Friends,—When you are met together in the name of Jesus your saviour, let your minds be over all to him, and out of all things that change, and perish, and die of itself [Lev 22:18], and will corrupt, and are visible, up to him that is invisible, the Lord God, and his son Jesus Christ, that you may see him and feel him among you, and in your meetings, in his life, and light, and power, and spirit; and that you may know that God is, and that he is the rewarder of all them that diligently seek him [Heb 11:6]; and to know that God is present. And that which giveth the knowledge of him, is the light that shineth in the heart, in the face of Jesus Christ [2 Cor 4:6], and so see him in all your troubles and afflictions; and that God is present, beholding all your actions done in your bodies, and your consenting to your evil thoughts, lusts, or motions; the thoughts, what you will speak or act; or motions which you have not acted outwardly; but if you do consent to do them in your mind or heart, the Lord seeth them there to be done, though they be not done outwardly to the sight of men; and so to God you must give an account of things done in your bodies [2 Cor 5:10], and of things done out of the body [1 Cor 6:18?]; for God both heareth, and seeth what is done in the body, and what is said and done without the body; and therefore turn from the evil that leadeth to destruction, and judge it, and yourselves for cleaving to it; and turn to the Lord, and know him who is mighty to save [Isa 63:1], and to reward all them that diligently seek him, who is Almighty in his power to save and deliver, and to help in time of need [Heb 4:16]. So know him that was from everlasting to everlasting. And here thou knowest God in his power, light, and life, and righteousness, which his kingdom stands <36> in, in that righteousness, and power, and holy ghost, and peace Rom 14:17. 1 Cor 4:20], that never will have an end; and is over all kingdoms that will have an end, and are unclean; and any unclean and imperfect thing may enter into them; and in them are troubles, tumults, and sin, and not peace, but sorrow. But into the kingdom of God no imperfect thing entereth, nor sin, nor any unclean thing [Rev 21:27]. For the kingdom of God standeth in righteousness, and everlasting peace, and in joy in the holy ghost.
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Friends,—Consider, you that have known the mercies of the Lord God, and of Jesus Christ. Look back, and see how they that had known much of God, how soon they forgot him, as in the days of the old world, and in the days of Moses, and in the days of the Judges, how they soon forgot God, that had done great things for them, and forsook God, and his way, and religion, and worship, and followed such gods as men had made. And in the days of the prophets, how the people forsook the Lord God; and in the days of Christ and his apostles, how they were mostly gone astray from God; though they kept an outward profession of their words, yet denied Christ in his light, and life, and power; who was the end of the law and the prophets [Rom 10:4]. And they that did receive Christ Jesus, and believed in him, in a few ages after the apostles, how most of Christendom ran from the life into death, and ran from the light into darkness; and into error, from the holy spirit, and into Babylon, which is confusion [Gen 11:1-9]; and from the worship in the spirit, and in the truth [John 4:24], that Christ set up, and followed after the worship of the beast and the dragon [Rev 13:4]; and went from the true church after the whore; and from Christ, the way to God, after the ways that men had made; and from the religion that is pure from above [Jas 1:27/3:17], after the religions that men have made. And so, now the gospel is preached again, and the living way (Christ) to the living God, and his religion and his worship are set up and received of many, and they come to the true worship, which is in God. And all be faithful, and take heed of running back again, where you were before, lest you and your children perish, as others have done, that forsook the Lord God of mercies. And therefore train up your children in the fear of God [Prov 22:6/Psa 34:11], and in the way of Christ, and in his worship and religion, that they may observe and keep in it, when you are gone.
