MANY SELECT EPISTLES TO FRIENDS,
THAT ANCIENT, EMINENT, AND FAITHFUL MINISTER
Volume 1 Contd.
263-An exhortation to keep to the ancient principles of truth.
Keep at a word in all your dealings without oppression.
And keep to the sound language, thou to everyone.
And keep your testimony against the world's vain fashions.
And keep your testimony against the hireling priests, and their tithes, and maintenance.
And against the old mass-houses, and the repairing of them.
And against the priests' and the world's joining in marriages.
And your testimony against swearing, and the world's corrupt manners.
And against all looseness, pleasures, and profaneness whatever.
And against all the world's evil ways, vain worships, and religions,
and to stand up for God's.
And to see that restitution is made by everyone who has done wrong to any.
And that all differences be made up speedily,
so that they do not fly abroad to corrupt people's minds.
And that all reports are stopped that tend to defame one another.
And, friends, all live in the power of the Lord God, and in his truth, light, and life,
that with it you may all with one heart, soul, and mind keep dominion;
and in the light, life, truth, and power of God
do true judgment, justice,
and truth, righteousness,
in all your men and women's meetings,
without favor or affection to relations, kindreds, and acquaintance,
or any respect of persons;
for if you do not do so, judgment will come upon you from God,
to put you down from your places.
For the power of God, light, life, and truth does not have respects for any person,
but justice, truth, righteousness, and equity, etc.
Let mercy overshadow the judgment seat, and let mercy be mixed with judgment.
Take heed of foolish pity;
and if you are not diligent against all profaneness, sin, iniquity,
and uncleanness, looseness, and debauchery, and that which dishonors God,
then you let those things come up upon you,
which you should be atop of, and subdue,
and keep down
with righteousness, and the truth, and the power of God.
And in all your men and women's meetings,
let all things be done in love,
which edifies the body;
and let nothing be done in strife and vain conceit,
but keep in the unity of the spirit, which is the bond of peace.
And let all things be done in the wisdom of God, which is pure and gentle, from above,
above the earthly, which is below, sensual, and devilish.
And take heed of hurting any concerning marriages,
if the thing is right, (through any earthly reasoning), for fear that they may do worse.
And so all be diligent for the Lord God and his truth upon the earth,
and the inheritance of a life that has no end,
that you may live in that seed that is blessed forevermore.
And be diligent in all your meetings,
and see to the setting forth of apprentices, all fatherless and poor Friends' children;
and that all the poor widows be carefully looked after,
that nothing may be lacking among you; then all will be well.
And keep your testimony against all the filthy rags of the old world;
and for your fine linen, the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
And keep your testimony for your liberty in Christ Jesus,
and stand fast in it, against all the false liberties in old Adam;
and your liberty in the spirit of God, and in the gospel of Christ Jesus,
against all the false and loose liberties in the flesh.
And train up all your children in the fear of the Lord,
and in his new covenant, Christ Jesus;
as the Jews did their children and servants in the old covenant,
and so you admonish your children and servants.
And let no man or anyone live to themselves, but in that love which does not seek her own.
And have an eye over those who come to spy out your liberty in Christ,
and will report out of your meetings things to make advantage,
and to the defaming of people.
And let everyone seek the good of one another, and their welfare in the truth,
and make others' condition their own;
and this keeps like a father and mother to condescend to a child.
And all live in the seed which has the blessing,
and in the wisdom by which you may order all things to God's glory,
over the evil seed, that is out of the truth.
And if anyone has anything to say, in opposition to the matter of marriages,
propounded by any to the meeting, such Friend or Friends to make it known,
(what they have against the parties),
to those who are appointed by the meeting, to inquire into the clearness of the parties,
who laid their intentions before the meeting.
And such Friends, who have intentions of marriage,
first to lay it before the men and women of the Monthly Meeting they belong to,
and to see that things are clear, before they are brought to the Two Weeks' Meeting.
And if any difference arise, either about marriages,
or any other case, in the Two Weeks' Meetings,
that the business be presently referred to six Friends,
to have a hearing of the matter another day,
or else for them to go forth and determine it presently,
and not to discuss it in the open meeting.
And if any legacy is left by any deceased Friend,
to a particular use,
as to putting forth apprentices, and raising poor Friends' children;
that the said money be kept distinct, as a stock for the said use,
and a particular account of it be kept.
And the Quarterly or Six Weeks' Meetings to see
that the said monies are disposed of to the uses as before said.
And if any of the principal money so given, is at any time made use of for any other use,
that it be again made up by the meeting of Friends in general.
And though the money is left or given to any particular Friend for the use before said;
yet the same to be paid to two or three persons,
who the Quarterly Meeting or Six Weeks' Meeting shall appoint to receive such money;
so that the meeting may have the ordering and disposing of the money
to the best advantage, and the use intended.
And that Friends keep in their testimony against the vain fashions of the world,
and all looseness and uncleanness whatever;
and against all profane, idle tippling [drinking],
and taking tobacco in coffee houses and alehouses, which is an ill savor.
And against all strife and contention.
And that some Friends be appointed at every meeting to keep the doors,
to keep down rude boys and unruly spirits;
that so the meetings may be kept civil and quiet.
And if one Friend has anything against another,
let him not treasure it up, till the time of his marriage,
and then cast it upon him publicly;
but let him presently speak to the Friend,
and also to those who the meeting has appointed to see to his clearness, etc.
So that things may not be deferred too long
at the Two Weeks' Meeting concerning marriages;
but that they may be answered in a short time,
so that they will be decided in the matter.
And stop all bad reports,
(for you shall not raise a false report upon my people, said the Lord),
and minister justice upon it presently,
so that no man or woman may be defiled or defamed with such things.
Read this in the Men and Women's Meeting in the fear of the Lord, as often as you see occasion, and record it in your book.
An additional extract from other of George Fox's Epistles, both of former and latter dates,
more largely speaking to things contained in the previous paper,
with some new matters;
recommended to Friends by him, (from time to time),
to be taken notice of at their Quarterly and other meetings.
Friends' fellowship must be in the spirit,
and all Friends must know one another in the spirit and power of God.
And in all the meetings of the county, two or three may be appointed from them,
to go to the Quarterly Meetings give notice to one another,
if there are any who do not walk in the truth,
and have been convinced, and then gone from the truth, and so have dishonored God.
