« EdellinenJatka »
and conversations ye may show forth righteousness, holiness, and godli
ness, that God Almighty may be glorified in you all, and through you
all, who is above all, blessed and praised for ever. Amen. G. F. * London, the 11th of the 4th month, 1685.”
I wrote several other letters to Friends, in divers foreign countries, from whom I had received letters about the affairs of truth. Which when I had despatched, I got a little way out of town, being much spent with the heat of the weather, throngs in meetings, and continual business. I went at first to South-street, where I abode some days. And a great sense entered me of the growth and increase of pride, vanity, and excess in apparel, and that not only amongst the people of the world, but too much also in some that came among us, and seemed to make profession of the truth. In the sense I had of the evil thereof, it came upon me to give forth the following, as a reproof and check thereunto.
“THE apostle Peter saith (in 1 Pet. iii.) of the women's adorning; “Let it not be (mark, let it not be : this is a positive prohibition) that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price, for after this manner in old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves.” ‘Here you may see what is the ornament of the holy women, which was in the sight of God of great price, which the holy women who trusted in God adorned themselves with. But the unholy women, that trust not in God, their ornament is not a meek and a quiet spirit; they adorn themselves with plaiting the hair, putting on of apparel, and wearing of gold, which is forbidden by the apostle in his general epistle to the church of Christ, the true christians. “The apostle Paul saith, 1 Tim. ii. 9, 10. “In like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety, not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but which becometh women professing godliness, with good works.” Here ye may see what the women were not to adorn themselves with who professed godliness: they were not to adorn themselves with broidered hair, nor gold, nor pearls, nor costly array; for this was not looked upon to be modest apparel for holy women that professed godliness and good works. But this adorning or apparel is for the immodest, unshamefaced, unsober women, that profess not godliness, neither follow those good works that God commands. Therefore it doth not become men and women, who profess true christianity and godliness, to be adorned with gold, or chains, or pearls, or costly array, or with broidered hair; for Wol. II. 36
these things are for the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and pride of life, which is not of the Father. All holy men and women are to mind that which is more precious than gold; “being redeemed not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot. Therefore as obedient children to God, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in your ignorance, but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” I Pet. i. 14, 15. “Christ saith, “The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.” Luke xii. 23. “I read of a wise moral philosopher, who, meeting a woman with her neck and breasts bare, laid his hand upon her and said, “woman, wilt thou sell this flesh?” and she replying, no: “Then pray,” said he, “shut up thy shop,” (meaning her bare breasts and neck.) So they were looked upon as harlots that went with their necks, breasts, and backs bare, and not modest people, even among the moral heathens. Therefore those that profess the knowledge of true christianity should be ashamed of such things. You may see a book written by the very Papists, and another by Richard Baxter the Presbyterian, against bare breasts and bare backs. They that were but in an outward profession did declare against such things, therefore they who are in the possession of truth and true christianity should be ashamed of such things. Read, I pray you, the third of Isaiah. There you may see the holy prophet was grieved with the foolish women's vain attire, and was sent by the Lord to reprove them. Envious, persecuting Jezebel, her attired head and bravery, like a painted harlot out of the truth, did not keep her from the judgments of God, when the Lord stirred up Jehu against her. Doth not pride go before a fall, and a haughty mind before destruction? “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Solomon saith, “The Lord will destroy the house of the proud.” Prov. xv. 25. “For the day of the Lord shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, &c. and he shall be brought low.” Isa. ii. 12. and Mal. iv. Therefore take heed of calling the proud happy; for “the Lord will scatter the proud in the imagination of their own hearts, and exalt them of a low degree.” You may read in the Revelation (chap. xvii. 4. and xviii. 16.) of the false church, how she was outwardly decked, but full of abomination, and came to a downfall at last. Therefore it is good for all that profess the truth, to use this world as not abusing it; “for the fashion of this world passeth away, but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. The Lord taketh pleasure in his people, he will beautify the meek with salvation.” Psalm crlix. 4. All that know the truth as it is in Jesus, are to be beautified and clothed with this salvation, which salvation is a strong wall or a bulwark against that spirit that would lead you further into the fall from God, into those things which the fallen man and woman delight in, to beautify, or adorn themselves with. Therefore, all that profess the truth, be circumspect, sincere, and fervent, following the Lord Jesus Christ, who is not of this world; in whom ye have life and peace with God. G. F. “South-street, the 24th of the 4th month, 1685.’
After some weeks I returned to London. Among other services that I found there, one was to assist in drawing up a testimony to clear our friends of being concerned in the late rebellion in the west, and from all plots against the government; which accordingly was done, and delivered to the chief justice, who was then to go into the west with commission to try prisoners.