And walk in the spirit and truth, in which God is worshipped, and keep in the order of the gospel, in the power of God [Rom 1:16], which was before the devil was; which power of God will keep you pure to God, that nothing may get betwixt you and the Lord God. And be obedient to <37> the law, that God hath written in your hearts [Jer 31:33], and put in your minds, that you may be the children of the new covenant; and that you may be the royal priesthood [1 Pet 2:9], offering up to God the spiritual sacrifices [1 Pet 2:5]. And sitting under your teacher, the grace of God, which bringeth salvation [Tit 2:11], and seasoneth your words [Col 4:6], and establisheth your hearts [Heb 13:9]. And this grace saveth [Eph 2:8], and is sufficient [2 Cor 12:9], saith God Almighty. And you need no man to teach you, but as the same anointing doth teach you to know all things: which anointing abideth in you [1 Jn 2:27]. And hearken all what the righteousness of faith saith, speaking on this wise, ‘The word is nigh thee, even in thy heart and in thy mouth, to obey it and do it. That thou need not say, who shall ascend to bring Christ from above, or descend to bring Christ from the grave, &c. for that is the word of faith which we do preach.’
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Dear friends, to whom is my love in the blessed seed, which bruiseth the head of the serpent [Gen 3:15], and is over all, and changeth not, which is the first and last [Rev 1:11], in whom you have life and peace with the God of peace. So you few that are that ways, keep your meetings and meet together in the name of Jesus [Mat 18:20], whose name is above every name [Phil 2:9], and gathering is above every gathering; and there is no salvation in any other name, but by the name of Jesus [Acts 4:12]; and you gathering in his name, where salvation is, he is your prophet [Acts 3:22], your shepherd, your bishop [1 Pet 2:25], your priest, in the midst of you, to open to you, and to sanctify you, and to feed you with life, and to quicken you with life; wait in his power and light, that ye may be children of the light, by believing in the light [John 12:36], which is the life in Christ; that you may be grafted into him, the true root [Rom 11:17], and built upon him, the true foundation [1 Cor 3:11], who was the foundation of the holy prophets and apostles, and of all the holy martyrs, and is the foundation of all his holy people now; and is the rock of ages [Isa 26:4 KJV margin], yea, of the ages of the prophets, and of the ages of his apostles, and of the ages of his people now, and martyrs, who kept them above the raging of the seas, and doth now; which rock the wise men build upon [Mat 7:24f], the rock that stands against all the storms and tempestuous weather. And therefore be valiant for God's truth upon the earth [Jer 9:3], and his good spirit [Neh 9:20]; and live in it, by which you may profit in the things of God, through which ye may answer the witness of God [1 Jn 5:9] in all, and the spirit which they grieve and quench, which they are erred from, through which he may be served, and his truth spread abroad. So every one in your measures of the spirit of God and Christ, be faithful, that in it you may increase, and answer the Lord in a good life and conversation, for all his mercies. And as every one hath received the Lord Jesus Christ, so walk in him [Col 2:6], that you may serve the Lord in a new life, and worship <38> him in the spirit and truth, which the devil is out of; and by this truth you may be made free [John 8:32], by which ye may be espoused and married to Christ Jesus, for the marriage of the Lamb is come [Rev 9:7] and coming. And therefore, if you want wisdom, keep in the truth, that you may go to the treasure of life and of salvation, that you may be heirs of the same [Heb 1:14], and of life, and possessors of it. Yea, I say, heirs of life, and inherit that, and that will be more to you, than if all the world was your portion; and the riches you lay up there [Mat 6:20], will stand by, and be with you when time is gone, and shall be no more. For the truth is the truth, and changeth not, in which live, and it will be your peace and joy everlasting. And in the seed, Christ Jesus, (who bruises the serpent's head, who was before the devil was, glorified with the Father before the world began [John 17:5]; and was from everlasting to everlasting, the first and last, the top and corner-stone [Eph 2:20],) in him live, that you may inherit life everlasting; and dwell in the love of God in Christ Jesus, that will edify and build one another up; and therein walk in all holiness of life and conversation, for that becomes God's house [Psa 93:5]; and dwell, and live, and walk in the peaceable truth, that keeps you in peace, and in the holy fellowship of the spirit, the bond of peace [Eph 4:3]; by which spirit you may be led into all truth [John 16:13], up to God and Christ, from him who is out of the truth. Amen saith my soul.
