All Friends that are in the power of God, and in his spirit; through this spirit you pray unto God, and ask in the name of Christ Jesus [John 14:13f], (which all true prayers are to be in,) and the true singing and rejoicing are to be in the spirit, and the true preaching and ministry are to be in the spirit [1 Cor 14:15]; for the saints were made able ministers of the spirit, and not of the letter [2 Cor 3:6].
Now when a minister, in the spirit of the living God [2 Cor 3:3], does minister spiritual and heavenly things, they that receive them, receive them with joy in the assembly; now he that is a minister of the spirit, and ministers spiritual things, if they that receive them, receive them in sincerity, with joy and gladness, and rejoice in the receiving of them, whilst the other is ministering them, he that is a minister of the spirit, does not judge such; but rejoices in them that do receive them, and praises God for the same.
And so likewise they that do sing in the spirit do reach to the spirit in others, whereby they have a sense that it proceedeth from the spirit; for at the hearing of the speech of the true minister, there is joy to all that seek and thirst after righteousness [Mat 5:6]; for the preaching the gospel <65> is the glad-tidings [Rom 10:15], the joyful news, and is a comfort both to soul, body, and spirit, to all that receive it in integrity and sincerity, and they cannot but rejoice at the sound of the power, where it is received; and they that preach in this cannot judge such as rejoice in the spirit and power, and in their souls praise God when they hear the sound of it.
Oh! the everlasting gospel [Rev 14:6], the everlasting power of God, which is liberty, where this is heard (the sound of it,) which is the liberty to the spirit, to the soul, to the creature; if a creature should praise God in his soul, in his spirit, in the very hearing of the sound of this glorious gospel [2 Cor 4:4, 1 Tim 1:11], or make a joyful melody [Isa 51:3?]; the minister of the spirit, who preaches the glorious gospel, cannot judge such for that, and say it is a confused noise [Isa 9:5]; for that is the minister of the letter that so judges, who may gather up parcels of the letter, and make a song of that, or preachment of that, to which the gospel ministry of the spirit is the savour of death unto death, and of life unto life [2 Cor 2:16].
And concerning praying in the spirit; which ‘spirit makes intercession to God, with sighs and groans that cannot be uttered [Rom 8:26].’ Now where this spirit is prayed in, (which all true prayer is to be in,) it makes intercession through the veils [Heb 10:20-22?], through the clouds and thick darkness [Deut 4:11?], by the invisible power, to the invisible God [Col 1:15]; and this prayer being made in an assembly to the throne of grace [Heb 4:16], there the assembly (in their spirits) join in this spirit, and do make intercession, and do enter through the veils [Heb 10:20-22?], clouds, and thick darkness [Deut 4:11f] to the throne of grace. And if some of these should praise God in a joyful sound [Psa 89:15] with their souls and spirits, can he that prays in the spirit, and makes intercession therein, judge them that groan in the spirit, and feel the intercession to the throne of grace? No, he cannot; for he feels a unity in the spirit; and in case that some do groan and sigh, when another is praying in the spirit, that makes the intercession easy in the invisible spirit, to the invisible God, and throne of his grace; which the spirit of God operating in the assembly, makes some to sigh and groan, being sensible of their wants; and the power has awakened such; therefore can any judge such that pray in the power and spirit, that has awakened them? Nay, but hears them, and is glad where it stirs; and so having the mind of the Lord [1 Cor 2:16], and makes intercession to him by his spirit, who hears the sighs of the needy [Psa 12:5], and groans of the oppressed [Judg 2:18], he cannot judge such. And therefore they that do judge such sighers, prayers, and such who make a joyful melody, (from the word dwelling in their hearts [Isa 53:1/Eph 5:19/Deut 30:14],) they who judge such, are not in the spirit that makes intercession; and that which is contrary is to be reproved and admonished in private, by them that are in the spirit of God, lest they pluck up the wheat and tares together [Mat 