Friends,—The apostle saith, ‘I will therefore that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety, and not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, but as becometh women professing godliness, with good works [1 Tim 2:9f].’ 1 Tim. ii. 9, 10. And likewise Peter saith in his general epistle to the church of Christ, to the women, ‘Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and wearing of gold, and putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of a great price; for after this manner in old time the holy women also who trusted in God adorned themselves [1 Pet 3:3-5].’ 1 Pet. iii. 3, 4, 5. . . . <297> . . . .
And all you that have been convinced of the Lord's truth, by his spirit, take heed of satan taking you up into a mountain, and of his showing you the glory of the world [Mat 4:8] , and of your minds and eyes going after it, and receiving of it; and so in that you fall from the spirit and <298> truth of God that did convince you, and then to worship the devil [Mat 4:9], the king of pride, the god of the world [2 Cor 4:4], that abode not in the truth, in whom there is no truth [John 8:44]; and he to lead your minds and eyes after every new vain fashion of the world that passeth away [1 Cor 7:31], and that lieth in wickedness [1 Jn 5:19]; and so draweth you to the love of the world, which is enmity to God [Jas 4:4], and into the wisdom of the world, by which ye do not know God [1 Cor 1:21]; and then to such the gospel of life and salvation is hid [2 Cor 4:3], in whom the god of this world hath blinded their minds [2 Cor 4:4]. And in such disobedient ones the prince of the air rules [Eph 2:2], and gets into them by disobeying the truth; and in such Christ doth not rule in their hearts by faith [Eph 3:17]; and it is not like, when they make shipwreck of it, and a good conscience [1 Tim 1:19]. And therefore, walk in the light of Christ, and grow in his grace, and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, [2 Pet 3:18] that bruises the serpent's head [Gen 3:15], and destroys the devil and his works [Heb 2:14/1 Jn 3:8], that you may all be established upon Christ, the rock and foundation.
And if ye do believe in the covenant of light, life [Isa 42:6/Mal 2:5], and grace; then, why do not you all train up your children in the same? Did not the Lord command the Jews to train up their children in the old covenant, and teach them to walk in it [Prov 22:6]? And were not all the males to be circumcised? And they that were not circumcised were to be cut off from the congregation of the Lord [Gen 17:10,14]. So are not all you that profess the new covenant of grace, light, and life, and the gospel of salvation preached to every creature [Col 1:23], and the grace of God which brings salvation, that hath appeared unto all men, to teach them to live godly, and to deny ungodliness [Tit 2:11f], &c. I say, are not you all to train up your children and families in this light of the gospel and grace of Christ which brings salvation, and brings them into favour with God, that you may have the comfort of your children in this world, and in that which is everlasting? And that they may be circumcised with the spirit [Rom 2:29] of God, which he poureth out upon all flesh [Joel 2:28], that with his spiritual circumcision the body of death and sins of the flesh [Col 2:11/Rom 7:24] may be cut off, which are come into man and woman by transgression, that neither you nor they might die in the body of death, and in the sins of the flesh, and such do not die in the Lord [Rev 14:13]; for they that are not circumcised with the spiritual circumcision are cut off from the heavenly Jerusalem [Heb 12:22], and the kingdom of God and Christ, and from the church of the living God written in heaven [Heb 12:23]. And therefore, if you will have the comfort of your children in this world, and that which is to come, train them up in the fear of God [Psa 34:11], and in his covenant of light and grace; which grace brings their salvation, and brings them into favour with God, and into the spiritual baptism and circumcision, so that they may serve and worship the living God in his spirit and truth [John 4:24]. Amen. <299>
And if children and young people must be left, and let alone to themselves, and not be admonished, exhorted, and restrained from the evil and vanities of the world, then why did Moses, and the prophets, and the apostles, which were sent of God, exhort the people to train up their children in the fear of the Lord, and to teach them his law while they were young, that they might not depart from it when they were old [Psa 34:11/Prov 22:6]? And if that they did, the Lord did judge them, as ye may read in the scriptures of truth [Dan 10:21]; and if that they must be left to themselves, and not restrained from evil, then how came it to pass that old Ely lost his life, and his priesthood, and the ark of God, for not restraining his children from evil [1 Sam 2 - 4]?
