Dear friends, that are in prison, and all Friends and sufferers that are in the county, to whom is my love in the Lord's eternal power, and seed of life, that reigns over all, in whom you have peace with God, and riches that are everlasting.
Now, dear friends, your sufferings have been long in that county, and great have been your trials, and spoiling of your goods, through your dversaries' and persecutors' rage against you; but the Lord's secret hand and power is that which hath upheld you through all to himself; And therefore we may say, ‘What shall separate us from the love of God that we have in Christ Jesus? Shall tribulations, persecutions, powers, or principalities, thrones or dominions? Nay, there is not any thing able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus [Rom 8:38f],’ whom you have chosen: a priest that is from above, not from below, who has offered up himself to God for you [Heb 7:27], who is not like the Jews' priests, that had the tithes of the people [Heb 7:5] for offering up their outward offerings, and such like services. So you have a priest from heaven, that is made higher than the heavens [Heb 7:26], and is the prophet that God has raised up <200> like Moses, whom you are to hear [Acts 3:22] in his light, grace, and truth. And he is your shepherd from heaven, who has laid down his life for his sheep [John 10:15], who is above all the earthly shepherds below; and this shepherd will feed you with that which is heavenly. And he is your bishop [1 Pet 2:25] from heaven, to oversee you, that you may be kept from sitting down in any earthly place with your minds, spirits, and souls, but only to sit down in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus [Eph 2:6], who is the heavenly and spiritual bishop, who lives for evermore [Rev 1:18], the first and last, the beginning and ending [Rev 22:13], who is the first-born of every creature [Col 1:15], and the first begotten from the dead [Rev 1:5], who does quicken, and makes alive [1 Cor 15:45,22], and begets from the death, and makes them to sit together (whom he has made alive) in the heavenly places in himself.
And now, dear friends, I do feel the Lord's eternal power present with you in all your sufferings, how it hath and doth support you; and therefore let your faith be steadfast in the power of God, which will keep you all unto the day of salvation [2 Cor 6:2]. And that you may all be valiant and faithful for God's truth upon the earth [Jer 9:3] in this day of trial and persecution, from both teachers, professors, and profane, which are below, whose persecuting spirit will have but a time. And therefore be of good faith; for a sparrow shall not fall to the ground without the will of the Father; and ye are of more value than many sparrows [Mat 10:29,31]. And ‘Blessed are they which suffer persecution for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.’ For so the old persecutors persecuted the prophets and apostles before you [Mat 5:10-12]. But rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings [1 Pet 4:13]; for the spirit of glory, and of God, rests upon you [1 Pet 4:14], who are railed upon [Mark 15:29], and suffer for his name sake [Acts 9:16]. And though he is evil spoken of by your persecutors, but on your part he is glorified [1 Pet 4:14], that suffer for his name. And therefore let none be ashamed to suffer as a christian, but let him glorify God [1 Pet 4:16] in his sufferings, who doth support him.
And so, dear friends, live in love and unity, and be kind, and courteous, and tender hearted one towards another; yea, and to all your persecutors, that you may heap coals of fire upon their heads; and so overcome evil with good [Rom 12:20f]. And so the God of all peace establish you all upon his heavenly rock and foundation of life, (Christ Jesus,) which standeth sure [2 Tim 2:19], and cannot be moved [Heb 12:28]. And so with my love to you all in the holy seed, in which all nations are blest [Gen 22:18/Gal 3:8]. And in this seed, the Lord God Almighty keep and preserve you, which bruises the head of the evil seed [Gen 3:15], that makes you to suffer. And the Lord God Almighty arm you with his armour, and strengthen you, that you may be able to <201> stand to his glory, and that he may be glorified in and among you. Amen. So fare ye well in the Lord.
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London, the 18th of the 12th month, 1681.
