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meeting that evening; and after that had meetings at Hitchen and AshWELL. Then passing through part of BEDFORDSHIRE, where I had a meeting or two, I went to HUNTINGDON, in which county I stayed several days, having many meetings, and much service amongst Friends ; labouring to convince gainsayers, and to confirm and strengthen Friends in the
and work of the Lord. At Ives, in Huntingdonshire, George Whitehead came to me, and travelled with me, in the work of the Lord, for five or six days in that county, and in some part of NORTHAMPTONSHIRE ; and leaving me in GREAT BOWDEN in LEICESTERSHIRE, he went towards Westmorland. I stayed longer in Leicestershire, visiting Friends at SADDINGTON, WIGSTON, KNIGHTON, LEICESTER, SILEBY, SWANNINGTON, and divers other places; where I had very precious meetings, and good service amongst Friends and other people: for there was great openness, and many weighty and excellent trutlis did the Lord give me to deliver amongst them.
At LEICESTER I went to the jail to visit the Friends that were in prison there for the testimony of Jesus, with whom I spent some time; encouraging them in the Lord to persevere stedfastly and faithfully in their testimony, and not to be weary of suffering for his sake. And when I had taken my leave of them, I spoke with the jailer, desiring him to be kind to them, and let them have what liberty he could, to visit their families sometimes.
I had a meeting or two in WARWICKSHIRE, and then went into STAFFORDSHIRE, where I had several sweet and opening meetings, both for gathering into truth and establishing therein. While I was in Staffordshire, I was moved to give forth the following paper :
“DEAR FRIENDS of the quarterly and monthly meetings everywhere : My desire is, that ye may all strive to be of one mind in the Lord's power and truth, which is peaceable, and into which strife and enmity cannot come; also in the wisdom of God, which is pure, peaceable, and easy to be entreated, which is above that which is below, that is earthly, devilish, and sensual; and that with, and in this heavenly wisdom, you may be all ordered, and do what ye do, to God's glory. And, dear Friends, if there should happen at any time anything that tends to strife, dispute, or contention in your monthly or quarterly meetings, let it be referred to half a dozen, or such a like number, to debate and end, out of your meetings, as it was at first, that all your monthly and quarterly meetings may be kept peaceable. And then they may inform the meeting what they have done; that the weak and youth amongst you may not be hurt, through hearing of strife or contention in your meetings, where no strife or contention ought to be; but all to go on, and determine things in one mind, in the power of God, the gospel order : in which gospel of peace ye
preserve the peace of all
your meetings. If any man or woman have anything against any one, let them speak to one another, and end it between themselves; if they cannot so decide, let them take two or three to end it. In case these determine it not, let it be laid before the church ; and let half a dozen, or such a number out of your monthly or quarterly meeting hear it, and finally end it, without respect of persons. Let all prejudice be laid aside and buried; also all shortness one towards another; and let
d As love, which is not puffed up, envies not, seeks not her own, but bears all
things, have the dominion in all your meetings; for that doth edify the al diy body, which Christ is the head of; and this will rule over all sounding cing
brass and tinkling cymbals. This love will suffer long, and is kind; it Cars
will keep down that which would vaunt itself, or be puffed up, or behave itself unseemly, or is easily provoked; it hath a sway over all such fruits, as are not of the Spirit, the fruit of which is love, &c. And that with this Holy Spirit ye may all be baptized into one body, and be made to drink into one Spirit ; in which Spirit ye will have unity, in which is the bond of the King of kings', and Lord of lords' peace. They that dwell in love, dwell in God; for God is love: therefore let every one keep his habitation. My love to you in Christ Jesus, the everlasting. Seed, which is
G. F. Staffordshire, the 20th of the 6th Month, 1678.
Out of Staffordshire I went to visit John Gratton * at MONYASH in DERBYSHIRE, with whom I tarried one night; and went next day to William Shaw's of the Hill, in YORKSHIRE, where I appointed a meeting to be on First-day following. Many Friends out of Derbyshire, and from several meetings in Yorkshire, came, and a precious, comfortable meeting it was; wherein was opened the blessed state of man before he fell; the means by which he fell; the miserable condition into which he fell; and the right way of coming out of it, into a happy state, again by Christ, the promised Seed.
I spent about two weeks in Yorkshire, travelling from place to place amongst Friends in the Lord's service; and many heavenly meetings I had in that county. Then visiting Robert Widders, at KELLET, in LANCASHIRE, I passed to ARNSIDE, in WESTMORLAND, where I had a precious, living meeting in the Lord's blessed power, to the great satisfaction and comfort of Friends, who came from divers parts to it. Next day I went to SWARTHMORE ; and it being the meeting-day there, I had a sweet opportunity with Friends, our hearts being opened in the love of God, and his blessed life flowing amongst us.
