Dear friends, with my love to you, and all the rest of the faithful Friends in bonds; and my desire is to the Lord, that ye all may stand faithful and valiant for his glorious name, and his holy peaceable truth, now in this day of storm and tempest, that none may turn their backs on the Lord in this day of trial, and none may be ashamed of confessing of Christ before the adulterous generation [Mat 12:39], as Christ said, lest Christ be ashamed of them before his Father, and before his holy angels [Luke 9:26]. And therefore now is the time and day of your trial; for the Lord is just; though I know that the faithful and innocent, just, and righteous must stand it out. And therefore mind the Lord in all your sufferings, and keep all low, and in the humility of heart, and there you will feel that he that inhabits eternity, dwells with an humble heart [Isa 57:15], and he will be your shield and buckler [Psa 91:4], and defender in time of trouble. And the Lord hath promised to deliver his people in the six troubles, yea, in the seventh [Job 5:19], the perfection of troubles; and therefore do not think time long, and your sufferings long, for the Lord will lay no more upon you but what you are able to bear [1 Cor 10:13]; yea, upon his faithful people. I know it, and am a witness for God in all my sufferings and imprisonments, and haling before magistrates about sixty times, about these thirty-six years. And so, friends, when you are tried, you may come forth more precious than gold that is tried in the fire [1 Pet 1:7]; and keep the word of patience [Rev 3:10], and it will keep you from the temptations that come upon the world to try them; for the word of God was before the world was. And though you be in outward bonds from your wives, families, houses, and relations, yet the word of God is not bound [2 Tim 2:9], neither can they bind the word of God; it is at liberty, it abides and endures for ever [1 Pet 1:23]; it will make you all rich, though they think to make you poor with their bonds, and cast you into prisons; but, I tell you, the word of God will make you rich [Col 3:16?], for the word of God was before the wicked and his bonds were; for in the beginning was the word [John 1:1], but since the beginning was the devil, who had cast some into prison, spoken of in Revelations: that ten days [Rev 2:10] might be a longer time than ten natural days. ‘For they that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution [2 Tim 3:12]’ by the ungodly; for it was the just that suffered by the unjust [1 Pet 3:18] in all ages; and Christ said to Saul, ‘Why persecutest thou me?’ [Acts 9:4] So they that stood in Christ, and were in Christ Jesus, it was Christ that was persecuted [Mat 25:42-45], as well as they in whom he reigned. And do not you understand, and know, the sufferings and trials the holy men of God [2 Pet 1:21] went through; and how by faith they subdued the mountains [Mat 17:2, 1 Cor 13:2]; and consider the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the faith of Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and the faith <216> of Jeremiah, and the rest of the prophets, and the faith of Daniel, and the three children, and the faith of all the apostles, what sufferings and imprisonments they went through; and consider all the martyrs since the apostles' days, consider what sufferings they have gone through [Heb 11]; and God and Christ is the same to uphold you, that are given up in his spirit, power, and faith, to stand for his glory; and be valiant for his truth and name upon the earth [Jer 9:3]. And therefore keep in your sanctuary, Christ Jesus, who destroys the destroyer, and bruises the serpent's head [Gen 3:15]; and so in Christ Jesus, your sanctuary, you all are in safety, in whom you have all life, and salvation, and peace with God, in him you may all triumph and rejoice with exceeding great joy, and say, ‘What shall separate us from the love of God which we have in Christ Jesus?’ And the apostle said to the saints in their days, that ‘there was not any thing able to separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus [Rom 8:38f];’ you feeling the same love, you feeling the same faith to dwell in you, and walk by; ‘for the just shall live by faith [Rom 1:17],’ which is his victory [1 Jn 5:4], and hath access to God [Rom 5:2], in which he pleases God [Heb 11:6]. And so with my love to you all in Christ Jesus, who was before the devil was, that makes you to suffer, and will be when he is gone. In Christ you have heavenly peace, that none can take away from you; in him dwell and live. Amen.
And all be faithful in their testimony of life, against riches, and all those things which have come up in this night of apostacy, from the light, life, and power of Christ and God, against all looseness whatsoever, that the heavenly camp of God may be kept holy, clean, and pure [Deut 23:14].
And all Friends, look at the Lord above all your sufferings, and trust in him, who with his eternal power hath preserved you to this day; and the Lord in his glorious power was with us in all our assemblies, at this Yearly Meeting; he over all hath the dominion, and over all evil spirits gave dominion to his people. Glory to his name for ever. Amen.
