My dear friends,—In the pure and undefiled life [James 1:27] all live, in the holy seed that changes not, that will wear out all in the transgression, and was before transgression was, (and this seed was never a transgressor,) and it will be when transgression is gone, and is over that spirit which is in transgression, and is a burdensome stone [Zech 12:3] to the transgressor, and him that is out of truth [John 8:44], and it will outlast all. And so in that live, in which ye may reign in the life and truth, and in its time it will break all their bonds. For that spirit that doth transgress, doth persecute in the particular the just, and persecution makes the just to suffer in the general; and so, they that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer <19> persecution [2 Tim 3:12] by them that persecute those that are godly; it is no wonder for them to persecute the godly in Christ the heavenly man [1 Cor 15:47]: so the just suffereth, within and without, by the unjust. And so be valiant for the Lord's truth upon the earth [Jer 9:3], and dwell in love, and in humility, and meekness, and patience, and righteousness, in which the love of the Lord is manifested. So no more but my love.
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All Friends every where, in the living spirit, and living power, and in the heavenly light dwell, and quench not the motions of it in yourselves, nor the movings of it in others; though many have run out, and gone beyond their measures [2 Cor 10:14], yet many more have quenched the measure of the spirit of God, and after became dead and dull, and questioned through a false fear: and so there hath been hurt both ways. And therefore be obedient to the power of the Lord, and his spirit, and his spiritual weapons; war with that Philistine that would stop up your wells and springs [Gen 26:15,18]. Jacob's well was in the mountain [John 4:6,20], (read that within,) he was the second birth. And the belief in the power keeps the spring open. And none to despise prophecy, neither to quench the spirit [1 Th 5:20,19]; so that all may be kept open to the spring, that every one's cup may run over [Psa 23:5]. For you may all prophesy one by one, and the spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets [1 Cor 14:31f]. ‘Would all the Lord's people were prophets [Num 11:29],’ said Moses in his time, when some found fault; but the last time is the christian's time, who enjoys the substance, Christ Jesus ; and his church is called a royal priesthood, offering up spiritual sacrifices [1 Pet 2:9,2:5]; and his church are his believers in his light. And so in the light every one should have something to offer; and to offer an offering in righteousness [Mal 3:3] to the living God, else they are not priests; and such as quench the spirit cannot offer, but become dull. ‘I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh, in the last time,’ saith the Lord, which is the true christian's time, God's sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and old men shall dream dreams; ‘and on my servants and handmaids I will pour out of my spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy [Joel 2:28f].’ Now friends, if this be fulfilled, servants, handmaids, sons, daughters, old men, young men, every one to feel the spirit of God, by which you may see the things of God, and declare them to his praise; for with the heart man doth believe, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation [Rom 10:10]; first, he has it in his heart, before it comes out of his mouth: and this is beyond that brain-beaten-heady stuff, which man has long studied, about the saints' words, which the holy men of God spake forth as they were moved by the holy ghost [2 Pet 1:21]: so the holy ghost moved them, before they came forth and spake them. And therefore, as I said before, do <20> not resist the holy ghost, for they that did so, grew stiff-necked, and their hearts were uncircumcised [Acts 7:51]; but feel this holy ghost, this spirit of truth, that leads you into all truth [John 16:13]. So with the holy ghost, and with the light and power of God, do you build upon Christ the foundation, and life; and by the same heavenly light, and power, and spirit, do you labour in the vineyard, and do you minister and speak forth the things of God, and do you dig for your pearls [Mat 13:44-46] therefore bring them forth, and let them be seen how they glister the glistering pearls. And all come into the vineyard of God to labour [Mat 20:1-7], in the light which was before darkness was, and with the life which was before death and his power was; and in the truth and power of God, which the devil is out of [John 8;44], that every one of you may have your penny [Mat 20:9], that precious penny, and heavenly treasure from God Almighty, the great Lord, who is the orderer, and disposer, and governor, and ruler in the vineyard, among his servants, who pays them their wages, and gives them their heavenly penny of life. Mark, it is the labourers in the life, truth, and power of God, that labours in God's vineyard, that have their heavenly penny, that everlasting treasure. So see that you have it; if you be in the labour of life, you will have it. Friends, you see how men and women can speak enough for the world, for merchandise, for husbandry, the ploughman for his plough; but when they should come to speak for God, they quench the spirit, and say, and do not obey God's will. But come, let us see what the wise merchants can