And likewise if any who profess the truth, follow pleasures, drunkenness, gamings,
or are not faithful in their callings and dealings, nor honest, nor just,
but run into debt, and so bring a scandal upon the truth,
Friends may give notice to the Quarterly Meeting, (if there are any such),
and some may be ordered to go and exhort them,
and bring in their answers to the next Quarterly Meeting.
And so to question and search out all those
who do not live as becomes the truth of the gospel, and yet profess it,
so that they all may walk in it, as well as talk of it;
for none have the heavenly comfort of it, but those who walk in it.
For all the talkers of Christ and his gospel, who do not walk in him, dishonor him.
And judge and condemn all uncleanness and looseness in all your meetings,
with the light, power, and spirit of Christ;
so that nothing may reign among you, but that which glorifies God and Christ.
And admonish all those who are careless and slothful,
to be diligent in the truth and service for God, and to bring forth heavenly fruits to God;
so that they may mind the good works of God and do them,
in believing in his son, and show it forth in their conduct;
and to deny the devil and his bad works, and not to do them.
And to seek those who are lost,
or driven away from the truth
into the devil's dark wilderness, by his dark power.
Seek them again by the truth,
bring them to God again, by the truth and power of God.
And to see that all who come among Friends, and profess truth,
keep to yes and no, in their dealings and communications,
in justice and equity, and not in oppression.
And that in all the Monthly Meetings there be an inquiry,
whether any who profess truth, are out of the pure language, thou to everyone,
whether they keep up God and Christ's language,
which the holy prophets and apostles used, over all the flattering words in the world.
And Friends, my desire is, that you all may be preserved in the Lords power,
and in his everlasting seed, and so in the order of the gospel,
and in the government of Christ Jesus;
of the increase of which there is no end.
And that you may keep up your ancient testimony,
(in the power and spirit of God),
and that you may keep up your ancient testimony in the sincere life for Christ,
your high priest, against the hireling priests and their old temples;
manifesting that you are the temples of God.
And let inquiry be made concerning all those among Friends who pay tithes,
which makes void the testimony and sufferings of our brethren,
who have suffered (many of them) to death;
by which many widows and fatherless have been made;
and which is contrary to the doctrine of the apostles, and the doctrine of the martyrs,
and contrary to the doctrine of the righteous in this present age;
all which are to be inquired into, and to be exhorted to faithfulness in this.
And that you may keep your ancient testimony for the church which is in God,
the living members, which Christ, the spiritual man, is the holy head of,
and your heavenly rock and foundation.
And all those who marry by the priests,
some of whom have the rough hands of Esau, and fists of wickedness,
and who have had their hands dipped in the blood of our brethren in New England,
and who have been the cause of the banishment of some of our brethren,
and have spoiled so many of their goods, casting them into prisons,
and keeping so many of them in prison at this day;
all those who go to them for wives or husbands,
must come to judgment and condemnation of themselves,
and that spirit which led them to the priests to marry them;
or else Friends who keep their habitations,
must write and bear their testimony against them both.
For from Genesis to the Revelation
you never read of any priests who married any people,
but it is God's ordinance;
and whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder.
And formerly they took one another in the assemblies of the righteous,
(when all things were clear),
therefore let all these things be inquired into,
and brought to the Quarterly Meeting;
and afterwards some ordered to go to them,
and to return what they say at your next meeting.
And let all this be done before they, or any of them,
are declared to be like heathens,
or written against;
let them be admonished three or four times, that they may have gospel order,
so that if it is possible, they may come to that which at first convinced them,
and to repent and condemn their unrighteous doings.
So that you may not leave, if possible, a hoof in Egypt.
Now, all Friends, who have known the power of God,
and believe in the light of Jesus Christ, who is your high priest,
who is made higher than the heavens;
you come to know him to be your teacher, and to hear him in all things,
so that God may work all your works in you and for you.
And all those pretended Friend or Friends, who have gone to the priests to marry them,
or have been drawn by their relations so to do,
in pretence of having their estates secured for their heirs,
these have gone from the light of Christ in themselves,
and have quenched the motions of the spirit of God in their own hearts,
and distrusted God, and let a spirit of unbelief enter into them,
and by this they cause the world to glory over them, and Friends;
and both priests and the world say that they are hypocrites,
and that they come to them only to save their estates.
And they talk of the living God, but it is seen the world is their god,
and the priest must do their work to preserve their estate.
Such distrust the living God about outward things,
though formerly they used to cry against them,
and their teaching, and their marrying, and their baptizing;
but now they can come to them to many them to save their earth, and to shun suffering.
And thus they manifest their hypocrisy.
And therefore all who have gone to the priest to be married by him,
come to the witness of God in your consciences,
by which you may come to condemn that spirit which led you to them to be married.
For all those are far gone, who can come so near a priest
as to hear his prayers for money, and to partake of his works.
Such have turned against the light, and quenched the spirit,
and abused the power which would have risen in them against it.
And such in their apostasies may have cried
that the power of God is not among Friends as it was in the beginning;
when they have abused it in themselves, and grieved the spirit of the Lord,
and Friends who live in the spirit.
For it is not the bishops' nor priests' work to marry people, nor is it to be seen;
nor you ever read throughout the holy scriptures,
that either priests or bishops married anyone;
but it is God's work, and his ordinance;
for whom God joins together,
let no man put asunder.
And marriage is honorable in all, the bed being undefiled.
They took one another in the assemblies of the righteous,
the saints, and the holy ones of God, who were of the seed of the righteous.
Which practice is now followed among the people of God, called Quakers,
who are of the seed and generation of the righteous, the elect people of God.
And also you may read, how Jacob, who was of the seed of the righteous,
took his wife in the assembly at Laban's house,
who gathered the people together when he took her,
having declared it before; and all parties were satisfied.
And Jacob was the beloved by God, who took his wife from the best sort of people;
his father and mother would not have him unequally yoked, as Esau had been before.
And also you may read Isaac's marriage, in whom the blessed seed was called,
as the apostle said; 'In Isaac shall your seed be called.'
And how wonderfully it was carried on by the Lord! See Gen 24, and 25.
