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and now my daughter Yeomans went back also; so that I was left alone at Amsterdam. While I was there, it came upon me to visit my suffering Friends at Dantzic with a few lines, to encourage and strengthen them in their sufferings, as follows:
“DEAR FRIENDS, : “To whom is my love in the Lord's truth, that is over all, and by which all God's people are made free men and women, being thereby set free from him that is out of the truth; that walking in the truth, they may answer the witness of God in all people; which truth all must come to, if they be made free. Therefore be faithful unto what the Lord makes known unto you. I am glad the Lord hath witnesses in that city, to stand for bis glory and name, and for Christ Jesus, the great Prophet, whom God hath raised up, who is to be heard in all things; so that ye need none of the prophets, which men have raised up. Therefore, stand faithful to Christ Jesus, your Shepherd, that he may feed you; hear his voice, and follow him, who laid down his life for you: but follow none of the shepherds and hirelings, that are made by men, though they be angry, because ye will not follow them to their dry and barren mountains; who have been, and are, the thieves, persecutors, and robbers, that climb up another way, than by Christ. Set up Christ to be your Counsellor and Leader, and then, ye will have no need of any of the counsellors and leaders of the world; for Christ is sufficient, whom God has given you. Set up Christ Jesus to be your Bishop and Overscer, who is sufficient to oversee you, that ye go not astray from God; by which ye may see over all the hireling-overseers made by men, who keep the people, that they do not go astray from the rudiments and formalities, fashions and customs of the world; which hath been and is their work. I am glad ye are come to own Christ Jesus, your High
followed his example, and came forth a zealous witness for the truth, receiving a gift in the ministry, in which he laboured to bring others to God. He was much exercised in controversy, from the many contradictions that fell upon truth, and upon him for its sake. He published several works in defence of the principles he had espoused, which he believed to be those of the New Testament, as promulgated by Christ and his apostles. His chief work was his Apology for the True Christian Divinity, which has gone through many editions, and remains uncontrovertible. · In common with the early Friends, Robert Barclay suffered imprisonments and ill usage, which he bore with exemplary patience. He travelled extensively to spread the gospel of Christ, for he loved the truth above all the world; not ashamed of it before men, but bold and able in maintaining it, sound in judgment, strong in argument, of a pleasant disposition, yet solid and exemplary in his conversation. He was a learned man, a good Christian, an able minister, a tender and careful father, and a good and kind neighbour and friend. His last illness was short. James Dickerson of Cumberland, in his journey in Scotland, visiting him when on his deathbed, as he sat by him, the Lord's power and presence bowed their hearts together, and Robert Barclay was sweetly melted in the sense of God's love, and, with tears, expressed his love to all faithful brethren in England; and adding a message of love to dear George Fox, he said, “God is good still, and though I am under great weight of sickness and weakness as to my body, yet my peace flows, and this I know, whatever exercises may be permitted to come upon me, it shall tend to God's glory and my salvation, and in that I rest."
He died at his own house, at Ury, in Scotland, in 1690, aged forty-two, leaving behind him four sons and three daughters.
Priest, who is holy, harmless, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens, as the church and the apostle owned him in their days, Heb. vii., who is the High-Priest over the household of faith; which faith Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of: and this do all the children of the new covenant witness, who walk in the new and living way. Therefore my desire is, that ye all may be steadfast, whether in bonds or out, in the faith of Christ Jesus, which is the gift of God; by which faith all the valiants overcame the devil and all their enemies; in which faith they had victory and access to God; and in that was their unity: which mystery of faith is held in a pure conscience, hidden from the world. I do believe, that your imprisonments and sufferings in that place will be for good in the end, as it hath been in other places, ye standing faithful to the Lord, who is all-sufficient. For your sufferings and trials will try their teachers and religions, churches and worships, and make manifest what birth they are of; even that which persecutes him that is born of the Spirit; for ye know, that there is no salvation by any other name under the whole heaven, than by the name of Jesus; therefore it is time to leave them, when there is no salvation by or in any of them.