say; have they found the pearl and field, and purchased the field, which yields those glorious glistering pearls [Mat 13:44-46]? Let us see what can you say for God, and that heavenly merchandise. What can the ploughman say for God with his spiritual plough? Is the fallow ground ploughed up [Hos 10:12]? Has he abundance of the heavenly seed of life? . . . So none are to quench the spirit, nor to despise prophecy [1 Th 5:19f], lest ye limit the Holy One [Psa 78:41]; and every one is to minister as he hath received the grace, which hath <21> appeared to all men, which brings salvation [Tit 2:11]; so that the Lord's grace, his light, and truth, and spirit and power may have the passage, and the rule in all men and women, that by it he may have the glory, and from it in all, who is blessed for ever and for ever. The Lord hath said, ‘From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles [Mal 1:11].’ Now mark, friends, this is a large space, wherein God's name shall be great; and the Lord further saith, ‘In every place, incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering; for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts. [ibid]’ Now mark, friends, this heavenly incense, and pure offering, is a spiritual offering, which is to be offered by the spirit to God, who is a spirit; then here none quench the spirit of God in their own hearts, and all such come under the title of the royal priesthood, offering up spiritual sacrifices [1 Pet 2:9,5]; which royal priesthood has a priest that lives for ever [Heb 6:20], Christ Jesus.
And, friends, do not quench the spirit, nor abuse the power [1 Cor 9:18]; when it moves and stirs in you, be obedient, but do not go beyond, nor do not add to it, nor take from it [Deut 4:2]; for if you do you are reproved, either for going beyond, or taking from it. . . . <22> . . . .
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My dear friends,—When you were formerly in a profession, you took your servants, your apprentices, your children along with you to your places of worship. And now, that you are come to truth, and are convinced that the same is the truth of God, through which you come to have a portion and inheritance of life and salvation, and of a kingdom and world which hath no end [Luke 1:33, Eph 3:21], and into a possession of that which formerly you did profess in words. Now, therefore, friends, you that are come to this possession, and go into the assemblies of the people of God, that are gathered into his name [Mat 18:20], (where salvation is,) and in no other name under heaven, but in the name of Jesus Christ [Acts 4:12]. . . . And then after you may come to find fault with your servants, children, &c. and for a small matter put some of them away, when the fault is in yourselves, that you did not take them along with you to the meetings, and govern them in the wisdom of God, and true understanding and knowledge; which is to know the <23> true God, and his son Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent; whom to know is life eternal [John 17:3]. . . . Therefore rouse up yourselves, that you may exercise the right wisdom and understanding in that which lives for ever, and is and will remain when all the contrary is gone; into which all must be brought; that in that you may be good patterns [Tit 2:7] and examples [1 Tim 4:12] in all your families, and bring them forth with you to your meetings, that they may find the substance of that which you did formerly profess in words. And now you enjoying the substance, be more careful, be more diligent and circumspect, that God may be glorified throughout all your families, and his name may be called upon, and honoured, and exalted, who is God over all, blessed for ever. . . .
<24> . . . . Therefore in it they should train them up in the truth, through which all should be free; not in the eye-service of men, but serving the Lord [Eph 6:6] in righteousness and diligence, in their services: that they may be partakers of the heavenly life, [Heb 3:1?] and come to be heirs of salvation [Heb 1:14], and children of the promise [Gal 4:28], and sons and daughters of Sion, to whom Christ is elect and precious [1 Pet 2:6], and through him their conversations may be brought up into heavenly things, and their minds and affections to be set on things above [Col 3:2]. So friends, all these things consider of in the life which was before death was, in the truth which the devil is out of [John 8:44], in the wisdom of God, which is pure from above [Jas 3:17], and in the righteousness, which was before unrighteousness was, that God may be glorified throughout all your families, who is blessed for ever.
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And friends, see that all apprentices that are bound amongst you may serve out their times faithfully, according to covenant, that all may know their places; for youth, if they be let loose, are like wild asses [Job 39:5], and wild heifers [Hos 10:11]; and such many times bring a great dishonour to God [Rom 2:23], by running into looseness; which are more fit to be under rule and order, than to rule; and through a foolish pity of some, they let up a great deal of airiness and wildness in them: all which should be kept under by the power of God, wherein the honour of the Lord may be preserved; and so, that liberty may not be given to youth in those cases; for the true liberty is in Christ Jesus [Gal 5:1], which gives authority over that which will dishonour God. . . . <25> . . .
