Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

When we had visited most of the meetings in Somersetshire, we passed into Dorsetshire to George Harris', where we had a large men's meeting. There all the men's Monthly Meetings for that county were settled in the glorious order of the gospel; that all in the power of God might ‘seek that which was lost, bring again that which was driven away; cherish the good, and reprove the evil.” Then having visited the meetings of Friends through the country we came to Southampton, where we had a large meeting on the first day. From thence we went to Capt. Reaves', where the general men's meeting for Hampshire was appointed; to which some from all parts of the county came, and a blessed meeting we had. The men's Monthly Meetings for that county were settled in the order of the gospel, which had brought life and immortality to light in them. But there came a rude company who had run into Ranterism, and had opposed and disturbed our meetings much. One of the women had lain with a man, who had declared it at the Market-cross, and gloried in his wickedness. A company of these lewd people lived together, at a house hard by the place of our meeting. I went to the house, and told them of their wickedness. The man of the house asked, “Why did I make so strange of that?’ Another of them said, ‘It was to stumble me.' I told them, ‘Their wickedness should not stumble me; for I was above it.' And I was moved of the Lord to tell them, ‘The plagues and judgments of God would overtake them, and come upon them.” Afterwards they went up and down the country, till at last they were cast into Winchester gaol; where the man that had lain with the woman stabbed the gaoler, but not mortally. After they were let out of gaol, this fellow that stabbed the gaoler hanged himself. The woman also had like to have cut a child's throat, as we were informed. These people had formerly lived about London; and, when the city was fired, they prophesied, “That all the rest of London should be burnt within fourteen days,’ and hasted out of town. Though they were Ranters, great opposers of Friends, and disturbers of our meetings, yet in the country where they came, some would be apt to say they were Quakers. Wherefore I was moved of the Lord to write a paper, to be dispersed amongst the magistrates and people of Hampshire, to clear Friends and truth of them and their wicked actions. After the men's Monthly Meetings in those parts were settled, and the Lord's blessed power was over all, we went to a town where we had a meeting with Friends. From thence we came to Farnham, where we met many Friends, it being a market-day. We had many precious meetings up and down that country. Friends in those parts had formerly been plundered, and their goods much spoiled, on account of tithes, and for going to meetings; but the Lord's power at this time preserved both them and us from falling into the persecutors' hands.

We had a general men's meeting at a Friend's house in Surry; who had been plundered so extremely, that he had scarce a cow, horse, or swine left. The constables threatened to come and break up our meeting; but the Lord restrained them. At this meeting the men's Monthly Meetings were settled in the authority of the heavenly power. After we had visited Friends in that county, and had many large and precious meetings, we passed to a Friend's house in Sussex, where the general meeting for the men Friends of that county was appointed to be held; and thither came several from London to visit us. We had a blessed meeting; and the men's Monthly Meetings for that county were then settled in the Lord's eternal power, the gospel of salvation; that all in it might keep to the order of the gospel. There were at that time great threatenings of disturbance; but the meeting was quiet. We had several large meetings in that county; though Friends were in great sufferings there, and many in prison. I was sent for to visit a Friend that was sick, and went to see Friends that were prisoners. There was danger of my being apprehended; but I went in the faith of God's power, and thereby the Lord preserved me in safety.

We passed into Kent; where, after we had been at several meetings we had a general one for the men Friends of that county. There also the men's Monthly Meetings for that county were settled in the power of God, and established in the order of the gospel, for all the heirs of it to enter into their services and care in the church for the glory of God. Friends rejoiced in the order of the gospel, and were glad of the settlement thereof which is not of man, nor by man.

After this I visited the meetings in Kent; and when I had cleared myself of the Lord's service in that county, I came to London. Thus were the men's Monthly Meetings settled through the nation; for I had been in Berkshire before, where most of the ancient Friends of that county were in prison; and when I had informed them of the service of these Monthly Meetings, they were settled amongst them also. The Quarterly Meetings were generally settled before. I wrote also into Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Barbadoes, and several parts of America, advising Friends to settle their men's Monthly Meetings in those countries. For they had their general Quarterly Meetings before; but now that truth was increased amongst them, they should settle those men's Monthly Meetings in the power and spirit of God which first convinced them. And since these meetings have been settled, that all the faithful in the power of God who are heirs of the gospel, have met together in the power of God, which is the authority of them, to perform service to the Lord therein, many mouths have been opened in thanksgivings and praise, and many have blessed the Lord God, that ever he sent me forth in this service; yea, with tears have many praised him. For all coming to have a concern and care for God's honour and glory, that his name be not blasphemed, which they profess; and to see that all who profess the truth, walk in the truth, in righteousness and holiness, which becomes the house of God, and that all order their conversation aright, that they may see the salvation of God; all having this care upon them for God's glory, and being exercised in his holy power and spirit, in the order of the heavenly life and gospel of Jesus, they may all see and know, possess and partake of the government of Christ, of the increase of which there is to be no end. Thus the Lord's everlasting renown and praise is set up in every one's heart that is faithful; so that we can say the gospel order established amongst us is not of man, nor by man, but of and by Jesus Christ, in and through the Holy Ghost. This order of the gospel, which is from Christ the heavenly man, is above all the orders of men in the fall, whether Jews, Gentiles, or apostatized christians, and will remain when they are gone. For the power of God, which is the everlasting gospel, was before the devil was, and will be and remain forever. And as the everlasting gospel was preached in the apostles' days to all nations, that all might come into the order of it, through the divine power, which brings life and immortality to light, that they who are heirs of it, might inherit the power and authority of it; so now, since all nations have. drunk the whore's cup, and all the world hath worshipped the beast, (but they, whose names are written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, who have worshipped God in spirit and truth, as Christ commanded,) the everlasting gospel is to be and is preached again, as John the divine foresaw it should, to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. This everlasting gospel torments the whore, and makes her and the beast to rage, even the beast that hath power over the tongues which are called the original, to order them, by which they make divines, as they call them. But all that receive the gospel, the power of God, which brings life and immortality to light, come to see over the beast, devil, whore, and false prophet, that darkened them and all their worships and orders, and come to be heirs of the gospel, the power of God, which was before the beast, whore, false prophet, and devil were, and will be when they are all gone and cast into the lake of fire. And they that are heirs of this power and of this gospel inherit the power which is the authority of this order, and of our meetings. These come to possess the joyful order of the joyful gospel, the comfortable order of the comfortable gospel, the glorious order of the glorious gospel, and the everlasting order of the everlasting gospel, the power of God which will last forever, and will outlast all the orders of the devil, and that which is of men or by men. These shall see the government of Christ,