And also read, how Boaz took his wife Ruth, (after both sides were satisfied),
in the assembly of the people and elders; and how he declared it unto the elders,
You are witnesses this day, that I take Ruth to be my wife;
and they said, we are thy witnesses.'
And of this Boaz came the line of Christ.
For Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.
And also God commanded Isaiah the prophet,
who prophesied of Christ's birth, sufferings, and death,
when he was to go to the prophetess,
that he should take witnesses, and write it in a roll;
and this was the command of God; and he was of the seed of the righteous.
And likewise the children of Israel, when they were carried into captivity,
when any married, and all things on both sides were clear,
they took one another, according to the law of Moses. As for example, see Tobias.
And also Christ Jesus went to a marriage in Cana in Galilee,
(who ended the first priesthood, who is the everlasting priest.)
He went with his disciples and the mother of Jesus;
where it is clear that there was a meeting and an assembly of people.
And marriage being God's ordinance, and God's joining, here Christ acknowledges it;
for it was God's joining before the fall; and God's giving before the fall;
and it is so in the restoration out of the fall again by Christ Jesus.
Those who have come into the spirit and power of God,
they know it is God's joining again in the restoration;
and whom he joins together, let no man put asunder.
And so marriage was a figure of Christ and his church,
as the apostle instanced in Ephesians.
And therefore they were not to be unequally yoked, believers with unbelievers.*
The law of God forbade it:
they were not to give their sons and daughters to the heathen,
or marry with them.
For it grieved the Lord in the old world,
and brought destruction upon those bad marriages;
when the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair,
and they took wives of all that they chose,
who corrupted the earth, and filled it with violence.
Yet the marriages of the holy men of God were never judged by God in the old world.
Neither Seth's, Lamech's, nor Mahalaleel, nor Methusalah,
nor Noah, nor Abraham, Isaac nor Jacob.
And so none before the law, nor in the law, not in the time of the gospel,
who walked in the power and spirit of the Lord, and knew God's joining,
had marriages that were judged by the Lord,
who brings the man and woman together.
But those who mingled with the heathen and unbelievers, and followed strange flesh,
they went from the spirit, they lost the sonship;
through such the earth was corrupted and filled with violence;
and such could not know God's joining,
who went from the spirit, and from the law and gospel.
And those who go away from the spirit,
by which they have been sanctified and led into the sonship,
are mingled among heathens and unbelievers,
and follow strange flesh,
and corrupt their own.
*Site Editor's Commentary: But if you are already married to an unbeliever, you are to remain married as long as they will remain living with you. See the Footnote to 2 Cor6:14 for the details.
And those who marry with unbelievers and heathen,
go contrary to the law of God, and grieve him and their righteous parents.
So marriage is God's holy ordinance,
and Christ, who comes to restore all things again into their place, said,
'Whom God joins together, let no man put asunder;'
and brings it to the beginning again, how God made them male and female.
So in the restoration in the image of God and sanctification,
they are brought to the joining of one male with one female again;
not for one man to have many women at once,
God did not make many for him;
but in the fall from the righteousness of God and his image,
there they run together like beasts, a man and many women.
There men join and put asunder; ‘but in the beginning it was not so,'
said Christ, the heavenly man, the second Adam,
'for God made them male and female,
and whom he joins together, let no man put asunder.'
And so God joins with his spirit and power, for he is a spirit;
and this is a heavenly and spiritual joining;
and those who God joins, they do not follow strange flesh, but the spirit of God;
and such a marriage is sanctified by the spirit, and by the Lord,
and such know his heavenly ordinance.
And this is the marriage Christ acknowledges, and sets up and encourages,
who is the covenant and the quickening spirit.
And so God, who is a spirit, joins with his spirit, power, and light;
this joining is in the covenant of God;
all such marriages are honorable in all things, for their bed is not defiled;
but where the bed is defiled, that marriage is not honorable.
And all who forbid marriage are in the doctrines of demons;
and those who are in the doctrine of demons, are out of truth,
who destroys the creation,
and destroys some one way and some another,
who are under his power and command from the truth.
But those who obey the truth, and obey Christ, and obey God, are over him and his doctrine,
and the defiled bed, and strange flesh;
and the spirit gives them an understanding to know God,
and his joining by his spirit, who is blessed forever.
Now if any should say, that Adam took his wife alone [without witnesses];
and so run into the works of darkness, and go together in the dark,
contrary to the righteous seed and holy generation;
such are judged by the holy seed and by those in the holy life and law of God,
and condemned with the light of Christ Jesus.
And as for Adam taking his wife alone, that was before there were any witnesses.
But there was a form of words between them
before they went together, or he knew her, as follows:
'And when the Lord God brought the woman to Adam, Adam said to the Lord,
This is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh,
she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man'
and they shall be one flesh.
But this form of words of Adam's, and his doing,
is nothing to those who are workers of darkness, and run together in the dark.
For after the earth was peopled,
you may read how the generations of the righteous took one another
in the assemblies of the righteous;
and it was recorded before witnesses.
So all those who marry by the priests, or marry by the world, who are unbelievers,
go from God's power and spirit, and his joining,
and break the law of God in their marriages, who forbade to join with unbelievers.
And therefore they are judged and condemned with the light of Christ Jesus,
and must come through condemnation and judgment.
For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord only,
and not the priests or magistrates;
for it is God's ordinance, and not man's.
And therefore Friends cannot consent, that they should join them together.
For we marry none, it is the Lord's work, and we are only witnesses.
But yet, if a Friend through tenderness has a desire that the magistrate should know it,
(after the marriage is performed in a public meeting of Friends and others,
according to the holy order and practice of Friends in truth throughout the world,
and according to the manner of the holy men and women of God of old),
he may go and carry a copy of the certificate to the magistrate;
Friends are left to their freedom in this.
But for priests or magistrates to marry or join any in that relation,
it is not according to the scripture;
and our testimony and practice has always been against it.
It was God's work before the fall, and it is only God's work in the restoration.
Do not let any go disorderly together in marriage,
contrary to the practice of the holy men of God,
who declared it in the assemblies of the righteous, when they took one another;
all things being clear, and they both being free from any other, in respect to marriage.
And when any take one another in marriage,
let there not be less than a dozen Friends and relations present,
(according to your former order), having first acquainted the men's meeting,
and that they have clearness and unity with them;
and then it may be recorded in a book.