Dear friends,—With my love to all the faithful and tender Friends in Christ, the holy seed, that bruises the head of the serpent, (the cause of enmity,) [Gen 3:15] in which seed no enmity is, nor can come [Eph 2:15f?]; for in this seed are all nations blessed [Gen 22:18/Gal 3:8], which destroys the evil seed that brought the curse, and his cursed works and workers. So let this seed Christ rule in all your hearts, who was promised and prophesied of to come, who is come, and reigns, in whom is wisdom, salvation, life, and glory over all, the first and last; this seed doth live and reign over all that doth change and will have an end. Now in this holy seed you enjoy the blessings, and your election in it, which was before the world began [1 Th 1:4/2 Tim 1:9]. Now in this holy seed is the treasure of wisdom and knowledge [Col 2:3], and as you all live and walk in this seed, you will have wisdom and knowledge that is heavenly from this treasure; with which wisdom and knowledge you will have understanding, that all your conversations may be ordered by it aright [Psa 50:23], and to preach righteousness, and holiness, and godliness, so that you may glorify God in your lives and conversations, and all your words may be gracious [Eccl 10:12], and seasoned with grace [Col 4:6]; and whatever promises you may make to any man, you may consider before, that you may perform them [Rom 4:21]; that so your words may preach righteousness and truth; so that you may be the lights of the world, and the salt of the earth [Mat 5:13f], that by your light shining, you may answer the light in all men; and by the grace, and by the salt, you may savour that which is unsavoury; and so by your good works, and keeping to the salt, and to the light shining, you may be instrumental to open the eyes of others, to know your Father which is in heaven, that they may glorify him. [Mat 5:13-16/Col 4:6; Acts 26:18]
And my desire is, that all Friends may keep low, and meek, and humble, that he that doth inhabit eternity [Isa 57:15] may dwell with you; and that you may take upon you Christ's yoke [Mat 11:29], that you may draw with his heavenly plough, that with it the earth may be turned up, that hath oppressed and grieved the tender seed, and God's holy spirit [Eph 4:30]; so that God's plantations may be minded above the outward, that his lilies and vines may grow [Hos 14:5,7], and bring forth fruit [John 15:5] to his praise , who giveth the increase [1 Cor 3:7].
And now, dear friends, keep in the love of God [Jude 1:21], which doth edify the body of Christ [Eph 4:16]; that will bear all things [1 Cor 13:7]. And be gentle, and courteous, and kind one to another in the fear of the Lord; for there is no danger <202> in keeping low; for the danger is to such that are high and lofty, and puffed up. Such will swell; and though they may have good words, and a form of godliness [2 Tim 3:5], yet such that do so swell, will break out into bitter fruits, strife, and contention; and such go out from the power of God and his spirit, and so out of the camp of God, and then out of the unity of the spirit, which is the bond of peace [Eph 4:3]; and therefore all must keep in the holy spirit of God, if they will keep in fellowship with the saints in light, and so keep the bond of peace. For they that go from the spirit of God in themselves, though they have the whole form of godliness, they break the bond of peace; and such run into vain disputes, strife, and contention. But there is no such custom in the church of Christ, which keeps the unity in the spirit, which is the bond of peace.
And now, dear friends, in the name and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, and his spirit, keep all your meetings for worship, and your meetings for business, that you may see that all that profess the light of Christ, and his truth, and have received it, that they do walk according to truth, and as becomes the gospel [Phil 1:27], that the name of God may not be blasphemed amongst you [Rom 2:24]. And if that you of Ashly Cooper River, and that way, and Albemarle River, and that way, had once a year, or once in a half year, a meeting together, it might do very well, some where in the middle of the country, as you shall see meet, as they have in Maryland and Rhode Island. And if you had sometimes some meetings with the Indian kings and their people, to preach the gospel of peace, of life, and of salvation to them; for the gospel is to be preached to every creature [Col 2:23]; and Christ hath tasted death for every man [Heb 2:9], and died for their sins [1 Cor 15:3], that they might come out of death and sin, and live to Christ, that died for them; who hath enlightened them, with the light [John 1:9], which is the life in himself [John 1:4]; and God pours out of this spirit upon all flesh; that is, upon all men and women [Joel 2:28]. And the grace and favour of God appears unto all men [Tit 2:11]; so that all may believe in his light, and walk in his holy spirit, and receive his grace, which will teach them to live godly, &c. and bring them salvation [Tit 2:11f]; so that you may come to see the light of Christ's glorious gospel [2 Cor 4:4] set up in those parts. And God hath promised he will lift up an ensign unto the nations. And again, ‘There shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign to the people; to it the Gentiles shall seek [Isa 11:10].’ And again, he saith, ‘For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea [Isa 11:9].’ So, I desire that that part of the earth may be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.