13:29], and make a confusion in the church; <66> for God is not the author of confusion, but of peace [1 Cor 14:33] and good order. But that spirit which is high and lofty, and can form a praise by words, and pray in his own spirit, will judge such sighing, groaning, praising, and singing, as before; but that exalted spirit is to be cut down with the sword of the spirit [Eph 6:17]. For if any should sigh, or groan, or rejoice, or make a joyful sound, when another is praying in the spirit of God, and ministering in the spirit, spiritual things; this the spirit of error [1 Jn 4:6] cannot bear, but swells, and breaks out into confusion and disorder, which, (as I said before,) is to be cut down with the sword of the spirit; for he denies the effect of true prayer, and the spirit of prayer, which makes intercession, who hath, or would have, no feeling of the effects of true prayer; but that which is formal, and in the imitation, that makes many to groan and sigh, who are burdened with that spirit; yea, many tender ones. And therefore all are to keep low before the Lord, in the humility, in the spirit and power; out of the imagination, imitation, and self-exaltation. And so keep in the unity of the spirit, which is the bond of peace [Eph 4:3]; yea , the bond of the Prince of princes' peace [Dan 8:25]. Here the gospel of peace [Eph 6:15] is known, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding [Phil 4:7]; which is the King of kings, and Lord of lords [Rev 19:16], and Prince of princes' peace, who saith, ‘In me you have peace [John 16:33];’ and all are bound by the spirit of God to keep his peace; and all his believers, and faithful ones, and true christians, are bound to keep it amongst themselves, and in all their assemblies (his church) which he is the head of.
G. F. Top
Worcester Jail, the 14th of the 9th month, 1674.
Friends, All that are sensible of the power of God, and have received it, which is immortal and everlasting, live in it, and grow up in it; for the power of God is over the power of the devil; which power of God is the gospel [Rom 1:16], and it is called the cross of Christ [1 Cor 1:17f]. And therefore all ye men and women, that have received the gospel, the power of God, and come to be heirs of it, take your possessions of the same; and in it keep your men and women's meetings, in your possession of the gospel, the power of God. Herein is the holy, heavenly, and powerful order, which is everlasting, and will have no end; and this order of the gospel, which is the power of God, is over all the orders in the world, and before they were, whether Jews, Gentiles, or apostate Christians. For the apostle saith, in Gal. i. 11, 12. ‘Now I certify you brethren, (to wit, the church,) that the gospel which was preached of me, was not after man; for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus [Gal 1:11f].’ So I can declare to you all, in the presence of the Lord, that the gospel, which is the power of God, I neither received of man, <67> neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. And all you that have received the same power, (to wit, the gospel,) and are possessors of it, can testify, that the gospel, the power of God, is neither by man, nor of man; though some men and women, in their carnal wisdom, may oppose it; but as Peter saith, 1 Pet. i. 11, 12. ‘the gospel by the holy ghost, sent down from heaven [1 Pet 1:12],’ was it which was preached to the churches then, and so it is now.
And therefore, all you that have received it, this heavenly and everlasting power of God, the heavenly dignity, keep in your possessions of it, being heirs of it, and in the holy order of it, and walk, as becomes the gospel [Phil 1:27], and let your conversation be according to it, as the saints, and the churches were in the primitive times; for Christ that redeemed his people out of their vain conversation [1 Pet 1:18], and purchased them with his blood [1 Pet 1:19/Acts 20:28], and is become the head of the church [Col 1:18], the heavenly and spiritual man [1 Cor 15:47], has given them a heavenly and spiritual possession and order to walk in, and to keep in, which is the heavenly, and eternal, and everlasting unity and fellowship; to wit, in the everlasting gospel [Rev 14:6], the power of God, which I am not ashamed of, of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believes [Rom 1:16]. Rom. i. 16.