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All Friends every where, who are friends of Christ the heavenly man, by whom the world was made, and are become friends of God through Christ Jesus, who are quickened by Jesus, and made alive by him [1 Cor 15:22,45]], who were dead in old Adam, and are now made alive by the second Adam, and have drunk his blood, through which you have life [John 6:53f], and by which you come from among the congregations of the dead [Prov 21:16], who only talk of his blood and his flesh.
And now being gathered in the name of Jesus [Mat 18:20], who hath made you alive, in the name of him whose blood you have drunk, yea, even of the heavenly man's, which is his life; and so are come out of your native countries, religions, and worships, and left the old stuff behind, who are gotten atop of the old house, and will not go down again to fetch out any of the old stuff [Mat 24:17]. I say, ye that are gathered in the name of Jesus, the heavenly man, out of the old Adam, and are made alive by the heavenly man, keep your meetings in the name of Jesus.
Then it is he that is persecuted, if you be persecuted [Mat 25:42-45]; and he that suffers; for in all your afflictions and sufferings he is with you, who are made alive by him, and have drunk his blood, and so are come to be faithful witnesses of Christ Jesus, as all that are made alive by him are, and have drunk his blood; for they that have not drunk his blood, and are not made alive by him, are no true witnesses of Christ Jesus. And therefore you that the Lord hath gathered, and sought and searched out, who have been scattered in this cloudy dark day [Ezek 34:12], (since the apostles' days of light,) and have been made a prey upon by the hireling shepherds [Ezek 34:8], and have been left to the wolves by the flying of the hirelings [John 10:12f], whom you thought had been true men, and now the Lord hath sought and searched, and found, and gathered you from their mouths, to whose mouths you have been a prey [Ezek 34:10]; and the Lord is known to feed you atop of the mountains [Ezek 34:14] with his heavenly bread [John 6:51], and he hath set one shepherd over you [Ezek 34:23], (the heavenly man,) who lives for ever, who is <26> the shepherd over all the living, that are made alive by him; and so the Lord hath the glory of seeking and of gathering you out of the wildernesses, pits, graves, and ditches of old Adam and the serpent, and from his brambles and briars; and so Christ, by whom the world was made, is the rest of the living that he hath made alive, and is their shepherd, to feed them with life, and with the springs of life, and is the bishop of their souls [1 Pet 2:25], that doth oversee them, that they do not go out of the pastures of life, and from the springs of life, nor from the fold of life. It is a glorious pasture, to be fed atop of all the mountains, in the life, in the pastures of life, by the living shepherd, and to be overseen by the living bishop, and to be sanctified, and to be presented to God by the living priest, and to be counselled by the living counsellor to an everlasting inheritance, and to a kingdom, and to a world, that hath no end, by an everlasting priest, that sanctifies and offers you to God without spot or wrinkle [Eph 5:27], a perfect offering, who sprinkles your consciences and hearts [Heb 10:22] with his blood, that you may serve the living God, and not the dead works among the dead [Heb 9:14].
And now you having an everlasting preacher, whom God hath anointed to preach [Isa 61:1], and an everlasting minister, that ministers grace, and life, and salvation, and truth to you; an everlasting prophet that God hath raised up, who is to be heard [Acts 3:22]; all the living hear him, but the dead talk but of his fame. So none can silence or stop the mouth of them whom he opens, or take away your shepherd, your bishop, your minister, your preacher, your prophet, your counsellor, &c. And therefore let him have your ears, hearken to him, let him be set up in your hearts, who was set up from everlasting [Prov 8:23] to everlasting by the Father, whom all the righteous witness, Christ Jesus, who is your possession, being heirs with him [Rom 8:17], by whom all the living are made alive; and so in him live by whom the world was made, who was glorified with the Father before the world began [John 17:5]. So in Christ the heavenly man, you have rest, but in old Adam (the transgressor) you have no rest; there is the wilderness, Sodom, Egypt [Rev 11:8], Babylon, and confusion [Gen 11:1-9]. For God blessed Abraham in his obeying of his commands [Gen 26:4f], when he went from his native country, and relations [Gen 12:1f]; yea, and made him a prince [Gen 23:6]. So they that are redeemed out of kindreds and tongues [Rev 5:9], Christ makes as princes [Rev 5:10?], to overcome the prince of darkness.