And now, dear and tender friends, my tender desire is, that you may in nowise abuse, neither by your words, nor by your lives nor conversations, the liberty which God or the rulers have given you; but in all <203> things you may have an eye to God's glory, that he may be glorified by you all, who is worthy of all, who is the Lord of all, both in heaven and earth, blessed for ever.
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Concerning the government of Christ, and his peace, ‘of the increase of which there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment, and justice, from henceforth and for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this [Isa 9:7].’
Now Christ Jesus, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven [1 Cor 15:47], it is he who rules, and reigns, and governs in the hearts of his saints, who are the believers in his light, (the life in him,) who is their governor and counsellor [Isa 9:6], who died for their sins [1 Cor 15:3], and is risen for their justification [Rom 4:25], and is the captain of salvation [Heb 2:10].
And Christ's government in the hearts of his people [Jer 31:33?], is by his grace and truth, that comes from Christ Jesus [John 1:17], by whom all things were made [John 1:3], who doth enlighten every man that cometh into the world [John 1:9], which light is the life in him [John 1:4]; he saith, ‘Believe in the light, that you may become the children of the light [John 12:36];’ and such have the light of life, and by it come under Christ's government and peace, and his order in his light and life. Now, they that hate his light, they hate the life in Christ the heavenly man; and such will hate Christ by whom all things were made and created; and hate his order, and his justice, and judgment, and his light and life: and such are not like to come into his established government and kingdom; so Christ, who is the governor, the counsellor, the orderer, he orders and governs with his light (his life) in the hearts of all the believers in the light; and all the believers in the light, have the witness in themselves [1 Jn 5:10], of Christ their ruler, counsellor [Isa 9:6], orderer, heavenly governor, and of his judgment, justice, and peace; and that of the increase of his government there is no end.
Now, they that hate the light, which is the life in Christ the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, they are those that would not have Christ rule over them, nor in them; therefore it condemns them [John 3:19f]. . . . <204> . . . and all such haters of Christ, his light, life, order, government, and counsel, are in a false liberty, though they may profess Christ or his government in words, yet not believing in the light, and walking in the light (the life of Christ) they have no true fellowship one with another [1 Jn 1:7], but are in confusion; and have no true fellowship with the believers in the light (the life in Christ) nor with the son, and the Father [1 Jn 1:3]; for, how should they? For, until they come to believe in the light, (the life in the second Adam,) they cannot see their own states, they are in a blind state; for none see, nor enter into the kingdom of God, till they are born again [John 3:3,5]; and those that are born again, are the believers in the light (the life in Christ) and so become children of the light [John 12:36], grafted into Christ [Rom 11:17]; and such do know and see the true liberty in Christ Jesus, the second Adam: all such do see, and know, that all false liberty is out of the light, (the life in the second Adam,) in old Adam in the transgression.
And Christ that doth enlighten every man that cometh into the world, (which is the life in him,) such come to Christ, and are grafted into him the head, and so hold Christ their head, by whom all things were made and created; who is over all, from everlasting to everlasting, the first and the last, the beginning and the ending [Rev 22:13]. These are they that see his order, his government, and his rule in their hearts, and receive his law of spirit and life, and live and walk in it, which makes them free from the law of sin and death. These see Christ to be the author and finisher of their holy, divine, precious faith [Heb 12:2]. And their faith stands in Christ, who is the author of it, ‘who hath all power in heaven and earth given to him [Mat 28:18].’ And the mystery of this faith they hold in a pure conscience [1 Tim 3:9], and do know the law of this faith [Rom 3:27], and the law of love that God hath shed in their hearts [Rom 5:3] through Jesus Christ. And so in this light, faith, and life, that they have from Jesus the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, they come all to be of one faith [Eph 4:5], of one light, and one life; and so of one mind, heart, and judgment, in this new covenant of light and life [Isa 42:6, Mal 2:5]; so in it they are under the government, and counsel, and order of Jesus, that he establishes in his everlasting covenant [2 Sam 23:5] of light and life in their hearts.
The law came by Moses, and all the Jews were to be under the law in the old covenant; and this law served till Christ (the seed) came, in his new covenant. He is come, and now grace and truth are come by Jesus Christ [John 1:17], the great governor. And now, this grace and this truth is come from him, into the hearts of all his believers.