And the cross of Christ is the everlasting power of God [1 Cor 1:18]: so no longer do you keep in fellowship, but as you keep in the cross of Christ; for the enemy to the cross of Christ [Phil 3:18] is the mind that runs into outward and earthly things, and sets up another god, to wit, their belly; and another glory, to wit, their shame [Phil 3:19]; and therefore it is called the mystery of the fellowship [Eph 3:9] of the cross of Christ, which is the power of God. So this fellowship is not of man, nor by man; for it is in the everlasting power of God.
And therefore, forsake not the fellowship, and the assembling of yourselves together in it, as the manner of some is, and was; but exhort one another, and so much the more, because ye see that the day draweth nigh [Heb 10:25] more and more unto you; for if there be a sinning wilfully, after that ye have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sin [Heb 10:26], but a fearful looking for judgment, and for indignation, which shall devour the adversaries [Heb 10:27].
And therefore, keep in the new and living way [Heb 10:20], which is prepared for all the true believers, as you may see in Heb. x. 20. And ‘exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day;’ mark, while it is called to-day; for thou mayst lose the harvest day, and be hardened before to-morrow; and ‘lest any of you be hardened, through the deceitfulness of sin [Heb 3:13];’ and this was the practice of the church, that was in the light, power, and spirit of God, as in Heb. iii. And in Titus, see how the apostle admonishes him, who was in the power of God, to exhort and rebuke, with all authority [Tit 2:15]; and so forth, after he had showed him how <68> the grace of God, which bringeth salvation, appeareth to all men [Tit 2:11], which taught the saints how to live, &c. and they that went from it were to be rebuked, and others exhorted to it. Tit. ii. 11.
And also he instructs Timothy, who was in the power of God, to exhort the church [1 Tim 4:13, 2 Tim 4:2]; and likewise that the scriptures, which were given forth by the inspiration of God, were profitable for doctrine, to reprove instruct, and correct in righteousness [2 Tim 3:16], that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works [2 Tim 3:17]; mark, the man of God, not the man of the world, that denies perfection; and they that have the spirit of God, that gave forth the scriptures, do the same. 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. And they that were to exhort, were to be an example in word and conversation, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in pureness [1 Tim 4:12]; such were to give attendance to exhortation, and to doctrine [1 Tim 4:13], and still are, as you may see in 1 Tim. xii. 12. And Peter saith to the church in the primitive times, which ought to be the practice of the church of Christ now, ‘As every man hath received the gift, even so let him minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God [1 Pet 4:10]. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracle of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth;’ mark, God giveth, and not man, or as God hath ministered to him, ‘that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen [1 Pet 4:11].’ 1 Pet. iv. And the apostle saith ‘To every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ [Eph 4:7]; for there is one God and Father of all, which is above all, and through all, and in you all [Eph 4:6].’ So every one, now as then, is to mind him that is in them all, who is above all, and his gift, and the measure of grace, the gift of Christ; for it will teach them [Tit 2:12], and bring their salvation [Tit 2:11]; and through the measure of the gift of grace they grow up to a perfect man, and to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ [Eph 4:13], as may be seen Eph. iv.
