Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

time in London, I went to Edmonton; and from thence into Buckinghamshire, where I visited Friends at several meetings in the upper side of that county; and then went by Henly to Reading, where I tarried several meetings. I went no farther westward at this time than Ore, where I had a very large meeting; after which, striking through the edge of Oxfordshire, I had a large and very precious meeting at Warborough, in which the glory of the Lord shined over all. Many Friends came to this meeting out of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hampshire. From thence I passed to Ilmore, in the Vale of Buckinghamshire, where we had a glorious meeting. The day following I returned to Mary Pennington's. From whence I visited the men's and women's Monthly Meetings at Hungerhill, and some other meetings thereabouts; then passed to Watford, where was a marriage of two Friends, at which I was present. A very large meeting we had on that occasion, and the Lord's power was over all. I went from Watford to Longford, in Middlesex, visiting Friends at Uxbridge in the way. At Longford we had a large meeting, it being on first-day, and the presence of the Lord was preciously felt amongst us; blessed be his name ! I passed from Longford to Kingston, visiting Friends as I went, at Staines and Sunbury. At Kingston I abode with Friends two meetings, wherein we were sweetly refreshed together in the Lord. Passing from thence towards London, I had a very precious meeting at Wandsworth: then crossing over to Hammersmith, I had a good meeting there; which was the larger by reason of a burial, and there being a pretty openness in the people on that occasion, I had a fine opportunity to open the way of truth amongst them. After I was come to London, I was moved to write the following paper concerning that spirit which had led some who professed truth, into strife and division, and to oppose the way and work of the Lord:

‘FRIENDs, You that keep your habitation in the truth that is over all, do see that it is the same spirit which leads the back-sliders and apostates now from the spiritual fellowship and unity of the church of Christ, that led Adam and Eve from God. This spirit was the same that was in the world, which got into the Jews when they were gone from the spirit of God; and then turned against God and his prophets, and against Christ and his apostles. That spirit led them to be as bad as Pilate, or worse. The enmity or adversary was got within them against the truth, and those that walked in it, and the spirit of the Lord; so that they killed and destroyed the just. This was the spirit of the devil, the destroyer, who sought not only to destroy the truth, but the order of it, and those that walked in it when true christianity was planted among the possessors of the light, grace, and truth, the holy gospel faith and spirit, who enjoyed Christ in their heart. But when some began to err from the spirit and faith, to

Wol. II. 31

hate the light, disobey the gospel, turn the grace of God.into wantonness, walk despitefully against the spirit of grace, turn from the truth, crucify to themselves Christ afresh, and put him to open shame; these were they that let in the spirit of the world, who held the form of godliness, but denied the power thereof; and troubled the churches in the apostles' days. When the spirit of satan had got into such, they were more troublesome to the church than the open persecutors without. These got into the assemblies to deceive the hearts of the simple; having the good words and fair speeches, the sheep's clothing. Paul, Peter, John, Jude, and James, had much to do with such, to keep them from troubling the church of Christ; for they are out of the light, power, and spirit; therefore, the apostles of Christ exhorted the saints to keep to the word of life within; to the anointing: to the grace, truth, and holy spirit in their hearts. This foul spirit will profess all the scriptures in words; but by the spirit of God, which is holy, that spirit is tried, and its fruits. So the apostates went from the power and spirit of God, and turned against the prophets and martyrs of Jesus; and became the whore, whose cup all nations drank of. The dragon with his tail threw down many of the stars, and would have devoured the woman with his flood; but the woman, the true church, was preserved, for the gates of hell cannot prevail against her; and then the dragon made war with her seed. So the dragon, the whore, beast, and false prophets, all made war against the Lamb and the saints, but the Lamb and the saints will overcome them, and have the victory. And now the everlasting gospel is preached again to all nations, tongues, and people; and many are gathered into the gospel, the power of God, turned to the light, which is the life in Christ, grafted into him, and are come to walk in the order of the new covenant of light and life, in the gospel of peace and salvation. The same spirit that opposed the apostles and the churches in their days, opposes now; yea, it is the same that opposed Christ and disdained him, that disdaineth God's servants now. The same that opposed the prophets, and rebelled against Moses, opposes and rebels against God's servants and people now. It is the same dark, blind, disobedient, faithless, wilful, jealous spirit, that persecutes some with the hands, and others with the tongue. It is the same spirit that is now going about, sometimes like a roaring lion, sometimes like a twisting serpent to tempt, to deceive and to devour, in those that have fair speeches and good words, the sheep's clothing, in a form of godliness, under pretence of light and liberty, but deny the power thereof, and inwardly are ravening wolves. If it were possible they would deceive the very elect. But the elect are in the covenant of light and life, in the power of God over them, and in Christ, who will grind them to pieces, and slay all his enemies with his spiritual sword, who will not have him to rule over or in them. In Christ all his people have rest and peace, who is their sanctuary over all storms and tempests. In Christ, the sanctuary, no deceiver nor destroyer can come; for he is a place of sweet rest and safety. Hallelujah! praise the Lord for his sanctuary. Amen. G. F.”

