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fort, strengthen, and encourage them; having a true sense of their sufferings upon my spirit, and a sympathizing with them therein. That which I wrote was after this manner:
“My DEAR FRIENDs, Who are sufferers for the Lord Jesus' sake, and for the testimony of his truth, the Lord God Almighty with his power uphold and support you in all your trials and sufferings, and give you patience and content in his will that ye may stand valiant for Christ and his truth upon the earth, over the persecuting destroying spirit, which makes to suffer in Christ, (who bruises the head,) in whom ye have both election and salvation. For his elect's sake the Lord hath done much from the foundation of the world, as may be seen throughout the scriptures of truth. They that touch them touch the apple of God's eye, they are so tender to him; and therefore it is good for his suffering children to trust in the Lord, and to wait upon him; for they shall be as mount Sion, that cannot be removed from Christ their rock and salvation, the foundation of all the elect of God, of the prophets and apostles, and of God's people now and to the end; glory to the Lord and the Lamb over all! remember my dear love to all Friends, and do not think the time long; for all time is in the Father's hand, his power. Therefore keep the word of patience, and exercise that gift. The Lord strengthen you in your sufferings, in his holy spirit of faith. Amen. G. F.
‘Swarthmore, the 5th of the 12th month, 1678.
I abode in the north above a year, having service for the Lord amongst Friends there, and being much taken up in writing in answer to books published by adversaries; and for opening the principles and doctrines of truth to the world, that they might come to have a right understanding thereof, and be gathered thereunto. Several epistles also I wrote to Friends in this time. One was to the Yearly Meeting held in London this year, 1679; a copy of which here follows:
‘My DEAR FRIENDS AND BRETHREN,+Who are assembled together in the name and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, grace, mercy and peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, fill all your hearts, and establish you in his grace, mercy, and peace upon Christ, the holy living rock and foundation, who is the first and last, and over all the foundations and rocks in the whole world; a rock and foundation of life for all the living to build upon, which stands sure in his heavenly divine light, which is the life in him; by whom all things were made, who is the precious stone laid in Sion, (and not in the world,) which all the wise master-builders rejected, who pretended to build people up to heaven with the words of the prophets, and the law from mount Sinai, but out of the life of both: therefore such builders could not receive the law of life from Christ, the precious stone laid in Sion, nor the word from heavenly Jerusalem. But you, my dear friends, that have received this law from heavenly Sion, and the word from heavenly Jerusalem, in the new covenant, where the life and substance is enjoyed, you see the end and abolishing of the Jews' law and ceremonies from mount Sinai. And therefore, my desire is, that you may all keep in the law of life and love, which ye have in Christ Jesus, by which love the body is edified, knit, and united together to Christ Jesus, the head. Which love doth bear all things, fulfils the law, will preserve all in humility, and in it to be of one mind, heart, and soul. So all may come to drink into that one spirit, that doth baptize them and circumcise them, plunging down and cutting off the body of the sins of the flesh, that is got up in man and woman by their transgressing of God's commands. So that in this holy pure spirit all may serve and worship the pure God in spirit and in truth, which is over all the worships that are out of God's spirit and his truth. In this spirit ye will all have a spiritual unity and fellowship over all the fellowships of the unclean spirits, which are out of truth in the world. By this holy spirit all your hearts, minds, and souls may be knit together to Christ, from whence it comes; and by the grace and truth, which is come by Jesus Christ, which all should be under the teachings of in the new covenant, and not under the law, as the outward Jews were in the old covenant. By this grace and truth in the new covenant, all may be made God's free men and women, to serve God in the new life, the new and living way; showing forth the fruits of the new heart and new spirit, in the new covenant, over death and darkness. Glory be to the Lord for ever ! in this grace and truth is heavenly, gracious, and true liberty to every spiritual mind, which makes you free from him that is out of truth, where your bondage was. Also your liberty in the holy, divine, and precious faith, which gives you victory over that which once separated you from God and Christ, by which faith ye have access to God again through Jesus Christ. So in this divine and holy faith, ye have divine, holy, and precious liberty, yea and victory over him that separated you from God; and this faith is held in a pure conscience. So the liberty in the spirit of God is in that which baptizes and plunges down sin and iniquity, and puts off the body of death and sins of the flesh, that are got up by transgressing God's command. And also the liberty of the gospel, which is sent from heaven by the holy ghost, which is the power of God, which was and is again to be preached to all nations; in this gospel is the true liberty, and the gospel-fellowship and order. So that the evil spirit or conscience, or false dead faith, that which is ungracious, out of truth, and not in the spirit of God, nor in his gospel, nor in the divine faith, its liberty is in the darkness; for
all true liberty is in the gospel, and in the truth that makes free; in the faith, in the grace, and in Christ Jesus, who destroys the devil and his works, that hath brought all mankind into bondage. So in this heavenly, peaceable spirit, truth, and faith, which works by love, and in the gospel of peace, and in Christ Jesus is all the saints' peace, and pure, true, and holy liberty; in which they have salt, sense, feeling discerning, and savour, yea and unity and fellowship one with another, and with the Son and the Father, that heavenly, eternal fellowship. So all being subject to the grace and truth, and to the faith and gospel (the power of God,) and to his good spirit, in this they distinguish all true, pure, and holy liberty from that which is false. This will bring all to sit low; for patience runs the race, and the Lamb must have the victory; and not the rough, unruly, and vain talkers, unbaptized, uncircumcised, and unsanctified. Such travel not in the way of regeneration, but in the way of unregeneration: neither go they down into the death with Christ by baptism. Such are not like to reign with him in his resurrection, who are not buried with him in his baptism. Therefore, all must go downward into the death of Christ, and be crucified with him, if they will arise and follow him in the