And as God hath dealt to every man a measure of faith [Rom 12:3], in the faith they should walk, which gives them victory [1 Jn 5:4] and access to God [Rom 5:2], which purifies their hearts [Acts 15:9]; with which they please God [Heb 11:6]. And the apostle said to the church then, which is to be the practice of the true church now, that according to the grace that was given, ‘whether we prophesy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith [Rom 12:6];’ or any office, let us wait on the office; ‘or, he that teacheth, on teaching; and he that ministereth, on ministering [Rom 12:7]; or, he that exhorteth, on exhortation; and he that distributeth, let him do it with simplicity,’ &c. And ‘he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness [Rom 12:8];’ as you may see, Rom. xii. So all this is to be done, in the faith, and according to the measure of the grace given to every one [Eph 4:7]; so that all may be done in the faith according to the measure of grace given to every one, so that all may be done <69> in the faith from one spirit, which the manifestation of is given to every one to profit withal [1 Cor 12:7]; by which spirit they are all baptized into one body [1 Cor 12:13], which Christ the heavenly spiritual man [1 Cor 15:47] is the head of [Col 1:18]. So all members, from the eye to the foot, are serviceable in the body, in the grace of God, who are joined together by the spirit of God, and to Christ their head, from whom they receive nourishment; for the spirit of God does distribute to every one severally, as he will [1 Cor 12:11], and so are all made to drink, (mark to drink,) into one spirit [1 Cor 12:13]; in which they have all fellowship in the heavenly drinking of the spiritual drink, and eating of the spiritual bread that comes down from heaven [John 6:35-53]. Therefore every man and woman's eye must be lifted up to heaven, and minds, and thirsts, and desires, and hearts, and the soul that hungers, and the needy that sighs [Psa 12:5], and the poor that groans, for this bread that comes down from heaven; and the spiritual drink, and so they may have the spiritual bread in their own houses, and heavenly water in their own cisterns [Prov 5:15], with which they have to refresh themselves and others. So here may all eat and drink to the praise and the glory of God, for all drink into one spirit. And as they eat of the bread that comes down from heaven, then they can say the scripture is fulfilled; ‘All eyes are lifted up unto thee, thou opens with thy hand [Psa 145:15f];’ to wit, thy power; ‘and thou fillest with thy blessings [Deut 33:23?];’ and then with their souls, hearts, and spirits, minds, and lips, they will show forth his praise, in praising God, the Creator, who is in all, over all, through all, and above all.
And therefore, in the power and name of Jesus, in whose name you were gathered [Mat 18:20], keep you meetings, your men's and women's meetings, that in the power you may be kept in the holy unity, and holy order, in diligence, in the church of God, and in his business, and affairs, admonishing, exhorting, rebuking such as talk, and do not walk accordingly: such as profess, and do not possess [Tit 1:16?]: and such as are the sayers, and are not the doers [Jas 1:22]. So that every one's life and conversation may be as becomes the gospel [Phil 1:27] of our Lord Jesus Christ, the heavenly man, and keep in the unity of the spirit, which is the bond of the Prince of princes' peace [Eph 4:3/Dan 8:25]: which, if you break, you forfeit your riches in your estate and inheritance of life.
And some men may say, man must have the power and superiority over the woman, because God says, ‘The man must rule over his wife [Gen 3:16]; and that man is not of the woman, but the woman is of the man [1 Cor 11:8].’ Indeed, after man fell, that command was; but before man fell there was no such command; for they were both meet-helps [Gen 2:18,20], and they were both to have dominion over all that God made [Gen 1:26,28]. And as the apostle saith, ‘for as the woman is of the man,’ his next words are, ‘so is the man also by the woman; but all things are of God [1 Cor 11:12].’ And so the apostle clears his own words; and so as man and woman are restored again, by <70> Christ up into the image of God [Col 3:10], they both have dominion again in the righteousness and holiness [Eph 4:24], and are helps-meet, as before they fell. So then the man is not without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord [1 Cor 11:11]. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear [Mat 11:15, Rev 2:7]. But there are some dark spirits that say, that for women to meet together to worship God, apart from the men, is monstrous and ridiculous. But this dark spirit has not defined what worship is; for if a company of women should meet together, and some of these women should kneel down, and lift up their hands and eyes to God, and pray to God, or praise God, as John would have fallen down to the angel [Rev 22:8], this is worship. . . . For you may see in the scripture what worship was, and what worship is; such as were not to worship idols, they were not to lift up their hands nor eyes to them [Ezek 18:6], nor to fall down to them, but to worship God, and to bow down to him, and to lift up their hands and eyes to him; for all men and women must lift up their eyes, hands, hearts, and spirits to the Lord, and to bow to him, and worship him; and ought in all their meetings, that gather in the name of Jesus, to wait upon the Lord for wisdom, counsel, and understanding, that by it they may be ordered and directed in his holy service and business, in his holy church, which Christ is the holy head of, as they are directed and ordered by the Lord's power and wisdom, to praise, and magnify, and glorify him, with thanksgiving, both in your men's and women's meetings, and all other meetings, in the name of Jesus Christ, for he is in the midst of them [Mat 18:20], their prophet, priest, teacher, shepherd, bishop, and counsellor, opening with his heavenly power, feeding with his heavenly food, counselling with his heavenly counsel, sanctifying them [Eph 5:26], to present them to the holy God without spot [Eph 5:27], overseeing them with his holy power and spirit; that God may have the praise and the glory through Jesus Christ, in all, and through all [Eph 4:6], who is blessed for ever.
