Lord God Almighty preserve you, and keep you all. Amen.
And all my dear Friends every where, who have been moved of the Lord God to speak in steeple-houses to the priests, or in markets to the people, or in courts, or fairs, or assizes, or towns; let an account thereof be drawn up together in one book, with the substance of their words, <349> that they spake in the power of God. This would be a book, that may stand to generations, that they may see their faithful testimony, and what strength God did ordain out of the mouths of babes and sucklings [Psa 8:2]. And Friends that have been moved to go to the professors' meetings; that their testimony there may not be lost, together with all the examples that have fallen upon the persecutors. . . .
And all they that be public ministers, (if unknown,) that pass up and down the countries, and to other nations, for them to have a certificate from their meeting, where such persons are known, and all their practices are looked into; that will prevent any bad spirits, that may scandalize honest men. For they that do minister to others, must have a double diligence in virtue, and chastity, and patience, and carefulness, and watchfulness, more than their hearers, lest they judge them. For Christ the heavenly man [1 Cor 15:47], is our example; and the apostle saith, follow us, as we do follow Christ [1 Cor 11:1]. For who esteems the beggarly lusts before virtue, is not worthy of it; and who preferreth his ungodliness, and his unholiness, and his earthliness, before that which is heavenly, is not worthy of the heavenly, nor of godliness, nor righteousness, &c.
And, dear friends, be faithful, you that know the light, the truth, and the power of God, and his life; in the wisdom of God be faithful; by which wisdom all things were made and created [Wis 7:22]; and by which wisdom all things that are created, must be ordered [Wis 8:1] again to the glory of the Creator [1 Cor 10:31]. And you that are come to know the truth and the power of it, all come to know the order of life, so that all things may be kept in that sweet order and government to the glory of God and the refreshment of all, and a sweet savour to God [2 Cor 2:16] and in the hearts of all people, that through the wisdom of God ye may adorn the truth in all things, for the preserving of love, peace, and unity amongst all.
And live in the peaceable truth, and keep in the heavenly order of the gospel, and in the government of the heavenly man, of the increase <350> of which there is no end [Isa 9:7]; and walk in the pure and undefiled religion, that keeps you from the spots of the world [Jas 1:27], and in the worship of God in the spirit and truth [John 4:24], which the devil is out of [John 8:44]. So that in the truth you may be preserved in peace with God, and one with another. And in the spirit of truth [John 16:13] you may be preserved in the unity and fellowship of it, in which is the bond of peace [Eph 4:3].
And my desire is, that all the faithful men, and faithful women in the light, and power, and spirit of Christ, all may be kept in the possession of the truth, and that all such may make up the men and women's meetings, so that you all may be in your possessions of the order of the gospel, and the government of Christ the seed, that bruises the head of the serpent [Gen 3:15], who is the head of all ill government and disorders. So that the joyful and glorious order of the everlasting gospel, all may be in the possession of; so that in the light, spirit, and power, ye may all have a care of God's glory, and his honour, and his church's peace, keeping in the unity of his everlasting spirit, which is the bond of the heavenly and spiritual Prince of prince's [Dan 8:25] peace. And all that are in the possession of this may admonish and exhort all such as walk not as becomes the gospel [Phil 1:27], and glorify not the Lord with their bodies, souls, and spirits [1 Cor 6:20]; and so see, that as every one has received Christ Jesus, they do walk in him [Col 2:6]; that all may walk in the holiness which becomes the house of God [Psa 93:5]; so that God may be glorified by his light, power, and spirit in all, who is over all, God blessed for ever.
And so the God of glory, who hath brought Christ from the dead, by him are you quickened and raised from the dead, that henceforth you should not live to yourselves, but to him, and walk in him, who is the Amen [Rev 3:14], and over all, the first and last [Rev 1:11].
END OF VOL. I.