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may make them free, and then they are free indeed. Then they are to stand fast in that liberty in which Christ hath made them free, and in him there is no division, schism, rent, nor separation; but peace, life, and reconciliation to God and to one another. So in Christ male and female are all one; for whether they be male or female, Jew or Gentile, bond or free, they are all one in Christ. And there can be no schism, rent, or division in him, nor in the worship of God in his holy spirit and truth, nor in the pure and undefiled religion that keeps from the spots of the world, nor in the love of God that beareth and endureth all things, nor in the word of God's grace, for it is pure and endureth for ever. Many, you see, have lost the word of patience, and the word of wisdom, that is pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated. Then they run into the wisdom that is below, that is “earthly, sensual, and devilish,” and very uneasy to be intreated. They go from the love of God that beareth all things, endureth all things, thinks no evil, and doth not behave itself unseemly; then they cannot bear, but grow brittle, are easily provoked, run into unseemly things, and are in that, that vaunteth itself, are puffed up, rash, heady, high-minded, and fierce, and become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal; but this is contrary to the nature of the love of God. Therefore, dear friends and brethren, dwell in the love of God; for those who dwell in love dwell in God, and God in them. Keep in the word of wisdom, that is gentle, pure, and peaceable: and in the word of patience that endureth and beareth all things; which word of patience the devil, and the world, and all his instruments can never wear out: it will wear them all out; for it was before they were, and will be when they are gone, the pure, holy word of God, by which all God's children are born again, and feed on the milk thereof, and live and grow by it. My desires are, that ye may all be of one heart, mind, soul, and spirit, in Christ Jesus, Amen. G. F.”
Soon after this, finding those apostates whom the enemy had drawn into division and separation from Friends continued their clamour and opposition against our Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly Meetings, it came upon me to write another short epistle to friends to put them in mind of the evidence and seal they had received in themselves by the spirit of the Lord, that those meetings were of the Lord and accepted by him,' that they might not be shaken by the adversaries. I wrote as followeth:
‘..My dear friends in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“All you that are gathered in his holy name know that your meetings for worship, your Quarterly Meetings, Monthly Meetings, women's meetings, and Yearly Meetings, are set up by the power and spirit of the Lord God, and witnessed by his spirit and power in your hearts: and by the
spirit and power of the Lord God they are established to you, and in the power and spirit of the Lord God you are established in them. The Lord God hath with his spirit sealed to you that your meetings are of his ordering and gathering, and he hath owned them by honouring you with his blessed presence in them; and you have had great experience of his furnishing you with wisdom, life, and power, and heavenly riches from his tre...sure and sountain, by which many thanks and praises have been returned in your meetings to his holy, glorious name. He hath sealed your meetings by his spirit to you, and that your gathering together hath been by the Lord, to Christ his son, and in his name, and not by man. So the Lord hath the glory and praise of them and in them, who hath upheld you and them by the arm of his power against all opposers and backsliders and their slanderous books and tongues. For the Lord's power and seed doth reign over them all, in which he doth preserve his sons and daughters to his glory, by his eternal arm and power, in his work and service, as a willing people in the day of his power, without being weary or fainting, but strong in the Lord, and valiant for his glorious name and precious truth, and his pure religion; that ye may serve the Lord in Christ Jesus, your rock and foundation, in your age and generation, Amen. G. F. ‘London, the 3d of the 11th month, 1686–7.’
A little after it came upon me to write something concerning the state of the church and the true members thereof; as followeth:
Concerning the church of Christ being clothed with the sun and having the moon under her feet.
“They are living members, living stones, built up a spiritual household, the children of the promise, and of the seed and flesh of Christ; as the apostle saith, “flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone.” They are the good seed, the children of the everlasting kingdom written in heaven, who have put on the Lord Jesus Christ. They sit together in heavenly places in Christ, are clothed with the sun of righteousness, Christ Jesus, and have the moon under their feet. Revel. xii. So all changeable things that are in the world, all changeable religions, changeable worships, changeable ways, fellowships, churches, and teachers in the world, are as the moon; for the moon changes, but the sun doth not change. The sun of righteousness never changeth, nor sets, nor goes down; but all the ways, religions, worships, fellowships of the world, and the teachers thereof, change like the moon. But the true church, which Christ is the head of, which is in God the Father, and is called “the pillar and ground of truth,” whose conversation is in heaven; this church is clothed with the sun, Christ Jesus her head, who doth not change, and hath all changeable things under her feet. These are the living members, born again of the immortal seed by the word of God, who feed upon the immortal milk, and live and grow by it. Such are the new creatures in Christ Jesus, who makes all things new, and sees the old things pass away. His church, his members, which are clothed with the sun, their worship is in the spirit and in the truth, which does not change, which truth the devil, the soul, unclean spirit, is out of, and cannot get into this worship in spirit and truth. Their religion is pure and undefiled before God, that keeps from the spots of the world, and their way is the new and living way, Christ Jesus, So the church of Christ, that is clothed with the sun, that hath the moon and all changeable religions and ways under her feet, hath an unchangeable worship, religion and way, an unchangeable rock and foundation, Christ Jesus, an unchangeable high priest, and so are children of the New Testament, and in the everlasting covenant of light and life. “All that profess the scriptures both of the New and Old Testament, and are not in Christ Jesus, the apostle tells them they are “reprobates if Christ be not in them.” These that are not in Christ cannot be clothed with Christ, the sun of righteousness, that never changes. They are under the changeable moon in the world, in the changeable things, the changeable religions, ways, worships, teachers, rocks, and foundations. But Christ, the Son of God and sun of righteousness, doth