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Dear friends every where, be faithful to God, who hath been faithful and true [Rev 3:14] to you; therefore be you true to God, and faithful witnesses to him, and to Christ Jesus; that now ye may all have riches and treasure laid up in store, against a time of want, storms and tempests, that you may stand; for if you do not stand now, you are as bad as such professors, who stood only when the sun shined, and crept out when it was fine and fair weather, but when a storm or tempest came, then they ran creeping into their holes and corners, and skulking into by corners and fled by back doors, who were ashamed of their religion, and what they professed; but when the sun did shine, then they showed their enmity to the righteous. And therefore by you of the faith of David, and of his spirit, who said, ‘I was young, and now am old. I never saw the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread [Psa 37:25];’ and the Lord, (to encourage his people,) saith, ‘In all their afflictions he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them [Isa 63:9];’ and Christ tells you, it is he that suffers and is persecuted, when his children are persecuted [Mat 25:40]. And so it is for the Lord's sake that the just suffer by the unjust [1 Pet 3:18]; and you read how such as suffered the spoiling of their goods [Heb 10:34], and scoffing and mocking, yet they were not to forsake the assembling themselves together [Heb 10:25], <39> as the manner of some was; for they that suffer with Christ shall reign with him [2 Tim 2:12]; for the Lord may try you, (who hath blessed you with outward things,) whether your minds do stand with him, or in the outward things.
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Dear friends, live in love, for that is of God [1 Jn 4:7], and doth edify the body of Christ [Eph 4:16]; and keep in the truth of God, which the devil is out of [John 8:44]; and walk in the same peaceable truth, and do righteously to all people, and walk in righteousness: and then you will walk in peace with God, and one with another: and walk in holiness, for that becomes the house of God [Psa 93:5], and in holiness you will see the holy God [Heb 12:14] among you. And so that you may keep the unity in the spirit, which is the bond of peace [Eph 4:3], and dwell in love one with another: for all eyes are upon you, and some watch for evil [Jer 44:27], but do you answer the good in all, in your words and lives. This is the counsel of the Lord God to you all, and that you may be the salt of the earth, and the light of the world, and as a city set on a hill that cannot be hid [Mat 5:13f]: so that all that do profess Christ and God, may show forth Christ and godliness in life and word.
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Friends,—Keep your women's meetings in the power of God, which the devil is out of; and take your possession of that which you are heirs of, and keep the gospel order. For man and woman were helps-meet [Gen 2:18] in the image of God [Gen 1:27], and in righteousness and holiness, in the dominion, before they fell; but after the fall in the transgression, the man was to rule over his wife [Gen 3:16]; but in the restoration by Christ, into the image of God, and his righteousness and holiness again, in that they are helps-meet, man and woman, as they were before the fall. Sarah obeyed Abraham, and called him lord [Gen 18:12]. Abraham did also obey the voice of his wife Sarah, in casting out the bond-woman and her son [Gen 21:10-12]. Dorcas, a woman, was a disciple. So there was a woman disciple as well as men disciples; and mind the women that accompanied her [Acts 9:36-41]. And women are to take up the cross daily, and follow Christ daily [Luke 9:23], as well as the men; and so to be taught of him their prophet, and fed of him their shepherd, and counselled of him their counsellor, and sanctified by him who offered up himself once for all. And there were elder women in the truth, as well as elder men in the truth; and these women are to be teachers of good things [Tit 2:3]; so they have an office as well as the men, for they have a stewardship, and must give an account of their stewardship to the Lord [Luke 16:2], as well as the men. Deborah was a judge [Judg 4:4]; Miriam [Exo 15:20f] <40> and Huldah [2 Ki 22:14] were prophetesses; old Anna was a prophetess [Luke 2:36], and a preacher of Christ, to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem [Luke 2:38]. Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, were the first preachers of Christ's resurrection to the disciples, and the disciples could not believe their message and testimony that they had from Jesus [Mat 28:1,5-8], as some now-a-days cannot; but they received the command, and being sent preached it. So is every woman and man to do, that sees him risen, and has the command and message; daughters shall prophesy as well as sons [Joel 2:28]. So they are to be obedient, that have the spirit poured upon them. Women are to prophesy; and prophecy is not to be quenched [1 Th 5:20]. They that have the testimony of Jesus, are commanded to keep it [Rev 12:17], whether men or women. Priscilla and Aquilla were both exhorters and expounders, or instructers to Apollos [Acts 18:24-28]. So in the church there were women instructers, and prophetesses, and daughters prophetesses in the church; for Philip had four daughters, virgins, that were prophetesses [Acts 21:8f]; and there were women disciples in the church, and women elders in the church, as well as men. So women are to keep in the government of Christ, and to be obeyers of Christ; and women are to keep the comely order of the gospel, as well as men, and to see that all that have received Christ Jesus, that they walk in Christ Jesus [Col 2:6]; and to see that all that have received the gospel, do walk in the gospel, the power of God [Rom 1:16], which they are heirs of; for this is a day for all to keep their possession in the gospel order, who are heirs with Christ [Rom 8:17], of the increase of whose government there is no end [Isa 9:7]. So the foundation of our women's meetings is Christ, to all them that be heirs of him, and of his government. And the ground of our order of the women's meetings is the gospel, the power of God, which was before the devil was; and all that be heirs of the gospel, which hath brought life and immortality to light [2 Tim 1:10] in them, which shines over him that hath darkened them, and was before he was: I say, they are heirs of the comely order of the gospel; and therefore, I say, take your possessions of it, and walk as becomes the gospel [Phil 1:27]; and keep the comely order of it, and in it keep your meetings. And here is the ground and foundation of our women's meetings. Now mothers of families, that have the ordering of children, maids, and servants, may do a great deal of good in their families, to the making or spoiling of their children, maids, and servants; and many things women may do, and speak of amongst women, which are not men's business. So, as I said before, that you, both men and women, be helps-meet in the image of God, in the righteousness and holiness in the restoration, as man and woman were in the image of God before they fell; and not only so, but in Christ the foundation, and in his gospel that never fell, nor never will fall, whose foundation stands sure [2 Tim 2:19], for all his members and heirs to build upon. And so see that nothing be lacking amongst you [1 Th 4:12], then all will be well. <41>
Postscript.—And the elder women in the truth were not only called elders, but mothers. Now a mother in the church of Christ, and a mother in Israel [Judg 5:7], is one that gives suck, and nourishes, and feeds, and washes, and rules, and is a teacher, in the church, and in the Israel of God, and an admonisher, an instructer, an exhorter. So all that are come to that office, growth, and stature, be diligent; for a mother in Israel, or in the church of Christ, is beyond all the mothers in Egypt, and in Sodom, and the mother of harlots, mystery Babylon [Rev 17:5], who had power over tongues, nations, and people [Rev 13:7], with the cup of her fornication [Rev 17:4]. But the mothers in spiritual Israel, and church of Christ, has the cup of salvation [Psa 116:13], and the breasts of consolation [Isa 66:11], which are full of the milk of the word [1 Pet 2:2], to suckle all the young ones, and to nourish, and instruct, admonish, and exhort, and rebuke all the contrary; and to refresh and cherish every tender one. So the elder women and mothers are to be teachers of good things [Tit 2:3], and to be teachers of the younger, and trainers up of them in virtue, in holiness, and godliness, and righteousness, in wisdom, and in the fear of the Lord, in the church of Christ.
And if the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife [1 Cor 7:14], then who is the speaker, and who is the hearer? Surely such a woman is permitted to speak [1 Cor 14:34], and to work the works of God, and to make a member in the church; and then as an elder, to oversee that they walk according to the order of the gospel.