So Friends are not to meet like a company of people about town or parish business, neither in their men's nor women's meetings, but to wait upon the Lord; and feeling his power and spirit to lead them, and order them to his glory; that so whatsoever they may do, they may do it to the praise and glory of God [1 Cor 10:31], and in unity in the faith [Eph 4:13], and in the spirit [Eph 4:3], and in fellowship in the order of the gospel; and the devil and his instruments cannot get into this gospel, which is the power of <71> God; and that makes him rage; and he would not have the woman to have a share in it, (who first deceived the woman [Gen 3:1-6], and now would again,) nor the men neither. Nor he cannot get into the worship of God, which is in spirit and truth [John 4:24], which the devil is out of [John 8:44]; and therefore keep your possessions in the power of God, and your habitations there within, and in Christ Jesus, who bruises the head of the serpent [Gen 3:15], who is the head of all false orders, and disorders, and has made the world like a wilderness [Isa 14:17], and he in his instruments is against the order of the gospel, and the power of God, that men and women should be in the possession of, and the dignity thereof. And this many spoke evil of in the apostles' days, and so they do now; but the power stands, and the order of it over his head, and his instruments; and Christ is the same to-day as yesterday, and so for ever [Heb 13:8]; and of the increase of his government there is no end [Isa 9:7]. So all that be heirs of Christ, and of his power and righteousness are heirs of his government; and they see there is no end of the increase of it. . . .
So as I was first moved of the Lord God, to go up and down the nation to preach the gospel, then after the Lord moved me to go up and down, to exhort and to write [Jude 1:3], that all people might come into the possession of the gospel, (and the order of it,) which is the power of God [Rom 1:16], which was before the devil was; which is not of man [2 Pet 1:21], nor by man and his word; by which all things are upheld [Heb 1:3] and ordered [Wis 8:1] to the glory of God [1 Cor 10:31]. And Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedeck [Heb 6:20, etc]. So you may see there was a heavenly order in the power and spirit of Christ's priesthood, as there was of Aaron's; of whose order Christ came not [Heb 7:11].
And the apostle saith to the church, ‘Let all things be done decently, and in order [1 Cor 4:40].’ And this order was in the power of God, the gospel, 1 Cor. xiv. where all decency is. And the apostle saith, ‘Though he was absent in the flesh, yet he was present with them in the spirit, rejoicing and beholding their order;’ to wit, the churches' order, and their steadfastness in Christ [Col 2:5]. ‘And as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him [Col 2:6].’
So this was the spiritual order of the gospel, which the apostle in spirit beheld, and does admonish them unto; in whom their walking should be; to wit, in Christ, the spiritual heavenly man; and not to walk in old Adam, who was without this spiritual heavenly gospel order; which is the duty of all true christians, to walk in Christ and <72> his gospel order. And it is said in Psalm xxxvii. 23. ‘The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord [Psa 37:23];’ and that is, by his power and spirit.