And with and in this grace and truth, Christ rules in the hearts of them that receive his grace and truth; and with this grace and truth, and in it, every believer and saint receiveth Christ their governor, and his order, and his counsel, and heavenly judgment, and justice from the heavenly man, in his established government, which he establishes with his grace and truth. Now this grace of God which brings salvation, which hath appeared unto all men [Tit 2:11], which does manifest, that all men have a day of grace and favour: now this must needs be the special grace of God, which brings salvation, which hath appeared unto all men. Now then, not receiving this grace and favour of God, but turning from this grace into wantonness [Jude 1:4], and walking despitefully against the spirit of grace [Heb 10:29]; therein they are hardened, and blind, and turn that into wantonness, and walk despitefully against it; which should teach them, and bring their salvation. . . .
The Lord spoke by his prophet Joel, ‘that it shall come to pass in the last days, that God will pour out of his spirit upon all flesh [Joel 2:28],’ &c. Joel ii. 28.
And Peter said, ‘This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel, it shall come to pass in the last days, (saith God,) that I will pour out <206> of my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on my servants, and on my handmaids, I will pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy [Acts 2:17f].’ Acts ii. 17, 18. . . .
It is said in the old covenant, that God did pour out of his spirit upon the house of Israel, and the house of Judah [Ezek 39:29]. But in the days of the new covenant of light and grace, God poured out of his spirit upon all flesh, both Jews and Gentiles. Now all flesh must come to the spirit of God, and be led and guided by it, if they will see Christ's heavenly spiritual government and order; and with this spirit, to know Christ the spiritual man, to rule and govern in their hearts. And all that by this spirit are circumcised, they eat of the heavenly passover, or their bread from heaven. And all that are baptized with the spirit, are baptized into one body, and do all drink into one spirit [1 Cor 12:13]. So here they are one, in this spiritual fellowship, which is the true church-fellowship; even that church which is in God [1 Th 1:1], the pillar and ground of truth [1 Tim 3:15], which church Christ is the heavenly and spiritual head of [Col 1:18]; and well he may, for he is the author of their faith [Heb 12:2], and the author of their light, and life, grace, and truth, and spirit, and gospel of peace and salvation; by which he rules in the hearts of his living members, the church. And all they that grieve, vex, quench, and rebel against the spirit [Eph 4:30/Isa 63:10/1 Th 5:19], come to be blind, as the Jews, and will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor perceive with their hearts [Isa 6:9f/Deut 29:4]; and such may profess Christ in the new testament, and the apostles' words, and the government, and order of Christ; as the Jews did profess the old testament, and Christ to come; but they would not receive him then, when he was come [John 1:11]. No more do they now, that profess he is come, who vex and quench his spirit, and grieve it, and rebel against it, and err from it [Isa 29:24]. And such are not like to receive Christ into their hearts, nor come into his heavenly order, and establish peaceable government, as those that are led by the spirit of God, which are the sons of God [Rom 8:14], and keep the unity of the spirit; which holy spirit is the bond of peace [Eph 4:3] amongst all Christ's subjects, lambs, and sheep, that feed together in the pasture of life. For it is God that gives the heavenly understanding of Christ's established government and order. And they that quench, and vex, and rebel against the spirit of God, will rebel against Christ's established government and order, and his people that are in it, that are led by the spirit of wisdom and understanding [Isa 11:2], and a sound mind [2 Tim 1:7]. And such as will not hear the spirit of God in themselves, will neither hear God nor Christ, nor his sheep, nor such as he sends, but rebel against them. <207>
Now the gospel being preached to, or in, every creature under heaven [Col 1:23]; which gospel is the power of God to salvation, to every one that believes [Rom 1:16]; so all that receive this gospel, the power of God unto salvation, in their hearts, receive Christ, (the power of God [1 Cor 1:24],) and his government and order in the power. And Christ reigns in their hearts in his power; and such come into the gospel order; and they that come to be heirs of the gospel, the power of God to salvation, are heirs of Christ's peaceable established government, and are true subjects to Christ's power, and established peaceable government; and so this gospel, the power of God to salvation, is peaceable, joyful, and comfortable, which is the gospel of Christ, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven [1 Cor 15:47]; and is not called the gospel of old Adam in transgression. And this gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, keeps all that believe in it, in the everlasting joy, peace, and comfort, and in order; for it is the everlasting gospel [Rev 14:6], which brings life and immortality to light [2 Tim 1:10], by which they see over the devil, and before he was, that hath blinded them, and darkened them from life and immortality. So in this gospel that hath brought life and immortality to light in God's people, both men and women, they are established in the order of it, in which they do serve the eternal everlasting God of truth.