I had not been long at Swarthmore, ere a concern came upon me to
* John Gratton was born about the year 1641. He was first brought under religious conviction when he was a shepherd boy about eleven years old, but he remained in a halting state till he attained to manhood, after which he became more devoted in heart to the Lord. He was brought into great grief on observing the instability of some professed preachers of the gospel, in times of persecution. In 1670 he began to preach among the Baptists, but soon left this people because they also flinched in the day of trial, and becoming convinced of the soundness of the principles held by Friends, and seeing their constancy under suffering, he joined them in 1671. The third time he attended a Friends' meeting, he spoke under the constraining influence of the Divine Spirit; and he soon became an able minister of Christ. He often left his temporal concerus to make apostolic visits to various parts of Great Britain and Ireland. He also suffered imprisonment for about five years and a half for the gospel's sake. His residence was for many years at Monyash, in Derbyshire, but in 1708 he removed to Needham, and resided with a daughter, at whose house he died in 1711, aged 68—a minister about forty years.
visit the churches of Christ in London and elsewhere, by an epistle, as follows:
“ DEAR FRIENDS, “ To whom is my love in the heavenly Seed, in whom all nations are blessed. O, keep all in this Seed, in which ye are blessed, and in which Abraham and all the faithful were blessed, without the deeds of the law; for the promise was and is to, and with the Seed, and not with the law of the first covenant. In this Seed all nations, and ye, are blessed, which bruiseth the head of the seed that brought the curse, and separated man from God; this is the Seed which reconciles you to God, this is the Seed in which ye are blessed both in temporals and spirituals; through which ye have an inheritance among the sanctified, that cannot be defiled, neither can any defiled thing enter into its possession; for all defilements are out of this Seed. This is that which leavens into a new lump, and bruises the head of the wicked seed, which leavens into the old lump, upon which the Sun of Righteousness goes down and sets; but it never goes down and sets to them that walk in the Seed, in which all nations are blessed: by which Seed they are brought up to God, which puts down that Seed which separated them from God; so that there comes to be nothing between them and God. Now, all my dear Friends, my desires are, that ye may all be valiant in this heavenly Seed, for God and his truth upon the earth, and spread it abroad, answering that of God in all; that with it the minds of people may be turned towards the Lord, that he may come to be known, and served, and worshipped ; and that ye may all be as the salt of the earth, to make the unseasoned savoury. And in the name of Jesus keep your meetings, who are gathered into it, in whose name ye have salvation ; he being in the midst of you, whose name is above every name under the whole heaven. So ye have a Prophet, Bishop, Shepherd, Priest, and Counsellor (above all the counsellors and priests, bishops, prophets, and shepherds under the whole heaven) to exercise his offices among you, in your meetings, that are gathered in his name. For Christ's meeting and gathering is above all the meetings and gatherings under the whole heaven; and his body, his church, and he the head of it, is above all the bodies, churches, and heads under the whole heaven. And the faith that Christ is the author of, the worship that he hath set up, and his fellowship in the gospel, are above all historical faiths, and the faiths that men have made, together with their worships and fellowships under the whole heaven.
“And now, dear Friends, keep your men's and women's meetings in the power of God, the gospel, the authority of them, which brings life and immortality to light in you; and this gospel, the power of God, will preserve you in life, and in immortality, that ye may see over him that hath darkened, and kept from the knowledge of the things of God: for it is he and his instruments which have darkened you from life and immortality, that would throw down your men's and women's meetings, and would darken you again from this life and immortality, which the gospel hath brought to light, and will preserve you, as your faith stands in this power, in which every one sees his work and service for God. Every heir in the power of God, the gospel, hath right to this authority, which is not of man, nor by man; which power of God is everlasting, an everlasting order and fellowship; and in the gospel is everlasting joy, comfort, and peace, which will outlast all those joys, comforts, and peaces, that will have an end; and that spirit also, that opposes its order, and the glorious fellowship, peace, and comfort in it.
And, dear Friends, my desire is, that ye may keep in the unity of the Spirit, that baptizes you all into one body, of which Christ is the heavenly and spiritual Head; so that ye may see and bear witness thereto, and all drink into the one Spirit; which all people upon the earth are not likely to do, while they grieve, quench, and rebel against it; nor to be baptized into one body, and to keep the unity of the Spirit, which is the bond of peace, yea, the King of kings' and Lord of lords' peace; which it is the duty of all true Christians to keep, who are inwardly united to Christ. My love to you all in the everlasting Seed."