who hath all power in heaven and earth given to him; and of the increase of his glorious, righteous, holy, just government there is no end; but his government and his order will remain: for he who is the author of it is the first and the last, the beginning and ending, the foundation of God, which over all stands sure, Christ Jesus, the Amen. Being returned to London, Istaid some time, visiting Friends' meetings in and about the city. While I was in London, I went one day to visit him that was called squire Marsh, who had showed much kindness both to me and Friends. I happened to go when he was at dinner. He no sooner heard of my name, but he sent for me up, and would have had me sit down with him to dinner; but I had not freedom to do so. Several great persons were at dinner with him; and he said to one of them who was a great Papist, “here is a Quaker, which you have not seen before. The Papist asked me, “whether I did own the christening of children " I told him, “there was no scripture for any such practice.’ ‘What!" said he, “not for christening children ' I said, ‘nay.' I told him, ‘the one baptism by the one spirit into one body we owned; but to throw a little water on a child's face, and say, that was baptizing and christening it, there was no scripture for that.' Then he asked me, “whether I did own the Catholic faith?' I said, ‘yes;' but added, “that neither the pope nor the Papists were in the Catholic faith; for the true faith works by love, and purifies the heart and if they were in that faith that gives victory, by which they might have access to God, they would not tell the people of a purgatory after they were dead. So I undertook to prove, “that neither pope nor Papists, that held a purgatory hereafter, were in the true faith.” For the true, precious, divine faith, which Christ is the author of, gives victory over the devil and sin, that had separated man and woman from God. And if they (the Papists) were in the true faith, they would never use racks, prisons, and fines to persecute and force others to their religion, that were not of their faith. This was not the practice of the apostles and primitive christians, who witnessed and enjoyed the true faith of Christ; but it was the practice of the faithless Jews and Heathens so to do. But,” said I, ‘seeing thou art a great and leading man among the Papists, and hast been taught and bred up under the pope, and seeing thou sayest, “there is no salvation but in your church;” I desire to know of thee, “what it is that doth bring salvation in your church?' He answered, “a good life.” And nothing else?” said I. “Yes,’ said he, ‘good works!” “And is this it that brings salvation in your church, a good life and good works? Is this your doctrine and principle" said I. ‘Yes,’ said he. “Then, said I, “neither thou, nor the pope, nor any of the Papists know what it is that brings salvation.” He asked me, ‘what brought salvation in our church 1” I told him, ‘that which brought salvation to the church in the apostles' days, the same brought salvation to us, and not another; namely, “the grace of God, which’” the scripture says, “brings salvation, and hath appeared to all men,” which taught the saints then, and teaches us now. And this grace, which brings salvation, teaches, “to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live godly, righteously, and soberly.” So it is not the good works, nor the good life that brings the salvation, but the grace.” “What!" said the Papist, “doth this grace, that brings salvation, appear unto all men?’ ‘Yes,’ said I. ‘Then,' said he, “I deny that.' I replied, “all that deny that are sect-makers, and are not in the universal faith, grace, and truth, which the apostles were in.” Then he spoke to me about the mother church. I told him, the several sects in Christendom had accused us, and said, “we forsook our mother church.” The Papists charged us with forsaking their church, saying, “Rome was the only mother church.” The Episcopalians taxed us with forsaking the old Protestant religion, alleging, “theirs was the reformed mother church.” The Presbyterians and Independents blamed us for leaving them, each of them pretending “theirs was the right reformed church.” But I said, if we could own any outward place to be the mother church, we should own Jerusalem, where the gospel was first preached by Christ himself and the apostles, where Christ suffered, where the great conversion to christianity by Peter was, where were the types, figures, and shadows, which Christ ended, and where Christ commanded his “disciples to wait until they were endued with power from on high.” So if any outward place deserved to be called the mother, that was the place where the first great conversion to christianity was. But the apostle saith, Gal. iv. 25, 26. “Jerusalem, which now is in bondage with her children; but Jerusalem, which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for the desolate hath many more children than she that hath an husband.” ver. 27. Now this we see, that Jerusalem below, (which was the highest place of worship,) and all that be like her, in profession without possession, have more children than the free woman, that hath an husband, which is Jerusalem that is above, the mother of us all, that are true christians. So the apostle doth not say, outward Jerusalem was the mother, though the first and great conversion to christianity was there; and there is less reason for the title “mother” to be given to Rome, or to any other outward place or city, by the children of Jerusalem, that is above and free: neither are they Jerusalem's children that is above and free, who give the title of mother either to outward Jerusalem, to Rome, or to any other place or sect of people. And though this title [mother] hath been given to places and sects by the degenerate Christians, yet we say still, as the apostle said of old, “Jerusalem that is above, is the mother of us all;”

« EdellinenJatka »