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ings about the Clifts and Pottuxon, and partly in writing answers to some cavilling objections, which some of truth's adversaries had raised and spread abroad, to hinder people from receiving the truth, we were not idle, but laboured in the work of the Lord, until that general provincial meeting came on, which began on the seventeenth day of the third month, and lasted four days. On the first of these days the men and women had their meetings for business, wherein the affairs of the church of God were taken care of, and many things relating thereunto were opened unto them, to their edification and comfort. The other three days were spent in public meetings for the worship of God, at which divers of considerable account in the government, and many others of the world's people were present, who were generally satisfied, and many of them reached; for it was a wonderful glorious meeting, and the mighty presence of the Lord was seen and felt over all; blessed and praised be his holy name for ever, who over all giveth dominion !
After this meeting we took our leave of friends, parting in great tenderness, in the sense of the heavenly life and virtuous power of the Lord, that was livingly feli amongst us; and went by water to the place where we were to take shipping, many friends accompanying us thither and tarrying with us that night. Nexi day, which was the twentyfirst of the third month, 1673, and the day following we set sail for England; the same day Richard Covell came on board our ship, having had his own taken from him by - the Dutch. We had foul weather and contrary winds, which caused us to cast anchor often, so that we were till the thirty-first of the third month, e'er we could get past the capes of Virginia and come out into the main sea. But after this we made good speed, and on the twenty-eighth of the fourth month cast anchor at King's Road, which is the harbour for Bristol. We had in our passage very high winds and tempestuous weather, which made the sea ex. ceeding rough, the waves rising like mountains ; so that the masters and sailors wondered at it, and said they never saw the like before. But though the wind was strong, it sate for the most part with us, so that we sailed away before it; and the great God who commands the winds, who is Lord of heaven, of earth and the seas, and whose wonders are seen in the deep, he steered our course and preserved us from many imminent dangers, The same good hand of Providence that went with us, and carried us safely over, watched over us in our return, and brought us safely back again ; thanksgiving and praises
be to his holy name for ever! Many sweet and precious meetings we had on board the ship during this voyage, (commonly two a week,) 'wherein the blessed presence of the Lord 'did greatly refresh us, and did often break in upon and tender the company. And when we came into Bristol harbour, there lay a man of war, and the pressmaster came on board us to press our men.
We had a meeting at that time in the ship with the seamen before we went to shore, and the press-master sat down with us and staid the meeting, and was very well satisfied with it. After the meeting I spake to him to leave two of the men he had pressed in our ship (for he had pressed four,) one of which was a lame man, and he said, at my request, he would.
We went on shore that afternoon and got to Shirehampton, where we got horses, and rode to Bristol that night, where friends received us with great joy. In the evening I writ a letter to my wife to give her notice of my landing, as followeth :
Dear Heart, ' This day we came into Bristol near night from the seas, glory to the Lord God over all for ever, who was our convoy, and steered our course; who is the God of the whole earth, and of the seas and winds, and made the clouds his chariots, beyond all words, blessed be his name for ever! Who is over all in his great power and wisdom, amen. Robert Widders and James Lancaster are with me, and we are well; glory to the Lord for ever, who hath carried us through many perils, perils by water, and in storms, perils by pirates and robbers, perils in the wil. derness and amongst false professors; praises to him whose glory is over all for ever, amen. Therefore mind the fresh life, and live all to God in it. I do intend (if the Lord will) to stay awhile this away, it may be till the fair. So no more, but my love to all friends.
G. F. Bristol, the 28th day of the
4th mouth, 1673.