G. F. Swarthmore, the 26th of the 7th Month, 1678.
There were about this time several Friends in prison for bearing testimony to the truth, to whom I was moved to write a few lines, to comfort, strengthen, and encourage them in their sufferings; having a true sense of their sufferings upon my spirit, sympathizing with them therein. That which I wrote was after this manner :
“MY DEAR FRIENDS, "Who are sufferers for the Lord Jesus' sake, and for the testimony of his truth; the Lord God Almighty with his power uphold and support you in all your trials and sufferings, and give you patience and content in his will, that ye may stand valiant for Christ and his truth upon the earth, over the persecuting and destroying spirit, which makes to suffer in Christ (who bruises his head), in whom ye have both election and salvation. For his elect's sake the Lord hath done much from the foundation of the world; as may be seen throughout the Scriptures of truth. They that touch them touch the apple of God's eye; they are so tender to him; and therefore it is good for all God's suffering children to trust in the Lord, and to wait upon him: for they shall be as Mount Sion, that cannot be removed from Christ, their rock and salvation, who is the foundation of all the elect of God, of the prophets and the apostles, and of God's people now, and to the end. Glory to the Lord and the Lamb over all! Remember my dear love to all Friends, and do not think the time long; for all time is in the Father's hand, his power. Therefore keep the word of patience, and exercise that gift; and the Lord strengthen you in your sufferings, in his Holy Spirit of Faith. Amen."
G. F. Swarthmore, the 5th of the 12th Month, 1678.
I abode in the North at this time above a year, having service for the Lord amongst Friends there, and being much taken up in writing in answer to books published by adversaries; and for opening the principles and doctrines of truth to the world, that they might come to have a right understanding thereof, and be gathered thereunto. Several epistles also to Friends I wrote in this time, on divers occasions ; one was to the Yearly Meeting of Friends held in London this year, 1679, a copy of which here follows :
"MY DEAR FRIENDS AND BRETHREN, “Who are assembled together in the name and power of the Lord Jesus Christ; grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, fill all your hearts, and establish you in his grace, mercy, and peace upon Christ, the holy, living Rock and Foundation, who is the First and Last, and over all the rocks and foundations in the whole world; a Rock and Foundation of life for all the living to build upon, which stands sure in his heavenly, divine light, which is the life in Him, by whom all things were made : who is the precious stone laid in Zion (and not in the world), which all the wise master-builders rejected, who pretended to build people up to heaven with the words of the prophets, and the law from Mount Sinai, but out of the life of both. Such builders therefore could not receive the law of life from Christ, the precious Stone laid in Sion, nor the word from heavenly Jerusalem. But you, my dear Friends, that have received this law from heavenly Sion, and the word from heavenly Jerusalem, in the new covenant, where the life and substance is enjoyed, you see the end and abolishing of the Jews' law and ceremonies from Mount Sinai. And therefore, my desire is, that you all may keep in the law of life and love, which ye have in Christ Jesus, by which love the body is edified, knit, and united together to Christ Jesus, the Head. This love beareth all things, and fulfils the law; and it will preserve all in humility, to be of one mind, heart, and soul; so that all may come to drink into that one Spirit that doth baptize and circumcise them; plunging down and cutting off the body of the sins of the flesh, that is gotten up in man and woman by their transgressing of God's commands. So that in this holy, pure Spirit, all may serve and worship the pure God in Spirit and in truth, which is over all the worships that are out of God's Spirit and his truth. In this Spirit ye will all have a spiritual unity and fellowship, over all the fellowships of the unclean spirits which are out of truth in the world. By this holy Spirit all your hearts, minds, and souls, may be knit together to Christ, from whence it comes; and by the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ, which all should be under the teachings of in the new covenant, and not under the law, as the outward Jews were in the old covenantby this grace and truth in the new covenant, all may be made God's free men and women, to serve God in the new life, and in the new and living way; showing forth the fruits of the new heart and new spirit, in the new covenant, over death and darkness; glory be unto the Lord for ever!
“Now, Friends, in this grace and truth is your heavenly, gracious, and true liberty to every spiritual mind, that makes you free from him that is out of truth, where your bondage was; also your liberty in the holy, divine, and precious faith, which gives you victory over that which once separated you from God and Christ, and by which faith ye have access to God again, through Jesus Christ. So in this divine and holy faith, ye have divine, holy, and precious liberty, yea, and victory over him that separated you from God: and this faith is held in a pure conscience. So the liberty in the Spirit of God, is in that which baptizes and plunges down sin and