And Abraham was to walk before God, who was perfect, and he was to be perfect [Gen 17:1]; so must all who are of the faith of Abraham [Rom 4:16]. Abraham saw Christ's day, and did rejoice [John 8:56]; but thousands now come to enjoy the day that Abraham saw.
The outward Jews did eat of the manna in the wilderness [Exo 19:14-35], and disobeyed and perished; but they that eat of the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood, have life everlasting [John 6:54]; and this gives an eternal life, by which <27> they come to an eternal possession, and to the land of the living [Psa 116:9], as the outward Jews came to possess the land of Canaan [Gen 17:8]. And so you that are heirs of Christ, the heavenly man, and are come to possess him, (whom he hath made alive,) stand fast, now is your time to stand; stand in the life, which was before death, or the king of it was; stand in the light, which was before darkness, or the prince of it was; and stand in the power of God, which was before the devil was; and sit down in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus [Eph 2:6], who was set up from everlasting to everlasting.
And therefore keep your faith in the Lord; for he is the same who hath given you dominion, through faith, over the mountains [1 Cor 13:2] of opposition, by which they have been subdued, and by which the fiery darts have been quenched [Eph 6:16]. And hath not this been fulfilled, ‘in all their afflictions he was afflicted; and that the angel of his presence should be with them in their trials and sufferings [Isa 63:9] .’ So the Lord hath a tender care of his sheep, his people, that the angel of his presence should be with them in all their trials. And therefore let your minds be out of all outward things, and visibles; and fear not the fleece, for it will grow again; and if the Lord should try you now, with the spoil of outward things, after he hath blessed you with them, to see whether your minds be with them, or with him: therefore now stand, having on the whole armour of God [Eph 6:11], and his righteousness [2 Cor 6:7], and your feet shod with the power of God [Eph 6:15, Rom 1:16], which was before the devil was; this will keep you from slipping; and having on the armour of light [Rom 13:12], to stand against darkness; and the breast-plate of righteousness [Eph 6:14, which is armour proof against the devil and his fiery darts; and keep the shield of faith Eph 6:16], and sword of the spirit, the word of God, and the helmet of salvation [Eph 6:17], that preserves the head in all battles with the devil and his instruments.
And thus with your heavenly armour and arms stand, and keep your possession of life, who are brought out of spiritual Egypt, Sodom [Rev 11:8], and Babylon, having one to go before you, the captain of your salvation [Heb 2:10], (Christ Jesus,) who was before Moses and Joshua were. And see how the children of God all along in the scriptures through faith had the victory; Daniel by faith, the three children by faith [Dan 3], Abraham by faith, Joshua by faith, and Caleb by faith [Num 14:6-8]; and the other spies, which had no faith, and the elders among the outward Jews and the people, how they fell through unbelief [Num 14]! But by grace through faith the just were saved [Eph 2:8], by faith they had victory [1 Jn 5:4], and by faith they pleased God [Heb 11:5f]; and therefore keep in the faith, and you will have the water of life, and the bread of life, from above [John 6:35-58]. And stand still in the faith, for the just live by faith [Rom 1:17]; and they that had not faith to believe, they perished. And Christ hath taught all how to believe, who hath enlightened every one that cometh into the world [John 1:9], he saith, ‘Believe in the light [John 12:36];’ which was a <28> blessed doctrine of the heavenly man; for you believing in the light, you believe in that which makes manifest all things, all fruits, all creatures, all religions, and worship; for the light was before they all were, and will be when they are all gone. Therefore, believe in the light, saith the heavenly man, who teacheth what to believe in; for whatsoever is made manifest, is made manifest by the light [Eph 5:13]. So to believe in the light, that doth make manifest all things that are reproveable, therein you will become children of the light, and children of the day [1 Th 5:5], and sons of God, and daughters of God, and sons of Sion, and daughters of Sion, the heavenly Sion, the heavenly joy. And so herein you come to be of the royal family, above all the families of the earth, above all the households of the earth, a household of God [Eph 2:19], the workmanship of God [Eph 2:10], the planting of God, [Amos 9:15?] the building of God [1 Cor 3:9], the household of faith [Gal 6:10]; which are titles higher than all the titles among men in the world, in the creation; sons and daughters, and servants and handmaids, every man to enjoy something in the household. Every one to have an inheritance (of their own) of life, that they may offer to God of their heavenly substance, who are called a royal priesthood [1 Pet 2:9]; that is, a kingly priesthood over the devil, and over Adam, in a possession of a spiritual kingdom, and of a world that hath no end, and of a heavenly durable substance and riches [Heb 10:34/Prov 8:18] which are spiritual; and so to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God [1 Pet 2:5], who is a spirit [John 1:24].
