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the true hope that purifies, even as God is pure: they judge of belief, whether it be that which is born of God, and overcometh the world, or that which runs into the spirit of the world, which lusts to envy and doth not overcome the world. And they judge of worships, whether they be willworships, and the worship of the beast and dragon, or the worship of God in spirit and in truth. They judge of angels, whether they be fallen, or them that keep their habitation. And they judge the world, that grieves and quenches the spirit, and hates the light, and turns the grace of God into wantonness, and resists the Holy Ghost : they judge of the hearts, ears and lips which are circumcised, and which are uncircumcised: they judge of ministers, and apostles, and messengers, whether they be of satan or of Christ: they judge of differences in outward things, in the church or elsewhere; yea, the least member of the church hath power to judge of such things, having the one true measure, and true weight to weigh things, and measure things withal, without respect to persons. And this judgment is given, and all these things are done by the same power and spirit the apostles were in. And also such can judge of election and reprobation ; and who keep their habitation, and who not; and who are Jews, and who are of the synagogue of satan; and who are in the doctrine of Christ, and who are in the doctrines of devils; and who prescribes and declares things from the power and spirit of God, to preserve all in the power and spirit of God; and who prescribes and declares things from a loose spirit, to let all loose from under the yoke of Christ, the power of God, into looseness and liberty. And likewise can judge and discern, who brings people into the possession of the gospel of light and life, over death and darkness, and into the truth, where the devil cannot get in; and who brings them into the possession of death and darkness, out of the glorious liberty of the gospel, and of Jesus Christ, and his faith, and truth, and spirit, and light, and grace. For there is no true liberty, but in that; and that liberty answers the grace, the truth, the light, the spirit, the faith, the gospel of Christ in every man and woman, and is the yoke to the contrary in every man and woman. And that makes it rage, and swell, and puff up; for that is restless and unruly and out of patience, and is ready to curse his god, and that which reigns over him, because it bath not its will. And it works with all subtilty and evasion with its restless spirit, to get in and defile the minds of the simple, and to make rapes upon the virgin minds. But as they receive the heavenly wisdom, by wbich all things were
made (which wisdom is above that spirit) through this wisdom they will be preserved over that spirit. And Christ hath given judgment to his saints in his church, though he be judge of all; and the saints, in the power and spirit of God, had and have power to judge of words and manners, of lives and conversations, and growths and states from a child to a father in the truth; and to whom they are a savour of death, and to whom they are a savour of life : and who serve the Lord Jesus Christ and preach him, and who preach themselves and serve themselves : and who talk of the light, and of faith, and of the gospel, and of hope, and of grace, and preach such things; and in their works and lives deny them all, and God and Christ, and preach up liberty from that in themselves to that in others, which should be under the yoke and cross of Christ, the power of God. And so the saints in the power and spirit of Christ can discern and distinguish, who serves God and Christ, and who serves him not; and so can put a distinction between the profane and the holy. But such as have lost their eye-salve, and their sight is grown dim, lose this judgment, discerning, and distinction in the church of Christ, and such come to be spewed out of Christ's mouth, except they repent; and if not, they come to corrupt the earth and burden it, that it vomits them out of it. And therefore all are exhorted to keep in the power and spirit of Christ Jesus, and in the word of life, and the wisdom of God (which is above that that is below) in which they may keep their heavenly understandings, and heavenly discernings; and so set the heavenly spiritual judgment over that which is for judgment; which dishonour's God; which leads into loose and false liberty ; out of the unity, which stands in the heavenly Spirit, which brings into conformity, and to be conformable to the image of the Son of God and his gospel, the power of God (which was before the devil was) and his truth (which the devil is out of) in which all are of one mind, heart and soul; and come to drink into one Spirit, being baptized into one Spirit, and so into one body, which Christ is the head of; and so keep one fellowship in the Spirit, and unity in the Spirit, which is the bond of peace, the Prince of princes peace. And they that cry so much against judging, and are afraid of judgment, whether they be apostates, professors or profane, they are the most judging with their censorious, false spirits and judgment; and yet cannot bear the true judgment of the Spirit of God, nor stand in bis judgment. This hath been manifest from the beginning, they having the false measures, and the false weights; for none have the true measure and
true weight, but who keep in the light, power and spirit of Christ. And now there is a loose spirit, that cries for liberty, and against prescriptions, and yet is prescribing ways both by words and writings. And the same spirit cries against judging, and would not be judged, and yet is judging with a wrong spirit. And this is given forth in reproof to that spirit.'
