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The next day (being the fourth-day of the week and 19th of the month) I had a large meeting at Amsterdam, many professors being at it; and truth was largely opened to them, in the demonstration of the heavenly power. The day following I went by boat from Amsterdam, many. friends going with me, to Landsmeer in Waterland (a town in which, they say, there are above an hundred bridges,) where I had a very good meeting, to which several professors came. And after the meeting I returned with friends to Amsterdam again, where I staid with friends till the first-day following, and went to their meeting, which was large; for many professors of several sorts were at it, and heard the truth declared with great attention.
I tarried amongst friends there next day, and in the night following had a great exercise upon my spirit concerning that loose spirit, that was run out into strife and contention among friends, and had drawn some after it into division and separation; the way, work and end whereof the Lord opened to me: wherefore feeling the motion of life upon me, I got up in the morning and wrote the following epistle to friends :
My dear friends, 'Keep your first love in the truth, and power and seed of life in Christ Jesus; for this last night, as I was lying in
my bed at Amsterdam, I had a great travail in the holy seed of life and peace, and my spirit was troubled with that. spirit of strife and separation. I saw it was a destroying spirit, and did seek not only to get over the seed, but to destroy it, and to eat out the minds of people from it by strife and contention; and under pretence of standing for the ancient truth, its work is to root it out, and destroy the appearance of it to set up itself. And it is a creeping spirit, seeking whom it can get into, and what it cannot do itself, it stirreth up others to do, and setteth up their spirits on float, with the dark wisdom to destroy the simple. And this spirit is managed by the prince of the air, and leadeth some to do such things, which they would have been ashamed to have done as men, which doth unman them; and they would not have suffered them, if they had kept to the tender principle of God, which leadeih to peace. And it is a despising, backbiting, and a secretwhispering spirit, and a sower of dissension, and a taker of advantage of all prejudiced spirits, that are disobedient to their first principle and love of truth, and begetteth into Watred, so it begetteth all into that spirit, whose work is
to destroy both the good within and the good without; nay, it would, if it could, destroy the government of Christ and the order of the gospel, to set up its own will and spirit, which is not of God; and under pretence of crying down man, are setting up man, and are gathering into a separation of disobedient men, who float above their conditions. And this spirit, which neither liveth in the truth nor its order, but opposeth them that do, I cannot express it, as I do see it and its work, whose end will be accordingly. And therefore, friends, I am to warn you all, that have not lost your simplicity, not to touch it, nor to have any unity with it, lest you be defiled, and lose your conditions of your eternal estate, and your everlast. ing portion; and that your inward man, which is after God may be preserved, and Christ may reign in all your hearts. And they that are joined with them, it will be very hard for them ever to come down to truth in themselves, and to see their own conditions, and to have that spirit of strife and contention (which eateth as a canker) to be brought down in them; which is carnal, and slayeth the tender babe, which was once begotten in themselves ; and the Philistine is got up in them, that stoppeth the wells and springs, and maketh a great bustle; and are cry: ing up men and pleading for them instead of Christ. And so friends, strive not with them, but let them take them that cry them up; and keep you in the Lord Jesus Christ with his light, that cometh from him, that he may be your Lord, and ye in him may be all in unity, in one light, life, power, and dominion in Christ your head. And so the God of peace and power preserve you all in Christ Jesus your Saviour; and out of and from that mischievous spirit, which is idle and slothful, as to the work of the power, and Spirit, and light of God and Christ; and its very act is that which worketh strife and disturbance against the peace of the church of Christ, and thinks in its wilfulness and stubborness, and unruliness, to set up itself, and in that to have peace; but destruction will be the end of it, and it is sealed for the fire and eternal judgment. And therefore let Christ the seed be the head and crown of every one of you, that nothing may be between you and the Lord God. And he not deceived with vain words, or feigned words, or rough; for satan is transforming himself, as an angel of light to deceive, but God's foundation standeth sure, and God knoweth who are his, and will preserve his upon the rock and foundation of life, in his peaceable truth and habitation, that in the same they may grow. And so keep out of strife and contention with it, after that ye have
borne your testimony in the Lord's power and truth against it, and then keep in the truth; for it hath a life in scribbling, strife and jangling, because it would enlarge its hell, and brings others into its misery with the airy power, and would get power over the good and disjoin people from it, and so to make rapes upon the simplicity by its subtilty. But I do believe the Lord will defend his people, though he may try them, and exercise them with this spirit for a time, as he hath done by it in days past, in other vessels it hath made use of, as it doth of these now; who have a more seeming fair outside, but foul and rough, and rugged enough within, against the seed Christ, as ever were the pharisees to destroy it; and they, under a pretence of preaching Christ, are the men that are the destroyers and crucifiers of him, and killers of the just, not only in themselves, but endeavouring with all their might to destroy it in others, where it is born ; Pharaoh and Herod to slay the young Jews in the Spirit, as the old did; I do feel it worrying of them, and it is got up to be king, which knew not suffering Joseph. But God will plague him, and the seed will have more rest, and be better entertained in Egypt, than under Herod, into whom old Pharaoh's spirit is entered. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear; and an eye to see, let him see, how this spirit hath transformed in all ages against the just and righteous; but mark, what hath been its end. But the seed reigneth; glory to the Lord God over all for ever! and his truth spreadeth, and friends here are in unity and peace, and of good report, answering the good or that of God in people. And so my desires are, that all God's people may do the same in all places wherever they be, so that the Lord may be glorified in their bringing forth much fruit, that is heavenly and spiritual. Amen.'