So now the time of trying is; therefore all to stand, and see if there be any thing able to separate you from Christ [Rom 8:38f], who is from everlasting to everlasting, who is first and last [Rev 1:11], who makes an end of sin, and finishes transgression [Dan 9:24], and destroys the devil and his works [Heb 2:14/1 Jn 3:8], and is the top and corner-stone [Eph 2:20], the possession of all the righteous, the rest and sabbath of all the righteous, that have drunk his blood [John 6:53], whom he hath made alive [1 Cor 15:22]. So in Christ you shall bear no burden, for he destroys that which oppresses both man and beast; and in Christ you shall not go out to gather your meat, who is your sabbath and rest; but in old Adam there is no rest; in the second Adam the heavenly man [1 Cor 15:47], there is the rest; and in him, to wit, Christ the heavenly man, you need not go out to gather your meat. . . .<29> . . . .
And therefore now all prize the standing truth, and walk as becomes the gospel, the power of God [Phil 1:27/Rom 1:16], which was before the devil was, which destroys the devil and his works. And so stand fast in the liberty where-with Christ hath made you free [Gal 5:1]; yea, free from the devil and old Adam; for the freedom is in him, in Christ, and not in the devil who is out of the truth [John 8:44], nor in old Adam. Yea, Christ is able to deliver out of the six troubles, and the seventh trouble [Job 5:19], the perfection of trouble; he who is the perfection itself, so he is the deliverer [Rom 11:26] and mediator [1 Tim 2:5], and the intercessor [Rom 8:34], that makes peace betwixt you and God. So in Christ, (who is the deliverer,) is the peace and the rest, yea, an everlasting rest; he was set up over all troubles, and persecutions, and persecutors, who was before they were, glorified with the Father before the world began [John 17:5], and he will be when they are all gone, as I said before, all that have drunk his blood, and are made alive by him, have life; yea, a possession that will never have an end; but they that are dead in old Adam, are against Christ, who is the life, till he make them alive by believing in the light; and then they become the congregation of the living. And these are they that are gathered together by the Lord; and they that are not gathered together by the Lord, but by men, to themselves, they come to be scattered [Mat 12:30]. Now the congregation of the living, have drunk the blood of Jesus, that are alive by him, and so are gathered together by him, the heavenly man, and he is in the midst of them [Mat 18:20], to preserve them, and exercise his offices among them, as a shepherd, and a bishop, and a prophet, &c.
And these are the living members, who have a living head, Christ Jesus; and that saying comes to be fulfilled, ‘Thy dead men shall live together, with my dead body shall they arise [Isa 26:19];’ so come to live with Christ Jesus. And they are the congregation of the dead [Prov 21:16], that believe not in the light, nor drink the blood of Jesus, but death and destruction talk of him and of God [Job 28:22], and his prophets' and apostles' words; and they come to set their house upon the sand, and so are the fools [Mat 7:26f]; and then a storm arises upon the sea, and their house is presently in the sea again, and there they are drowned; the house sits so nigh the sea, that in a little storm they are drowned, they are so nigh the world. But the wise men set their house upon the rock [Mat 7:24f], and the rock is Christ 1 Cor 10:4], the <30> life, who was before the world was, and will stand over all; and they that are built upon it, the storms and tempests cannot move their rock, nor their house. So here is the wisdom of the wise, who build their house upon him by whom all things were created, who is the rock of ages [Isa 26:4, KJV margin]. So in all storms they keep to their house, and they meet in him, and are gathered in him, and he is their head and counsellor, to order them; and in him they all please God; and in Christ Jesus are one another's crown and life; and so through him they have all a crown of life [Jas 1:12/Rev 2:10], who was with the Father before the world began. So in him sit down, over all the windy doctrines [Eph 4:14], that toss the chaff abroad in the world.
