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of kings, and Lord of lords' peace, which is the duty of all true Christians to keep. Herein they may honour Christ, in bringing forth the fruits of peace, which are love and charity. For the apostle tells you, 'The fruit of the good Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness,' &c. Gal. y.
"And the apostle exhorts the Christians, and saith, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men:' this should be the endeavour of all Christians. For it is no honour to Christ, that Christians should war and destroy one another, that profess his name, who saith, “He came to save men's lives, and not to destroy them. Christians have enemies enough abroad without them, and therefore they should love one another, as Christ commands, who saith, ‘By this ye shall be known to be my disciples, if ye love one another. For Christians are commanded to love enemies; therefore much more, one another. And Christ saith, 'As the Father hath loved me, so I have loved you: continue ye in my love,' John xv. 8, and · By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another,' John xiii. 35. But if Christians war and destroy one another, this will make Jews, Turks, Tartars, and Heathens say, that you are not disciples of Christ. Therefore, as you love God, and Christ, and Christianity, and its peace, all make peace, as far as you have power, among Christians, that you may have the blessing. You read, that Christians were called the household of faith, the household of God, a holy nation, a peculiar people: and they are commanded to be 'zealous of good works,' not of bad: and Christians are also commanded not to bite and devour one another, lest they be consumed one of another.
"Is it not a sad thing for Christians to be biting and consuming one another in the sight of the Turks, Tartars, Jews, and Heathens, when they should love one another, and do unto all men, as they would have them do unto them ?' Such devouring work as this, will open the mouths of Jews and Turks, Tartars and Heathens, to blaspheme the name of Christ, who is the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and cause them to speak evil of Christianity, for them to see how the unity of the Spirit is broken among such, as profess Christ and Christ's peace. Therefore all Christians are to mind God and Christ's teaching, who teacheth Christians to love one another, yea enemies; and persuade all kings and princes, to give liberty to all tender consciences in matters of religion and worship, they living peaceably under every government: so that for the time to come, there may be no more imprisonment and persecution among Christians, for tender consciences about matters of faith, worship, and religion, that the Jews, Turks, Tartars, and Heathens, may not see how Christians are persecuting one another for religion : seeing, from Christ and the apostles, Christians have no such command, but on the contrary, to love one another; and knowing, that Christ said to such as would have been plucking up tares, 'Let the tares and the wheat grow together till the harvest (which is the end of the world) lest they plucked up the wheat;' and at the end of the world Christ would send forth his angels, and they should sever the wheat from the tares. So Christ tells you, that it is the angels' work at the end of the world, and nūt men's work, before the harvest at the end of the world. Hath not all
this persecution, banishing, and imprisoning, and putting to death, concerning religion, been the pretence of plucking up tares ? and hath not all this been before the harvest, before the end of the world? And therefore, have not all these been actors against the express command of Christ, the King of Heaven? All kings and rulers, especially they that call themselves Christians, should obey their Lord and Saviour's command: 'Let the tares and the wheat grow together, till the harvest;' and the harvest is the end of the world. Christ also told some of his disciples, that in their zeal would lave had fire to come down from heaven, to destroy such as would not receive him, “That they did not know what spirit they were of:' and rebuked them, and said, “He came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them.' And therefore all such as have destroyed men's lives concerning religion, and the worship of God, have they known what spirit they have been of ? Have they not donc that which they should not do? done tliat which Christ forbade, who saith, ' Lest ye should pluck up the wheat witlı the tares,' and saith, 'It is the angels' work at the end of the world?' And hath not God showed unto man what is good, and his duty, ‘To love mercy, to do justly, and to walk humbly with his God ?' which man is to mind.
"And the apostle exhorts Christians, To follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord,' Heb. xii. 14. Why should Christians war and strive one with another, seeing they all own in words one King, Lord, and Saviour, Christ Jesus, whose command is, that they should love one another ;' which is a mark that they shall be known by, to be Christ's disciples, as I said before. And Christ, who is the King of kings, and Lord of lords, saith, “This is my commandment, that ye lore one another, as I have loved you,' John xv. 12, and John xü. And the apostle saith, Christians ought to be patient towards all men,' 1 Thess. v, 14.
“From him, who is a lover of truth, righteousness, and peace, who desires your temporal and eternal good; and that in the wisdom of God, that is from above, pure, gentle, and peaceable, you may be ordered, and order all things, that God hath committed to you, to his glory; and stop those things among Christians, so far as you have power, which dishonour God, Christ, and Christianity!"
G. F. Amsterdain, the 21st of the 7th Month, 1677.
To the magistrates and priests of Embden I wrote, showing them their unchristian practices in persecuting Friends.* And several other books I wrote, in answer to priests and others of Hamburg, Dantzic, and other places, to clear the truth and Friends from their charges and false slanders. "An Epistle concerning true Fasting, true Prayer, true Honour, and against
Persecution, and for the true Liberty in Christ Jesus; that all may have a care, that the apostle hath not bestowed his labour in vain upon you in your
* William Penn also addressed the Council and Senate of the city of Einbden, relative to the sufferings of Friends there. Though these appeals did not procure any immediate relief, yet, in about ten years after, Friends enjoyed perfect liberty there. See Sewell's History, vol. ii., 420-125.
observing of Days, Months, Times, Feasts, and Years, and of coming under the beggarly elements and the yoke of bondage again, and of bringing and forcing people into then.