And in Psalm 1. ‘To him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show forth the salvation of God;’ ‘and whoso offereth praises, glorifies me [Psa 50:23],’ saith the Lord. So they that offer up praises by the spirit, glorify God, which all must keep to, and not quench it. And all whose conversation is ordered aright, it is by the power of God, the gospel; for they are kept by the power of God unto the day of salvation [1 Pet 1:5/ 2 Cor 6:2]; and this is the right order, and everlasting order, which all must keep and walk in; by which all conversations must be ordered aright, that all may see their salvation [Isa 52:10/Luke 3:6], Christ Jesus, who is the head of the church [Col 1:18], and who see and receive him, have life everlasting, and through him they have peace with God [Rom 5:1]. So all in him live, and meet, in whom you have life, and a peace that is everlasting, that none can take away; which peace is not this world's peace [John 14:27].
And also the whole church of Christ, which are the believers in the light, children of the light [John 12:36], living stones, that make up the spiritual household [1 Pet 2:5]; over which house Christ is the head; all such believers, men and women, are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that they should show forth the virtue of Christ, that hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light [1 Pet 2:9 (virtue: Tyndale)].
So into him the life, to wit, Christ Jesus, by whom the world was made, here in him they know their election before the world began [1 Th 1:4/2 Tim 1:9]. So a royal priesthood, Christ's church is called, offering up spiritual sacrifices to God, who is a spirit; and this royal priesthood has a high priest, made higher than the heavens [Heb 7:26], to wit, Christ Jesus; and this royal priesthood is not after the order of Aaron [Heb 7:11], whose order was proved by his rod's bearing fruit, laid over night in the tabernacle, and in the morning brought forth fruit [Num 17:1-8]; but your order is proved by your rods' budding, and bringing forth fruit, in the morning of God's day, which are the fruits of the spirit [Gal 5:22]; through which spirit you come to offer according to your order, which is in the power of God, the gospel [Rom 1:16], the spiritual sacrifices [1 Pet 2:5], the first fruits of the spirit [Rom 8:23] to God, who is a spirit [John 4:24]; according to your order (as I said before) of the gospel, the power of God. For the Jew outward was to offer the first fruits of the earth [Exo 22:29], according to the order of Aaron; but according to the order of the gospel, you (both men and women) are to offer the first fruits of the spirit to God, who is a spirit, over all, blessed for ever. And show how the Lord has blest you in your spiritual fruits, and how you have been captives, in spiritual Egypt [Rev 11:8], and how you were redeemed. Much more I might write concerning these things but they are hard to be uttered [Heb 5:11], or to be borne [John 16:12]; for there has so much strife and foolishness entered into the minds of people, and a want of the stillness and quietness in the pure spirit of <73> God, in which things are revealed that have been veiled; in which things are opened that have been hid, and uncovered that have been covered. But wait all in the diligence, in the holy life, by which the holy things are seen and received, in which the holy unity and fellowship is. So no more but my love.
G. F. Top
Stand fast in the faith [1 Cor 16:13] which Christ Jesus is the author of [Heb 12:2], by his heavenly ensign [Isa 11:10], in your heavenly armour, and your feet shod with the preparation of the heavenly gospel of peace [Eph 6:15], and your heads preserved with the helmet of salvation [Eph 6:17], and your hearts fenced with the breast-plate of righteousness [Eph 6:14], and so stand feeling and seeing God's banner of love over your heads [Song 2:4], manifesting that you are the good ground, that God's seed hath taken root downward in, and springs upward in, and brings forth fruits in some sixty, and some an hundred fold [Mat 13:8,23] in this life, to the praise and glory of God, always beholding the sun of righteousness [Mal 4:2], that never sets, ruling the supernatural day, of which you are children, and the persecutor's sun, (which rises and sets again,) the heat of it cannot scorch your blade, which it may do that seed that grows on the stony ground [Mat 13:6,20f].
And therefore, be valiant for God's truth upon the earth [Jer 9:3], and fear him, that can break their fetters, their jails, and their bonds in sunder, and can make your fleece to grow again, after the wolves have torn the wool from your backs; for the rod of the wicked shall not be always upon the backs of the righteous [Psa 125:3].
And therefore mind Christ, who is the first and last [Rev 22:13], who bruises the head [Gen 3:15] of him who is the head of all persecutors, to wit, the devil.
