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Holy Spirit is the bond of peace of all the living member of Christ Jesus, of which he is the spiritual Head, Rock and Foundation. And in the midst of his church of living members Christ exercises his spiritual prophetical office, to open to them the mysteries of his kingdom; and is a spiritual Bishop to oversee them, that they do not go astray from the living God that made them; and a Shepherd that feeds them with bread and water of life from heaven, and none is able to pluck his sheep out of his hands; and he is a Priest that died for them, and sanctifieth them, and presents them to God; who ruleth in their hearts by the divine faith, which he is the author and finisher of. And his living members do praise God through Jesus Christ, in whom they have life and salvation, who reconciles them to God, that they can say they have peace with God through Jesus Christ; and so praise God through him that was dead, and is alive again, and reigns over all, and liveth for evermore, blessed for ever; Hallelujah. Amen!
• Greet one another with an holy kiss of charity; and this kiss of charity is above all the kisses of the world; for love and charity beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, and endureth all things. It envieth not, and charity yaunteth not itself, nor is puffed up, nor doth it behave itself unseemly; it rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. And charity is not easily provoked, and thinks no evil, but suffereth long and is kind; and charity never faileth. I say, greet one another with this holy kiss of charity, and peace be with you all, that are in Christ Jesus, your life and salyation.'
G. F. The 30th of the Third month, 1686.
I remained for the most part of this year in London, save that sometimes I got out to Bethnal Green for a night or two, and sometimes went as far as Enfield and thereabouts amongst friends, and once or twice to Chiswick, where an ancient friend had set up a school for the educating of friends' children; in all which places I found service for the Lord. And when I was at London, I spent my time amongst friends, either in public meetings (as the Lord drew me) or visiting friends that were not well, and in looking after the sufferings of friends. For though very many friends were released out of prisons, yet some remained prisoners still for tithes, &c, and sufferings of several sorts lay heavy yet on friends in many places. Yet inasmuch as many friends, that had been prisoners, were now set at liberiy, I felt' a concern upon me, that none
might look too much at man, but might eye the Lord therein, from whom deliverance comes. Wherefore I writ an epistle to frier.ds, and sent it abroad to be read amongst them, as followeth :
Friends, • The Lord by his eternal power hath opened the heart of the king to open the prison doors, by which about fifteen or sixteen hundred are set at liberty, and hath given a check to the informers: so that in many places our meetings are pretty quiet. So my desires are, that both liberty and sufferings, all may be sanctified to his people, and friends may prize the mercies of the Lord in all things, and to him be thankful, who stilletb the raging waves of the seas, and allayeth the storms and tempests, and maketh a calm. And therefore it is good to trust in the Lord, and cast your care upon him, who careth for you. For when ye were in your jails and prisons, then the Lord did by his eternal arm and power uphold you, and sanctified them to you (and unto some he made them as a sanctuary,) and tried his people as in a furnace of affliction, both in prisons and spoiling of goods. And in all this the Lord was with his people, and taught them to know that the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof, and that he was in all places; who crowneth the year with his goodness. Psal. Ixv. Therefore let all God's people be diligent, and careful to keep the camp of God holy, pure and clean, and to serve God and Christ, and one another in the glorious, peaceable gospel of life and salvation, which glory shines over God's camp, and his great Prophet, and Bishop, and Shepherd is among or in the midst of them, exercising his heavenly offices in them; so that you his people may rejoice in Christ Jesus, through whom you have peace with God. For he that destroyeth the devil and his work, and bruises the serpent's head, is all God's people's heavenly foundation and rock to build upon; which was the holy prophets' and apostles' rock in days past, and is now a rock of our ages; which rock and foundation of God standeth sure. Ănd upon this the Lord God establish all his people. Amen.