And therefore let your faith be in the gospel, the power of God [Rom 1:16], which hath brought life and immortality to light [2 Tim 1:10] in you.
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And now, friends, with the eternal power, and heavenly light of Christ, with it you have seen, and do see, and will see, that which Christ hath spoken, Matt. xiii. and Luke viii. which he taught to the great multitude in parables, when he sat in a ship [Mat 13:2f]; ‘Behold,’ saith Christ, ‘a sower went out to sow his seed, and as he sowed, some fell by the highway side, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it: and some fell upon the rocks, or stony places, where they had not much earth, and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away. [Mat 13:3-6]’ So he that receiveth the seed into rocky and stony places, the same is he that receiveth the word with joy, yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for awhile, or for awhile believeth, and in temptations falleth away [Luke 8:13]; for when tribulations or persecutions arise because of the word, by and by he is offended [Mat 13:21]; and upon too many such have we seen this parable fulfilled in times of persecutions, and tribulations, and sufferings; when the heat of persecution is up, they are scorched, and withered away, and so come to nothing. ‘And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up and choked it [Mat 13:7].’ ‘And they also that received seed among the thorns, are they that hear the word, and when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with the cares of this world, and deceitfulness of riches, and pleasures of this life, and become unfruitful, and bring no fruit to perfection [Mat 13:22 /Luke 8:14]. And this is seen to be the condition of too many. But the other ‘fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold [Mat 13:8].’ So they that received the seed into the good ground, are they who (in an honest and good heart) have heard the word, and understand it, and keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience [Luke 8:15], some a hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty, as was said before. . . . <218> . . . . And therefore let all consider what ground you are, and what fruit you bring forth; and when ye hear the word of the kingdom, that ye understand it, which none can, without the light and spirit of Christ, (and walk in it,) but he that shall endure to the end in the light, in the grace, truth, and spirit, and in Christ, from whom you do receive these, shall be saved [Mat 24:13].
For the apostle saith, ‘The just man lives by faith [Rom 1:17].’ And this is not by any faith which men make, but by the faith which Christ Jesus is both the author and finisher of [Heb 12:1], in your hearts and consciences; and in this faith ye have access to God [Rom 5:2], and do please him [Heb 11:6]. But, ‘if any man draw back,’ (to wit, in not living by this faith,) doth not the Lord say, ‘My soul shall have no pleasure in him [Heb 10:38]?’ But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, (that is a sad drawing back,) but of them that believe, to the saving of our souls.
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From Kingston upon Thames, the 2nd of the 9th month, 1682.
My friends, that are gone, and are going over to plant, and make outward plantations in America, keep your own plantations in your hearts, with the spirit and power of God, that your own vines and lilies be not hurt [Hos 14:5,7/Rev 6:6?]. And in all places where you do outwardly live and settle, invite all the Indians, and their kings, and have meetings with them, or they with you; so that you may make inward plantations with the light and power of God, (the gospel,) and the grace, and truth, and spirit of Christ; and with it you may answer the light, and truth, and spirit of God, in the Indians, their kings and people; and so by it you may make heavenly plantations in their hearts for the Lord, and so beget them to God, that they may serve and worship him, and spread his truth abroad. And so that you all may be kept warm in God's love, power, and zeal, for the honour of his name. That his name may be great among the heathen, or Gentiles [Mal 1:11]; and ye may see over, or be overseers with the holy ghost [Acts 20:28], which was before the unclean ghost got into man and woman. So with this holy ghost you may see, and oversee, that the unclean ghost and his works may be kept out of the camp of God. So that his camp may be holy, and all the holy may come into it; and he, who is holy, may walk in the midst of you his camp [Deut 23:14], and be glorified in and among you all, who is over all, and worthy of all glory, from everlasting to everlasting, blessed and praised for evermore.
‘From the rising of the sun, even to the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles. And in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering; for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts [Mal 1:11].’ Mal. i. 11.
‘The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice, let the multitudes of the isles be glad [Psa 97:1]; let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord [Psa 150:6], for the Lord taketh pleasure in his people. He will beautify the meek with salvation [Psa 149:4].’ Psalm xcvii. xcviii. and cxlix. cl.
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London, the 22nd of the 9th month, 1682.
