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that were high-minded, and had got the form of godliness, but denied the power, and termed them like Jannes and Jambres, which withstood Moses coming out of outward Egypt, as these with their form of godliness oppose Christ and his power that brings them out of spiritual Egypt now. Was not he a judge here in divine matters, who judged such as had gotten the form of godliness but denied the divine power? 2 Tim. iii. “When the apostle Paul said, “The priesthood of Aaron was changed, and the law was changed, and the commandment disannulled, that gave them their tithes,” did not he judge in divine and spiritual matters 1 and was not the law spiritual, which served till the seed came 1 ‘Did not the apostle judge in divine and spiritual matters in the sixth of the Hebrews, where he saith, “Let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith towards God, and of the doctrines of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment: and this will we do, if God permit,” &c. and does not the apostle judge here, “That it was impossible for those who were once enlightened, and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were partakers of the holy ghost, and had tasted of the good word of God, and of the power of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to open shame!” Heb. vi. Were not these spiritual, eternal, and divine matters and states that the apostle judged of 1 and have not the saints the same judgment given unto them in the same spirit? Have not the apostles and the church a spiritual judgment to judge of prophets, mysteries, faith, apostles, angels, world, and the devil? And is not this judgment given them of God in divine matters, besides the judgment given them in matters pertaining unto this life 2 “And had not they judgment to discern the true gospel from the false? and all such as had a profession of the form, and did not live in the power? and such as spoke of the things of God, in the words that man's wisdom did teach which things of God were not to be spoken in the wisdom which man's words taught; but in the word which the holy ghost taught. Therefore did not the apostle exhort to know the power, and that their faith might stand in the power of God? that the kingdom of God stands not in word, but in power? “Had not all the prophets a judgment to judge in divine matters? as Jeremiah, when he judged the prophets; and Ezekiel judged all such as came with a pretence of the word of the Lord, using their tongues, and saying, “thus saith the Lord; when the Lord never spoke unto them." Jer. xxiii. Ezek. xiii. and many other places might be instanced. Did he not judge Hananiah, who prophesied falsely 7 and did not this Hananiah pretend to speak the word of the Lord to the priests and people? Jer. xxviii. ‘Did not Isaiah judge in divine matters, when he judged the watchmen and the shepherds? Isa. lvi. Did not Micah judge in divine and spiritual matters, when he said, he “was full of the power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment?” Did not he judge of priests, prophets, and judges, though they would lean upon the Lord, and say, is not the Lord amongst us, and no evil can come unto us; yet did not he let them see their states and conditions, and “divided the precious from the vile !” JMich. iii. And so the rest of the prophets. You may see they judged for God in his divine matters, “who served him, and who served him not; who lived in truth, and who not;” and likewise the apostles. And this divine, spiritual, heavenly judgment was given of God to his holy men and women. “They that judge in God's divine matters, must live in his divine spirit, power, and light now, as they did then; which spiritual and divine judgment Christ has given to his church, the living stones, and living members, that make up his spiritual household; to try Jews, apostles, and prophets; to try faiths and religions, trees and fruits, shepherds and teachers, and to try spirits. So the living members have a living divine judgment in the church of Christ, which he is the head of, the judge of all. • Nay, the church has a power given them, which is farther than a judgment: for what they “bind on earth, is bound in heaven by the power of God;" and what they “loose on earth is loosed in heaven by the power of God.” This power has Christ given to his living members, the church. G. F. to Friends. “The 20th of the 12th month, 1685-6.’
I returned to London in the first month 1686, and set myself with all diligence to look after Friends' sufferings, which we had now some hopes of getting relief from. The sessions came on in the second month at Hicks' Hall, where many Friends had appeals to be tried; with whom I was from day to day to advise, and see that no opportunity was slipped, nor advantage lost: and they generally succeeded well. Soon after, the king was pleased, upon our often laying our sufferings before him, “to give order for the releasing all that were imprisoned for conscience sake; which were in his power to discharge.” Whereby the prison doors were opened, and many hundreds of Friends, some of whom had been long in prison, were set at liberty. Some of them, who had many years been restrained in bonds, came up to the Yearly Meeting, which was in the third month this year. This caused great joy to Friends, to see our ancient, faithful brethren again at liberty in the Lord's work, after their long confinement. And indeed a precious meeting we had; the refreshing presence of the Lord appearing plentifully with us and amongst us. After the
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meeting I was moved to write a few lines, to be sent amongst Friends; the tenor whereof was thus:
“DEAR FRIENDs, My love is to you all in the holy seed Christ Jesus; that bruises the serpent's head, and destroys the devil and his works; and who hath all power in heaven and earth given to him. Let every one's faith stand in him, and in his power, who is the author and finisher of your faith. To you who have been partakers of his power, and are sensible of it in this day of his power, which is over darkness and its power; by whose power the hearts of the king and rulers have been opened; and by which your outward prison doors have been set open for your liberty. My desires are, that all may be preserved in humility and thankfulness, in the sense of the mercies of the Lord; and live in the peaceable truth that is over all: that ye may answer God's grace, and his light and spirit in all; in a righteous, godly life and conversation. Let none be lifted up by their outward liberty, neither let any be cast down by suffering for Christ's sake; but all live in the seed (which is as wheat,) which is not shaken nor blown away by the winds and storms, as the chaffis. Which seed of life none below can make higher or lower: for the children of the seed are the children of the everlasting, unchangeable kingdom of Christ and God. In Christ Jesus, whom God hath given you for a sanctuary, God Almighty keep you, in whom ye have life everlasting, and wisdom from above, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits; that all may be exercised in it, and may practise this wisdom in holy lives and conversations; that this wisdom may be justified of all her children, and they exercised and preserved in it in this day of the power of Christ; in which all his people are made a willing people, to serve and worship God in righteousness and holiness, in the spirit and truth.