“Now, Friends, I desire that you would take a list of the names of all those that belong to the king of Poland, and where they live, and how ye may send books or epistles to them, and keep a correspondence with them : also the name of the bishop or cardinal that I heard was with you; and, if ye can, get any of them that belong to the king to come and visit the prisoners, that they may inform the king of their cruel sufferings. Also I desire you to get as many books of mine as you can dispose of, that set forth your sufferings, and the cruelty of the magistrates of Dantzic; and give them to the king, his council, attendants, and bishops. And some of the women may speak to the queen, if they can, that she may signify to the king their cruel sufferings; and especially some of the sufferers' wives, if there be any of a capacity to do it. You may likewise give his attendants any other Friends' books; what books ye lack, send for to Amsterdam, where ye may be furnished with them, to answer every tender desirer, and inquiring mind after the Lord. So let all your minds be bended with the Lord's power, to spread his truth abroad; and where ye hear of any, or have any correspondence in outward trading with any sober people, far or near, send them books, that their understandings may be opened after the Lord. The Lord God Almighty preserve you! To his protection, in his eternal power, do I commend you all, in bonds or at liberty, with my love to you in the everlasting Seed of God, Christ Jesus, who bruises the head of the serpent, that makes you suffer. Christ is over him, and will be when he is gone; who is First and Last, over all, from everlasting to everlasting, in whom ve have lise, knowledge, wisdom, and salvation; and through him live to the praise and glory of God, who is blessed for evermore. Amen."
G. F. Amsterdam, the 18th of the 7th Month, 1677, English style.
Next day, the fourth of the week and 19th of the month, I had a large meeting at Amsterdam, many professors being at it; and truth was
largely opened to them, in the demonstration of the heavenly power. The day following I went by boat from Amsterdam, many Friends going with me, to LANDSMEER in Waterland (a town in which, they say, there are above a hundred bridges), where I had a very good meeting, to which several professors came. After it I returned with Friends to AMSTERDAM, where I stayed till the First-day following, and went to their meeting, which was large. Many professors of several sorts were at it, and heard the truth declared with great attention.
I tarried there next day, and in the night following had a great exercise upon my spirit concerning that loose spirit, that was run out into strife and contention among Friends, and had drawn some after it into division and separation; the way, work, and end whereof the Lord opened to me: wherefore feeling the motion of life upon me, I got up in the morning and wrote the following epistle to Friends :
“MY DEAR FRIENDS, “Keep your first love in the truth, power, and Seed of life in Christ Jesus; for this last night, as I was lying in my bed at Amsterdam, I had a great travail in the holy Seed of life and peace, and my spirit was troubled with that spirit of strife and separation. I saw it was a destroying spirit, and did seek not only to get over the Seed, but to destroy it, and to eat out the minds of the people from it by strife and contention; and, under pretence of standing for the ancient truth, its work is to root it out, and destroy the appearance of it, to set up itself. It is a creeping spirit, seeking whom it can get into; and what it cannot do itself it stirreth up others to do, and setteth their spirits afloat, with the dark wisdom to destroy the simple. This spirit is managed by the prince of the air, and leadeth some to do things which they would have been ashamed to have done as men, which doth unman them; and they would not have suffered them if they had kept to the tender principle of God, which leadeth to peace. It is a despising, backbiting, secret-whispering spirit, a sower of dissension, and a taker of advantage of all prejudiced spirits, that are disobedient to their first principle, and love of truth, and begetteth into hatred; so it begetteth all into that spirit, whose work is to destroy both the good within, and the good order without. Nay, it would, if it could, destroy the government of Christ, and the order of the gospel, to set up its own will and spirit, which is not of God; and, under pretence of crying down man, is setting up man, and gathering into a separation of disobedient men, who float above their conditions. This spirit, which neither liveth in the truth nor its order, but opposeth them that do, I cannot express it, as I see it and its work, whose end will be accordingly. Therefore, Friends, I am to warn you all, that have not lost your simplicity, not to touch it, nor to have any unity with it, lest you be defiled, and lose your eternal estate and everlasting portion; and that your inward man, which is after God, may be preserved, and Christ may reign in all your hearts. It will be very hard for those that are joined with them, ever to come down to truth in themselves, to see their own conditions, and to have that spirit of strife and contention (which eateth as a canker) brought down in them; which is Curnal, and slayeth the tender babe, which was once begotten in themselves.