And if any walk contrary to the order of truth in this,
let some be appointed to speak to them,
and give notice of it to the next meeting.
And all who are widows, who have children, and intend to marry,
let inquiry be made, what she has done for her children, (if there was no will made),
then let that part of her late husband's estate be set out for the children,
as is equal and according to truth;
and whatever more they can do afterwards, let them do it also.
And where there is a will made, let those legacies and portions
be improved and secured (before their marriage) for the children of the deceased,
with whatever more they can do for them.
And when these things are done,
let them be recorded in a book at the next Quarterly Meeting.
And all men who hunt after women, from woman to woman;
and also women, whose affections run sometimes after one man;
and soon after to another, and so hold one another in affection,
and so draw out the affections of one another;
and after awhile leave one another;
and go to others, and then do the same things there;
these doings are more like Sodom than saints,
and are not of God's moving nor joining, where they are not to be parted.
For marriage is God's ordinance, and God's command one to another,
and in that is felt the power of God.
And if any go together in marriage, having declared it at Friends' meetings,
if the magistrates cast them into prison,
because they are not married according to the national law,
or by a priest,
all the men Friends and women Friends in the meeting, (or twelve of them)
may set their hands to a paper and send it to the justices,
it being done in truth and righteousness, and according to true scriptures of truth.
As Boaz declared his taking of Ruth in the town gate;
and Jacob when he was married, Laban called in his kindred;
and other examples you may see in the scriptures,
who married, and had no ring, nor priest to marry them.
Now, no man ought to speak to a woman concerning marriage
before he has spoken to her father and mother, and have their consent;
and if she has no father or mother, but guardians and trustees,
then they must speak to them, if she is under age, so that they may have their consent,
and so proceed as Abraham's servant did concerning Isaac's wife.
And you are to see that all widows make provision for their children
before they are married to another, according to truth and righteousness.
And you are to see that every man and woman are free
from all entanglements
with any other woman or man before they are married;
and if they have been engaged,
you must have a certificate
under the hands of the person that they have been entangled with to discharge them;
so that all things may be done in peace, and unity, and righteousness,
according to the truth that is in every man and woman.
And if the young man or young woman's relations are of the world,
they must have their consent, and a certificate from them.
And if the man or woman comes from beyond sea, or out of another country,
you must have a certificate from the men and women's meetings there,
how they have lived, and whether they are free from all other persons,
by any engagement, covenant, or contract concerning marriage;
and if they are not clear, they must answer that,
and be cleared by a certificate under their hands,
before they proceed any further.
And if any man should defile a woman,
he must marry her,
if she is a beggar, even though he is rich in earthly things;
for he must fulfill the law of God,
for the law of God commands
that he must marry her,
and condemn his action, and clear God's truth.
But no such marriages, where the bed is defiled,
do we bring into our men and women's meetings;
but some Friends (if such a thing happen) draw up a certificate,
and they to set their hands to it,
that they will live faithfully together as man and wife,
and fulfill the law of God.
And I write this, in case such a thing should ever happen;
but I hope that Friends will be careful, and keep in the fear of the Lord,
so that they may have an esteem of the Lord's truth, and their own bodies,
and of the honorable marriage, where the bed is undefiled.
And when any marriages is to be propounded,
let it be laid before the women's meeting first.
And after they have declared it there,
if they know anything of the man or the woman,
that it should not proceed so far as to the men's meeting;
then let two or three women go to the men's meeting,
so that some of the men and women may have a distinct meeting concerning it,
and let them end it before it comes to the men's meeting;
and if there is no such occasion of any such meeting,
let two or three women go along with them to the men's meeting.
And so after Friends have taken their names, and places of abode,
let two women of the women's meeting be nominated,
and two men of the men's meeting,
so that if anyone has anything to say against the couple
before the next meeting they may speak to them;
and if there should appear anything,
they may end it before they come to the meeting.
And if there is nothing,
when they come the second time again to the women's meeting,
the woman may go along with them to the men,
and testify that they know nothing against their proceeding.
And likewise the men,
who are appointed to inquire, to make the like report,
(and let the man and the woman always appear together,
when they lay their intentions of marriage.)
So then the thing is left to the men to give their judgment
and advice to the couple who are to be married,
all things being clear,
and nothing appearing to the contrary;
and their fathers, and mothers, or guardians, or overseers being satisfied,
then they may have their liberty to appoint a meeting where they please,
in some public meeting-place,
where their relations and Friends may be present,
and there get a certificate ready drawn up, with the day of the month, place, and year,
how that such a couple took one another in the presence of God,
and in the presence of his people,
who had laid their said intentions so often before them.
And all things being found clear, according to the law of God
and the practice of the holy men,
recorded in the scriptures of truth,
to live together in Christian, honorable marriage,
according to God's ordinance and his joining,
to be helpmates together as long as they live.
And if any man or woman come out of another country,
they must bring a certificate from the men and women's meeting to them,
where they take their wife and husband.
And no man or woman is to be permitted to proceed in marriage,
if they are engaged or entangled with any other, until they are cleared.
Concerning gospel order:
If any difference happens between Friend and Friend,
let them speak to one another;
and, if they will not hear, let them take two or three of the meeting they belong to,
that they may end it, if they can.
And if they cannot end it, then it may be laid before the Monthly Meeting.
And if it cannot be ended there, then it may be brought to the Quarterly Meeting,
and there let it be put to half a dozen Friends,
so that they may end it, that they may keep their meetings quiet.
Or those who are at difference may choose three Friends,
and Friends may choose three more to them, and let them stand to their judgment;
for there are few who love quietness and peace,
who will have their names brought to a Monthly or Quarterly Meeting,
to have their names sounded over the country, who are in strife;
but will rather endeavor to end it among themselves or at their own meeting,
before that they come to the Monthly Meeting.
And if there are any differences brought to the Monthly or Quarterly Meeting,
either men’s or women's,
after you have heard them one by one, and let only one speak at a time,
do you know from them, whether they will stand to your judgment?
And, if they will, let half a dozen Friends make a final end of it.
But, if they will not stand to your judgment, they are not fit to bring it there.