Now all they that do not receive the gospel of Christ, the power of God to salvation, which is preached to every, or in every creature under heaven, life and immortality are not brought to light in them; and such the God of the world hath blinded [2 Cor 4:4]. . . . <208> . . .
And all you that have received it, have received the comfort of it; and those that disobey and rebel against the gospel, the power of God, such disobey and rebel against God and Christ, and his government, and his people who are in the order of the gospel, the power of God. And as it is said, ‘Christ is in you, except you be reprobates [2 Cor 13:5];’ and all that receives Christ in them, it is by his light, (which is the life in him [John 1:4],) and the grace and truth that comes by Jesus [John 1:17], and the faith that he is the author of [Heb 12:2], and his spirit and gospel. This they must receive in their hearts, if they receive Christ in them.
And Christ said to his disciples and followers, that ‘he would send them the spirit of truth, (the comforter,) which should proceed from the Father [John 15:26] and the son, which should lead them into all truth [John 16:13); and he should reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment [John 16:8]. . . . And so every one is to have oil in your own lamps [Mat 25:1-10], from the heavenly olive tree, that your lamps may burn always, both night and day, <209> in your tabernacles [Lev 24:2,4], looking to your high priest, who will feed your lamps with heavenly oil.
And every one have heavenly salt in yourselves [Mark 9:50] to savour withal, what is earthly, and what is heavenly; and what is from below, and what is from above; and what is out of the truth, and what is in the truth.
And that every one may keep their own vine in their own garden, and their own lily in their own field, or orchard; which lily doth exceed Solomon in all his glory [Mat 6:20f]. And every one have the word of faith in their hearts and mouths, to obey and do [Rom 10:8/Deut 30:14], which will sanctify [John 17:17, Eph 5:26], and make you holy, and reconcile you to God [2 Cor 5:19].
And every one have the anointing, or unction, within you, which you have from the Father, or Holy One [1 Jn 2:27/20]; so that in it you may continue in the Father, and in the son.
And every one continue in the grace of God, which will teach you how to live, and what to deny, and will bring your salvation [Tit 2:11f], and establish you upon Christ, the rock and foundation [1 Cor 3:11], from whence the grace does come.
And every one abide in the holy, divine, and precious faith, which you do hold in a pure conscience [1Tim 3:9], by which faith you do live, and have victory [1 Jn 5:4]over that which displeaseth God: and in this faith you do please God [Heb 11:6], which Jesus Christ, the Lord from heaven [1 Cor 15:47], is the author and finisher of [Heb 12:2].
And every one that hath digged deep, and found the pearl of great price; and hath sold all, and purchased the field, then the field and pearl is your own [Mat 13:44-46]: such do know a thorough redemption.
And all you believers in the light, (which is the life in Christ,) that are become the children of light [John 12:36], walk in the light [1 Jn 1:7], and in Christ, as you have received him.
And every one mind the heavenly leaven, that will leaven you into a new lump [1 Cor 5:6].
And every one keep the feast of Christ our passover [1 Cor 5:7], with his heavenly unleavened bread, in sincerity and truth [1 Cor 5:8].
And every one mind the light, that God hath commanded to shine out of darkness, and hath shined into your hearts, ‘to give you the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ [2 Cor 4:6] , (your saviour,) that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of yourselves;’ in this you are sensible of his heavenly treasure in your earthly vessels [2 Cor 4:7]; and every one have water in your own wells and cisterns [Prov 5:16], and heavenly fruit on your trees, which God hath planted.
Nebuchadnezzar, though his greatness reached to heaven, as a tree, yet he was to be ‘hewn down, [Dan 4:22f] until he knew that the Most High ruleth in the kingdoms of men [Dan 4:25]: and the God of heaven sha5l set up a kingdom <210> which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people [Dan 2:44].’ Dan. ii. 44. ‘And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth [Dan 2:35].’ Ver. 35.
‘They shall not hurt nor destroy in my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. [Isa 11:9]’ Isa. xi. 9.
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The 27th of the 8th month, 1681.