I say, in Christ sit down, in him who was before the world was, for out of him is all wearisomeness, but in him ye have rest [Mat 11:28?].
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Dear friends, the truth of God mind, and his pure holy power, which the Lord hath made you partakers of, by his good spirit [Neh 9:20]. Oh! let not his spirit be grieved by you. Let that be mortified that would get up to grieve or quench the spirit [Eph 4:10, 1 Th 5:19], for that will corrupt your reason, understanding, and knowledge; and that which gives you to know God and Christ, that is life eternal. And all have a care that you do not abuse the power [1 Cor 9:18], nor crucify to yourselves the seed afresh [Heb 6:6], but let that be crucified by the seed; in which seed you have life eternal. And therefore prize the truth above all things. Now you have liberty to spread it abroad; for you are called to righteousness and holiness, without which none shall see God [Heb 12:14]. Therefore mind your high calling [Phil 3:14] in God, out of old Adam, into Christ Jesus, the second Adam [1 Cor 15:45]; and keep your meetings in the name of Jesus, and feel him in the midst of you [Mat 18:20], who is your life <31> and salvation; and that all occasions and stumbling blocks [Rom 14:13] may be taken away, so that the precious truth may be minded by you all, wherein all are to live in unity, and walk in peace, with the God of peace, and one with another; that all your springs may be kept open, and all your fountains may run with living water; and all your candles may burn, and every one may have bread on his own table in his temple, and his rod budding [Num 17:8] there, that he may be known to be a priest of the royal priesthood [1 Pet 2:9]. So that all may have salt in yourselves [Mark 9:50], that you may be good for something [Mat 5:13]; for if you be not the good salt, you cannot make the earth savoury. Therefore all keep in the sense of truth, and be digging for the pearl in your own field [Mat 13:44-46], and to find the silver in your own house, that was lost [Luke 15:8f], and the leaven [Mat 13:33] in your own hearts; that were it works, and is joined to, will leaven into its own nature. . . . And therefore it is the life that differs, and the new way differs from the old, and the religion that is above, from that which is below; and the worship Christ set up above sixteen hundred years ago, from all them that are made since, amongst the nominal christians; and the fellowship of God in the spirit and gospel, differs from all the fellowships that have been made since the apostles' days; and the liberty in Christ [Gal 2:4], in the gospel, in the spirit, is far above the liberty of old Adam in the flesh, in the sin, the wages of which is death [Rom 6:23]; here no false liberty can be in the spirit, and in the power of the gospel, and in Christ Jesus; nor any false freedom in the truth, for all false freedom is out of the truth; and therefore keep over all those false liberties and false freedoms, (in old Adam and his spirit, and dark power, and corrupt seed,) in the seed of life, and spirit and power of God, that is holy and pure, without spot [Eph 5:27]. So no more, but my love in the holy seed, that is over all.
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To be read in all Friends' Meetings. And send copies of this to Maryland, Virginia, Barbadoes, New England, &c.
Dear friends, now is the time for you to stand; therefore put on the whole armour of God [Eph 6:11,13], from the crown of the head unto the soles of your feet, that you may stand in the possession of life: and you that have been public men, and formerly did travel abroad, mind to keep up your testimony, both in the city and in the countries, that you may encourage Friends to keep up their meetings as usual thereaway; so that none faint in the time of trial; but that all may be encouraged, both small and great, to stand faithful to the Lord God, and his power, and truth; that their heads may not sink in the storms, but may be kept up above the waves. So, go into your meeting places, as at other times: and keep up your public testimony, and visit Friends thereabouts, now in this time of storm; for there is your crown, in the universal power and spirit of God. So let your minds, and souls, and hearts, be kept above all outward and visible things. Few travel now the countries: it may be well to visit them, lest any should faint. Stir up one another in that which is good [2 Tim 1:6, 2 Pet 3:1], and to faithfulness in the truth, this day. And let your minds be kept above all visible things; for God took care for man in the beginning, and set him above the works of his hands [Heb 2:7]: and therefore mind the heavenly treasure [Mat 6:20], that will never fade away [1 Pet 1:4]; and dwell in the seed, in which you may know your election [1Th 1:4]. It is hard for me to give forth in writing what is before me, because of my bodily weakness; but I was desirous in some measure to ease my mind, desiring that you may stand fast, and faithful to truth. Of my travels and weakness it is like you have heard, and of my affliction, both by <33> them that are without, and also by them that are within, which are hard to be uttered and spoken. My love is to all faithful Friends.