All my dearly beloved friends and brethren every where, the Lord God Almighty, with his holy power and spirit, hath gathered, and kept, and preserved you to this day a people to himself. And now, dear friends and brethren, in all your words, in all your business and employments, have a care of breaking your words and promises to any people; but that you may, (before you make any promises to any man or woman,) consider before hand, that you may be able to perform and fulfil both your words and promises [Rom 4:21] to all people, that you make your promises, or give your word unto. And that your yea be yea, and nay, nay, in all things, which Christ hath set up instead of an oath [Mat 5:33-37]; yea, above an oath and swearing, in his new covenant and testament. And the apostle James holds forth the same doctrine [Jas 5:12]. And this yea, yea, and nay, nay, was set up when they forbid all oaths and swearing. And therefore every one's yea should be yea, and every one's nay should be nay, and so to stand. . . . <220>
So that none make any promise, or speak yea, yea, or nay, nay, rashly, which they cannot perform: for such kind of inconsiderate and rash speaking is not in the everlasting covenant of light, life, and grace [Isa 42:6/Mal 2:5]. Take heed, lest you be numbered among the covenant breakers [Rom 1:31], spoken of, Rom. i. 31. and such truce-breakers [2 Tim 3:3], which the apostle speaks of, 2 Tim. iii. ‘Which have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof; from such turn away [2 Tim 3:5],’ saith the apostle. And therefore they that deny the power of godliness, will not be faithful to God nor man; and such cannot exercise a good conscience to God [1 Pet 3:21], in obedience to him, nor to man, to perform that which is just, righteous, and honest. Therefore the apostle exhorts the christians in the New Testament, to ‘speak the truth in love [Eph 4:15], and to put away lying, and to speak every man the truth to his neighbour [Eph 4:25].’ Eph. iv. 15.25. And David saith, ‘Who shall abide in thy tabernacle, and who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart [Psa 15:1f] but they that speak vanity, every one to his neighbour, with flattering lips and a double heart, the Lord shall cut off [Psa 12:2f].’ And Solomon, speaking of wisdom, says, ‘My mouth shall speak truth, and wickedness is an abomination to my lips [Prov 8:7].’ And James says, in his general epistle, ‘So speak ye, and so do [Jas 2:12],’ &c. So see here how certain and steadfast the holy men of God would have God's people to be in their words and doings. And also James was careful, that the saints in their very outward dealings were to be just, and reproved such for saying, ‘To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy, and sell, and get gain: whereas they did not know what should be on the morrow. But they ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that [Jas 4:13-15].’ Therefore you may see how careful the apostle was, to keep all true christians in the fear of the Lord, and in the sense of his will. God is true and faithful to his people in all generations; and so he would have his people to be true and faithful to him, and to one another, and to all men in his spirit and truth. And Christ saith, ‘He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much [Luke 16:10].’ And further he saith, ‘If ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, or riches, who will commit unto you the true riches? [Luke 16:11]’ Therefore there must be a justness and faithfulness in the outward riches between man and man, if you will have a place in your hearts for the true heavenly riches: the inward faithfulness to God bringeth forth faithfulness to men in outward things. And as the apostle said to the saints, ‘Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think <221> on these things [Phil 4:8]:’ which are very good things to be minded, thought upon, and practised by the church of Christ. The Lord saith by Zechariah, ‘These are the things that ye shall do: speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour, execute the judgment of truth and peace in the gates [Zech 8:16].’ Again, ‘Therefore, saith the Lord, I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, a holy mountain [Zech 8:3].’ And if outward Jerusalem was called so in the days of the old testament, surely much more is heavenly Jerusalem, in the new covenant and testament, called ‘the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem [Heb 12:22];’ into which nothing that is unclean can enter [Rev 21:27]; but all the believers in the light, and the children of the light [John 12:36], enter into it, whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life [Rev 21:27]; and are to walk in truth and righteousness, and speak the truth every man to his neighbour, according to the apostle's doctrine.
And so, as every one hath received Christ Jesus, who is the truth, walk in him the truth, and speak the truth, as it is in Jesus [Eph 4:21]. ‘For you are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your bodies and in your spirits, which are his [1 Cor 6:20]’. . . .
And do not slight the form of sound words [2 Tim 1:13] in truth: you who have bought the truth, do not sell it [Prov 23:23]. And ‘he that orders his conversation aright shall see the salvation of God [Psa 50:23].’ And the apostle says to the Phillippians, ‘Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ [Phil 1:27]:’ for the apostle says, ‘our conversation is in heaven [Phil 3:20],’ where must be the conversation of all the true followers of Christ, that are built upon him the rock [Mat 7:24f] and foundation, who is from above. And the Lord God establish all his people upon this rock and foundation which standeth sure [2 Tim 2:19], that upon him they may stand fast with the grace and truth that come from him [John 1:17]. Amen.