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Dear friends,—Be faithful in the power of the Lord God, in what you know, and then the Lord will preserve you; that you may answer the witness of God [1 Jn 5:9] in every man, whether they are the heathen, that do not profess Christ, or whether they are such as do profess Christ, that have the form of godliness, and are out of the power [2 Tim 3:5]. And keep your meetings, you that know the power of the Lord, and feel it, that in it you may have unity with God, and one with another. The Lord God hath a seed in those parts, who shall be heirs of his grace that brings salvation, which grace is it that teacheth [Tit 2:11f], in which grace they sing praises to the Lord. So, now you who are come to the dawning of the day, and to the ending of the night of the apostacy; happy and blessed are you, who are come to see these things, to see the hidden mysteries of God revealed, and his glorious riches to the Gentiles [Col 1:26f], through the power of an endless life [Heb 7:16]. And you that are and have been faithful, spread the truth abroad, ye that know it; and feel that which makes free [John 8:32]; let not principalities and powers separate you from the love of God, which you have in Christ Jesus [Rom 8:38f], who hath all power in heaven <42> and earth given unto him [Mat 28:18], mind his reign, his teaching, his kingdom, which hath no end [Luke 1:33]; for God hath some to be brought out from amongst those heathens, if you be faithful among them, answering the witness of God in them; for as the Lord saith, ‘I will give him for a covenant to the Gentiles [Isa 42:6];’ and those are called heathens. Therefore keep your meetings, and dwell in the power of truth, and know it in one another, and be one in the light, that you may be kept in peace and love in the power of God, that you may know the mystery of the gospel [Eph 6:19]: and all that ever you do, do in love; do nothing in strife [Phil 2:3], but in love, that edifies the body of Christ [Eph 4:16], which is the church [Col 1:18]. So as any are moved to go amongst the heathen, in the power and love of God, to preach the gospel, (which is the love of God to them,) bring them to the power of God; to that God, which is the God of the stones, which they make idols of, and the God of the trees, earth, brass, silver, iron, and gold [Dan 5:23], which they make gods of; and that he is the living God; for those are dead gods that are made with men's hands. . . . He is the living God, that made the heaven and the earth [Gen 1:1], and the clouds, and causes the springs to break out of the rocks, and divided the great sea from the earth, and divided the light from the darkness, by which it is called day, and the darkness night [Gen 1:4f], and divided the great waters from the earth, and gathered them together: which great waters he called sea, and the dry land earth [Gen 1:9f]: he is to be worshipped that doth this. He is the living God, . . . who hath promised he will give Christ Jesus for <43> a covenant of light and peace to you, who are called Gentiles [Isa 42:6] and heathens. And now is the day approaching to you, (this covenant of light,) by which you shall come to have peace with the Lord God, the king of the whole earth. This is the King of kings, and Lord of lords [Rev 19:16], in whose hand is the breath of all mankind [Job 12:10]: this is the God of the spirits of all flesh [Num 16:22], who hath made all nations of mankind of one blood, to dwell upon the face of the earth [Acts 17:26]. And God having divided the sons and daughters of Adam, and scattered them up and down the face of the earth [Gen 11:8f], being in the transgression and sin, led away with the god of the world [2 Cor 4:4], the wicked one, the devil, that abode not in the truth [John 8:44], who causes people to destroy one another, and murder one another about earthly things: this is the prince of darkness, that rules in all the hearts of the children of disobedience [Eph 2:2]; disobedient to that which is righteous in them, which discovers the unrighteous actions and words from the righteous. And Christ, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven [1 Cor 15:47], saves men from sin; who is the prince of peace [Isa 9:6], and of life [Acts 3:15], and the covenant of God, who brings men to have peace with God [Rom 5:1], and one with another [Mark 9:50], who destroys the devil [Heb 2:14], the author of strife: this is Christ the second Adam, which brings the sons and daughters of Adam into reconciliation with God again, and destroys sin, and finishes it, and makes reconciliation for sin and iniquity [Dan 9:24].
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Dear friends, to whom is my love in the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom were all things made [John 1:3], and by whom all things do consist, and who filleth all things [Eph 4:10], and doth uphold all by his word and power [Heb 1:3]; who is the first and last [Rev 1:11], the holy head of his holy church [Col 1:18], and the door into the holy way, for his holy people to walk in, and the setter up of a holy worship in the holy spirit and truth, to worship the holy God in; and the setter up of a holy religion, to keep from the spots of the world [Jas 1:27]; which religion is pure in his sight. And this never came out of the brain-beaten stuff of man, nor of his chamber of imagery [Ezek 8:12]; but for his people to walk in, that they might sing forth his praises in righteousness.