And if any brother or sister hears any report of any brother or sister,
let him or her go to the party, and know the truth of the report;
and if true, let the thing be judged:
if false, go then to the reporter, and let him or her be judged.
And if any should report it at a second or third hand,
without going to the party of whom the report goes, let such be brought to judgment:
'for thou shall neither raise nor suffer a false report to lie upon my people,'
said the Lord;
for they are to be holy, as he is holy; and just, as he is just.
Now concerning gospel-order:
though the doctrine of Jesus Christ requires his people
to admonish a brother or sister twice, before they tell the church,
yet that limits none to deciding to wait longer
before they tell the church,
but instead should be a minimum of two admonishes before they tell the church.
And it is desired of all, that before they publicly complain,
they wait in the power of God to feel
if he requires something else for them to say or do to their brother or sister,
before they expose him or her to the church:
let this be weightily considered.
And further, when the church is told,
and the party admonished by the church again and again,
and he or they remain still insensible and unreconciled,
let not final judgment go forth against him or her,
till everyone of the meeting has cleared his or her conscience;
so that if anything is upon any to further visit such a transgressor,
they may clear themselves, that if possible the party may be reached and saved.
And after all are clear of the blood of such an one,
let the judgment of Friends in the power of God go forth against him or her, as moved,
for the Lord's honor and glory's sake,
so that no reproach may come or rest upon God's holy name, truth, and people.
And all those who see their brother or sister in a transgression,
do not go in a rough, light, or upbraiding spirit, to reprove or admonish him or her,
but in the power of the Lord, and spirit of the Lamb,
and in the wisdom and love of the truth, which suffers by this,
to admonish such an offender.
So that the soul of such a brother or sister
may be seasonably and effectually reached to
and they may have cause to bless the name of the Lord on their behalf,
and so a blessing may be rewarded
into the bosom of that faithful and tender brother or sister who admonished them.
And it be known to all, that we cast out none from among us.
For if they go from the light, and spirit, and power, in which our unity is;
they cast themselves out.
And it has been our way to admonish them,
so that they may come to that spirit and light of God, which they have gone away from,
and so come into the unity again.
For our fellowship stands in the light, which the world hates,
and in the spirit, which the world grieves, vexes, and quenches;
and if they will not hear our admonitions, as before said, the light condemns them,
and then the testimony of truth goes out against them.
And no condemnation ought to go further than the transgression is known;
and if he or she returns, and gives forth a paper of condemnation against him, or herself,
(which is more desirable, than that we should do it),
this is a testimony of his or her repentance and resurrection before God,
his people, and the whole world;
as David, Psalm 51 when Nathan came to admonish him.
And that no testimony, by way of condemnation,
be given forth against any man or woman, whatever crime they commit,
before admonition, and till such time as they have had gospel-order,
according to Christ's doctrine.
And so keep the church-order of the gospel,
as the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded;
that is, 'If your brother offends you, speak to him between you and him;'
and if he will not hear, take two or three.
If he will not hear two or three, then tell it to the church ,etc.
And if anyone miscarries, admonish them gently in the wisdom of God,
so that you may preserve him and bring him to condemnation,
and preserve him from further evils, which is well if such do not run into;
and it will be well for all to use the gentle wisdom of God towards them
in their temptations and condemnable actions,
and using gentleness to bring them to condemn their evil,
and to let their condemnation go as far as the bad action has gone, and no farther,
to defile the minds of Friends or others;
and so to clear God's truth and people,
and to convert the soul to God, and preserve them out of further evils.
And take heed of spreading such things in the minds of the world,
and farther than they have gone there,
for fear that you, in that way, cause them to blaspheme God's name,
and cause them to speak evil of the truth and God's people;
such deserve reproof and condemnation who do so.
So be wise in the wisdom of God.
And let no one accuse anyone, either in a Monthly or Quarterly Meeting, publicly,
unless they have spoken to them by themselves first, and by two or three, as said before.
And dear friends, in the power of the Lord God, you who are gathered with it,
which is the authority of your men's and women's meetings;
in the power of the Lord Jesus see
that all things be well among you,
who all walk in the truth,
and as becomes the gospel of Christ and his glorious light and life,
so that all may stand up for God's glory,
and be valiant for his truth, and all to grow up in it.
And if any hear reports, or have anything against any brother or sister,
let them first speak to them, before that they declare it abroad;
and this will keep down backbiting and whispering, and preserve in brotherly love.
And let all looseness whatever it be reproved;
and admonish, and exhort, and encourage those who are young and tender,
to keep and preserve them in the way of life;
and so watch over one another for good.
And that care be taken from time to time, as Friends are moved to it,
for relieving faithful Friends' necessities,
and for other services of truth that shall be delivered into the hands of a faithful Friend
(who are desired to be receivers for that purpose),
who are to give an account of all monies,
that shall be received and disbursed by them at the next Monthly or Quarterly Meeting,
after it is laid out, (if it is desired),
and so the account to be ended,
so that ministering Friends may not be cumbered with outward things, but kept out of them;
and that what monies shall be disbursed by them for the service of poor Friends,
as before said, shall be disposed of,
as Friends of the Monthly or Quarterly Meetings see fit.
And all Friends, be tender over all Friends who are prisoners upon truth's account,
and who are sick and weak people, strangers and fatherless,
and widows, servants, and children,
whose parents, masters, or dames and relations are not Friends.
Keeping in the power of the Lord, it will lead you in all things without many words,
and bring you to see and feel, and live in that which was before enmity was,
or words either, which will chain it under.
In that you all will have unity, and all be like a family, and in it all be as one;
in that is the peace and unity.
And also let all widows be taken notice of, in all your several meetings;
and informed, and encouraged, in their outward business,
that there not be any hindrance put to them in their inward growth,
and so to be carefully looked after, that they may be nourished and cherished,
and preserved in the truth, that love may be increased.
And if they have many children,
who may be a burden to them to bring up,
to put them out as apprentices, (or servants);
then let Friends take care to ease them, by putting them forth, as may be seen meet.
Let all these things be looked into every meeting,
and notice given to the next Monthly or Quarterly Meeting,
and some ordered to see that all these things are done according to truth and righteousness.
