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schism, rent, strife, nor separation ; for Christ is not divided : there can be no separation in the truth, nor in the light, grace, faith, and Holy Ghost, but unity, fellowship, and communion. For the devil was the first that went out of the truth, 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 forbade. 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. Then they are to stand fast in that liberty, in which Christ hath made them free, and in Him there is no division, schism, rent, or separation ; but peace, life, and reconciliation to God, and to one another. So 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 entreated: then they run into the wisdom that is below, that is
earthly, sensual, and devilish,' and very uneasy to be entreated. They go from the love of God that beareth all things, endureth all things, thinketh no evil, and doth not behave itself unseemly: then they cannot bear, but grow brittle, and are easily provoked, run into unseemly things, and are in that, that vaunteth itself, are puffed up, 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. Therefore, dear Friends and brethren, dwell in the love of God; for they who dwell in love, dwell in God, and God in them. 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 borne again, feed on the milk thereof, and live and grow by it. 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 our monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings, 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. I wrote as follows:
“ MY DEAR FRIENDS IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST! “All you, that are gathered in his holy name, know, that your meetings for worship, your quarterly and other 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. The Lord God hath with his Spirit sealed to you, that your meetings are of his ordering and gathering, and he hath owned them, by honouring you with his blessed presence in them; and you have had great experience of his 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. He hath sealed your meetings by his Spirit to you, and that your gathering together hath been by the Lord, to Christ his Son, and in his name; and not by man. 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 opposers and backsliders, and their slanderous 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.”
London, the 3rd of 11th Month, 1686–7.
A little after it came upon me to write something conceruing the state of the true church, and of the true members thereof, as follows: “ Concerning the Church of Christ being clothed with the Sun, and having the
Moon under her feet. “They are living members, living stones, built up a spiritual household, 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, the children of the everlasting kingdom written in heaven; and have put on the Lord Jesus Christ. They sit together in heavenly places in Christ, are clothed with the Sun of Righteousness, Christ Jesus, and have the moon under their feet, as Rev. xii. So all changeable things, that are in the world, all changeable religions, worships, ways, fellowships, churches, and teachers in the world, are as the moon; for the moon changes, but the sun doth not change. The Sun of Righteousness never changeth, nor goes down; but all the ways, religions, worships, fellowships of the world, and the teachers thereof, change like the moon. The true church, which Christ is the head of, which is in God, the Father, 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, who feed upon the immortal milk, and live and grow by it. Such are the new creatures in Christ Jesus, who makes all things new, and sees the old things pass away. His church and all his members, which are clothed with the Sun, their worship is in Spirit, and in 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 in truth. Their religion is pure and undefiled before God, that keeps from the spots of the world, &c., and their way is the new and living way, Christ Jesus. So the church of Christ, that is clothed with the Sun, that hath the moon and all changeable religions and ways under her feet, hath an unchangeable worship, religion, and way, an unchangeable Rock and Foundation, Christ Jesus, and an unchangeable High Priest; and so are children of the New Testament, and in the everlasting Covenant of Light and Life.
“Now all, that profess the Scriptures both of the New and Old Testament, and are not in Christ Jesus, the apostle tells them, they are reprobates, if Christ be not in them. Therefore these, that are not in Christ, cannot be clothed with Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, that never changes. They are under the changeable moon, in the world, in the changeable things, changeable religions, ways, worships, teachers, rocks, and foundations. But Christ, the Son of God, and Sun of Righteousness, doth not change; in whom his people are gathered, and sit together in heavenly places in him, clothed with Christ Jesus, the Sun, who is the mountain, that filleth the whole earth with his divine power and light. So all his people see him, and feel him both by sea and land. He is in all places of the earth, felt and seen of all his. And Christ Jesus saith to the outward professors, the Jews, 'I am from above,' ye are from below, 'ye are of this world. So their religions, worships, ways, teachers, faiths, beliefs, and creeds are made by men, and are below, of this world that changeth like the moon. You may see their religions, ways, worships, and teachers, are all changeable, like the moon; but Christ, the Sun, with which the church is clothed, doth not change, nor his church ; for they are spiritually minded, and their way, worship, and religion is spiritual, from Christ, who is from above, and not of this world. Christ hath redeemed his people from the world, and its changeable rudiments, elements, and old things, and from its changeable teachers, faiths, and beliefs. For Christ is the author and finisher of his church's faith, who is from above, and saith, *Believe in the light, that ye may become children of light:' and it is given them not only to believe, but to suffer for his name. So this faith and belief is above all faiths and beliefs, which change, like the moon. God's people are a holy nation, a peculiar people, a spiritual household, and royal priesthood, offering up spiritual sacrifice to God, by Jesus Christ; and are zealous of righteous, godly, good works; and their zeal is for that which is of God, against the evil which is not of God.