And therefore, all Friends, in your men and women's meetings, be faithful, and see how you do grow in the truth and power of godliness, and are circumcised; and witness your renewings into the heavenly image of him that created you [Col 3:10]; and that you all may be fruitful in the knowledge and grace [Col 1:10?] of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the orderer of all things [Wis 8:1]; and wear his livery and fine linen [Rev 19:14], the righteousness of Christ; and hold forth his ensign and his standard, and all to be filled with his grace, and love, and peaceable truth, and be over all outward earthly things; so that none be carnally but spiritually minded [Rom 8:6]; and <44> walk as becomes the glorious order of the gospel [Phil 1:27], having the water of life in your cisterns, and the bread of life in your tabernacles, and fruits on your trees, to the praise of God. Amen.
And all your family meetings do not neglect, among your whites and negroes, but do your diligence and duty to God and them; which you will not neglect, if you keep in the faith of Abraham [Rom 4:16], and of the blessed seed which inheriteth the crown. And be at peace among yourselves, that each one show that you are in Christ the prince of peace [Isa 9:6]; and that doth show that you are the disciples of Christ, and learners and followers of him. So possess him who is life eternal. Amen. . . .
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Read this in your men and women's meeting.
Maryland, the 24 th of the 12 th month, 1672.
Friends, the truth is above all, and will stand over all [1 Esd 4:35-41] them that hate it, who labour in vain against it, and will bring their old house on their own heads [Psa 127:1?], to their great trouble; and in the winter, and cold weather, when that their house is down, and their religion is frozen, and their rivers are dried up, and their husks are gone, and the swine begin to cry about the plantations, and the vermin run up and down amongst their old rubbish, and their sparks and candles are gone out [Job 18:5f], and hail and storms lighteth upon the head of the wicked [Jer 23:19], then wo will be to Gog and Magog [Rev 20:8], and to all the wicked [Isa 3:11], who have no covering [Job 26:6?]. In Christ you have peace, in the world you have trouble [John 16:33]. No peace with God can be enjoyed, but in the covenant of light; without it trouble. Amen.
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Friends, at the first convincement there is not so much danger, for the spirit of God keeps in the fear of the Lord, and under judgment; then after getting acquaintance or knowledge, and a familiarity, and a liberty, <45> but not in the holy spirit, there is greater danger; and therefore your knowledge and familiarity must be in the invisible spirit; for the flesh fadeth and withereth, as the grass [Isa 40:6f]. So that knowledge and familiarity is as grass that withers; but the word of the Lord endureth for ever [Isa 40:8]. And the right knowledge of one another is this: to know one another in that word which was in the beginning [John 1:1], before man fell; ‘for man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God [Deut 8:3].’ This is the fresh and heavenly food from above, and above all the husks that the swineherd feedeth his swine with, in the unrepented state [Luke 15:16].
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Friends,—All keep your meetings in the power of the Lord God, that hath gathered you; and none to quench the spirit, nor despise prophesying [1 Th 5:19f]; and so keep up your testimony in public and private. Let not the mouths of babes and sucklings [Psa 8:2] be stopped, nor the seed in males or females; but all be valiant for the truth upon the earth [Jer 9:3]. . . .
And so that none may stand out of the vineyard idle [Mat 20:3,6], and out of service, and out of their duty; for such will talk and tattle, and judge with evil thoughts of what they in the vineyard say and do. . . . <46> . . .
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Dear friends,—Keep in the power of the Lord; for if you lose that, you lose the kingdom which stands in power [1 Cor 4:20], and peace, and righteousness, and joy in the holy ghost [Rom 14:17]; for out of the kingdom is strife, and no peace; and therefore keep in the power, and life, and love, which you did first receive; that you all may be heirs of the kingdom [Jas 2:5], and sit under your teacher the grace of God, which will bring your salvation [Tit 2:11f], that you may witness that you have a teacher from God [John 3:2], that doth bring your salvation; which salvation is your walls and bulwarks [Isa 26:1], that he may be glorified, and ye may have your comfort in your salvation. . . . For the foundation of our men's and women's meetings is Christ Jesus, who bruiseth the serpent's head [Gen 3:15], who is the head of all false orders and foundations, and the gospel, which is the power of God [Rom 16:1], which bringeth life and immortality to light [2 Tim 1:10], shines over him that did darken you; which power of God he is out of. And therefore all in the power and spirit, encourage both men and women in their duty, in the order of the gospel of Christ, in whom you have dominion, and in him who changeth not. My love is to you all.