G. F. London, the 25th of the Seventh month, 1686.
Divers other epistles and papers, relating to friends and truth I writ this year; whereof one was by way of exhortation to friends to keep in unity in the truth, in which there is no division nor separation; and thus it was :
Dear friends and brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom ye have all peace and life, and in him there is no division, nor schism, nor rent, nor strise, nor separation; for Christ is not divided, and there can be no separation in the truth, nor in the light, grace, faith and Holy Ghost, but unity and fellowship, and communion. For ihe devil was the first that went out of the truth, and separated from it, and tempted man and woman to disobey God, and to go from the truth into a false liberty, to do that which God forbad. And so it is the serpent now that leads men and women into a false liberty, even the God of the world, from which man and woman must be separated by the truth; that Christ the truth may make them free, and then they are free indeed. And then they are to stand fast in that liberty, in which Christ hath made them free, and in him (as I said before) there is no division, nor schism, nor rent, nor separation ; but peace, and life, and reconciliation to God, and to one another. So that in Christ, male and female are all one; for whether they be male or female, Jew or Gentile, bond or free, they are all one in Christ. And there can be no schism, rent or division in him; nor in the worship of God in his Holy Spirit and truth; nor in the pure and undefiled religion, that keeps from the spots of the world; nor in the love of God that beareth and endureth all things; nor in the word of God's grace, for it is pure and endureth for ever. Many, you see, have lost the word of patience and the word of wisdom, that is pure, and peaceable, and gentle, and easy to be intreated: then they run into the wisdom that is below, that is earthly, sensual and devilish, and very uneasy to be intreated. And they go from the love of God that beareth all things, and endureth all things, and thinks no evil, and doth not behave itself unseemly; then they cannot bear, but grow brittle, and are easily provoked, and run into unseemly things, and are in that, that vaunteth itself, and are puffed up, and are rash, heady, high-minded and fierce, and become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal; but this is contrary to the nature of the love of God, which is kind, and endureth all things, and beareth all things. And therefore, all dear friends and brethren, dwell in the love of God; for they who dwell in love, dwell in God, and God in them. And keep in the word of wisdom, that is gentle, pure and peaceable, and in the word of patience, that endureth and beareth all things; which word of patience the devil, and the world, and all his instruments can never wear out; it will wear them all out, for it was before they were, and will be when they are gone, the pure, holy word of God, by
which all God's children are born again, and feed on the milk thereof, and live and grow by it. And so my desires are, that ye may all be of one heart, mind, soul, and spirit in Christ Jesus. Amen.'
Soon after this, finding those apostates, whom the enemy had drawn out into division and separation from friends, continued their clamour and opposition against friends' meetings, both monthly, quarterly and yearly, it came upon me to write another short epistle to friends, to put them in mind of the evidence and seal they had received in themselves by the Spirit of the Lord, that those meetings were of the Lord, and accepted by him, that so they might not be shaken by the adversaries. Wherefore I writ as followeth :
My dear friends in the Lord Jesus Christ ! * All you, that be gathered in his holy name, ye know, that all your meetings for worship of God, and all your quarterly-meetings, and all your monthly-meetings, and all your women's-meeting, and all your yearly-meetings are set up by the power and Spirit of the Lord God, and witnessed by his Spirit and power in your hearts; and by the Spirit and power of the Lord God they are established to you, and in the power and Spirit of the Lord God you are established in them. And the Lord God hath with his Spirit sealed to you, that your meetings are of God's ordering and gathering, and he hath owned them, by honouring you with his blessed presence in them; and you have bad great experience of bis furnishing you with his wisdom, life and power, and heavenly riches from his treasure and fountain, by which many thanks and praises have been returned in your meetings to his holy, glorious name. And so he hath sealed your meetings by his spirit to you, and that your gathering together hath been by the Lord, and to Christ his Son, and in his name, and not by man. And so the Lord hath the glory and praise of them and in them, who hath upheld you and them, by the arm of his power, against all the opposers and backsliders, and their slander: ous books and tongues. For the Lord's power and seed doth reign over them all, in which he doth preserve his sons and daughters to his glory, by his eternal arm and power, in his work and service, as a willing people in the day of his power, without being weary or fainting, but strong in the Lord, and valiant for his glorious name and precious truth, and his pure religion; that ye may serve
the Lord in Christ Jesus, your rock and foundation, in your age and generation. Amen.'
G. F. London, the 3rd of the
Eleventh month, 1686–7.
A little after the foregoing was given forth, it came upon me to write something concerning the state of the true church, and of the true members thereof, which I did, as followeth :
Concerning the Church of Christ being clothed with the Sun, and having the Moon under
her Feet. • They are living members and living stones, which are built up a spiritual household, and are the children of the promise, and of the seed and flesh of Christ; and as the apostle saith, Flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone. They are the good seed, and are the children of the everlasting kingdom written in heaven ; and have put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and they sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and so are clothed with the Sun of Righteousness, Christ Jesus, and have the moon under their feet, as Revel. xii. So all changeable things, that are in the world, and all changeable religions, and changeable worships, and changeable ways, and fellowships, and churches, and teachers in the world, are as the moon; for the moon changes, but the sun doth not change. And so the Sun of Righteousness never changeth, nor sets, or goes down; but all the ways, religions, and worships, and fellowships of the world, and the teachers thereof change like the moon. But the true church, which Christ is the head of, which is in God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which church is called the pillar and ground of truth, whose conversation is in heaven; this church is clothed with the Sun, Christ Jesus, her head, who doth not change, and hath all changeable things under her feet. These are the living members, born again of the immortal Seed, by the word of God, and feed upon the immortal Milk, and live and grow by it. And such are the new creatures in Christ Jesus, who makes all things new, and sees the old things pass away. And his church and all bis members, wbich are clothed with the Sun, their worship is in the Spirit, and in the truth, which doth not change; which truth the devil, the foul, unclean spirit is out of, and cannot get into this worship in Spirit and truth. And likewise the church of Christ, their religion