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filled, by the foregoing narrative; where he confesseth himself a Saul, desires forgiveness, testifies to us that we are the Lord's people, and prays for our increase. Thus hath our God vindicated his glorious name.
Nor do I insist on this so much, as if we had been hitherto barren of the like instances that might encourage us; for a great volume would not contain what we could say, of the living and dying testimonies given by great and harsh opposers to this blessed way of God we are turned unto: but forasmuch as this man was so lately, and so publicly, a gainsayer, and so generally known of those that frequent our meetings to have been such; and for that it was his own desire, as well as that the case is extraordinary, and that the Lord's honour, and many men's souls, are concerned, therefore is this published. And I pray God, with my whole soul and spirit, that it may be a warning to all opposers, of what sort soever, that they gainsay not themselves into eternal destruction (for none of their weapons shall ever prosper; the Lord hath said it ;) but that they may turn unto the light of Jesus in their own hearts, and follow the reproofs and instructions of it, 66 whose ways are ways of purity, and all his paths are peace;" for he visits the creatures to lead out of sin, which is the only cause of trouble: and my desire farther is, that we who have believed therein, may keep covenant, stand our ground, and not again turn unto folly. O! have a care of a slothful mind; that which can sit at home and censure, but is not diligent in the work of the Lord: let us go on, and press forward, towards the glorious recompense. This keeps in the universal spirit, out of murmurings and grudgings, and herein shall we prosper, and be preserved for ever: and let this be the godly use we make of this great obligation which the Lord hath now eminently laid upon us, to watch and persevere, that we may hold out to the end, and give no just occasion to any to speak evil of this blessed way of the Lord, that hath so signally been borne witness to, (even by such as have spoken evil of it) when they came to die; as this narrative (though briefly, yet fully) proves.
And as to the persecution that now threatens, you know this, it comes all from the same root; and he that drew a testimony from this opposer (and persecutor, as he confesseth he was), will, in due time, give witness to his holy way, and you his people, from the consciences of your persecutors, as you know full well he hath frequently done in divers places of this nation. Therefore never heed it, neither be ye moved at it, but be of good cheer; for the shout of an immortal king is amongst us, who is the only Sacred Majesty,
Dread Sovereign, King, Prince, and Lord of conscience, and no mortal man whatever: for he only can be Lord of conscience, who is greater than conscience, and author of conscience; but that no man is, because conscience is the chiefest part that constitutes that man; therefore no man can be Lord of conscience. And be it known to all powers on earth, it is this great Lord that hath reached to your souls, even Israel's God: wherefore keep you with him, hearken to his holy voice, and obey it diligently unto all holiness, and all shall go well with you in the end: "say unto the righteous, it shall go well with them; but say unto the wicked, it shall go ill with them :" this God gave his prophet in charge of old, and it stands true to our day, and shall while a good and a bad man live upon the earth.
You know, my brethren, in whom you have believed, and have good experience of his power and faithfulness: call to mind his noble acts, and valiant deeds, his great salvation in all ages; how sure, how ready, how willing, and how able he hath been to deliver our ancestors; and you know he is the same now at this day: trust there for ever; for "he is greater that is in you, than he that is in the world;" and I know assuredly that all these things shall work together for good, to them that keep in the faith, the royal faith, the victorious faith, that faith that stands all trials, and surmounts all temptations, and, through patient sufferings, triumphs over rage, darkness, and the grave: it is this exceeding precious faith, that makes the good Christian, the good man, the good subject, and keeps man's conscience void of offence towards God and all men'; and as we keep it, of right may we say, "The Lord is our light, whom should we fear? The Lord is the strength of our life, of whom should we be afraid?" O! those that flee before informers, and run at the sight of persecutors (yea, though an army of them) either never had, or have parted from, this noble faith, which is pure confidence in God, and intire resignation to his divine will, come what will come. Christ will not have one coward in his spiritual army: "Fear not what man can do unto you," was a great part of his instruction to his disciples, the pilgrim preachers of his holy gospel to the world: but consulters with flesh and blood, those that use base stratagems to save themselves, that will not abide the day, but slink from the shock of sufferings, and hide in stormy times, they betray God's prerogative, conscience's liberty, fling up the cause, and bring a spot upon conscientious separation; such shall become an abhorrence, and utter detestation, in the sight of the pure jealous God, and all good people.