And again, if that they must be left to themselves, why did the prophets and the apostles say, that they must not quench, nor vex, nor grieve, nor rebel against the spirit of God [1 Th 5:19/Isa 63:10/Eph 4:3], nor turn the grace of God into wantonness [Jude 1:4], nor walk despitefully against the spirit of grace [Heb 10:29]; but walk in the spirit [Gal 5:16], and in the truth [3 Jn 1:3], and in the light [1 Jn 1:7], and to love it, and not to hate it; for they that do not love the light, but hate it, are condemned by it [John 3:19f], and so grow in the condemnation, and are not in the justification of life.
The Lord God commanded Abraham to circumcise himself and his children and servants, that were bought with money, and were born in his house. He was to bring all his males into this covenant of outward circumcision; and the Lord said, ‘That soul shall be cut off that is not circumcised, he hath broken my covenant [Gen 17:14]’ of outward circumcision, as you may see. Gen. xvii. Here you may see Abraham was to teach and instruct his family and servants [Gen 18:19], and he was not to keep any man or servant that was uncircumcised in his family. . . .
And now, do not say but you are all warned in your lifetime; and therefore prize your time, while you have it, that you spend it to the honour and glory of God.
G. F. Top
The 9th of the 5th month, 1686.
The Lord saith, ‘In this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things,’ &c. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations [Isa 25:6f]. And he will swallow up death into victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces [Isa 25:8; 1 Cor 15:54/Rev 21:4]]. Isa. v. 26, 27.1 Cor. xv. 54.Rev. xxi. 4.
Is not this mountain Christ, that filleth the whole earth [Dan 2:35], where this feast of fat things is? And doth not Christ through death, destroy death and the devil, the power of death [Heb 2:14], and so takes away the veil and covering that is spread over all nations, that they may be covered with the spirit that he pours upon all flesh [Joel 2:28]? And the apostle saith, Moses put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is to be abolished; for their minds were blinded. For, until this day remains the same veil untaken away. In the reading of Moses and the old testament the veil is upon their hearts; which veil is done away in Christ; and when they shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be done away [2 Cor 3:13-16]; as in 2 Cor. iii.
So, here you may see the veil that was spread over the hearts of people, is done away by Christ; and all they that are turned to the Lord, with open face behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, and are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even by the spirit of the Lord [2 Cor 3:18]. And the lamb which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed his people [Rev 7:17], and dwell amongst them; who hath made their robes white in the blood of the lamb [Rev 7:14]: and this is the day of Christ, whom God gives for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth [Isa 49:8]. Sing, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth, and break forth into singing, O mountains; for God hath comforted his people, and hath mercy upon his afflicted [Isa 49:13]. And Christ saith to the prisoners, go forth; unto them that are in darkness, show yourselves; and they shall feed in pastures: for he that hath mercy on them, shall lead them, and by the springs of water shall he guide them [Isa 49:9f]. Isa. xlix. For God gave Christ for a covenant to the people, for a light to the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners out of prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison houses [Isa 42:6f]. Isa. xlii. 2.6, 7.Rev. vii. 15, 16, 17.
So we that do witness this do praise the Lord God through Jesus Christ. ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people [Rev 21:3].’ Rev. xxi. 3.
This is the day of the new covenant, which people enjoy in Christ Jesus. <301>
The Lord saith, ‘I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plague. O grave, I will be thy destruction [Hos 13:14].’ Hos. xiii. 14.
And the apostle saith, ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory, through Jesus Christ our Lord [1 Cor 15:55-57].’ 1 Cor. xv. 55, 56, 57.
So, here you may see the grave had its victory, and death hath its sting, which is sin. But the strength of sin is the law. But Christ gives us the victory; who makes an end of sin [Dan 9:24], the sting of death; as in Dan. ix. 24. And who through death destroys death and the power of death [Heb 2:14], and is the end of the law for righteousness' sake, to every one that believes [Rom 10:4]; and so are dead to the law, by the body of Christ [Rom 7:4]. Rom. vii. 4.
And Christ saith unto the Jews, ‘Verily, verily, he that hears my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, (mark, everlasting life,) and shall not come into condemnation; but hath past from death unto life [John 5:24].’ Then they have past from the sting of death, which is sin. And, as John saith, ‘we know that we are past from death unto life, because we love the brethren; for he that loveth not his brother, abideth in death [1 Jn 3:14].’ John v. 24.1 John ii. 44. . . .