And in all your meetings, let notice be given to the Quarterly Meeting of all poor Friends;
and when you have heard
that there are many more poor belonging to one meeting than to another,
and that meeting by that is burdened and oppressed,
let the rest of the meetings assist and help them, so that you may ease one another,
and help to bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
And so see that nothing is lacking, according to the apostle's words,
mark, 'nothing lacking;' then all is well.
For the Jews outward, though they were like the stars of heaven,
and the sand upon the sea-shore for multitude,
yet there was not to be a beggar among
them, according to the law of God.
And among the christians in the first age,
there was a men's meeting set up at Jerusalem
to see that nothing was lacking,
which was the gospel-order,
according to the law of Jesus;
and this continued as long as they lived in the life, power, and spirit of God.
But when the apostasy came in, and the true church fled into the wilderness,
which was to continue there one thousand two hundred and sixty days,
and the witnesses prophesied in sackcloth one thousand two hundred and sixty days,
and the beast was worshipped just as long, one thousand two hundred and sixty days;
then all things went out of order,
and everything was lacking
in that time when they worshipped the dragon and the beast;
and the devil made the world like a wilderness.
But now the judgment of the great whore, and of the beast has come,
and with them the false prophet and the dragon,
who shall be cast alive into the lake of fire;
and the true church is coming up out of the wilderness,
and the man child, (who was caught up into heaven),
has come down again to rule all nations with a rod of iron:
and the marriage of the Lamb has come, and the Lamb and the saints shall have the victory,
and the everlasting gospel is and shall be preached again, as was among the apostles;
and the gospel-order shall be set up, as it was among them;
and a men's meeting, as was at the first conversion,
to see that nothing be lacking in the church; then all is well.
So there is not to be a beggar now among the Christians,
according to the law of Jesus,
as there was not to be any among the Jews, according to the law of Moses.
And dear friends,
who feel the power of the everlasting God, (for all who are out of it, are in confusion),
you being come into God's fear, which is the beginning of true wisdom,
by which all things were created; and by it all things must be ordered again to God's glory.
All who are out of this wisdom are in the earthly, devilish, and destroying state;
but the wisdom from above is gentle and pure, and preserves you,
yes, and the whole creation, to the glory of God.
And now that Monthly and Quarterly Meetings
of two or three out of every particular meeting of true and faithful Friends are set up,
and kept in the most convenient place in the middle of your county,
you may know in your meetings of the needs and necessities of all Friends,
whether in bonds, or out, widows or fatherless, or aged people,
their necessities being looked into, and everyone feeling one another's condition;
this keeps in tenderness and love, like a family;
and nothing being lacking among you, then all is well,
every need and necessity is supplied.
And by this, one meeting may be serviceable to another in outward things,
for that is the least love;
and by this you may come into the practice of the pure religion,
which is to relieve the widows, strangers, fatherless, and helpless.
And, friends, all the legacies that are given to the men's or women's meetings,
let them be kept as a public stock for the setting forth of apprentices, and setting them up.
And Friends to have and provide a house for those who are diseased and not to go to the world.
And to have an alms-house or hospital for all poor Friends, who are past work.
And Friends to have and provide a house or houses,
where a hundred may have rooms to work in, and shops of all sorts of things to sell,
and where widows and young women might work and live.
And dear friends, all dwell in the everlasting power of God, and his life,
in which is both unity, order, peace, and fellowship;
and wait in the fear of the everlasting God, so that you may receive his wisdom,
which is pure and gentle from above, by which all things were made,
by which wisdom you may order all things to the glory of God.
Be tender of the poor, the sick, the widows, the fatherless, and the prisoners,
and feel everyone's condition, as your own, and let nothing be lacking among you,
according to the apostle's doctrine to the church of God of old time;
and if nothing is lacking, all is well.
And dear friends, know in all your meetings who is sick, and weak, and in need,
and widows, and fatherless, and aged people, who cannot help themselves;
and those who God has distributed to,
from that which God has distributed, to lay aside for the necessities of others,
as you are moved and commanded by the Lord God by his power and spirit;
for he who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord;
and he loves a cheerful giver.
Secondly. That all prisoners for the truth be minded,
who are in need, and who are not;
and the families of those who are in prison, whether they are in want or not;
and those who are in decayed any manner of way, and cannot help themselves;
and those who have left a calling, which they cannot follow for conscience sake;
do the best you can to help them, and further them to employment,
that they may labor in the thing that is good, and be a blessing in the creation;
this you may do, so that you may be a blessing in your generation.
And all the fatherless children,
their estates are to be recorded in a book at the Monthly or Quarterly Meeting;
and all who are entrusted with any estates
may be entered at the Monthly or Quarterly Meetings, (fatherless or widows' estates),
that the meeting may see that justice be done to them,
and require them to give an account, (if need be),
and to do that which is just and equal,
so that there may be no strife about outward things among you.
And that everyone who is entrusted with any widows or fatherless children's estates
may be faithful, and not fail them in time of need.
And that every Quarterly Meeting may have an eye over those who are entrusted,
and assist them in that which is right and righteous,
and to see that they are faithful to their trust.
So that righteousness, and justice, and truth, and equity may flow down among you,
and that the wisdom of God be among Friends, to order them in all things to his glory.
And let two faithful Friends in the truth in every particular meeting
be ordered to receive all collections, and to bring them to the Monthly Meetings;
and let two such Friends receive them there, and bring them to the Quarterly Meeting;
and let four faithful Friends receive them there.
And whatever collections are received,
let an account be kept of what is received, and to whom it is disbursed;
so that an account may be given to any faithful Friend who may desire it.
And in every Monthly and Quarterly Meeting to inquire, what poor there are,
and who are fit to go as apprentices or servants;
and that Friends then and there may order them to apprenticeships
to such trades as they in wisdom shall think fit.
And if any legacy is left by any deceased Friends to a particular use,
such as to putting forth apprentices, and raising of poor Friends' children,
that the said money be kept distinct as a stock for the said use,
and a particular account of it to be kept;
and the Quarterly Meeting to appoint some persons to receive the money,
and to keep the account of it,
and the meeting to see that it is disposed of to the uses before said.
And if any of the principal money is at any time made use of to any other use,
that it be made up by the Quarterly Meeting of Friends.