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Edmonton, in Middlesex county, the 23d of the 11th month, 1682.
First, all you vintners that sell wine, that keep taverns, or such-like houses; and all you innkeepers, and you that keep victualling-houses, ale-houses, strong-water shops, &c. see that you never let any man or woman have any more wine, ale, strong drink, brandy, or strong waters, or other strong liquors, than what is for their health and their good; <222> in that they may praise God for his good creatures. For every creature of God is good, and ought to be received with thanksgiving [1 Tim 4:4]. . . . <223> . . . .
See what a dreadful wo the Lord pronounced against them, ‘that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink, that continue until night, till wine inflame them: then they call for the harp and the viol, the tabret and the pipe, &c. But such regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands [Isa 5:11f]:’ a sad state! ‘Wo unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and are men of strength to mingle strong drink [Isa 5:2].’ And therefore all to shun such things; all are to be sober, and to mind and fear God, that they may escape these woes: as you may see in Isaiah chap. v.
And therefore all vinters, and such as sell wine, with ale-houses, inns, and victualling houses, who sell ale, brandy, and strong liquors, never let any one have more than doth them good, and is for their health, (as is said before,) so that all may eat and drink the good creatures of God to his praise and glory [1 Cor 10:31]; which drunkards and gluttons cannot, nor they who let them have the creatures of God in excess or immoderately, till they are drunk and surfeited, for such do feed themselves without the fear of God [Jude 1:12].
Secondly. Let all who go under the name of christian families, train up their children in the fear of God [Prov 22:6/Psa 34:11], and keep themselves in the fear of God, that they may keep all their servants and females in the fear of God; out of all looseness and wantonness, and vanities and excess, and from all drunkenness, fornication, whoredom, or uncleanness, and unrighteousness, and all ungodliness; that they may keep out of all those things that displease or dishonour the Lord God [Rom 2:23]. And do not nourish up the lust of the eye, nor the pride of life, nor the lust of the flesh [1 Jn 2:16]; for if you do, you nourish up that which is not of God the Father. And therefore to shun all these evils, and to depart from them, and keeping in the fear of God [Job 28:28]; this is the way to bring the blessing of God upon a land, kingdom, nation, or family.
‘God will destroy them which destroy the earth [Rev 11:18].’ Rev. xi. 18. . . .
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Friends, consider how the blessing of the Lord came upon the obedient and faithful to the Lord, and rested upon them. The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and <224> from thy father's house, &c. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, &c. And thou shalt be a blessing, and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee and thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed [Gen 12:1-3].’ Abraham obeyed the Lord, and went forth from Ur of the Chaldees, and so he left all the religions, and worships, and teachers of the country of the Chaldees behind him, and followed the Lord. And the Lord said unto Abraham, ‘Walk before me, and be thou perfect [Gen 17:1].’ Gen. xvii. 1. And again, the Lord said unto Abraham, ‘Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him [Gen 18:18].’ Gen. xii. 1, 2, 3. and xviii. 18. And again, the Lord said unto Abraham, ‘That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore, and thy seed shall possess the gates of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice [Gen 22:17f].’ Abraham obeying God's voice, brought this blessing upon him, as in Gen. xxii. ‘And the Lord said, I know Abraham that he will command his children and his household after him, that they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham all that which he hath spoken of him [Gen 18:19].’ Now you may see here what it is that brings the blessing, and kept the blessing upon Abraham and his seed, &c. Now if you be of the true faith, you are of Abraham, and are blessed with faithful Abraham [Gal 3:9]. Gal. iii. 9. And in this seed and faith of Abraham, you will command your children and your household after you, to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring the blessing upon you and your household and children; keeping in the same faith and seed of Abraham, and you and your children and your household, keeping in the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment, then, I say, the blessing which came upon Abraham will come upon you, and upon your children and your household, and then you will know the promise of God fulfilled; ‘Cursed is he that curses thee, and blessed is he that blesseth thee [Gen 27:29];’ and therefore live and walk in the seed, ‘which bruises the head of the serpent [Gen 3:15],’ . . . <225> . . . . ‘And the Lord said to Isaac, I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, &c. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed [Gen 26:4].’ Gen. xxvi. 4. Now here you may see that Isaac inherited his father's inheritance in the seed, and in the faith and way of the Lord; in which seed all nations are blessed: and so do all they that are of the faith and seed of Abraham, that walk in the steps of faithful Abraham, in the way of the Lord, and obey his voice, inherit the blessing of Abraham; for you may see it was not the only care, that their children might inherit a little earth after them, but that they might inherit the seed and the faith, which had the blessing.
