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accustomed to appear after this manner; for the wind, ye know, bloweth where it listeth.
Friends, call to mind the former times, and remember the days that are past and gone, when the day of the Lord first dawned unto you, and his power seized upon you. Ye know how weighty and retired the spirits of Friends then were, how grave and solid their deportment and carriage; how few and savoury their words, tending to edify the hear. ers; how great a fear and backwardness was in them to enter into familiarity with the world's people. O Friends, that was a good day, and that was a safe state ; for fear begets watchfulness, and watchfulness is a means to prevent danger. Therefore, all Friends keep in the holy fear, and therein watch against the enemy, that he entangle you not, nor hurt your spirits, by a too near familiarity and intimate conversing with the people of the world; for therein I assure you lies a snare. For though it be both lawful and necessary, and in some cases also useful and serviceable to the truth, to converse with them that are without, yet if any Friend should adventure in a frank and free mind, beyond the limits of the pure fear, to entertain familiarity with the world's people, the spirit of the world in them will seek an entrance, and, if not diligently watched against, will also get an entrance ; and bring a hurt and a loss upon him or them into whom it so gets. For being once entered, it will insensibly work, and dispose the
mind into which it is got, to a condescension to, and compliance with the people of the world it converses with; first in one thing, then in another, in words, in behaviour, &c. little things in appearance, but great in consequence; till at length an indifferency gets up in the mind, and the testimony of truth by degrees is let fall. But while the pure fear is kept to and dwelt in, the watch is always set, the spirit is retired and weighty, and an holy awfulness rests upon the mind, which renders such converse both safe to the Friends, and more serviceable to them they converse withal.
And Friends, not only in your conversing with the world's people, but in all your conversation and course of life, watch against the spirit of the world, for it lies near to tempt and draw out the mind, and to lead back into the world again. You know, Friends, that at the first, when the visiting arm of the Lord reached to us, he led us out of the world's ways, manners, customs and fashions; and a close testimony, both in word and practice, was borne against them. But how hath this testimony been kept up, and kept to by all, who have since made profession of the truth? Ah, how hath the enemy, for want of watchfulness, stole in upon too, too many, and led out their minds from that which did at first convince them, into a liberty beyond the cross of Christ Jesus; and in that liberty they have run into the world's fashions, which the world.
ly spirit continually invents to feed the vain and airy minds withal, that they may not come to gravity and solidity?
Thence it hath come to pass, that there is scarce a new fashion come up, or a fantastic cut invented, but some one or other that professes truth, is ready with the foremost to run into it. Ah, Friends, the world sees this and smiles, and points the finger at it. And this is both a hurt to the particular, and a reproach to the general. Therefore, O let the lot be cast, let search be made by every one, and let every one examine himself, that this Achan, with his Babylonish garment, may be found out and cast out; for indeed, he is a troubler of Israel. And all Friends, who upon true search shall find yourselves concerned in this particular, I warn and exhort you all, return io that which at first convinced you ; to that keep close, in that abide ; that therein ye may know, as at the first, not only a bridle to the tongue, but a curb to the roving mind, a restraint to the wandering desire. For assuredly, Friends, if truth be kept to, none will need to learn of the world what to wear, what to put on, or how to shape and fashion their garments; but truth will teach all how best to answer the end of clothing, both for useful service and modest decency. And the cross of Christ will be a yoke to the unruly will, and a restraint upon the wanton mind; and will crucify that nature that delights in finery and in bravery of apparel, in which the true adorn
ing doth not stand, but in the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even a meek and quiet spirit, 1 Pet. ii. 4. And the grace of God, which hath appeared to all, and which hath brought salvation to many, will not only teach to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, Titus ii. 11, 12; but will also lead those that obey it, out of all excess, and out of all superfluities and worldly vanities, and will teach them to order their conversation aright. Therefore, to this heavenly grace let every mind be turned, and therein stayed, that thereby all who profess the truth, may be kept in the holy limits of it; that in their whole conversation and course of life, in eating, in drinking, in putting on apparel, and in whatsoever else we do, or take in hand, that all may be done to the glory of God, i Cor. x. 31, that our moderation in all things may appear unto all nen,
And let not any deceive and hurt themselves with a false plea; saying, I will be left to my liberty ; I have freedom to do, go, or wear so and so; and religion stands not in clothes, &c. For that liberty which the worldly spirit leads into, is not indeed the true liberty, but is a false and feigned liberty, which leads into true and real bondage. And though religion stands not simply in clothes, yet true religion stands in that which sets a bound and limit to the mind with respect to clothes as well as to other things. So that where there is a run
ning out into excess and vanity in apparel, that is a certain indication and token, that the mind has got loose, and hath cast off the yoke, and is broke away from its due subjection to that Di. vine power, in which the true religion stands.
Great hath been the hurt which the enemy hath done in this day, by leading into a false freedom, and crying up a wrong liberty ; for under this pretence have crept in great disorders, some running out one way, and some another; some mixing in marriages with the world's people, and some going to the priest to be married. And many loose and unclean spirits have shrouded themselves under this plausible pretence of being left to their liberty, unto whom truth's order is irksome and un. easy; and they kick against it and call it im. position, because it checks their licentious liberty. Therefore, all who join with their plea, examine and try what liberty it is ye claim and stand for ; for the true liberty is not inconsistent with the cross of Christ, nor repugnant to his yoke, but agrees with it, and is obtained through it, and maintained by it. And none whom the Son hath made free in. deed, will or can plead, or make use of that liberty, in opposition to any means which the God of order hath appointed, or set up in his church, for the keeping out confusion, disorder and looseness. And hereby all may take a right measure, and may certainly know what kind of liberty that is, which some have so hotly contended for, in opposition to that necessary and commendable order, which God