And though the money is left or given to any particular Friend for the use before said,
yet the same to be paid to the two or three persons,
whom the Quarterly Meeting shall appoint to receive such money,
that the meeting may have the ordering and laying out of the said money
to the best advantage to the uses before said.
So that the legacies given apart to the meeting of men or women,
be kept apart for the setting forth of poor Friends' children,
and setting them up in their trades,
so that the memory of the deceased, just Friend, who gave it, may not be forgotten.
And all Friends in the wisdom of God train up your children in the fear of God,
so that they may receive the wisdom of God;
and as they are capable,
they may be instructed and kept employed in some lawful calling,
that they may be diligent, serving the Lord in the things that are good;
that none may live idle, and be destroyers of the creation,
or unserviceable in the creation,
and by this become burdensome to others, and to the just in themselves;
but that all may walk in the wisdom of God, and with it all things may be ordered.
And all Friends, see that your children are trained up in soberness, and holiness,
and righteousness, and temperance, and meekness, and gentleness, and lowliness,
and modesty in their apparel and carriage,
and so to exhort your children and families in the truth,
that the Lord may be glorified in all your families.
And teach your children when they are young,
then will they remember it when they are old, according to Solomon's counsel.
So that your children may be a blessing to you, and not a curse.
And all men and women
are to order their children and servants in the order of the gospel,
and in the new covenant, that they may all come to know the Lord.
For the outward Jews were to train up their children in the old law, in the old covenant.
And so you who are called Christians are to train up your children in the fear of the Lord,
and in Christ Jesus, so that they may walk in him in modesty, and holiness, and virtue;
and so all to govern their families.
And those who are to govern, are to be governed and ordered themselves,
by the spirit and power of God, to God's glory, and as examples in their families;
for all looseness is out of the power of God, either in word or life.
And so by the power of God, and his righteousness, and truth, and light, and life,
all that is to be judged, and kept under and down;
and the truth, and the light, and spirit of God must be walked in,
which all looseness is out of.
And so, whatever things are of good report, or whatever things are lovely,
or whatever things are pure, and decent, and virtuous,
and godly, and righteous, and holy, and just, follow after those;
and do the works of love, and not your own works,
but the good works of hospitality, which are accepted of God.
And keep the order of the gospel, the power of God,
which power of God was before the devil was, and is over him,
which brings life and immortality to light in men and women;
and men and women they are to walk in this power of God, and to keep in it,
being heirs of the same, and under the government of Christ Jesus,
who bruises the serpent's head, and destroys him and his government;
men and women being heirs of grace and life together,
and of the power of God, and of the gospel of Christ Jesus, the amen.
And so as they come to possess and inherit him and his gospel order,
they come to possess him and his government and order;
of the increase of which there is no end.
And that notice be taken of all evil speakers,
backbiters, slanderers, and foolish talkers,
and idle jesters,
for all these corrupt good manners,
and are not according to the saints and holy men's practice,
whose words were seasoned with salt, ministering grace to the hearers.
And all those who go up and down to cheat, by borrowing and getting money from Friends,
and have cheated several, all such are to be stopped and judged,
and notice of them is to be given to Friends, and to other persons.
And dear Friends in the everlasting seed of life, wisdom, and salvation,
my desire is that you all may be preserved in it,
to the glory of God,
and in his power, and light, and life,
over death, and darkness,
in the heavenly unity, in all your meetings.
Now concerning those who go to the Quarterly Meeting,
they must be substantial Friends, who can give a testimony of your sufferings,
and how things are among you in every particular meeting.
So none who are raw or weak,
who are not able to give a testimony of the affairs of the church and truth,
may go on behalf of the particular meetings to the Quarterly Meetings,
but may be nursed up in your Monthly Meetings, and there fitted for the Lord's service.
So two may go one time from every particular meeting, and two another time,
or as it is ordered in your Monthly Meetings.
So some may go from all your meetings, who make up your Monthly Meetings;
for the Quarterly Meeting should be made up of weighty, seasoned,
and substantial Friends,
who understand the business of the church;
for no unruly and unseasoned persons should come there,
nor indeed into the Monthly Meetings,
but those who are single-hearted, seasoned, and honest.
And if anyone should speak or tattle anything
out of your Monthly or Quarterly Meetings,
to the blemishing or defaming of any person or the meetings,
these are to be brought to judgment and condemnation;
(for it breaks the privilege and order of your Christian society in your meetings),
so that all may be kept and preserved in the power of the Lord,
and in his spirit, in love and unity.
And therefore keep your meetings solid and sober,
and let the authority of your men's and women's meetings be in the power of God;
for every heir of the power has right to that authority,
and in it keep the King of kings and Lord of lords' peace in his church.
And so, the Lord give you wisdom, so that by it you may be ordered to his glory,
and that everyone may have a care of God's glory, and of his name and truth;
and that in his power you may see that all walk as becomes his glorious gospel,
which has brought life and immortality to light in you;
which will preserve you in life and immortality, over the devil who has darkened you.
So that nothing may get between your souls and minds, and the Lord God,
that he may be glorified in you all, and through you all, and over you all,
blessed forever. Amen.
And that the least member in the church has an office, and is serviceable;
and every member has need of one another.
And now Friends, as many Monthly Men's Meetings as you have in your county,
you may have as many Monthly Women's Meetings;
and if once a year, at least, you had a general women's meeting it would be well,
(for in some counties they have as many Quarterly women's meetings as men's),
and in others they have only two, in the summer time,
because the roads are foul and days short in winter.
And that one or two Friends in every meeting should take an account of all the marriages,
births, and burials, and carry them to the Monthly Meetings;
and let one or two there be ordered to receive them, and record them there in a book,
which is to be kept at the Monthly Meetings.
And from there a copy of what is recorded,
to be brought to the Quarterly Meeting,
and let one or two Friends be appointed there to receive them,
and to record them all in one book, which is to be kept for the whole county.
And this will be most safe, so that if one book should happen to be lost,
the other may be preserved for the use of those who may have an occasion.
And that all Friends, who have not already provided,
may speedily procure convenient burying places,
and that by this a testimony may stand
against the superstitious idolizing of those places
called holy ground.
For Abraham bought a place to bury his dead in,
and would not bury them among the Egyptians and Canaanites.
And Jacob was brought out of Egypt, and Joseph,
and they were buried in their grandfather and father's burying places.