My brethren, I hope that few or none of these will be found amongst us: howbeit, these things may be permit ted for a winnowing, that many may be proved, that so their integrity may be the better manifested; for a sincere, holy, and self-denying people, God will have to delight himself in: "Blessed are they whose God is the Lord, and whose trust is in him for ever, for they shall never be moved."
Into his blessed care and protection, with myself, do I commit you all; and the Lord of heaven and earth us all in his holy fear, love, and patience, to the end. preserve Amen.
CHILDREN OF LIGHT
Called of God to be Partakers of Eternal Life in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, and Light of the World.
Published in the Year 1678.
My endeared Friends and Brethren,
MANY days and weeks, yea, some months, hath my heart been heavy, and my soul unusually sad, for the sake of this nation, the land of our nativity! For I have not only long beheld with a grieved eye, the many abominations and gross. impieties that reign therein, the lusts, pleasures, wantonness, drunkenness, wboredoms, oaths, blasphemies, envy, treachery, and persecution of the just, but for some time I have had a deep sense that the overflowing scourge of God's wrath and indignation was just ready to break out upon the people, confusion, amazement, and misery! The weight of which has caused me to cry within myself, Who shall save us? who shall deliver us? Are there none to stay the stroke? To blunt the edge? To stop the fury, and intercede for the people, and mediate for this poor land, that: the Lord may not utterly depart, and take his glory and his name from it, and make it a desolation for the wild beasts of the field, and fowls of the air; a land of judgment, and not of promise; of curses, and not of blessings.'
My friends, whilst the sense of this distress, that is coming as a dreadful visitation from the hand of the displeased God, upon this ungodly land, to stain its glory, bring down its pride, and punish its forgetfulness of the Lord, and his many deliverances, lay so heavy upon my spirit, the Lord presented before me all the truly conscientious and well-inclined. people in these nations; and more especially you, his despised, but chosen generation, for whose sake he would yet
have mercy. And, in the midst of his judgments, this I recived for you from the Lord, as his holy will and counsel; and it often sprung in my heart, with a fresh and strong life,
To THY TENTS, O ISRAEL!
TO THY TENTS, O ISRAEL!
GOD IS THY TENT; TO THY GOD, O ISRAEL!
Prepare, O friends, to stand in this day before the Lord, (that is in the first place) for ye also shall have your exercise: yea, great is that work which ye have to do for the Lord, by his powerful but very peaceable Spirit; for God will, by all these hurries, confusions, and vexations that are at the door, drive people from their false gods, and bring them home to himself. He will throw down wickedness, and establish righteousness: he will waste sin, but truth shall grow. He will debase the mountain of empty profession, but the "mountain of his holiness shall be exalted." He hath determined to raise up, and renown, the seed of light, life, and truth, in the hearts of people: holy patience, meekness, wisdom, love, faith, purity, and perseverance (so much, wanting in the world) shall be seen to dwell in it, and only to come from it. And my witness is, That ye are the people, through whom this heavenly seed of righteousness must clearly and stedfastly so shine unto others in these uneven and rough times that are come, and coming, as that your heavenly Father may be glorified by you.
Wherefore, in the name of the Lord, be ye all disencumbered of the world, and discharged of the cares of it: fly, as for your lives, from the snares therein, and get you into your watch tower, the name of the Lord! Which is not a dead name, or a mere literal name, but a living, spiritual, and very powerful name; a strong tower indeed, yea, an invincible fortress; where dwell ye with God, and in him who speaketh peace to his children, and ordains quietness for them that trust in him. He will make you to lie down safely, even then when darkness and confusion shall be thick about you; yea, ye shall live in the fire, that will consume the stubble of the world, and your garments shall not be so much as singed; for the Son of God, whom the flames, as well as winds and seas, obey, will be in the midst of you.
Next, friends, this know; we are the people, above all others, that must stand in the gap, and pray for the putting away of the wrath, so as that this land be not made an utter desolation; and God expects it at our hands. Prepare ye therefore to meet and sanctify the Lord in his coming and