“Christ took upon him the Seed of Abraham; he doth not say, the corrupt seed of the Gentiles : so, according to the flesh, he was of the holy seed of Abraham and of David; and his holy body and blood was an offering and a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, as a lamb without blemish, whose flesh saw no corruption. By the one offering of himself in the New Testament or New Covenant, he has put an end to all the offerings and sacrifices amongst the Jews in the Old Testament. Christ, the holy Seed, was crucified, dead, and buried, according to the flesh, and raised again the third day; and his flesh saw no corruption. Though he was crucified in the flesh, yet he was quickened again by the Spirit, and is alive, and liveth for evermore; he hath all power in heaven and in earth given to him, and reigneth over all; and is the one Mediator between God and man, even the man Christ Jesus. Christ said, 'He gave his flesh for the life of the world :' and the apostle says, “His flesh saw no corruption : so that which saw no corruption he gave for the life of the corrupt world, to bring them out of corruption. Christ said again, 'He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life: for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. And he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, and I in him.' He that eats not his flesh and drinks not his blood, which is the life of the flesh, hath not eternal life. As the apostle saith, all died in Adam ; then all are dead. Now all coming spiritually to eat the flesh of Christ, the second Adam, and drink his blood, his blood and flesh gives all the dead in Adam life, and quickens them out of their sins and trespasses, in which they were dead; so they come to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, living members of the church of Christ, that he is the head of; are clothed with the Sun of Righteousness, the Son of God, that never changes, and have the changeable moon under their feet, and all changeable, worldly things and inventions, and works of men's hands. These see the people, how they change from one worship to another, from one religion to another, from one way to another, and from one church to another; and yet their hearts are not changed. The letter of Scripture is read by the Christians like the Jews; but the mystery is hid: they have the sheep's clothing, the outside, but are inwardly ravened from the Spirit, which should bring them into the Lamb's and Sheep's nature. The Scripture saith, ‘All the uncircumcised must go down into the pit:' and therefore all must be circumcised with the Spirit of God, which puts off the body of death, and sins of the flesh, that came into man and woman by their disobedience, and transgressing of God's commands. I say, all must be circumcised with the Spirit, which puts off the body of death and sins of the flesh, before they come up into Christ, their Rest, that never fell, and be clothed with Him, the Sun of Righteousness." G. F.
Towards the latter end of this year I went to KINGSTON to visit Friends there; and stayed some time at my son Rous's. I wrote there a paper concerning “the falling away” foretold by the apostle Paul, 2 Thess. ii. 3, as follows :
“The apostle saith that there must be 'a falling away' first, before the wicked one, that man of sin, the son of perdition, be revealed, which betrayeth Christ within, as the son of perdition betrayed Christ without; and they that betray Christ within, crucify to themselves Christ afresh, and put him to open shame. Before the apostles died, this man of sin, the son of perdition, was revealed : for they saw antichrist come, and false prophets, false apostles, and deceivers come, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. They saw the wolves dressed in the sheep's clothing, and such as went in Cain's, Korah's, and Balaam's way, and Jezebel's; and the whore of Babylon, the whore of confusion, the mother of harlots, and such as were enemies to the cross of Christ, that served not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies. These Christ saw should come, and
said, 'If it were possible, they should deceive the elect;' and commanded his followers not to go after them. The apostle said, Turn away from such ;' and Christ and his apostles warned the church of Christ of such. And now, in this day of Christ and his gospel, after the long night of apostasy from the light, grace, truth, life, and Spirit of Christ Jesus, the son of perdition, the wicked one, the man of sin, is revealed again; and the inwardly ravening wolves in sheep's clothing, and the spirit of Cain, Korah, Balaam, Jezebel, the antichrists, false prophets, and false apostles, and such as are enemies to the cross of Christ, who serve not the Lord Jesus, but their own bellies; and crucify Christ to themselves, and put him to open shame. This Spirit have we seen in this gospel-day of Christ; but Christ will consume them with the Spirit of his mouth, and destroy them with the brightness of his coming. But God's people, whom he hath chosen unto salvation in Christ from the beginning, 'through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth,' stand stedfast in Christ Jesus; and are thankful to God, by and through his Son, their rock and salvation, who is their happiness and eternal inheritance.
“The apostle saith, ‘Ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. So when people are returned to Christ, their Shepherd, they know his voice, and follow him; and are returned to the Bishop of their souls: then they believe in him, and receive wisdom and understanding from him, who is from above, heavenly and spiritual. Then they act like spiritual and holy men and women; and come to be members of the church of Christ. Then a spiritual care cometh upon the elders in Christ, that all the members walk in Christ, in his light, grace, Spirit, and truth, that they may adorn their profession of Christ; and see that all walk in the order of the Holy Spirit, and the everlasting gospel of peace, life, and salvation. This order keeps out of confusion; for the gospel of peace, the power of God, was before confusion was. And all the heirs of the gospel are heirs of its order, and are in this gospel, which brings life and immortality to light in them; by which all may see their work and service in it, to look after the poor, widows, and fatherless, and to see that nothing be lacking; and that all honour the Lord in their lives and conversations.
“When the whole house of Israel were in their graves and sepulchres, and were called “the scattered dry bones,' yet they could speak, and say, “their bones were dry, their hope was lost,' or they were without hope,
and they were cut off.' They were alive outwardly, and could speak outwardly. So that which is called Christendom may very well be called 'the scattered dry bones,' and they may be said to be in their graves and sepulchres, dead from the heavenly breath of life, the Spirit and Word of life, that gathereth to God. Though they can speak, and are alive outwardly, yet they remain in the congregations or churches of the dead, that want the virtue of life. For the Jews, whom God poured his Spirit upon, and gave them his law, when they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and turned from God and his law, came to be dry scattered bones, and were turned into their graves and sepulchres. So Christendom, that is turned from the grace, truth, and light of Christ, and the Spirit, that God poureth