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proud tyranny of the papacy, and with one consent do testify against many of its doctrines and ceremonies, some as plainly anti-christian, and others as trifling and impertinent.
"But, alas! in how many things doth this reformation of theirs appear in some men's eyes, even yet to need reforming ! How many evident marks of the old apostasy, do even to this time continue amongst them! How many relics of the Romish Church (to speak freely) do they cherish in the bosom of the Reformation, and as it were fondly embrace! This is clear as the sun at noon-day; and hence arise the tears and lamentations of many of the righteous, who in this island both night and day, with deep sighs and earnest supplications, beseech the most merciful God, that he may at last have compassion on his heritage, which lies neglected, and overrun with the briars and thorns of error.
"The primitive piety flourished in the last age, and many made an excellent confession in the sight of many witnesses: I mean the martyrs during the persecution that raged in the days of Henry the Eighth, and his daughter Mary; under whose government, England being as it were turned into a field of blood, they sealed their testimony, either by imprisonment, or in the flames. But in the succeeding reigns, that Christian zeal by degrees languished; yea, was as it were altogether worn out; until that, about fifty years ago, the old piety being as it were again restored, it wonderfully revived. And now was there a general concern for religion, for cleansing the temples from superstition, drawing up articles of faith; and earnestly disputing about doctrine and worship, settling of churches, and the ministerial call and office. All of them professing to have a zeal for God, were at length divided into separate societies, under several forms and ceremonies, mutually opposing each other. But men, falling away from that true and sincere fervency of spirit, in which they began, and entering with eagerness into debates and controversies, quenched those sparks of divine truth, which Christ, "the true Light" had kindled. Hence followed a form of godliness, the power of it being generally denied; saving that God under every form was pleased, of his bounteous liberality, to cause that some were still reserved to himself, out of every tribe and society, who, in this almost universal declension, had not bowed their knees to the image of the beast mentioned in the Revelations, nor worshipped him. I believe also that there are
even at this day, many sheep of the heavenly Shepherd, which are not yet gathered into his fold; this is my Christian charity, and I am not without hope, that in due time they shall be brought in.
"But to return to the point. The faithful under affliction in Babylon, and humbly waiting for deliverance from God, have at length obtained their desire: for that true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,' hath shined out of darkness,' in the hearts of some, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ;' who giving up in obedience to the divine light, being called forth, and commissioned by his authority alone, having the everlasting gospel committed unto them, and revealed in them to preach to the inhabitants of the earth, and to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people, Rev. xiv. 6, have been sent forth by God, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see, to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.' 1 Tim. vi. 15, 16.
"These faithful servants of the most High God, consulting not with flesh and blood, not depending on arts or languages, or any human protection; not fearing men, but inspired with the Holy Spirit, and fearing Almighty God, went forth, preaching the everlasting gospel, namely, Christ in men, the hope of glory.
"Now that great dragon, the old serpent, which is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world, seeing his kingdom in the utmost danger, and the gate of deliverance open to his captives; full of great wrath, left no stone unturned, labouring with might and main, with his utmost craft and policy, to oppose and withstand the Truth itself, and the promulgators of it. Hence arose a great and dreadful war; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels, but these prevailed not; for Michael, and his angels, namely, Christ the Lamb, and his followers, obtain the victory. Salvation is from our God, that sits upon the throne, and from the Lamb: therefore blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and strength, be unto our God, for ever and ever, Amen. For he hath done marvellous things; his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory: the Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the heathen, Psal. xcviii. 1, 2; for he
hath sent forth his light, and his truth, by which many have been led and conducted to his holy hill, and into his tabernacle."
About this time, a particular friend of his, being concerned to travel in the work of the ministry, for his encouragement in that service, he wrote the following letter; namely,
"Dear and loving Friend,
"Upon a weighty consideration of the Lord's drawing thee forth to some service, I am persuaded he hath for thee, in the western parts of this nation, I am moved of the Lord to write as followeth.
