« ZurückWeiter »
London; where I continued labouring in the work of the gospel of our Lord, until after the yearly-meeting was over, which this year was about the beginning of the fourth month. A precious meeting it was, and a very refreshing season friends had together; the Lord vouchsafing to honour our assemblies with his living and glorious presence in a very plentiful manner. At the conclusion of the meeting I feli a concern upon my spirit to give forth the following paper, to be dispersed abroad amongst friends :
• All you believers in the light, that are become children of the light, walk as children of the light, and of the day of Christ, and as a city set on a hill, that cannot be hid; and so let your light shine, that people may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven.
For a good tree bringeth forth good fruit : and therefore be
ye trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, having fruits unto holiness, and then your end will be everlasting life. And such are the wells and cisterns, that hold the living water of life, which springs up in them to eternal life :
: so ye may all drink water out of your own cisterns, and running water out of your own wells, and eat every one of his own fig-tree, and of his own vine : having salt every one in yourselves, to season every one's sacrifice, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, and like unto the wisé virgins, that have oil in their lamps, and follow the Lamb, and enter in with the bridegroom. And now is the time to labour, while it is day (yea, the day of Christ) and to stir up every one's pure mind, and the gift of God that is in them, and to improve your talents, that Christ hath given you, that ye may profit; and to walk every one according to the measure that Christ hath given you, for the manifestation of the Spirit of God is given to every one to profit withal. Now consider what you have profited in spiritual and heavenly things, with the heavenly Spirit of God; and be not like the wicked and slothful, that hid his talent, from whom it was taken, and he cast into utter darkness. And a dwarf, or one that had any blemish, was not to come nigh to offer upon God's altar; and therefore mind the word of wisdom, to keep you out of that which will corrupt you and blemish you; and that ye may grow in grace, and in faith, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ: and feeding upon the milk of the word, may grow by it, that ye may not be dwarfs, and so to offer your spiritual sacrifice upon God's holy altar. For the field or vineyard of the slothful grows over with
thorns and nettles, and his walls go down : such are they that are not diligent in the Spirit of God, and the power, which is the wall, a sure fence : and the Spirit of God will weed out all, both thorns, and thistles, and nettles, out of the vineyard of the heart. And you, that are keepers of others' vineyards, see that you keep your own vineyard clean with the spirit and power of Christ : and sanctify yourselves, and sanctify the Lord in your hearts, that ye may be a holy people to the Lord, who saith, Be ye holy, for I am holy: that ye may be the holy members of the church of Christ, that is clothed with the sun, and hath the moon under her feet; the changeable world with all her changeable worships, religions, churches, and teachers. And be ye new and heavenly Jerusalem's children: for new and heavenly Jerusalem, that is above, is the mother of all the children of the light, and that are born of the Spirit, and these be they that have been persecuted, and have suffered by the false church, mystery Babylon, and mother of harlots.
And now, all heavenly Jerusalem's and Sion's children, that are from above, labour in the gospel, the power of God, and the seed, in which all nations, and all the families of the earth are blessed : which seed, Christ, bruises the serpent's head, and destroys the devil and his works, and overcomes the whore, the false church, and the beast, and the false prophet: and takes away the curse, and, the veil that is spread over all nations, and over all the families of the earth; and brings the blessing upon all nations, and upon all the families of the earth (if they will receive it) saying, In thy seed shall all nations and all the families of the earth be blessed. And this is the gospel of God preached to Abraham, before Moses writ his five books, and was preached in the apostles' days, and is now preached again; which gospel brings life and immortality to light, and is the gospel of peace, life, and salvation, to every one that believes it. And so all nations, and all the families of the earth must be in Christ, the seed, if they be blessed, and be partakers of the blessing in the seed; which gospel God did preach and reveal to Abraham, as in Gal. iii. 8. And this gospel was revealed and preached by Christ unto his apostles, who preached it, which is not of man, nor from man. And now, God and Christ hath revealed the same gospel unto me, and many others in this age, (I say, the gospel and the seed, in which all nations and families of the earth are blessed ;) in which gospel I have laboured, and do labour, that all may come into this
blessed seed, Christ, who bruises the head of the serpent, that in it they might have peace with God. And this everlasting gospel is preached again to them, that dwell upon the earth; and they that believe it, and receive it, receive the blessing, and the peace, and joy, and comfort of it; and the stability in it, and the life and immortality, which it brings to light in them and to them: and such can praise the everlasting God in his everlasting gospel.
And friends all, seek the peace and good of all in Christ: for truth niakes no Cains, Corahs, Balaams, nor Judases; for they come to be such that go out of the peaceable truth. And therefore walk in the peaceable truth, and speak the truth in the love of it, as it is in Jesus.'