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The Philistine is got up in them, that stoppeth the wells and springs, maketh a great bustle, and is crying up men, and pleading for them, instead of Christ. So, Friends, strive not with them, but let those take them that cry them up. Keep you to the Lord Jesus Christ with his light, that cometh from him, that he may be your Lord; and ye in him may be all in unity, in one light, life, power, and dominion, in Christ, your head. The God of peace and power preserve you all in Christ Jesus, your Saviour; and out of and from that mischievous spirit, which is idle and slothful as to the work of the power, and Spirit, and light of God and Christ. Its very act worketh strife and disturbance against the peace of the church of Christ. It thinks, in its wilfulness, stubbornness, and unruliness, to set up itself, and in that to have peace; but destruction will be the end of it, and it is sealed for the fire and eternal judgment. Therefore, let Christ, the Seed, be the head and crown of every one of you, that nothing may be between you and the Lord God. Be not deccived with vain, feigned, or rough words; for Satan is transforming himself, as an angel of light, to deceive; but God's foundation standeth sure, and God knoweth who are his, and will preserve them upon the rock and foundation of life, in his peaceable truth and habitation, that in the same they may grow. Keep out of strife and contention with it, after ye have borne your testimony in the Lord's power and truth against it, then keep in the truth; for it hath a life in scribbling, strife, and jangling, because it would enlarge itself, and bring others into its misery with the airy power, and would get power over the good, disjoin people from it, and so commit rapes upon the simplicity by its subtilty. But I do believe the Lord will defend his people, though he may try them and exercise them with this spirit for a time, as he hath done in days past, in other vessels it hath made use of, as it doth of these now; who have a more seeming fair outside, but foul, rough, and rugged enough within, against the Seed of Christ, as ever were the Pharisees to destroy it. They, under a pretence of preaching Christ, are destroyers and crucifiers of him, and killers of the just, not only in themselves, but are endeavouring, with all their might, to destroy it in others, where it is born. Pharaoh and Herod slay the young Jews in the Spirit, as the old did; I feel it worrying them. That is got up to be king which knew not suffering Joseph. But God will plague him, and the Seed will have more rest, and be better entertained in Egypt, than under Herod, into whom old Pharaoh's spirit is entered. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear; and an eye to see, let him see, how this spirit hath transformed in all ages against the just and righteous; but mark, what hath been its end? The Seed reigneth; glory to the Lord God over all for ever! His truth spreadeth, and Friends here are in unity and peace, and of good report, answering the good, or that of God in people. My desires are, that all God's people may do the same in all places, that the Lord may be glorified in their bringing forth much fruit that is heavenly and spiritual. Amen.” Amsterdam, the 25th of the 7th Month, 1677.
After I had given forth the foregoing epistle, whereby my spirit was in soine measure eased of the weight that lay upon it, I went in the after
noon to the monthly meeting of Friends at Amsterdam, where the Loril was present with us, and refreshed our spirits together in himself.
I had thought to go next day to Haarlem; but a fast being appointed to be kept that day, I was stopped in my spirit, and moved to stay at Friends' inceting that day at Amsterdam. We had a very large meeting, a great concourse of people coming to it, and amongst them many great persons. The Lord's power was over the meeting; and in the openings thereof I was moved to declare to the people, “that no man, by all his wit and study, nor by reading history in his own will, could declare or know the generation of Christ, who was not begotten by the will of man, but by the will of God.” After I had largely opened this unto them, “I showed them the difference between the true fast and the false; manifesting, that the professed Christians, Jews, and Turks, were out of the true fast, and fasted for strife and debate, being under the band and fists of iniquity and oppression, wherewith they were smiting one another; but the pure hands were not lifted up to God. And though they did all appear to men to fast, and did hang down their heads for a day like a bulrush, yet that was not the fast which God did accept; but in that state all their bones were dry, and when they called upon the Lord, he did not answer them, neither did their health grow; for they kept their own fast and not the Lord's. I exhorted them to keep the Lord's fast, which was to fast from sin and iniquity, from strife and debate, from violence and oppression, and to abstain from every appearance of evil.” These things were opened to the astonishment of the fasters; and the meeting ended peaceably and well.
I went to HAARLEM the day following, having before appointed a meeting. Peter Hendricks and Gertrude Dirick Nieson went with me; and a blessed meeting we had. There were professors of several sorts, and a priest of the Lutherans, who sat very attentive for several hours, while I declared the truth amongst them, Gertrude interpreting. When the meeting was done, the priest said “he had heard nothing but what was according to the Word of God; and desired that the blessing of the Lord might rest upon us, and our assemblies.”. Others also confessed to the truth, saying, “they had never heard things so plainly opened to their understandings before."
We stayed that night at Haarlem at a Friend's house, whose name was Dirick Klassen ; and, returning next day to AMSTERDAM, went to Gertrude's house; where we had not been long, before a priest of great note, who had formerly belonged to the Emperor of Germany, and with him another German priest came, desiring to have some conference with me. I took the opportunity to declare the way of truth unto them, opening unto them “how they might come to know God and Christ, and his law and gospel ;" and showing them that “they could never know it by study, nor by philosophy, but by divine revelation through the Spirit of God, opening to them in the stillness of their minds." The men were tender, and went away well satisfied.
On the First-day following I was at Friends' meeting at Amsterdam; there, amongst several sorts of professors that were present, was a doctor froin Poland, who for his religion was banished the place he lived in; and