And Isaac said to Jacob, ‘God Almighty bless thee, and give the blessing of Abraham to thee, and to thy seed with thee [Gen 28:4].’ Gen. xxviii. And this Isaac spake to Jacob before Jacob had any children; and here you may see Isaac's care, that Jacob and his seed might inherit the faith and blessing of Abraham and Isaac; and this should be their first inheritance, and then they should inherit the outward land. . . .
When the Lord said unto Jacob, ‘Thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south, and in thee, and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed [Gen 28:14].’ So here you may see Jacob's possession, who did inherit the blessing of Abraham and Isaac; and they that are of the seed and faith, which keep the way of the Lord, they do inherit this blessing in the seed, in which all nations are blest. And this is according to Christ's doctrine, ‘seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you [Mat 6:33],’ to wit, ‘what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewith shall ye <226> be clothed; for after all these things do the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things [Mat 6:31f].’ And here Christ, (who was of the seed of Abraham, and of David, according to the flesh [Mat 1:1],) would have people to seek their inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, and its righteousness, before they seek outward things. And they were to ‘lay up for themselves treasure in heaven [Mat 6:20], &c. And to know that portion for them and their children. Matt. vi. And the apostle saith, ‘The children of the promise are counted for the seed [Rom 9:8].’ Rom. ix. 8. ‘For in Isaac shall thy seed be called [Gen 21:12, Heb 11:18].’ Gen. xxi. 12. And Christ saith, ‘The good seed are the children of the kingdom [Mat 13:38].’ Matt. xiii. 38. And this is the seed in which all nations are blest, who keep the way of the Lord, and justice, and judgment, such the Almighty hath blessed with ‘the blessings from above, the blessings of the deep, the blessing of the breast, and of the womb [Gen 49:25].’ Gen. xlix. And he will also bless the fruit of the land, ‘thy corn, and thy wine, and thy oil, and the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep [Deut 7:13].’ Deut. vii. And they that serve the Lord their God, he will bless their bread, and their water [Exo 23:25]. Exod. xxiii. And ‘a faithful man shall abound with blessings [Prov 28:20].’ Prov. xxviii. 20. So you may see, they that are in the faith, and in the holy seed, which keeps in the way of the Lord, and command their children and household to do the same; they have the blessings from heaven above, and the blessings below, yea, the blessings of the eternal inheritance, and of the kingdom of God. And that was their chief inheritance, that all the faithful seed of Abraham sought to possess their household and their children in, who did command their children and household to keep the way of God, that they might inherit the blessing. David saith, ‘Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth meditate day and night [Psa 1:1f].’ Now here is the condition of them that do enjoy the blessing, they must keep from the counsel of the ungodly, and the way of sinners, and the seat of the scornful. Now here you may see David's instruction, how people might inherit the blessing.
Levit. x. ‘That you may put a difference between the holy and unholy, and between the clean and unclean, and that you may teach your children all the statutes, which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses [Lev 10:10f].’ And it was so in the old testament, that they might learn the statutes there. Surely much more they are to learn the commands of Christ in his new testament.
And in Deut. iv. 9, 10. ‘they were to teach their sons, and their sons' sons [Deut 4:9];’ and again, they were to ‘teach their children, that they might learn to fear God all the days that they lived upon the earth [Deut 4:10],’ <227> &c. This they were to teach their children; and again, in Deut. xi. it was the command of God, that they were to teach their children the commandments of God, and they were to speak of them, when they sat in their house, and when they walked by the way, when they lay down, and when they rose up [Deut 11:19]. And in Deut. xxx. Moses told them, that ‘the word was nigh them, in their mouths, and in their hearts, that they might do it [Deut 30:14].’ And David said, ‘Come, you children, hearken to me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord [Psa 34:11]. O fear the Lord, you saints; there is no want to them that fear him [Psa 34:9].’ Psalm xxxiv. 9.11.