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The 2d of the 11th month, 1670.
Dear friends and brethren, see that all live in the peaceable and blessed truth, into which no enmity can come; for the blessed seed, Christ Jesus, takes away the curse; of the increase of whose government there is no end [Isa 9:7]; who rules in righteousness [Isa 32:1] among the righteous for ever. And see that this righteousness, (in which you all have peace,) run down and flow as a stream [Amos 5:24] among you, who are begotten again into a lively hope [1 Pet 1:3], and born again by the immortal seed of the word of God, which lives and abides for ever [1 Pet 1:23]. And you who have received Christ, have received power to become the sons of God [John 1:12], and to believe in the light [John 12:36], in obedience to Christ's command; by which you become children of the light, and children of the day [1 Th 5:5]. Therefore this I say unto you, let no man abuse this power [1 Cor 9:18], that is everlasting [1 Tim 6:16]; and keep the gospel order, which was before any impurity was, and will be when it is gone. So that in all your men and women's meetings, see that virtue flow, and see that all your words be gracious [Eccl 10:12], and see that love flows, which bears all things [1 Cor 13:7], that kindness, tenderness, and gentleness may be among you, and that the fruits of the good spirit may abound; for nothing that is unclean must enter into God's kingdom [Rev 21:27], which stands in righteousness, and in holiness, and in the power of God, and in the joy of the holy ghost [Rom 14:17]: for all joy that is out of the holy ghost, will have an end. And see in all your men and women's meetings, that God be no ways dishonoured [Rom 2:23], nor the pure and blessed name of Christ (in which you are gathered) [Mat 18:20] be blasphemed [Rom 2:24]; but in all things that God may be glorified [1 Pet 4:11], exalted, and honoured; for you have the light, to see all evil, and the power to withstand it, and to see that nothing be lacking, then all will be well among you, in all your men and women's meetings. And see that nothing be lacking, neither within nor without [1 Th 4:12], for God is rich in both, and abundance of his riches [Psa 52:7] you have received. And so this is a warning and a charge to you all, in the presence of the living God, that you keep up the testimony of Jesus, against all that which is contrary to Jesus the heavenly man, that your fruits may appear to his glory, and your works to his praise [Phil 1:11]; and that you may have water in your own cisterns [Prov 5:15], and know those clouds through which Christ gives you rain, having purchased the field wherein the pearl lies [Mat 13:44-46]. And now is the spring time that the lily and the rose begin to flourish [Song 2:1,11f], and the vine is putting forth [Song 2:13], and the apple tree [Song 2:3] to bring forth her fruit, by the <34> power of the Lord God, who is over all. And keep your testimony for your religion, that you have received from God, and for your worship in the spirit and in the truth [John 4:24], that Christ Jesus hath set up; and for your gospel fellowship, which is in the power of God before the devil was: and see that all live in peace and in the love of God, for love edifieth the body [Eph 4:16]; for he who is the head of it [Col 1:18], is the beloved of God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. And see that every one's affections be set on things above, and not upon things below [Col 3:2], that be earthly; for now is the time to contend for the faith, that gives victory [1 Jn 5:4], which was once delivered to the saints [Jude 1:3], in which you have unity [Eph 4:13]. And so the God of power preserve you all, and keep you in his blessed seed, to wit, Christ Jesus, that none of you may be without a minister, without a priest, or without a prophet, or without a shepherd, or without a bishop [1 Pet 2:25], but let every one receive him in his offices: then you all have one who will exercise his offices in you all, whom God hath given for a leader and a covenant; yea, an everlasting leader, who was the foundation of the prophets and apostles, and is to us this day. And so be valiant for the truth upon the earth [Jer 9:3], in the seed Christ Jesus, that through him who destroys death [1 Cor 15:26, Heb 2:14], you may have a crown of life [Jas 1:12/Rev 2:10]; and through him you may be one another's crown and joy [Phil 4:1] in the Lord; yea, I say, through Christ, who was glorified with the Father before the world began [John 17:5].
I am just now upon leaving this island, where I have had very great and blessed service; though I underwent very great weights, and burthens, and sufferings, and travels: but all is well, and the blessed seed and power is over all; to whom be glory for evermore. Amen, amen.
G. F. Top