Sufferings continuing severe upon Friends at London, I found myservice lay mostly there: wherefore I went but little out of town, and not far; being frequent at the most public meetings, to encourage Friends, both by word and example, to stand fast in the testimony to which God had called them. At other times I went from house to house, visiting those Friends that had their goods taken away for their testimony to truth. And because the wicked informers were grown very audacious, by reason they had much countenance and encouragement from some justices, who, trusting wholly to their information, proceeded against Friends without hearing them: whereby many were made to suffer, not only contrary to right, but even contrary to law also. I advised with some Friends about it, and we drew up a paper, which was delivered to most of the magistrates in and about the city, as followeth:

‘WHEREAs informers have obtained warrants of some justices of peace, who have convicted many of us without hearing us, or once summoning us to appear before them; by which proceedings many have had their goods seized and taken away, being generally fined ten pounds apiece for an unknown speaker: and some of those persons so fined have not been at the meetings they were fined for; and the speaker notwithstanding hath himself been fined for the same meeting, the same day the others were fined for the unknown speaker. The justices may see the wickedness of these informers, by whose false oaths we have been convicted for an unknown preacher, when the preacher hath been both known and fined. Also in their swearing such persons to have been at such a meeting such a day, when indeed those so sworn against have not been at that meeting. By which proceedings several families of the king's peaceable subjects are like to be ruined, if a speedy stop be not put thereunto. Therefore we hope and desire that you, the king's justices, for the time to come, when any informers shall come to any of you with an information against any of us, will summon such as are accused to appear before you, and hear us and our accusers face to face; that none may suffer for what they are not guilty of For Pilate the governor heard Christ and his accusers face to face before he condemned him. John xix. The council and chief priests heard Stephen and his accusers, with the witnesses that were brought against him, face to face before they condemned him. Acts vii. The Roman captain heard Paul and his accusers face to face. Acts xxiii. Felix the governor heard

Paul and Ananias the high priest, and the elders that accused Paul, face to face. Acts xxiv. And when the high priests and chief of the Jews accused Paul to Festus, he heard Paul and his accusers, and them that witnessed against him, face to face. Acts xxv. Doth the law of God, or did the Roman law, or doth the law of the land judge any man before he and his accusers, and they that witness against him, be heard face to face ''

This somewhat moderated the justices: and after this several Friends, who had been illegally prosecuted and fined, entered their appeals; upon trial whereof they were acquitted, and the informers cast: which was a great discouragement to the informers, and some relief to Friends. . A little before the time for choosing new sheriffs for the city, those who put up to be chosen desiring our Friends to give their voices for them, I wrote a few lines, tending to discover what spirit they were of and how they stood affected to true liberty; it was by way of inquiry, thus:

“Do any here in London, who stand to be chosen sheriffs, own that Christ, who was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem, to be the light of the world, that “enlightens every man that cometh into the world.” who saith, “Believe in the light, that ye may become children of the light?" Is any of you against persecuting people for their religion and worship of God in spirit and truth, as Christ commandeth For Christ said, “I am not of this world nor my kingdom:” therefore he doth not uphold his spiritual worship and pure religion with worldly and carnal weapons. Christ said, “Swear not at all;” and his apostle James saith the same: but will not you force us to swear, and break Christ's and his apostle's commands, in putting oaths to us? Christ saith to his apostles, “Freely ye have received, freely give:” Will not you force us to give tithes and maintenance to such teachers as we know God hath not sent? Shall we be free to serve and worship God, and keep his and his Son's commands, if we give our voices freely for you? for we are unwilling to give our voices for such as will imprison and persecute us, and spoil our goods.’

But whatever the candidates were, I observed heat and strife in the spirits of the people that were to choose; wherefore I wrote a few lines to be spread amongst them, directed,

“To the people who are choosing Sheriffs in London:

“People,_All keep in the gentle and peaceable wisdom of God, which is above that which is earthly, sensual, and devilish; and live in that love of God that is not puffed up, nor is unseemly; which envieth not, but beareth and endureth all things. In this love ye will seek the good and peace of all men, and the hurt of no man. Keep out of all heats, be not hot-headed; but be cool and gentle, that your christian moderation may appear to all men; for the Lord is at hand, who beholds all men's words, thoughts, and actions, and will reward every one according to their work: what every man soweth, that shall he reap."

I had some inclination to go into the country to a meeting: but hearing there would be a bustle at our meetings, and feeling great disquietness in people's spirits in the city about choosing sheriffs, it was upon me to go to the meeting in Gracechurch-street on first-day. William Penn went with me, and spoke in the meeting. While he was declaring the truth, a constable came in with his great staff, and bid him give over, and come down: but William Penn held on, declaring truth in the power of God. After awhile the constable drew back; and when William Penn had done, I stood up and declared to the people “the everlasting gospel which was preached in the apostles' days, and to Abraham; which the church in the apostles' days did receive, and came to be heirs of This gospel, I declared, was sent from heaven by the holy ghost in the apostles' days, and is so now ; and was not of man, neither by man, but by the revelation of the holy ghost. And now this gospel is preached again (as John saw and said it should be) to all nations, tongues, and people; and all people now are to hear Christ the prophet, in this his gospel of the new covenant. For as Moses said, “Like unto me will God raise up a prophet, and him shall ye hear in all things:” so, said I, this prophet Christ is come, and all the Jews in spirit, the true believing christians in the light, who have the law of God written in their hearts, and put into their minds, are to hear Christ in his gospel, New Testament, and new covenant, which is the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, who bruises the serpent's head (which is the head of enmity,) and makes free from the law of sin and death. I showed, that all whom Christ quickens and makes alive, he makes to sit together in the heavenly places in himself. So that they do not wander up and down, like the fool's eye in the corners of the earth; nor are their eyes abroad in the world, to sit down in the world's invented seats of religion; but they sit together in him, as the saints did in the apostles' days. So Christ was and is their treasure of wisdom, life, knowledge, and salvation.” As I was thus speaking, two constables came in with their great staves, and bid me, ‘give over speaking and come down.' But I, feeling the power of the lord with me, spoke on therein, both to the constables and to the people. To the constables I declared, “That we were a peaceable people, who meet to wait upon God, and worship him in spirit

« EdellinenJatka »