‘Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; he is their help and their shield [Psa 115:11].’ Psalm cxv. 11. And you may see all along in the Old Testament, they that feared the Lord were commanded to teach and instruct their children the way of the Lord, that they might walk in it, and inherit the blessing; which was a better portion than outward riches which will pass away; for ‘they make themselves wings and fly away [Prov 23:5].’ Solomon saith, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it [Prov 22:6]. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him [Prov 22:15].’ Prov. xxii. 15. ‘He that spareth the rod, hateth his son; but he that loveth him, chastiseth him betimes [Prov 13:24].’ ‘By mercy and truth, iniquity is purged out; and by the fear of the Lord, they depart from evil [Prov 16:6].’ Prov. xiii. 24. and xvi. 6. And the apostle's command is, ‘for children to obey their parents in the Lord, for this is right [Eph 6:1].’ Eph. vi. 1. and Col. i. 3.20.
It is well pleasing to the Lord, children to obey their parents [Col 3:20]. And the bishops or elders, were to rule well their own houses, and to have their children in subjection, with all gravity [1 Tim 3:4]; and likewise, the deacons were to rule their own children and their own houses well [1 Tim 3:12]. Tim. i. 3. And likewise you may see the good report of the widows bringing up children, which followed every good work [1 Tim 5:9f], &c. And in Titus, such as were elders or overseers, their children were to be faithful, not accused of riot, or unruly [Tit 1:6]; and the aged women were to be of good behaviour, as becometh holiness, &c. and teachers of good things; and that they teach the younger women to be sober, &c. And that the word of God be not blasphemed [Tit 2:3-5]. And Titus was to exhort young men to be sober minded [Tit 2:6]. ‘For the grace of God which brings salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world [Tit 2:11f]; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life [Tit 3:7].’ And Peter saith, ‘As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts, in your ignorance; but as he who hath called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation [1 Pet 1:14f]; and be not like them, feeding themselves without fear [Jude 1:12], which <228> are the clouds without rain, and wells without water, and trees without fruit [Jude 1:12/2 Pet 2:17], whom Jude declares against; such cannot eat and drink to the praise and glory of God [1 Cor 10:31],’ &c. So you see what care, both in the old and new testament, the faithful parents had, to teach their children the way of the Lord; and the Lord hath a confidence in all them that fear him, and are of the faith and seed of Abraham, that they will not only admonish their children and household, but command their children and household after them, to keep the way of the Lord [Gen 18:19], &c. Gen. xviii. And to keep out of the wicked ways of the world. The apostle saith, ‘They which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham [Gal 3:9].’ And so are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus; ‘and if you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise [Gal 3:29].’ Gal. iii. And so the children of God are counted for the seed [Rom 9:8], which the good seed Christ saith, are the children of the kingdom [Mat 13:38].
And the apostle spake to the Romans, that they should walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham [Rom 4:12]. Again, the apostle saith to the Corinthians, concerning Titus, ‘Walked we not in the same spirit, walked we not in the same steps? [2 Cor 2:18]’ And in the first epistle of Peter, ‘Christ hath suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps, who did not sin, neither was guile found in his mouth [1 Pet 2:21f].’ So these were holy steps, and are a religious holy people that walk in the steps of faithful Abraham, and of Christ and the apostles; and these have the pure religion, and do visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and keep themselves unspotted from the world [Jas 1:27]; and these are they that are circumcised with the spirit [Rom 2:29], and baptized with the holy ghost [Mat 3:11], and serve God night and day [Rev 7:15], and worship him in spirit and truth [John 4:24]. And these are the religious families, which are of the holy, divine, pure, and precious faith, which Christ is the author and finisher of [Heb 12:2], which faith purifieth their hearts [Acts 15:9], and is their victory [1 Jn 5:4], by which they have access to God [Rom 5:2], in which they please him [Heb 11:6], in that faith which Christ is the author and finisher of, which is called the gift of God [Eph 2:8]; and they that are of this faith, the same are the children of Abraham, and are blessed with faithful Abraham. And Abraham was called the friend of God [Jas 2:23]; and so are all his children that are of his seed and faith, they are not friends of the devil, the wicked and unrighteous one, but him and his works they forsake, who are friends of God, they are friends of righteousness and holiness, &c. And such the blessings of God rest upon, them that are of the seed, and walk in the seed, Christ, that bruises the serpent's head, and in that seed are all nations blest; and out of the mouth of the seed's seed, shall not God's word depart [Isa 59:21]; but it shall abide in the mouth of the seed's seed, (this living word of God.) But the word of God do not abide in them, who make a profession of the scriptures, but live not in the power and spirit of the holy ghost, that gave forth the <229> scriptures [2 Pet 1:21]; such are like the Jews, John v. and such think to have life in the scriptures, but they will not come unto Christ that they may have life [John 5:39f]; for none come to Christ, but by believing in the light, which is the life in him the word. . . .