"Behold, the day is come, wherein the Lord is fulfilling his ancient promise, saying, 'I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on my servants, and on my hand-maidens, I will pour out, in those days, of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy,' Acts, ii. 17, 18. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased,' Dan. xii. 4. They shall not meditate beforehand, what, or how they shall speak; for it is not they that speak, but the Spirit of their Father that speaketh in them, Matt. x. 19, 20.
"O, the power that attends the testimonies of these servants of the most High God! For they speak not in their own wisdom, will, or time; but they wait upon the Lord, in deep humility and silence, to receive from him before they minister unto others; so that, having an awful and diligent regard to the eternal inspeaking word, and neither staying behind, nor running before their guide, when they speak, they speak as the oracles of God, and their speech, and their preaching, is not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power.
"This is that living ministry, which the Lord hath raised up, and hath sent, and is sending forth in our days; and whether it be by male or female, by noble or ignoble, by rich or poor, by learned or unlearned, it matters not; for our eye is not to be at the instrument, of what sex, age, outward degree or quality soever, but to the power of the living God, which manifests itself in, and through the instrument. And as this power is minded both by speakers and hearers, the service and worship will be divine
indeed the Lord's labourers shall see of the travail of their souls, and on both hands shall be satisfied.
“Here, the mourners in Zion shall be comforted, the feeble knees shall be confirmed, the careless sons and daughters shall be quickened, the aliens and strangers shall be gathered, and the obstinate and rebellious shall be left without excuse.
"I see in the vision of life, a glorious work and service before thee. Behold the fields are white to the harvest, many are wandering as sheep without a shepherd, and others waiting for the consolation of Israel. Be faithful, and thy labours shall be crowned with abundance of increase; no weapon formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that riseth up against thee thou shalt condemn. Keep low, stand in the cross, and wait in stillness and simplicity, and never open thy mouth in public, till thou certainly feelest him to open, whose sole prerogative it is in the gospel ministration. My soul hath been, and is in a travail for thee, and a cry ariseth in me to the Lord, that he would hide thee in the hollow of his hand, and lead thee in the way he would have thee to go; and then, thy goings will be safe, and his work shall prosper in thy hands. Do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem.
"This is in tender love from thy travailing Friend and Brother, "RICHARD CLARIDGE."
Before we conclude this year, we hope it may be of service to insert
The substance of two Conferences between him and David Crossly, an Antinomian Baptist preacher; the first, on the 3d of the Fourth Month, 1698; the second, on the 21st of the Fourth Month, 1699, with some enlargement upon the subject of election and reprobation.
An Antinomian Baptist preacher, having heard that Richard Claridge, who had also been a teacher among the Baptists, was gone off from that people, and turned Quaker, (as the common phrase is, among those who are ignorant of the truth as it is
in Jesus,) wrote a letter to Richard Claridge, desiring him to inform him whether the report he had heard of him were true; but Richard Claridge making no reply thereto, when the Antinomian came to London, he gave Richard Claridge a friendly visit at his house, to confer with him about that, and other religious matters.
The first thing they discoursed of, was, concerning gospel worship and ministry, which Richard Claridge said, were not of any human institution or contrivance, but purely divine or spiritual. For God being a spirit, he will be worshipped in spirit and in truth. And they that minister, ought not to come forth in their own will and time; but wait in silence, to receive from the Lord, before they offer any thing before him; that he may provide himself a sacrifice, and receive an oblation of his own preparing, and not of man's. This briefly is gospel worship, and gospel ministry, and there is none other.
The Antinomian declared his full accordance with Richard Claridge in this matter, saying, he was one with him therein; and as to the ministry, he did believe the ministers of the gospel were to receive first from the Lord, that which they delivered to the people. By which concession, the ministry among the people called Quakers is justified; for they wait in silence upon the Lord, to receive from him, before their mouths are opened in prayer, or testimony: and the practice of others is condemned, whether Episcopal, Presbyterian, Independent, or Baptist preachers, among whom there is no waiting in silence, first to receive from the Lord, and then to offer unto him of his own; but their teachers usually come forth with a prepared form of