And consider how all the faithful in all ages suffered, from righteous Abel [Mat 23:25] to just Lot [2 Pet 2:7], and the children of Israel by Pharaoh, and the true prophets by the false, and Christ and the apostles by the vagabond professing Jews [Acts 19:13], (out of the possession,) and what rejoicing it was to them to suffer for the Lord Jesus [1 Pet 4:13, Acts 4:41], and how it was given unto them, not only to believe, but also to suffer [Phil 1:29]; so it was the gift of God to them not only to believe, but to suffer, and to bear them up in their sufferings.
And consider how all the martyrs and saints have suffered since the apostles' days, by the heathens and false Christians; and so there is no new thing under the sun [Eccl 1:9].
And therefore, keep your meetings in the name of Jesus, whose name is above every name [Phil 2:9], in whose name you have salvation [Acts 4:12]; and be valiant for God's truth upon the earth, and sound his name abroad, and keep in the truth, and give no just occasion to the adversary [1 Tim 5:14]; for the lamb must have the victory [Rev 17:14]. And keep in the Lord's power, that is over all, <74> and in his peaceable truth, in which you will seek the good and eternal welfare and salvation of all people.
And the prophet Isaiah speaking of Christ, says, ‘In all their afflictions he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them [Isa 63:9];’ so all Friends feel the Lord in all your afflictions.
And the apostle saith, ‘We ourselves glory in you, (to wit, in the churches of God,) for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure [2 Th 1:4].’
So here you may see the saints are one another's joy in the Lord, who doth uphold them in all their persecutions, tribulations, and sufferings; and therefore look over the devil, that is out of truth, that makes to suffer, to Christ, who bruises his head; and in Christ, who is first and last, in him have you rest, life, and peace.
And you see, by faith, ‘Moses chose rather to suffer afflictions with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season [Heb 11:25].’
So by faith, ‘he esteemed the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt [Heb 11:26].’
And by faith, ‘Moses forsook Egypt, nor fearing the wrath of the king, for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible [Heb 11:27];’ and so by faith God's people now forsake spiritual Egypt [Rev 11:8].
And by faith ‘the mouths of the lions were stopped [Heb 11:33];’ and by faith they endured tortures, not accepting deliverance that they might obtain a better resurrection [Heb 11:35]; and by faith they underwent all the cruel mockings, scornings, bonds, and imprisonments; and by faith they underwent stoning and sawing asunder, and were tempted and slain with the sword; and they wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, and tormented; of whom the world was not worthy [Heb 11:36-38],’ &c.
Now all these lived in the one faith, by which they saw him who was invisible; which is the faith of God's elect [Tit 1:1] now, (which Christ Jesus is the author and finisher of,) which faith upholds his people now, as it did then, against the persecutors in days and ages past.
And hold fast the hope which anchors the soul, which is sure and steadfast [Heb 1:9], that you may float above the world's sea; for your anchor holds sure and steadfast in the bottom, let the winds, storms, and raging waves rise never so high. And your star is fixed, by which you may steer to the eternal land of rest, and kingdom of God. So, no more, but my love to you all.
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Swarthmore in Lancashire, the 12th of the 12th month, 1675.
Dear Friends,—To whom is my love in the holy truth; my desire is, <75> that you may all be valiant for it [Jer 9:3], against all deceit, that the camp of God may be kept clean [Deut 23:15]; and all may be faithful in your testimonies of light and life, against all those things which have come up in this night of apostacy from the light, life, and power of God. So look at the Lord and his eternal power, which has brought you out of the night of apostacy, to his eternal praise, and his power hath preserved you to this day. The Lord with his glorious power was with us in all our assemblies, at this Yearly Meeting; he hath the dominion, and over all evil spirits gave dominion to his people [Mark 3:14f]. Glory to his name for ever Amen. . . .
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G. F. Top
And Friends you may send a copy of this to the Carribee Islands, to be read in their Quarterly Meetings; and you may read it in your own.