Dear friends, with my love in the Lord to you all: it hath been often in my mind, from a sense of the spirit of the Lord; which thing I shall lay before you, and commend it to the witness of God in all your consciences.
The thing is this: that if you had (once in a year) a Yearly Meeting, as they have in Holland, Germany, and Friesland, and at Rhode Island, and in England, and elsewhere, which is, and hath been, of great service; for Friends to see one another, and know how the affairs of truth prosper [Dan 8:12?], and how Friends do grow in the truth of God, to the comfort and joy of one another in it; in which the Lord Jesus Christ is exalted. And if there should be any difference among Friends, it may be ended at the Yearly Meeting, by some Friends out of the meeting, which could not be ended at other meetings. So that all things (by the truth and power of God) may be kept in peace and love, all dwelling in the wisdom of God, that is from above, which is pure, and peaceable, and gentle, and easy to be entreated [Jas 3:17]. And so for you once in a year to meet together in the Lord's power, and to wait upon him in his spirit and truth [John 4:24] one day, and then another day you may have a Yearly men and women's meeting in the Lord's power; which in time you may find and feel a great service in the Lord's spirit and power; in which you may feel his presence and blessing flow among you. And as for place and time, I shall leave it to your best convenience; and the Lord direct you, that you may do all things, whatever you do, to his glory [1 Cor 10:31]. For you know that in other countries, or provinces, they have either Half-Year Meetings or Yearly Meetings, except it be in Jamaica, which several times hath been in my mind for you to have one there; for where they are settled, they see a great service in them; and the Lord hath owned them, and honoured them with his presence, and that keeps all in a sense of a care of his glory, and a care of one another, that they may be kept and preserved in God's eternal truth, in meekness, in gentleness, and in tenderness, and in love, that edifies the body of Christ [Eph 4:16/12], the second Adam, the Lord from heaven [1 Cor 15:47]. And so that all of you, in godliness, holiness, and righteousness, may spend your days to the glory of <211> God; that your conversations may be in heaven [Phil 3:20], and not below in the earth, among the wicked; that the Lord God, and his son Christ Jesus, may be glorified in you all, who is over all, blessed for ever. Amen.
And, friends, it would be very well, if that you brought on your case of not swearing, and taking oaths, which hath been lost through that spirit which was unfaithful: now the same governor is come over again, in whose time (when he was there formerly) that act was obtained at the assembly, in which your yea and nay [Mat 5:37] was taken instead of an oath and swearing. Therefore, see if you can prevail with this governor and his assembly, to have the same act renewed again, and to clear yourselves from that spirit which was the cause that the act was repealed. So with my love in the Lord Jesus Christ to you all.
And my desires are, that you may all be preserved in God's power, to his glory; and that you may grow in the truth, and with the truth answer the truth in every one's inward parts [Psa 51:6]; so that ye may spread the truth abroad, and that with it your hearts may be united together. And walk in it, and in the love of it; for love edifies the body of Christ. And that ye may be good examples in the truth, and in righteousness and holiness, and show forth christianity in the possession of it, above the outside professors.
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From Dolston, the 24th of the 7th month, 1682.
[CCCLXXIV. (374)— To Friends in Holland.]
Dear friends,—In all your meetings, see that the Lord God be glorified, and have an eye to his glory, and let all things be done without strife [Phil 2:3] or reflections; but all to mind the testimony of life, and that which doth preserve your unity in it; and in that you will seek one another's good, and not slight one another; but to esteem one another [Phil 2:3] in the truth, and keep low in humility, for such God will exalt [1 Pet 5:6]. And be kind and tender hearted one to another, and dwell in the love of God, that he doth shed abroad in your hearts [Rom 5:5]; for that love which cometh from God doth edify the body of Christ [Eph 4:16/12]. And therefore you must be of a noble spirit, that are of the noble birth, born of the spirit; and to love the brotherhood in the spirit, and to esteem all men and women, as they are God's creation; whose natural sun shineth and rain falleth upon the just and unjust [Mat 5:45], and on their natural fields; and so doth God's eternal son of righteousness [Mal 4:2] shine with his light, and grace, and spirit, that he doth enlighten them withal, and gives his grace and peace to all; for his spirit is poured out upon all [Joel 2:28]. Thus doth he shine through all, and upon all, and over all, and above all; and therefore let your light shine [Mat 5:16], that are the believers in the light, that are become the children of the light [John 12:36], that others may glorify your Father which is in heaven in seeing your good works [Mat 5:16], and your good and gracious words, and lives and conversations; and mind the more excellent way [1 Cor 12:31] the apostle showeth to the Corinthians, which is the charity that will bear all things, and is not puffed up, nor envieth not [1 Cor 13:7,4]. This doth keep above all brittleness.