And again Christ saith to the Jews, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the son of God; and they that hear, shall live [John 5:25].’ John v. 25. . . .
And the apostle saith, ‘Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption [1 Cor 15:50].’ And Christ saith, ‘Except a man be born of the spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God;’ neither can he enter into the kingdom of God [John 3:3/5]. 1 Cor. xv. 50. and John iii. 3.5. . . .
<302> . . . .And ‘he that believeth not is condemned already [John 3:18]. And he that believeth on the son of God shall not perish, but have eternal life.’ And again, ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son; that whosoever believed in him should not perish, but have everlasting life [John 3:16].’ John iii. 15, 16.18.
Now this death which Adam fell into was a spiritual death; for by one man's disobedience or offence, namely Adam, judgment came upon all men to condemnation. So all men are under this judgment and condemnation in Adam in the fall. Even so, by the righteousness of one, namely Christ, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. [Rom 5:18f] Rom. v. 18, 19.
So they that do not believe in Christ, the light [John 12:36], as he commands, John xii. 36. they abide in spiritual death and darkness, and under the judgment and condemnation in Adam in the fall, in the perishing state. But he that believeth on the son of God hath everlasting life, and passeth from death to life, and shall not perish in darkness, and is not condemned, but comes out of condemnation, &c. But he that believeth not in the son of God is condemned, and shall not see life; and the wrath of God abideth on him [John 3:36]. Such abide in the perishing state, in the death and darkness in Adam in the fall, under judgment and condemnation. But they that believe in Christ, the light, . . . are blessed, that have part in the first resurrection in Christ Jesus. On such the second death shall have no power [Rev 20:6], for they are in Christ Jesus, the resurrection, and eternal everlasting life, and their names are written in the book of life; who destroys death, and hell, and the devil, the power of death. Rev. xx. 10.14, 15. And casts the devil, death, and hell, into the lake of fire, that burns with brimstone; which is the second death [Rev 20:14f] .
And, as the apostle saith, ‘the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death [1 Cor 15:26].’ But, as it is written in Hos. xiii. 14. ‘death is swallowed up into victory.’ For by man, namely Adam, came death; and by man, namely Christ, came also the resurrection of the dead. ‘For as in Adam all died, even so in Christ shall all be made alive [1 Cor 15:22]’. . . . <303> . . .
And in the way of righteousness is life; and in the path-way there is no death [Prov 12:28].
‘The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death [Prov 13:14].’ Prov. xii. 28. and xiii. 14.
The Lord saith, ‘Behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind. But, be you glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create. For, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people, and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying [Isa 65:17-19].’ Isa. lxv. 17, 18.
And Peter saith in his General Epistle to the church, ‘We, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness [2 Pet 3:13].’ 2 Pet. iii. 13.
And John saith, ‘I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more a sea. And I John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people; and God shall be with them, and be their God; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death;’ mark, no more death, in new Jerusalem, ‘neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. For the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, write, for these things are true and faithful. And he said unto me, it is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely; he that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son [Rev 21:1-7].’ Rev. xxi. 1 to the 8th.
Jerusalem which is below, is in bondage with her children; but Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all, who believe in the light in Christ [Gal 4:26]. And in this new and heavenly Jerusalem there is no death nor night; and the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of this new and heavenly Jerusalem. For the glory of God doth enlighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof [Rev 21:23-25]; and the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple of this new and heavenly Jerusalem [Rev 21:22] that is from above; and the Lord creates this heavenly Jerusalem. . . . <304> . . .
And the new creatures that are in Christ Jesus [2 Cor 5:17], and dwell in love, they dwell in God [1 Jn 4:16]. Such are in the temple in heavenly Jerusalem, and are in joy and in fellowship with the Father and the son, blessed for ever. Amen.