‘Let none abuse the power of the Lord, nor grieve his spirit, by which you are sealed and kept to the day of salvation and redemption; but always exercise yourselves to have a “good conscience void of offence towards God and towards all men;” being exercised in holiness, godliness, and righteousness, in the truth, and in the love of it. All study to be approved unto God in innocency, virtue, simplicity, and faithful. ness, labouring and studying to be quiet in the will of God. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by him:” that he, who is over all, may have the praise for all his mercies and blessings, with which he hath refreshed his people, and by his eternal arm and power hath kept and preserved them to this day. Glory to his name over all for ever, Amen! Christ has called you by his grace into one body, to him the holy head; therefore, live in charity, and in the love of God, which is the bond of perfectness in his body; which love edifies the body of Christ: which body and all its members are knit together, and increased with the increase of God, from whom they receive nourishment. For by one spirit we are all baptized into one body, and have been made all to drink into one spirit; in which spirit the body and all its members have fellowship with Christ the head, and one with another. The unity of this holy spirit is the bond of peace of all the living members of Christ Jesus, of which he is the spiritual head, rock, and foundation. In the midst of his church of living members Christ exercises his spiritual prophetical office, to open to them the mysteries of his kingdom. He is a spiritual bishop to oversee them, that they do not go astray from the living God that made them; a shepherd that feeds them with bread and water of life from heaven, and none is able to pluck his sheep out of his hands. He is a priest that died for them, sanctifieth them, and presents them to God, who ruleth in their hearts by the divine faith, which he is the author and finisher of His living members praise God through Jesus Christ, in whom they have life and salvation, who reconciles them to God, that they can say they have “peace with God through Jesus Christ:” and so praise God through him that was dead and is alive, reigns over all, and liveth for evermore, blessed for ever, hallelujah, Amen “Greet one another with a holy kiss of charity. Love or charity beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. It envieth not, vaunteth not itself, nor is puffed up, nor doth it behave itself unseemly. It rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Charity is not easily provoked, and thinks no evil, but suffereth long and is kind. Charity never faileth. I say, greet one another with this holy kiss of charity, and peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus, your life and salvation. G. F. “The 30th of the 3d month, 1686.’
I remained most part of this year in London, save that sometimes I got to Bethnal-green for a night or two, sometimes as far as Enfield and thereabouts amongst Friends, and once or twice to Chiswich, where an ancient Friend had set up a school for the educating of Friends' children; in all which places I found service for the Lord. At London I spent my time amongst Friends, either in public meetings, as the Lord drew me, or visiting such as were not well, and in looking after the sufferings of Friends. For though many were released out of prison, yet some remained prisoners still for tithes, &c. and sufferings of several sorts lay heavy on Friends in many places. Yet inasmuch as many who had been prisoners were now set at liberty, I felt a concern upon me that none might look too much at man, but might eye the Lord therein, from whom deliverance comes. Wherefore I wrote an epistle to Friends, as followeth:
“FRIENns,—The Lord by his eternal power hath disposed the heart of the king to open the prison doors, by which about fifteen or sixteen hundred are set at liberty, and hath given a check to the informers, so that in many places our meetings are pretty quiet. My desires are, that both liberty and sufferings may be sanctified to his people, that Friends may prize the mercies of the Lord in all things and to him be thankful, who stilleth the raging waves of the sea, allayeth the storms and tempest, and maketh a calm. Therefore it is good to trust in the Lord, and cast your care upon him who careth for you. For when ye were in gaols and prisons the Lord did by his eternal arm and power uphold you, and sanctified them to you; unto some he made them as a sanctuary, and tried his people as in a furnace of affliction, both in prisons and spoiling of goods. In all this the Lord was with his people, and taught them to know that “the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; and that he was in all places, “who crowneth the year with his goodness.” Psalm lxv. Therefore let all God's people be diligent, and careful to keep the camp of God holy, pure, and clean, and to serve God and Christ, and one another in the glorious, peaceable gospel of life and salvation; which glory shines over God's camp, and his great prophet, bishop, and shepherd is among, or in the midst of them exercising his heavenly offices in them; so that you his people may rejoice in Christ Jesus, through whom you have peace with God. For he that destroyeth the devil and his works, and bruises the serpent's head, is all God's peoples' heavenly foundation and rock to build upon; which was the holy prophets' and apostles' rock in days past, and is now the rock of our age; which rock, the foundation of God, standeth sure. Upon this the “Lord God establish all his people,” Amen. G. F.
‘London, the 25th of the 7th month, 1686.’
Divers other epistles and papers I wrote this year, whereof one was by way of exhortation to “Friends to keep in unity in the truth, in which there is no division nor separation: thus,
“Dear friends and brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ,
“IN whom ye have all peace and life, in whom there is no division, schism, rent, strife, nor separation: for Christ is not divided, and 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