And, friends, after that your meetings are settled and seasoned by the power of the Lord, if you do alter them, without the consent of Friends in the power of the Lord, that makes and breeds discontent; and therefore keep them, after they are settled, in the power of the Lord, (and you settled in it,) upon Christ the holy rock and foundation of God, that standeth sure [2 Tim 2:19]. And in all your meetings, if there be any difference between brother and brother, do not reflect one upon another in meetings, but speak one to another between yourselves, as Christ commands Mat 18:15]; and then you may preach the gospel of peace [Rom 10:15] freely, and speak the truth in the love of it [Eph 4:15?], as it is in Christ Jesus. And this <213> is the best way; so that nothing may be seen in your meetings but the life, truth, and peace; so that the serpent, whose meat is dust [Isa 65:25], may find none in your meetings; and none to quench nor abuse the power or spirit [1 Th 5:19/1 Cor 9:18], nor any to go beyond its motion; for, if you do, you will both bring trouble and burthens upon yourselves, and others, and run out, that so you can hardly get in again. And therefore be wise in the heavenly wisdom of God, to be ordered in his spirit of understanding, to the glory of God, and the comfort and edifying of his people; that you all may know how to behave yourselves in the church of God, to the glory of God. And let all your lives and conversations preach virtue, purity, righteousness, holiness, and godliness, else you cannot be the lights of the world, nor the salt of the earth [Mat 5:13f]. And when any do badly or wickedly, they, instead of being lights or salt, are unsavoury, and are stumbling blocks; and when the salt hath lost its savour, it is good for nothing, but to be trodden under the foot of men [Mat 5:13]; and therefore keep your savour, and then you will not come under the foot of men; and in the light, and then you will not go into darkness.
And therefore have salt in yourselves [Mark 9:50], and oil in your own lamps [Mat 25:1-10], and keep in your own houses [Jude 1:6?], (for it is the whore that abideth not in her own house [Prov 7:11],) with the word of life [1 Jn 1:1], and grace, and truth within, and to the light and purifying faith [Acts 15:9], and mortifying and baptizing holy spirit of God [1 Cor 12:13/Rom 8:13]; the fruits of which spirit are love, peace, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, temperance [Gal 5:22f]. And bear one another's burthens, and so fulfil the law of Christ [Gal 6:2]; and forgive one another, as Christ hath forgiven you [Col 3:13]; and strive to excel one another in holiness, and righteousness, and godliness, and meekness, and modesty, in virtue, truth, and love, that you may all live to the praise and glory of God. Amen. And the Lord saith, Isaiah xlix. 8. speaking of Christ, ‘I will give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages. [Isa 49:8]’ So that you may see the fulfilling of this in the promise, and have a care of God's glory; and all live in the seed Christ, your sanctuary, which is a safe place, over all storms, and destroyers, who was before they were, and will be when they are gone; in whom you all have rest and peace; and by whom you are presented to God, holy [Eph 5:27] in body, soul, and spirit. And therefore all must be kept clean and holy, if that they do offer up, or be presented to him that is holy; and therefore you must be a holy people [Deut 7:6, etc], and walk in the holy truth, and obey the holy word of God [Deut 30:14], and walk godly, as the grace of God teaches, which brings salvation [Tit 2:11f], and walk in the light [1 Jn 1:7]; if that you do keep in the fellowship, in the heavenly light. And in this you do differ from the world that make a profession of the scriptures of truth [Dan 10:21], and dishonour God, and cause his holy name to be blasphemed [Rom 2:23f], by their not obeying the word, nor walking in the light, spirit, grace, and truth, <214> whose candle is gone out [Job 18:6], and now cannot endure to hear talk of the light. And therefore let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven [Mat 5:16];' and then you will have his favour, presence, and blessing; and the Lord God Almighty preserve you all, and Friends every where, in his power and seed Christ Jesus. Amen.
The 26th day of the 8th month, 1682.
[CCCLXXVI. (376) — To Friends in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.]