not change; in whom his people are gathered, and sit together in heavenly places in him, clothed with Christ Jesus, the sun, who is the mountain that filleth the whole earth with his divine power and light. So all his people see him and feel him both by sea and land. He is in all places of the earth felt and seen of all his. He saith to the outward professors, the Jews, “I am from above, ye are from below, ye are of this world.” So their religions, worships, ways, teachers, faiths, beliefs, and creeds, are made by men, and are below, of this world that changeth like the moon. You may see their religions, ways, worships, and teachers,are all changeablelike the moon; but Christ, the sun, with which the church is clothed, doth not change, nor his church; for they are spiritually-minded, and their way, worship, and religion is spiritual, from Christ, who is from above and not of this world. Christ hath redeemed you from this world, their changeable rudiments and elements, and old things, and their changeable teachers, and from their changeable faiths and beliefs. For Christ is the author and finisher of his church's faith, who saith, “Believe in the light, that ye may become children of the light.” And it is given them not only to believe, but to suffer for his name. So this faith and belief is above all faiths and beliefs, which change like the moon. God's people are a holy nation, a peculiar people, a spiritual household, and royal priesthood, offering up spiritual sacrifice to God by Jesus Christ, and are zealous of righteousness, godly, good works, and their zeal is for that which is of God against the evil which is not of God. Christ took upon him the seed of Abraham, he doth not say the corrupt seed of the Gentiles; so according to the flesh he was of the holy seed of Abraham and David, and his holy body and blood was an offering and a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, as a lamb without blemish, whose flesh saw no corruption. By the one offering of himself in the New Testament or new covenant, he has put an end to all the offerings and sacrifices amongst the Jews in the Old Testament. Christ, the holy seed, was crucified, dead, and buried according to the flesh, and raised again the third day, and his flesh saw no corruption. Though he was crucified in the flesh, yet quickened again by the spirit and is alive, and liveth for evermore, and hath all power in heaven and earth given to him, and reigneth over all, and is the one mediator between God and man, even the man Christ Jesus. Christ said, “He gave his flesh for the life of the world;" and the apostle saith, “his flesh saw no corruption;” so that which saw no corruption he gave for the life of the corrupt world to bring them out of corruption. Christ said again, “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life; for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. And he that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” He that eats not his flesh and drinks not his blood, which is the life of the flesh, hath not eternal life. As the apostle saith, “All died in Adam;” then all are dead. Now all coming spiritually to eat the flesh of Christ, the second Adam, and drink his blood, his blood and flesh give all the dead in Adam life, and quicken them out of their sins and trespasses in which they were dead; so they come to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and are living members of the church of Christ that he is the head of, and are clothed with the sun of righteousness, the Son of God, that never changes, and have the changeable moon under their feet, and all changeable worldly things, inventions, and works of men's hands. These see the people how they change from one worship to another, from one religion to another, from one way to another, and one church to another, yet their hearts are not changed. The letter of the scripture is read by the christians like the Jews, but the mystery is hid; they have the sheep's clothing, the outside, but are inwardly ravened from the spirit, which should bring them into the Lamb's and sheep's nature. The scripture saith, “All the uncircumcised must go down into the pit;” therefore all must be circumcised with the spirit of God, which puts off the body of death and sins of the flesh, that came into man and woman by their disobedience and transgressing God's commands. I say, all must be circumcised with the spirit, which puts off the body of death and sins of the flesh, before they come up into Christ, their rest, that never fell, and be clothed with him the sun of righteousness. G. F.”
Towards the latter end of this year I went to my son Rouse's near Kingston. While I was there I wrote a paper concerning the “falling away,’ foretold by the apostle Paul, 2 Thess. ii. 3. as followeth:
“THE apostle saith that there must be “a falling away” first before the wicked one, and man of sin, the son of perdition, be revealed, which betrayeth Christ within, as the son of perdition betrayed Christ without; and they that betray Christ within, crucify to themselves Christ afresh, and put him to open shame. Before the apostles deceased, this man of sin and son of perdition was revealed; for they saw antichrist come, the false prophets, false apostles, and deceivers come, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. They saw the wolves dressed in the sheep's clothing, and such as went in Cain's, Korah's, and Balaam's way, and Jezebel's, and the whore of Babylon, the whore of confusion, the mother of harlots, and such as were enemies to the cross of Christ, that served not the Lord Jesus Christ but their own bellies. These Christ saw should come, and said, “If it were possible they should deceive the elect,” and commanded his followers not to go after them. The apostle said, “Turn away from such,” and Christ and his apostles warned the church of Christ of such. In this day of Christ and his gospel, after the long night of apostacy from the light, grace, truth, life, and spirit of Christ Jesus, the son of perdition, the wicked one, the man of sin is revealed again, and the inwardly ravening wolves in sheep's clothing, and the spirit of Cain, Korah, Balaam, Jezebel, the antichrists, false prophets, and false apostles, and such as are enemies to the cross of Christ, who serve not the Lord Jesus, but their own bellies, and crucify Christ to themselves, and put him to open shame. This spirit have we seen in this gospel-day of Christ; but Christ will consume them with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy them with the brightness of his coming. But God's people, whom he hath chosen unto salvation in Christ from the beginning, through the sanctification of the spirit and the belief of the truth, stand steadfast in Christ Jesus, and are thankful to God by and through his Son, their rock and salvation, their happiness, and eternal inheritance.
“The apostle saith, “Ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned to the shepherd and bishop of your souls.” So when people are returned to Christ, their shepherd, they know his voice and follow him, and are returned to the bishop of their souls; then they believe in him and receive wisdom and understanding from him who is from above,
Wol. II. - 39