regeneration before they come to reign with him. And, friends, many may have precious openings; but I desire all may be comprehended in that which doth open to them, and that they may all keep in the daily cross; then they keep in the power that kills and crucifies that which would lead them amongst the beasts and goats, to leaven them into their rough unruly spirit; that through the cross, the power of God, that may be crucified, and they in the power might follow the Lamb. For the power of God keeps all in order, subjection, and humility, in that which is lovely, virtuous, decent, comely, temperate, and moderate; so that their moderation comes to appear to all men. My desire is, that all your lights may shine as from a city set upon a hill, that cannot be hid; and that ye may be the salt of the earth, to salt, season, and make it savoury to God, and you all seasoned with it. Then all your sacrifices will be a sweet savour to the Lord, and ye will be as the lilies and roses, and garden of God, which gives a sweet smell unto him: whose garden is preserved by his power, the hedge that hedges out all the unruly and unsavoury, the destroyers and hurters of the vines, buds, and plants, and God's tender blade, which springs up from his seed of life, who waters it with his heavenly water and word of life every moment, that they may grow and be fruitful; that so he may have a pleasant and fruitful garden. Here all are kept fresh and green, being watered every moment with the everlasting holy water of life from the Lord, the fountain. My dear friends, my desire is, that this heavenly seed, that bruises down the head of the serpent both within and without, may be your crown and life, and ye in him one another's crown and joy, to the praise of the Lord God over all, blessed for evermore. This holy seed will outlast and wear out all that which the evil seed since the fall of man hath brought forth and set up. As every one hath received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him in the humility which he teaches: and shun the occasions of strife, vain janglings, and disputings with men of corrupt minds, who are destitute of the truth; for the truth is peaceable, the gospel is a peaceable habitation in the power of God; his wisdom is peaceable and gentle, and his kingdom stands in peace. Oh! his glory shines over all his works in Christ Jesus ye will have peace, who is not of the world; yea a peace that the world cannot take away; for the peace which ye have from him was before the world was, and will be when it is gone. This keeps all in that which is weighty and substantial over all chaff. Glory to the Lord God over all, for ever and ever ! Amen. “And now, my dear friends, the Lord doth require more of you than he doth of other people, because he hath committed more to you. He requires the fruits of his spirit, of the light, of the gospel, of the grace, and of the truth; for herein is he glorified, (as Christ said,) in your bringing forth much fruit, fruits of righteousness, holiness, godliness, virtue, truth, and purity; so that ye may answer that which is of God in all people. Be valiant for his everlasting, "glorious gospel, in God's holy spirit and truth, keeping in the unity, and in the holy spirit, light, and life, which is over death and darkness, and was before death and darkness were. In this spirit we have the bond of peace, which cannot be broken except ye go from the spirit, and then ye lose this unity and bond of peace, which ye have from the Prince of peace. “The world also expects more from Friends than from other people; because you profess more. Therefore, you should be more just than others in your words and dealings, more righteous, holy, and pure in your lives and conversations, so that your lives and conversations may preach. For the world's tongues and mouths have preached long enough; but their lives and conversations have denied what their tongues have professed and declared. “And, dear friends, strive to excel one another in virtue, that ye may grow in love, that excellent way which unites all to Christ and God. Stand up for God's glory, and mind that which concerns the Lord's honour, that in no wise his power may be abused, nor his name evil spoken of by any evil-talkers or walkers; but that in all things God may be honoured, and ye may glorify him in your bodies, souls, and spirits, the little time ye have to live. My love to you all in the holy seed of life, that reigns over all, and is the first and last, in whom ye all have life and salvation, and your election and peace with God, through Jesus Christ, who destroys him that hath been betwixt you and God; so that nothing may be betwixt you and the Tord but Christ Jesus. Amen. ‘My life and love is to you all, and amongst you all. The Lord God Almighty by his mighty power, by which he hath preserved his people unto this day, preserve and keep you all in his power, and peaceable holy truth, in unity and fellowship one with another, and with the Son and the Father. Amen. G. F. “The 24th of the 3d month, 1679.’
Divers other epistles and papers I wrote to Friends during my stay in the north; one was ‘To encourage Friends to be bold and valiant for the truth, which the Lord had called them to bear witness to.” It was thus:
‘DEAR FRIENDs, All be valiant for the Lord's truth upon the earth, which the serpent, satan, the devil is out of; and in the truth keep him out, in which you all have peace, life, and unity with God and his Son, and one with another. Let the love of God fill all your hearts, that in it ye may build up and edify one another in the light, life, holy spirit, and power of God, the glorious comfortable gospel of Christ, the heavenly man, your Lord and Saviour, who will fill all your vessels with his heavenly wine and water of life, clothe you with his heavenly clothing, his fine linen that never waxeth old; and arm you with his heavenly armour, that ye may stand faithful witnesses for God and his Son, who is come and hath given you an understanding to know him, and ye are in him. So walk in him, in whom ye all have life and salvation, and peace with God. My love to you in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom I have laboured; and God Almighty, in his eternal power and wisdom, preserve you to his glory. Amen. G. F.
“Swarthmore, the 29th of the 10th month, 1679.’
The next day having a sense upon me that some who had received the truth, and had openings thereof, for want of keeping low had run out therefrom, I was moved to give forth the following epistle, as a “warning and exhortation to all to dwell in humility.’
‘My DEAR FRIENDS,-Whom the Lord in his tender mercies hath visited with the day-spring from on high, and hath opened you to confess and bow to his name; keep low in your minds, and learn of Christ who teacheth you humility, to keep in it; so that in no wise ye that be younger be exalted, puffed up, or conceited through your openings, and by that means lose your conditions, by being carried up into presumption; then fall into despair, and so abuse the power of God. For it was the apostles' care, that none should abuse the power of the Lord God;