And Christ said to the Jews, ‘The bread of God is he that cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world [John 6:33];’ signifying that the world is dead in Adam, and wanteth eternal everlasting life; and ‘they that eat not the flesh of Christ, and drink not his blood, have no life in them [John 6:53].’ For Adam and Eve, by eating of the fruit which God forbid them [Gen 3:1-6], brought death, and all died in him [1 Cor 15:22]; but they that eat the flesh of Christ, the bread from heaven, and drink his blood, have eternal life, and shall live for ever, and they do live by Christ, and they do dwell in Christ, and he doth dwell in them [John 15:4f]. So you may see Adam and Eve, by their eating of that which God forbad, brought them into spiritual death; and by eating the flesh, and drinking the blood of Christ, as he commands, bring men into a spiritual life, that is eternal. And the Lord saith, Ezek. xxxvii. concerning the whole house of Israel, which were the dry scattered bones, that ‘he would open their graves, and bring them out of their graves;’ and yet these dry bones, which were the whole house of Israel, that were in their graves, could speak, (who were the scattered bones,) and say, ‘Behold, our bones are dry, and our hope is lost, we are cut off for our parts [Ezek 37:11f].’ So it seems that the whole house of Israel, scattered bones, who were in their graves, could speak these words. Then they were alive outwardly, and their breath was in their nostrils; but they were gone from the breath of the Almighty, that gives life [Job 33:4] and understanding. Therefore the Lord poured his spirit upon them, and caused breath to come upon them, that they might live to God [Ezek 37:6]; and so that they might all have one shepherd [Ezek 37:24], (namely, Christ,) and come into his everlasting covenant, and Christ their sanctuary; and then God's tabernacle would be with them, and then the Lord ‘will be their God, and they shall be his people [Ezek 37:26f].’
G. F. Top
Dear friends, who are the sons and daughters of God [2 Cor 6:18], who have his law written in your hearts [Jer 31:33], by which you know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life to know [John 17:3]; and you that have put on Christ Jesus [Gal 3:27] are the new creatures, and are in him [2 Cor 5:17], clothed with Christ the son of righteousness [Mal 4:2], who is the light of the world [John 8:12]; and you that believe in the light, have the light of life, and are clothed with the son of God <305> that doth not change, and are the true and living members of the church of Christ Jesus, that is in God, and have the moon (that is changeable) under your feet [Rev 12:1]. So all changeable religions, worships, ways, churches, and teachers, which are like the changeable moon, and the changeable world, with its changeable fashions; the true church of Christ, that is clothed with Christ, the son, that doth not change, hath all these changeable things, like the moon that changes, under her feet. For the son of God never changes; for all things were made by him [John 1:3], who is the first and last, the beginning and ending [Rev 22:13]. So, as every one hath received Christ Jesus, the son of righteousness, walk in him to the praise and glory of God. Amen.
G. F. Top
London, the 31st of the 3d month, 1686.
[CCCCXII. (412) — To Friends in West Jersey and Pennsylvania.] <306>
[CCCCXIII. (413)] <307>
All Friends, strive to keep in unity in the holy spirit of Christ, which is the bond of the heavenly peace [Eph 4:3], and that you elders may be examples in the heavenly wisdom, and word of life [1 Jn 1:1], and of power [Heb 1:3] and patience [Rev 3:10], to all the younger, that hardly know the right hand from the left; so that they may be trained up, both by the word and law in their hearts, and good examples from their elders in grace, truth, virtue, modesty, and sobriety, as becoming men and women professing and possessing godliness [1 Tim 2:10], being adorned with a meek and a quiet spirit, which is with the Lord of a great price [1 Pet 3:4]. And keep that eye blind, and that spirit under, that would go into the fashions of the world; for that will blind and burden, and will not bear sound doctrine [2 Tim 4:3]; and therefore that must be kept down with the spirit of God, by which all may have power over their own spirits, and they that have not, are like unto a city, whose walls are broken down [Prov 25:28], that any thing that is evil or bad may come in. And therefore the power and spirit of God is as the wall that preserveth. Therefore be wise; for when lust is conceived, ‘it brings forth sin, and sin when it is finished, brings forth death [Jas 1:15].’ <308>
Now here you may see what brings forth sin and death in man and woman, which, by the spirit of God, is to be mortified [Rom 8:13], and by it their affections to be changed, and set on things above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God [Col 3:1f]; so that you may come to sit in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus [Eph 2:6]; which is a holy, pure, and safe sitting, in which all may keep that heavenly feast of Christ, our passover, not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the heavenly unleavened bread of sincerity and truth [1 Cor 5:8]. For Christ, our passover, hath been sacrificed for us [1 Cor 5:7]; and therefore he is the heavenly bread [John 6:35-58], which the feast of him our passover must be kept withal, by the clean and circumcised in spirit in the new testament and covenant: for the Jews in the old testament and covenant, were to be clean and circumcised outwardly, before they eat of the outward sacrifices; which sacrifice and circumcision Christ our sacrifice hath ended. And therefore keep to him our circumciser, and the feast of our passover, and let all the old leaven of malice and wickedness be purged out, that you may become a new lump in Christ Jesus. Amen.