I tarried some time in London, visiting meetings, and labouring among Friends in the service of truth. But finding my health much impaired for want of fresh air, I went to Charles Bathurst's country-house at Epping-forest, where I staid a few days. There it came upon me to write the following epistle to Friends:
‘DEAR FRIENDs, Who are called, chosen and faithful in this day of trial, temptations, and sufferings, whom the Lord by his right hand hath upholden in all your sufferings (and some to death) for the Lord and his truth's sake. Christ saith, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world; in me ye have peace, but in the world ye have trouble.” The children of the seed, which be heirs of the kingdom, know this is true. And though ye have trials by false brethren, Judases, and sons of perdition, that are got into the temple of God, and exalted above all that is called God, whom the Lord will destroy with the breath of his mouth and the brightness of his coming; and though ye be tried by powers and principalities, yet there is nothing able to separate you from the love of God which ye have in Christ Jesus. In that love dwell, which bears all things, and fulfils the law; in which edify one another, and be courteous, kind, and humble; for to such God giveth his grace plentifully, such he teacheth. And pray in the holy ghost, which proceeds from the Father and the Son; in it keep your holy communion and unity in the spirit, in the bond of peace, which is the King of kings' heavenly peace. In that you are all bound to good behaviour, to keep peace among yourselves, to seek the peace of all men, and to show forth the heavenly, gentle, and peaceable wisdom to all, in righteousness and truth, answering the good in all people in your lives and conversations (for the Lord is glorified in your bringing forth spiritual fruit:) that ye may eye and behold the Lord in all your actions, that the blessings of the Lord ye may all feel to rest upon you. Whether ye be the Lord's prisoners for his name and truth's sake, or at liberty, in all things labour to be content, for that is a continual feast; and let no trouble move you; then ye will be as mount Sion, that cannot be removed. In all things exercise the word of patience, which word will sanctify all things to you. Study to be quiet, and do the Lord's business that he requires of you, and your own, in truth and righteousness. Whatsoever ye do, let it be done to the praise and glory of God in the name of Jesus Christ. All that make God's people suffer, make the seed suffer in their own particulars, and imprison the just there. Such will not visit the seed in themselves, but cast it into prison in others, and not visit it in prison. You may read that Christ saith, “such must go into everlasting punishment.” That is a sad punishment and prison. All such as are become apostates and backsliders, that crucify to themselves Christ afresh, put him to open shame, trample under feet the blood of the Son of God by which they were cleansed, and come to be unclean; such grieve, vex, quench, and rebel against the spirit of God in themselves, and then such rebel against them that walk in the spirit of God. Such are unfaithful to God and man, and are enemies to every good work and service of God; but their end will be according to their works, who are like the earth that hath often received rain, but brings forth briers and thorns, which are to be rejected, and are for the fire. Therefore, dear friends, in all your sufferings feel the Lord's eternal arm and power, which hath supported you to this day, and will to the end, as your faith stands in it, and as you are settled upon the rock and foundation Christ Jesus, that cannot be removed, in whom ye have life and peace with God. The Lord God Almighty, in him, give you dominion, and preserve you all to his glory, that in all your sufferings ye may feel his presence, and that, when ye have finished your testimony, ye may receive the crown of glory which God hath laid up for them that fear and serve him, Amen. G. F. “The 15th of the 7th month, 1685.”
Having spent about a week in the country I returned to London; where I continued about two months, visiting meetings, and labouring to get relief for Friends from their sufferings, which yet lay heavy upon them in many parts of the nation. I also wrote several papers relating to the service of truth, one of which was concerning order in the church of God, which some that were gone out of the unity of Friends did much oppose. It was as followeth:
“AMong all societies, or families, or nations of people in the world, they have among them some sort of order. There was the order of Aaron in the Old Testament, and there was the order of Melchisedek before that, after whose order Christ Jesus came, and he did not despise that order. God is a God of order in his whole creation, and in his church; and all believers in the light, the life in Christ, that pass from death to life, are in the order of the holy spirit, power, light, life, and government of Christ Jesus, of the increase whereof there is no end. This is a mystery to all those disorderly people, who have written and printed so much against order, which the Lord's power and spirit hath brought forth among his people. And you that cry so much against order, is it not manifest that you are gone into a land of darkness, thick as darkness itself, and of the shadow of death, into disorder, and where the light is as darkness? is not this your condition seen by all them that live and walk in the truth, and whose conversations are according to the gospel of life and salvation? “The devil, satan, dragon, the first and second beast, the whore and false prophets, and their worshippers and followers, all are out of the truth, abode not in it, nor in the order of it: and the truth is over them all. In Salem is God's tabernacle; and his tabernacle is in Shiloh : these are far beyond the tabernacles of Ham. Psalm lxxvi. lxxviii. All the figures and shadows were and are comprehended in time; but Christ the substance is the beginning and the ending. And all trials, troubles, persecutions, and temptations came up in time: but the Lord's power, which is everlasting, is over all such things; in which is safety. “The black world of darkness lieth in wickedness, and by their wisdom know not God that made the world and all things therein: for the god of the world and prince of the air ruleth in the hearts of all that disobey the living God who made them. So the god of this wicked world hath blinded the eyes of the infidels or heathen; so that this wicked world by their wisdom doth not know the living God. “In the Old Testament the Lord said, “With all thy offerings thou shalt offer salt.” Levit. ii. 13. And Christ saith in his new covenant, “Every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good; but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith will you season it ! have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” JMark ix. 48, 49, 50. ‘We have received the earnest of the spirit, which is the earnest of the inheritance that fadeth not away. For God poureth out of his spirit upon all flesh. It is God's spirit, which is above our natural spirit (by which alone we do not know God;) for it is by the spirit of God that we know the things of God. And the spirit of God doth witness to our souls and spirits, that itself is the earnest of an eternal inheritance. “God opens his people's ears to discipline, and commands that they turn from iniquity. If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days