G. F. London, the 9th of the 4th month, 1678.
When I had finished what service I had for the Lord at this time here, I left London and went towards Hertford ; vsiting friends, and having several meetings in the way. At Hertford 1 staid several days, having much service for the Lord there, both amongst friends in their meetings, and in conferences with such as having let in evil surmisings and jealousies concerning friends, stood in opposition to the order of truth : and in answering some books that had been written against truth and friends. And while I was here, it came upon me to write a few lines, and send them abroad amongst friends, as followeth :
Let the holy seed of life reign over death and the unholy seed in you all; that in the holy seed of the kingdom ye may all feel the everlasting holy peace with God, ihrough Christ Jesus, your Saviour, and sit down in him, your life and glorious rest, the holy rock and foundation, that standeth sure over all from everlasting to everlasting, in whom all the fulness of blessedness is; so that ye may glory in him that liveth for evermore, Amen. Who is your eternal joy, life and happiness; through whom you have peace with God. Which holy seed bruiseth the head of the serpent, and will out-live all his wrath and rage, malice and envy; who was before he and it was, and remains when he and it is gone into the fire, that burns with brimstone. The seed, Christ, will reign; and so will ye, as ye do live and walk in him, and sit down in Christ, and build up one another in the love of God.'
G. F. Hertford, the ICth of the 5th month, 1678.
Next day a fresh exercise came upon me, with respect to those unruly and disorderly spirits, which were gone out from us, and were labouring to draw others after them into a false liberty. And in the sense I had of the hurt and mischief these might do, where they were given way to, I was moved to write a few lines to warn friends of them, as followeth :
All friends, • Keep in the tender life of the Lamb, over that unruly, puffed up and swelling spirit, whose work is for strife, contention and division, drawing into looseness and false liberty, under a pretence of conscience, and dangerous to the spoiling of youth. They that do encourage them, will be guilty of their destruction, and set up a sturdy will instead of conscience in their rage and passion ; which will quench the universal spirit in themselves, and in every man and woman : and so, that spirit shall not have the liberty in themselves, nor in others, and so shut up the kingdom of heaven in themselves, and also in others. And so a loose spirit getting up under a pretence of liberty of conscience; or a stubborn will, making a profession of the words of truth in a form without power, all looseness and vileness will be sheltered and covered under this pretence, which is for eternal judgment : for that doth dishonour God. Therefore keep to the tender Spirit of God in all humility, that in it you may know, that ye are all members of one another, and all have an office in the church of Christ; and all these living members know one another in the spirit, and not in the flesh. So here is no man ruling over the woman, as Adam did over Eve in the fall : but Christ, the spiritual man, among and over his spiritual members, which are edified in the heavenly love that is shed in their heart from God, where all strife ceases.'
G. F. Hertford, the 11th of the
Fisth nionth, 1678.
I went from Hertford to a meeting at Rabley-heath about six miles from thence; and afier the meeting to Edward Crouch's, of Stevenage: from whence next day I went to Baldock, where I had a meeting that evening; and after that had meetings at Hitchin and Ashwell. Then passing through some part of Bedfordshire, where I had a meeting or two, I went on to Huntingdon, in which county I staid several days, having many meetings, and much service amongst friends, labouring to convince gainsayers, and to confirm and strengthen friends in the way and work of the Lord. At Ives in Huntingdon-hire George Whitehead came to me, and travelled with me in the work of the Lord for five or six days in that county, and in some part of Northamptonsbire; and leaving me in Great Bowden in Leices. tershire, he went on towards Westmoreland, whither he was travelling. I staid longer in Leicestershire, visiting friends at Saddington, Wigston, Knighton, Leicester, Sileby,
Swannington, and divers other places; where I had very precious meetings, and very good service amongst friends and other people for there was great openness, and many weighty and excellent truths did the Lord give me to open amongst them.
At Leicester I went to the jail to visit the friends that were in prison there for the testimony of Jesus, with whom I spent some time; encouraging them in the Lord to persevere stedfastly and faithfully in their testimony, and not to be weary of suffering for his sake. And when I bad taken my leave of the friends, I spake with the jailer, desiring him to be kind to them, and let then have what liberty he could, to visit their families sometimes.
After I had been in Leicestershire, I had a meeting or two in Warwickshire, and then went into Staffordshire, where I had several sweet and opening meetings, both for gathering into truth and establishing therein. And while I was in Staffordshire I was moved to give forth the following paper :
Dear friends of the quarterly and monthly meetings every where : my desire is, that ye may all strive to be of one mind in the Lord's power and truth, which is peaceable (into which strife and enmity cannot come) and also in the wisdom of God, which is pure, peaceable, and easy to be intreated (which is above that that is below, that is earthly, devilish, and sensual) and that with and in this heavenly wisdom, that is peaceable, and easy to be intreated, you may be all ordered, and do what ye do, to God's glory. And, dear friends, if there should happen at any time any thing that tends to strife, dispute, or contention in your monthly or quarterly meetings, let it be referred to half a dozen, or such a like number, to debate and end, out of your meeting (as it was at first): so that all your monthly and quarterly meetings may be kept peaceable. And then they may inform the meeting what they have done; so that the weak and youth amongst you may not be hurt, through hearing of strife or contention in your meetings, where no strife or contention ought to be : but all go on, and determine things in one mind, in the power of God, the gospel order: in which gospel of peace ye will preserve the peace of all your meetings. And if any man or woman have any thing against any one, let them speak to one another, and end it betwixt themselves; and if they cannot so end it, let them take two or three to end it. And in case they determine it not, let it be laid before the church; and then let half a dozen, or such a number