G. F. Top
Goosey, the 29th of the 10th month, 1689.
The Six Weeks Meeting is for to see that all their meetings are preserved by the wisdom of God in the unity of the spirit, the bond of peace [Eph 4:3], and in the fellowship of the holy ghost [Phil 2:1/2 Cor 13:14], being ordered by the pure, gentle, heavenly, peaceable wisdom, easy to be entreated [Wis 8:1/Jas 3:17], holy and virtuous examples to all other meetings, both in city and country. <309> And that all may be careful to speak short and pertinent to matters in a christian spirit, and despatch business quickly, and keep out of long debates and heats; and with the spirit of God keep that down, which is doting about questions and strife of words [1 Tim 6:4], that tend to parties and contention: which in the church of God there is no such custom to be allowed. And likewise not to speak more than one at a time [1 Cor 14:31]; nor any in a fierce way; for that is not to be allowed in any society, neither natural nor spiritual; but as the apostle saith, ‘Be swift to hear, and slow to speak [Jas 1:19];’ and let it be in the grace, which seasons all words [Col 4:6]. . . .
G. F. Top
Kingston upon Thames, the 5th of the 3d month, 1690.
Dear friends,—Something was upon me to write unto you, that such among Friends, who marry, and provide great dinners, that instead thereof, it will be of a good savour on such occasions, that they may be put in mind at such times, to give something to the poor that be widows and fatherless, and such like, to make them a feast, or to refresh them. And this, I look upon, would be a very good savour, to feast the poor that cannot feast you again [Luke 14:13]; and would be a good practice and example, and would be a means to keep the mind to the Lord; and in remembrance of the poor; for ‘they that give to the poor, lend to the Lord, and the Lord will repay them [Prov 19:17].’ And I do really believe, whatever they give, less or more, according to their ability, cheerfully, they will not have the less at the year's end, for the Lord loves a cheerful giver [2 Cor 9:7]. . . . <310> . . .
G. F. Top
London, the 4th of the 4th month, 1690.
Dear friends, with my love to you all in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom you have life and salvation, and rest and peace with God; and the Lord God Almighty with his eternal arm and power uphold and preserve you in Christ, in whom you have rest and peace, though in the world troubles; and though you be in captivity, from your wives and children, and relations and friends, yet the Lord is present with you by his spirit of grace, light, and truth. And so feel him at all times, and stand in his will; do not murmur nor complain, but stand still in the faith and power of God, that you may see your salvation; for by faith the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt by his power; and by faith Enoch and Noah were preserved, and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and by faith the prophets were delivered out of many perils; and Daniel out of the lion's mouth. And you may see how the righteous were delivered by faith, in Heb. xi. [Heb 11; Dan 6]. . . .
And my desires are to the Lord, that you in his truth and power may answer the truth in all, both king, and prince, and Turks, and Moors, that you may be a good savour among them all, and in them all; manifesting that you are the salt of the earth, and the light of the world: and a city set on a hill, that cannot be hid: so that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven [Mat 5:13f,16].
And what do you know, but the Lord hath set you there to preach in life, and word, and good conversation? Therefore, while you are there, mind your service for God, who hath all things in his hand, and a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his providence [Mat 10:29]. And Christ is the mountain that filleth the whole earth [Dan 2:35]; and so you will feel him there.
And therefore keep in the word of power [Heb:1:3], and in the word of patience [Rev 3:10], and the word of wisdom [1Cor 12:8], that will give you dominion over all. Amen.
G. F. Top
London, the 25th of the 8th month, 1690.
<311> . . . .
END OF VOL. VIII.