“WHERE did ever Christ or his apostles command any believers or Christians to observe holidays or feast-days ? Let us see where it is written in the Scriptures of the New Testament, in the four Evangelists, or the Epistles, or the Revelation, that ever Christ or his apostles commanded Christians to observe the time called Christmas, or a day for Christ's birth? or to observe the time called Easter, or Whitsuntide, or Peter's or Paul's, Mark's, Luke's, or any other saint's day?
“You, that profess yourselves to be the reformed churches from the Papists, Jews, and Heathens, and the Scriptures to be your rule, and arc professors of the new covenant, where do you prove out of the New Testament, that the apostles and the primitive church practised or forced any such thing, or that Christ and his apostles gave any such command to the churches that they should practise and observe any such days ? Let us see where this command is written. Did not the apostle say unto the Galatians in the fourth chapter, ‘But now, after that ye have known God, or rather ye are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years ; I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. And in the third of Galatians it is said, 'O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched yon, that you should not obcy the truth,' &c. And in Galatians the fifth, the apostle exhorts them to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free;' and moreover said, 'Be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.'
“Now doth not this manifcst, that there were some teachers, that vere drawing the church of the Galatians into these beggarly elements, and bringing them again into bondage, in observing days, months, times, and years ? It was the apostle's work to bring them out of those bondages and beggarly elements; and therefore, when they were going back again into observing days, months, times, and years, lie was afraid that he had
bestowed his labour upon them in vain ;' and he exhorts them to 'stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ Jesus hath made them free, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage,' and again signifies, that “they had been once entangled with that yoke of bondage and beggarly elements. But O! how are people, called Christians, since the apostles' days, gone again under this yoke of bondage, and these beggarly elements, in observing days, months, times, and years, let their practice declare. Nay, do not both Papists and Protestants force people to observe days, months, and times? And therefore is not the apostle's labour and travail bestowed upon Christendom in vain, which was to bring people from under such beggarly elements, and that yoke of bondage (which the law did require), to 'stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage ?' It was and is Christ, that hath made and doth make his people free from these beggarly elements; therefore, they that are redeemed, are to 'stand fast in that liberty wherewith Christ hath made them frce.' This liberty all true
Christians are to stand fast in; they are made free by Christ and not by man; for man, without the Spirit and mind of Christ, seeks to force and compel Christ's followers, such as are made free from the yoke of bondage, to outward things that the law commanded, to the observing of days, months, times, feasts, and years. From such weak, beggarly elements, they that know God, or are known of God and Christ, are to stand fast in their liberty, and not come under, nor be entangled with the yoke of bondage to such things again, seeing he hath made them free. For they that are in such things, and would force others to them, are gone from that which gives the knowledge of God, and have not stood fast in the liberty wherewith Christ makes free.
“Concerning Prayer, we do not read that ever Christ or his apostles did seek by force to compel any to fast or pray with them. But Christ taught them how they should pray, and be distinct from the hypocrites, His words are as follows :- When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are ; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men,' &c. ‘But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them; for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him,' &c. As the apostles and saints did, so do we; we pray in secret, and we pray in public, as the Spirit gives us utterance, which helps our infirmities, as it did the apostles and true Christians; after this manner we pray for ourselves, and for all men both high and low.
“Concerning Fasting, Christ saith, ‘Moreover wlien ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance; for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. But when thou fastest, anoint thy head and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."
“You may see in Isaiah the lviiith, what the true fast is which the Lord requires ; where it is said to the prophet, “Cry aloud, and spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins; yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God; they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God, Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge ? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness, ye shall not fast, as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen ? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him ? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord ? Is not this the fast that I
have chosen, saith the Lord; to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burthens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke ?' So this fast that the Lord requires, is not to lay yokes, to oppress, and lay heavy burthens, and to make fast the bands of wickedness; but to loose and to break such things.
“And further, concerning the true fast the Lord requires, "Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor, that are cast out, to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thy own flesh ? (Do you keep this true fast?) Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee, the glory of the Lord shall be thy rere-ward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer ; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am ; if thou take away from the midst of thee the yokes, the putting forth of the finger and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light arise out of obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon-day. And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not,' &c.
“Now here is the practice of the true fast the Lord requires of his people; and to them that observe this fast, the Lord saith, When they call, he will answer.' You may see what glorious and happy comforts they receive from the Lord, that keep this true fast; but such as fast for strife and debate, smite with the fists of wickedness, and make their voices to be heard on bigh; who afflict their souls for a day, bow down their head as a bulrush, and loose not the bands of wickedness; who do not undo every heavy burthen, break not off every yoke, nor let the oppressed go free; who do not deal their bread to the hungry, clothe not the naked, nor bring the poor to their house, but hide themselves from their own flesh :-such fasts and fasters the Lord doth not accept, neither hath he chosen them. But these appear to men with their disfigured faces, and hang down their heads as a bulrush for a day, like the hypocrites, to fast, as Christ speaks in Matt. vi.
“And is it not the command of Christ, that in their fast they should not appear unto men to fast ? And now you that would force us to shut up our shops on fasting-days, or for a day, does not this fast appear to men ? and is not this the fast that the Lord saith in Isaiah, he doth not accept ?' for he saith, Is this the fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul, and bow down his head as a-bulrush,' &c. Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord ?' Isa. lviii.
“Therefore all God's people are to keep the true fast of the Lord from debate and strife, and the fists of wickedness; that fast that breaks the bands of wickedness, and undoes every heavy burthen; breaks every yoke, and lets the oppressed go free; deals bread to the hungry, clothes the naked, and brings the poor that are cast out to his own house. Every one that keeps this true fast, their health shall grow, and when they call, the Lord will hear them; he will be their guide continually, satisfy their