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[CCXCVIII. (298)] <47>
[CCXCIX. (299) — To Friends at Jamaica.]
Dear friends,—Let your faith stand in the power of God [1 Cor 2:5], for that is your keeper unto the day of salvation [1 Pet 1:5/2 Cor 6:2] ; so every one that hath not yet obtained it, come to that day, for the kingdom stands in power, and not in words [1 Cor 4:20]. Therefore, as I said before, let your faith stand in the power of God, in which the kingdom stands, the kingdom of peace and joy, which stands in righteousness, and holiness, and in the holy ghost [Rom 14:17]; where no unclean thing enters, neither can it [Rev 21:27]. For the power of the Lord God keeps you fresh, keeps you open, and keeps you alive, and keeps you in a sense of the things of his kingdom, the treasures, the pearls, and riches, and jewels thereof; and this power will keep you all in peace, and in unity, and quietness, and condescension [Rom 12:16], and love, and kindness one to another; and in the power of the Lord, and in his spirit, you will be enabled to give the Lord his glory, and continual praise, and continual thanks [Heb 13:15], which is due unto him from you all; it will ascend to him who is worthy of all, blessed for evermore. And so none quench the spirit [1 Th 5:19], nor the motions of it in you, lest Isaac's well be stopped up by the uncircumcised Philistine [Gen 26:15,18], that must go down into the pit, who hath lived aloft; for as Christ comes to take the peace from the earth [Rev 6:4], which men are in, as all sects and ways, that have peace in their ways, religions, and worships, and traditions of their forefathers; as in the days of his flesh, when he came amongst the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Scribes, and other sects among them; and likewise all others, that now have a peace in the earth, and that are settled in it, they must know that peace taken away before they are redeemed out of the earth; and so as he taketh away that peace, such as come to learn of him [Mat 11:29], and to be <49> his disciples and followers, his peace he gives unto them [Johm 14:27]; who is the King of peace [Heb 7:2], the Prince of peace [Isa 9:6], and of life [Acts 3:15]; and which is such a peace that the world cannot take away from them. And this you and all Friends every where, have sufficiently known, who have been and are the learners of Christ Jesus [Mat 11:29], both men and women, that in all your persecutions, mockings, imprisonings, spoiling of goods, they could never take your peace away, which you had from this Prince of peace. Is not this true, and the scripture fulfilled in you? Therefore let him have the praises and the glory out of all your hearts; and keep this peace, in the unity of the spirit, the bond of peace [Eph 4:3]; you are bound to keep it with the spirit, this Prince of princes' peace [Dan 8:25]; you are all bound to keep it by the law of life, the law of the spirit [Rom 8:2?]; for Christ is the same now, to-day as yesterday, and so for ever [Heb 13:8]; the same as in the apostles' days, who said, ‘Think you that I came to send peace on earth? I tell you nay; but rather debate. For the father shall be against the son, and the son against the father. And the mother against her daughter, and the daughter against her mother. And the daughter in law against her mother in law,’ &c. Luke xii. 53 [Luke 12:51,53]. ‘And he that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me,’ said Christ Jesus. ‘Or he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and follows not me, is not worthy of me. He that will save his life, shall lose it; and he that is willing to lose his life for my sake, shall save it [Mat 10:37-39].’ And, speaking to his disciples, said, ‘He that receiveth you, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me [Mat 10:40].’ Matt. x. . . . And this must be fulfilled, and interprets itself in the fulfilling; for he brings a sword and war, and not peace [Mat 10:34] to that nature they lived in, and had in old Adam, before they received the Prince of peace, and the sword of the spirit from him to war against the other peace which they had; and so the peace of all religions must be broken, before they come to the true religion from above [James 1:27/3:17]; and the peace of all worships must be broken, before they come to the worship in the spirit and truth [John 4:24] the devil is out of [John 8:44]; and the peace of all ways must be broken, that men and people are in, before they come into the way of <50> Christ Jesus; and the peace of all churches must be broken, before they come to the church which is in God [1,2 Th 1:1]; and the peace of all fellowships must be broken, before they come into the fellowship of the spirit [Phil 2:1], and unity therein, which is the bond of peace [Eph 4:3]; and the peace of all earthly teachers must be broken, who are made of men by natural tongues, before they come to the heavenly teacher, and the tongue of the learned [Isa 50:4] indeed; and the peace of all earthly bishops and shepherds must be broken before they come unto Christ, the bishop of the soul [1 Pet 2:25], and heavenly overseer, and heavenly shepherd, who feeds with his heavenly food; and so the heavenly priest, made higher than the heavens, who is holy, harmless, separate from sinners [Heb 7:26], breaks the peace of the earthly priests, and of all them that are made lower than the heavens, (mischieful,) that are not separate from sinners, nor from sin, but hold up sinners, and prop them up, and plead for sin term of life; this Prince of peace, made higher than the heavens, breaks all their peace, as he did above sixteen hundred years since, for he is the same now as then, and his power and spirit will make them rage still, and they that confess him before men [Mat 10:32], they will rage at them still. And therefore, as I said, keep in Christ's power, in which the kingdom stands, and not in words, that you may see the fulfilling of the scriptures; and stand still in the power, which will keep you all to the day of salvation, that are not come to it. And so the Lord preserve you in his fear, and give you wisdom from above [Jas 3:17], that you may be preserved in the unity of the spirit, which (as I said before) is the bond of peace, which is your duty to keep the peace of the Prince of princes.
And all you that have received the power of Christ in your hearts, have you not seen what wars, and what rumours, and nation against nation [Mat 24:23f], as it was in the two births in the womb, that came forth [Gen 25:23], two nations, two births, nation against nation; and much may be seen, what wars outwardly there have been, and bringings down, before the appearance and receiving the Lord; and so here he being received, here is people against people, and nation against nation, and earthquakes [Mat 24:24], and shakings within and without. They that receive the Lord's power must feel this, and know this, and see the fulfilling of it, and not look out, for his kingdom without, like a company of Pharisees, lo here, lo there [Mat 24:23], but as Christ, the power of God, is known within, (as Christ said the kingdom of heaven is within [Luke 17:21],) and as they come to feel it there, they shall know the shakings and earthquakes, and wars, and rumours, and that part that pertains to nations, that must be shaken [Heb 12:27] before they come to be of the holy nation [1 Pet 2:9], which is against the other; and this is to be known, and seen, felt, and fulfilled with the power of Christ Jesus, and by his spirit; as they that live in it may take a prospect of these wonderful things and workings of the Lord God and his power in this age. Therefore <51> be still in the power of God, which is your keeper [1 Pet 1:5], as I said before; for it is your keeper in the night, before you come to the day, and it keeps you to the day of salvation [2 Cor 6:2]; for the virgins lamps did burn in the night, and it was their light, and they that were wise, that got oil in their lamps, entered; for the voice of the bridegroom was at midnight, and bid them arise [Mat 25:1-10]. And so as outward midnight is a great while off the day star's arising [2 Pet 1:19]; yet here is a lamp burning. Therefore every one see that you get oil in your lamps, that you may not go forth, that you may arise at the hearing of the heavenly voice of the bridegroom, and enter with him; though satan's messengers [2 Cor 12:7] have told you, there is no hearing his voice now-a-days. Sad messengers they are, and have been, they see who have received the true message of the Messiah in his power, through which they see over them, and see their own foundation, Christ Jesus, who was the foundation of the prophets and apostles [Eph 2:20].
Let this be read in your men's and women's meetings, and copies kept in their books.
Worcester Prison, the 2d of the 7th month, 1673.