Sometime after the yearly meeting was over, I went to my son Mead's house, called Gooses, in Essex, and abode there some weeks, often visiting friends' meeting near there, and sometimes at Barking. And after I had been a while there, I went to visit friends at Waltham Abbey and at Hoddesdon, and about Enfield, South-street, Fordgreen, and Winchmore-hill, where I had several very serviceable meetings amongst friends, the Lord opening 'many deep and weighty things through me, both for the informing the understandings of inquirers, and building up those that were gathered into the truth, and establishing them therein.
It was in the seventh month that I returned to London, having been near three months in the country for my health's sake, which now was very much impaired, so that I was hardly able to stay in a meeting the whole time thereof; and often after a meeting was fain to lye down upon a bed. Yet did not my weakness of body take me off from the service of the Lord, but I continued to labour in meetings, and out of meetings, in the work of the Lord, as the Lord gave me opportunity and ability.
I had not been long in London before a great weight came upon me, and a sight the Lord gave me of the great bustles and troubles, revolution and change, which soon after came to pass. In the sense whereof, and in the movings of the Spirit of the Lord, I writ a few lines, as-A general epistle to friends, to forewarn them of the approaching storm, that they might all retire to the Lord, in whom safety is. That epistle was as followeth :
All my dear friends and brethren every where, who have received the Lord Jesus Christ, and he has given you power to become his sons and daughters; in him ye have both life and peace, and in his everlasting kingdom, that is a stablished kingdom and cannot be shaken, but is over all the world, and stands in his power, and in righteousness, and joy in the Holy Ghost, into which no unrighteousness, nor the foul, unclean spirit of the devil in his instruments can enter. And therefore, dear friends and brethren, every one in the faith of Jesus, that he is the author and finisher of, stand in his power, who has all power in heaven and earth given to him, and will rule the nations with his rod of iron, and dash them to pieces, like a potter's vessel, that are not subject and obedient to his power; whose voice will shake the heavens, and the earth, that that which may be shaken may be removed, and that which cannot be shaken may appear. And stand in him, and all things shall work together for good, to them that love him.
* And now, dear friends and brethren, though these waves, and storms, and tempests, be in the world, yet you may
appear the harmless and innocent lambs of Christ, walking in his peaceable truth, and keeping in the word of power, and wisdom, and patience; and this word will keep you in the day of trials and temptations, that will come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell
upon the earth. For the word of God was before the world, and all things were made by it; it is a tried word, which gave all God's people in all ages wisdom, power, and patience. And therefore let your dwelling and walking be in Christ Jesus, who is called the word of God; and in his power, which is over all: and set your affections on things that are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God, (mark) on those things which are above, where Christ sits, and not on those things that are below, which will change, and pass away. And blessed be the Lord God, who by his eternal arm and power, hath gathered a people to himself; and by his eternal arm and power hath preserved his, faithful to himself through many troubles, trials, and temptations: his power and seed, Christ, is over all, and in him ye have life and peace with God. Therefore in him all stand, and see your salvation, who is first and last, and the amen. God Almighty preserve and keep you all in him, your ark and sanctuary; for in him you are safe over all floods, storms, and tempests; for he was before they were, and will be when they are all gone.'
G. F. London, the 17th of the 8th month, 1688.
About this time great exercise and weights came upon me (as hath usually done before great revolutions and changes of government) and my strength departed from me, so that I reeled and was ready to fall, as I went along the streets. And at length I could not go abroad at all, I was so weak for a pretty while, till I felt the power of the Lord to spring over all, and had received an assurance from him, that he would preserve his faithful people to himself through all.
In the time that I kept in I writ a paper, shewing, how Moses, as a servant, was faithful in all his house, in the Old Testament; and Christ, as a Son, is over his house in the New Testament.
The house of Jsrael was called God's Vineyard, in Isa. v. 7. and all the Israelites were called the house of Israel. Israel signifies a prince with God, and a prevailer with men, Gen. xxxii. 28. And when Peter did preach Christ to the house of Israel, he said, “ Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ," Acts ii. 36. So they were all called the house of Israel. And it is said, Moses was faithful in all his house (to wit, this house of Israel,) as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ, as a son, over his own house, which house are we, if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end, Hebr. iii. 5, 6. Here it is manifest, that Moses was faithful in all his house, as a servant. viz. in the house of Israel, in the Old Testament; but Christ Jesus, the Son of God, is over his house in his New Testament and covenant; and all his true believers are of his house. The apostle tells the Ephesians (who were the church of Christ) “ They were fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,” Eph. ii. 19. And the saints are called “ The household of faith," Gal. vi. 10. And Peter in his general epistle, tells the church of Christ, they were a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, 1 Pet. ii. 9. And that as lively stones, they were built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God hy Jesus Christ, ver 5. And the apostle saith to the church of Christ at Corinth, “If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," 2 Cor. v. 1. And Christ said to his disciples, “ Let not VOL. II.