And so Friends, get decent burying places for your dead,
and let them be decently and well fenced,
so that you may show a good example to the world in all things.
And dear Friends, do all that you do in peace and love, and in the fear of God,
condescending to one another, in the simplicity and innocence of life, and truth,
and in the wisdom of God, that that may be everyone's crown,
so that nothing may be done in strife, to occasion words;
for you are called to peace and holiness, in which the kingdom stands,
and to serve one another in love.
And my love is to all Friends in the everlasting seed of God,
in which is life, purity, cleanness, and righteousness that shines over all.
And all Friends, do that which you do in the power of God,
and then you are the Lord's freemen in love, and not captives.
For all that is done out of the power of God is in the captivity.
So all wait in the power of the Lord, and in the light,
in which you will feel life and peace,
and the Lord's blessing.
So in that the Lord God Almighty preserve you,
and keep you over all that which is contrary, and give you victory and dominion.
And live in peace and love, in the spirit and power of God,
in which is the unity and the fellowship in the bond of peace,
that truth and life may reign among you;
that in all things you may adorn and grace the truth, which never has an end.
And the Lord God Almighty preserve you in his seed, life, and wisdom,
and give you discerning victory and dominion over all that which is contrary,
so that you may feel Christ's reign and authority,
in which you may all act in his power and authority.
So in that, God Almighty preserve you.
And draw up an account of all who have died in prison,
in every county, for truth's testimony,
and lay them before the magistrates;
and so keep Friends clear from the blood of all men.
And preserve a list of their sufferings, together with the number who have died in prison;
that their blood may come upon those who have thirsted after it,
and so that their testimony may not be lost, who have sealed it with their blood,
but that it may be preserved.
And so keep a record of them in your Quarterly Meeting books;
so that the memorial of the innocent sufferers for the truth and the name of Jesus,
may not be lost nor forgotten;
that his name and power, which has supported them, may be exalted,
which has carried them over death, and their persecutors, and the spoiling of their goods.
So in the heavenly seed Christ Jesus, who reigns, who is the living rock and foundation,
and stands sure for all his elect to build upon,
stand above all the rocks and foundations that are below, and will have an end;
and in him the Lord God Almighty preserve you, and keep you all. Amen.
And all my dear Friends everywhere,
who have been moved by the Lord God to speak in steeple-houses to the priests,
or in markets to the people, or in courts, or fairs, or assizes, or towns;
let an account of this be drawn up together in one book,
with the substance of their words
that they spoke in the power of God.
This would be a book that may stand for generations,
so that they may see their faithful testimony,
and what strength God ordained out of the mouths of babes and sucklings.
And also Friends who have been moved to go to the professors' meetings;
so that their testimony there may not be lost,
together with all the examples of what has fallen upon the persecutors.
And let the testimonies of Friends who are deceased be recorded,
so that the testimony of the Lord through his servants may not be lost,
that he raised up in his people;
for they were carried on through great tribulations and sufferings;
and many laid down their lives,
and had their goods spoiled,
and were persecuted to death,
to keep up their testimony,
(which the Lord moved them to speak by his spirit), to future generations.
So that those words,
which they were moved to speak forth by the power,
may not be lost;
that the power and spirit of the Lord may be exalted.
So that an account may be taken of that which has been spoken and done
by the motions of the spirit of God from the first, as mentioned above.
And so be diligent;
and those who can write, help those who cannot.
This may be easily done.
And all those who are public ministers, (if unknown), who pass up and down the countries,
and to other nations, for them to have a certificate from their meeting,
where such persons are known, and all their practices are looked into;
that will prevent any bad spirits, who may scandalize honest men.
For those who minister to others, must have a double diligence
in virtue, and chastity, and patience, and carefulness,
and watchfulness, more than their hearers, for fear that they judge them.
For Christ the heavenly man, is our example;
and the apostle said, follow us, as we follow Christ.
For whoever esteems the beggarly lusts before virtue, is not worthy of it;
and who prefers his ungodliness, and his unholiness, and his earthliness,
before that which is heavenly, is not worthy of the heavenly,
nor of godliness, nor righteousness, etc.
And, dear friends, be faithful,
you who know the light, the truth, and the power of God, and his life;
in the wisdom of God be faithful;
by which wisdom all things were made and created;
and by which wisdom all things that are created,
must be ordered again
to the glory of the Creator.
And you who have come to know the truth and the power of it,
all come to know the order of life,
so that all things may he kept in that sweet order and government
to the glory of God and the refreshment of all,
and a sweet aroma to God and in the hearts of all people,
that through the wisdom of God you may adorn the truth in all things,
for the preserving of love, peace, and unity among all.
And live in the peaceable truth, and keep in the heavenly order of the gospel,
and in the government of the heavenly man, of the increase of which there is no end;
and walk in the pure and undefiled religion, which keeps you from the spots of the world,
and in the worship of God in the spirit and truth, which the devil is out of.
So that in the truth you may be preserved in peace with God, and with one another.
And in the spirit of truth you may be preserved in the unity and fellowship of it,
in which is the bond of peace.
And my desire is that all the faithful men, and faithful women
in the light, and power, and spirit of Christ,
may be kept in the possession of the truth,
and that all such may make up the men and women's meetings,
so that you all may be in your possessions of the order of the gospel,
and the government of Christ, the seed, who bruises the head of the serpent,
who is the head of all ill government and disorders.
So that all may be in the possession of the joyful and glorious order of the everlasting gospel,
so that in the light, spirit, and power, you may all have a care for God's glory,
and his honor, and his church's peace, keeping in the unify of his everlasting spirit,
which is the bond of the heavenly and spiritual Prince of prince' peace.
And all who are in the possession of this,
admonish and exhort all those who do not walk as becomes the gospel,
and do not glorify the Lord with their bodies, souls, and spirits;
and so see that as everyone has received Christ Jesus, they walk in him;
that all may walk in the holiness which becomes the house of God;
so that God may be glorified by his light, power, and spirit in all, who is over all,
God blessed forever.
And so the God of glory, who has brought Christ from the dead,
by him are you quickened and raised from the dead,
that henceforth you should not live to yourselves, but to him, and walk in him,
who is the Amen, and over all, the first and last.
END OF VOLUME I
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