G. F. Amsterdam, the 25th of the
7th month, 1677.
After I bad given forth the foregoing epistle, whereby my spirit was in some measure eased of the weight that lay upon it, I went in the afternoon to the monthly meeting of friends at Amsterdam, where the Lord was present with us, and refreshed our spirits together in himself.
I thought to have gone next day to Harlem, but there being à fast appointed to be kept that day, I was stopped in my spirit, and moved to stay at friends' meeting that day at Amsterdam. We had a very large meeting, a great cuncourse of people coming to it, and amongst them many
great persons. The Lord's power was over the meeting ; and in the openings thereof I was moved to declare to the people, that no man by all his wit and study, nor by reading history in his own will, could declare or know the generation of Christ, who was not begotten by the will of man, but by the will of God. After I had largely opened this unto them, I shewed them the difference between the true fast and the false ; manifesting unto them, that the professed Christians, Jews and Turks, were out of the true fast, and fasted for strife and debate, being under the band and fists of iniquity and oppression, wherewith they were smiting one another; but the pure hands were not lifted up to God. And though they did all appear to men to fast, and did hang down their heads for a day like a bulrush, yet that was not the fast which God did accept; but in that state all their bones were dry, and when they called upon the Lord, he did not answer them, neither did their health grow; for they kept their own fast, and not the Lord's. And there l'exhorted them to come and keep the Lord's fast, which was to fast from sin and iniquity, from strife and debate, from violence and oppression, and to abstain from every appearance of evil. These things were opened to the astonishment of the fasters; and the meeting ended peaceably and well.
I went to Harlem the day following, having before appointed a meeting to be there that day. Peter Hendricks and Gertrude Dirick Nieson went with me; and a blessed meeting we had. There were at the meeting professors of several sorts, and a priest of the lutherans, who sat very attentive for several hours while I declared the truth amongst them, Gertrude interpreting. When the meeting was done, the priest said that he had heard nothing but what was according to the word of God; and desired that the blessing of the Lord might rest upon us, and our assemblies. Others also confessed to the truth, saying they had never heard things so plainly opened to their understandings before.
We staid that night at Harlem at a friend's house, whose name was Dirick Klassen ; and returning next day to Amsterdam, went to Gertrude's house ; where we had not been long come in, before there came a priest of great note, who had formerly belonged to the emperor of Germany, and with him another German priest, desiring to have some conference with me. So I took the opportunity to declare the way of truth unto them, opening unto them how they might come to know God and Christ,
and his law and gospel; and shewing them that they could never know
it by study nor by philosophy, but by divine revelation through the Spirit of God, opening unto them in the stillness of their minds. The men were tender, and went away well satisfied.
On the first-day of the week following I was at friends' meeting at Amsterdam, where, amongst the several sorts of professors that were present, there was a doctor of Poland, who for his religion was banished from the place he lived in; and he beiny affected with the testimony of truth that was borne in the meeting, came after the meeting to have some discourse with me; and after we had been some time together, and I had opened things further to him, he went away very tender and loving,
Now while I was at Amsterdam, I spent most of my time (except it were when I was at friends' meetings, or when people came to speak with me) in writing books, papers, or epistles on truth's behalf. For I writ several epistles from Amsterdain to friends in England and elsewhere, on several occasions, as the Lord moved me by his spirit thereunto. I writ also from thence, A Warning to the Inhabitants of the City of Oldenburgh, which was lately burnt down; also, A Warning to the Inhabitants of the City of Hambro'. I writ also an epistle to the ambassadors that were treating a peace at Nimmeguen. To the magistrates and priests of Embden I writ a book, shewing them their unchristian practices in persecuting friends. And several other books I writ there, in answer to priests and others of Hambro', Dantzick, and other places, to clear the truth and friends from their false charges and slanders.
After some time George Keith and William Penn came back from Germany to Amsterdam, and had a dispute with one Galenus Abrahams (one of the most noted baptists in Holland) at which many professors were present; but not having time to finish the dispute then, they met again two days after, and the baptist was much confounded, and truth gained ground. Between these two disputes we had a very great meeting at friends' meeting-place, at which many hundreds of the world's people were, and some of high rank in the world's account; for there was an earl, and a lord, and divers other eminent persons, who all behaved themselves very civilly. But when the meeting was ended, some priests began to make some opposition, which when William Penn understood, he stood up again, and answered them to the great satisfaction of the people, who were much affected with the several testimonies that they had heard declared. And after the meeting several of thein