Between this and the fair, my wife came out of the north to Bristol to me, and her son-in-law Thomas Lower, with two of her daughters, came with her. And her other sonin-law John Rouse, and W. Penn and his wife, and Gerrard Roberts, came down from London, and many friends from several parts of the nation came to the fair, and glorious powerful meetings we had there at that time, for the
Lord's infinite power and life was over all. In the fresh openings whereof I was moved to declare of three estates and three teachers, viz. That God was the first teacher of man and woman in Paradise; and as long as they kept to and under God's teaching, they kept in the image of God, and in his likeness, in righteousness and holiness, and in dominion over all that God had made, in the blessed state in the paradise of God. But when they hearkened to the serpent's false teaching, (who was out of truth) and disobeyed God and obeyed the serpent, in feeding upon that which God forbad them, then they lost the image of God, the righteousness and holiness, and came under the power of satan, and were turned out of paradise, out of the blessed into the cursed state. And then the promise of God was, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, and break his power that man and woman were under, and destroy his works. So here were three states and three teachers. God was the first teacher in paradise; and whilst man kept under his teaching he was happy. The serpent was the second teacher; and when man followed his teaching he came into misery, and into the fall, from the image of God, and righteousness, and holiness, and from the power that he had over all that God had made, and came under the serpent, whom he had power over before. Christ Jesus was the third teacher; of whom God saith, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him ;” and who himself saith, “Learn of me.” This is the true gospel-teacher who bruises the head of the serpent that is the false teacher, and the head of all false teachers, and of all false religions, false ways, false worships, and false churches. Now Christ, who said, ” Learn of me," and of whom the Father said, “ Hear ye him,” he said, “I am the way to God, I am the Truth, I am the Life, and the true Light.” So as man and woman come up again to God, and are renewed up into his image, righteousness and holiness by Christ, thereby they come up into the paradise of God, the state which man was in before he fell, and into an higher state than that, to sit down in Christ that never fell. Therefore the Son of God is to be heard in all things, who is the Saviour and the Redeemer, and bath laid down his life, and bought his sheep with his precious blood. And we can challenge all the world, who hath any thing to say against our way, our Saviour, our Redeemer'; who is our prophet, whom God bath raised up that we may hear, and whom we must hear in all things; who hath any thing against our Shepherd,
Christ Jesus, who leads and feeds us, and we know his heavenly voice? And who hath any thing against our Bishop, in whose mouth was never guile found, who doth oversee us in his pasture of life, that we do not go astray from God, and out of his fold? And who hath any thing against our Priest, Christ Jesus, made higher than the heavens, who gives us freely, and commands us to give freely? And who hath any thing to say against our leader and counsellor, Christ Jesus, who never sinned, but is holy and harmless, and separate from sinners ? God hath commanded us to hear him, and he saith, “Learn of me," and if we should disobey God's and Christ's command, we should be like our father Adam and mother Eve, who disobeyed God's command, and hearkened to the serpent's teaching. Now man commands, and would force us to hear the birelings, who plead for sin and the body of death to the grave, which doctrine favours of the devil's teaching, not of Christ's; but we resolve to hear the Son, as both he and the Father command, and in hearing the Son we hear the Father also, as the scripture testifies. For the Author to the Hebrews says, “ God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, bath in these last days spoken unto us by bis Son;" mark that, God hath spoken unto us (his apostles, disciples, church) by his Son. And whereas some have objected, that although Christ did speak both to his disciples and to the Jews, in the days of his flesh, yet since his resurrection and ascension be doth not speak now. The answer is, that as God did then speak by his Son in the days of his flesh, so the Son, Christ Jesus, doth now speak by his spirit. Wherefore John saith in the Revelations, “ He that hath an ear let him hear, what the Spirit saith to the churches," Rev. ii. And Christ is said to speak from heaven, Heb. xii. 25. “ See that ye refuse mot him that speaketh; for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.” They that resisted Moses his law (who spake on earth) died for it without mercy, which was a natural death; but they that refuse him that speaks from heaven, neglect and slight their own salvation, and so die a spiritual death through unbelief and hardness of heart. Therefore was the exhortation given of old, “ To day if ye will bear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation," &c. Heb. jii. 15. &c. So that they who neglect or refuse to hear the voice of Christ, now speaking from heaven in this
his gospel-day, harden their hearts. Therefore let all mark well these three states and teachers; the God of Truth was the first teacher, while man was in paradise and in innocency. The serpent was the second teacher, the false teacher, who by his false teaching came to be the god of the world, which lies in wickedness. Christ Jesus, that bruises the serpent's head, is the third teacher, who saith, “ Learn of me,” and of whom God saith, “ This is beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him ;' and of whom the testimony of the saints of old was, That God hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son. Thus they that come to be renewed up again into the divine heavenly image, in which man was at first made, will know the same God, that was the first teacher of Adam and Eve in paradise, to speak to them now by his Son, who changes not, glory be to his name for ever!
Many deep and precious things were opened in those meetings by the Eternal Spirit, which searcheth and revealeth the deep things of God: and after I had finished my service for the Lord in that city, I departed thence into Gloucestershire, where we had many large and precious meetings, and the Lord's everlasting power flowed over all. From Gloucestershire I passed into Wiltshire, where also we had many blessed meetings. At Slattenford in Wiltshire we had a very good meeting, though we met there with much opposition from some who had set themselves against women's meetings, which I was moved of the Lord to recommend to friends, for the benefit and advantage of the church of Christ. That the faithful women, who were called to the belief of the truth, being made partakers of the same precious faith, and heirs of the same everlasting gospel of life and salvation as the men are, might in like manner come into the possession and practice of the gospel order, and therein be meet-helps unto the men in the restoration, in the service of truth, in the affairs of the church, as they are outwardly in outward and civil, or temporal things. That so all the family of God, women as well as men, might know, possess, perform, and discharge their offices and services in the house of God, whereby the poor might be the better looked after and taken care of, the younger sort instructed, informed, and taught in the way of God; the loose and disorderly reproved and admonished in the fear of the Lord; the clearness of persons propounding marriage more closely and strictly enquired into in the wisdom of God; and all the members of the spiritual body, the church, might watch over and be helpful to each other