« PreviousContinue »
to & Friend's house a little beyond EDMONTON, where, and at South STREET, I abode some time, and had meetings amongst Friends there ; and at WINCIIMORE-Hill and BERRY STREET. And having my mind continually exercised in the things of God, the sense of his infinite goodness and mercy to mankind in visiting them after they had transgressed and rebelled against him, and providing a way and means for their return to him again, was very much upon me, and in the opening of the Spirit of truth I wrote the following paper on that subject :
“GOD, who made all mankind, though they have transgressed his commands and laws, rebelled against him, hated his light, grieved his Spirit, and walked despitefully against his Spirit of grace; God, who is merciful, would yet have all to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.. All that come to the knowledge of the truth must know it in their inward parts; I say, all that know and find the grace and truth which comes by Jesus, do know and find it in their hearts. And such find the hidden man of the heart, the pearl, the leaven, the lost piece of silver, and the kingdom of heaven within. For until they come to the light and truth in their hearts, all are strangers to these things,--are in Adam, in the fall from the image of God, and from his light, power, Spirit, and kingdom. But Christ that never fell, brings man and woman that follow him again to know these things, to know the truth, and Him the Saviour, and brings them into his image, and his everlasting kingdom.
“The devil, who is out of the truth, tempted man and woman to disobey God; and so drew them into the fall from the truth. It is the devil that hath stopped men's eyes, ears, and hearts from the truth, who is called the god of the world; who hath blinded the eyes of infidels, or heathen. But Christ, who bruises the serpent's head, and destroys the devil and his works, doth open men's hearts, eyes, and ears. He is their Saviour and Redeemer, and giveth life eternal to his people that obey him and his truth. Blessed be the Lord for ever through Jesus Christ, who hath tasted death for all men, to bring them out of the death of Adam ; who is a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified of in due time. For as by Adam's transgression and disobedience death and condemnation came upon all, so by Christ's obedience unto death justification of life is come upon all; and he that believeth in Christ hath eternal life; but he that doth not is condemned already. But God would have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, who is their Saviour; and in Him there is no condemnation."
After I had been a while here, I went to a monthly meeting at EnFIELD, and thence with some Friends to HERTFORD; where I stayed three or four days, visiting Friends both at their public meetings on First-day, and at their quarterly meetings of men and women; and good service for tle Lord I had amongst them. Then passing to WALTHAM ABBEY, I had a very good meeting with Friends there : and next day went thence to another place, to compose a difference, which, for want of a right understanding of each other, had liappened between some Friends. I returned
to Waltham that night; and next day went with some Friends to William Mead's house, in Essex.
Here I stayed some weeks, yet was not idle, but often visited the meetings thereabouts; as at WANSTEAD, BARKING, and at John Harding's. Between meeting and meeting I wrote many things for the spreading of truth, and for the opening of people's understandings to receive it. One was a paper proving, from the Scriptures, that people must repent before they can receive the gospel, and the Holy Spirit, and the kingdom of God, or be baptized; after this manner :
“ John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, • Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,' Matt. iii. 2. And when John the Baptist was cast into prison, Mark says, That Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand : Repent, ye, and believe the gospel, Mark i. 14, 15. Matthew also says, 'From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, Matt. iv. 17. And when Christ sent forth his twelve disciples, two and two, they went out and preached that men should repent, Mark vi. 12. Christ said to the Jews, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,' Luke xiii. 3, 5. When the publicans and sinners came to hear Christ, and the Pharisees and Scribes murmured saying, 'This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them,' Luke xv. 1, 2, Christ reproved them by a parable, and then told them, 'Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance,' ver. 7, adding, «There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth,' ver. 10. Christ, after he was risen, said unto his disciples,
That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem,' Luke xxiv. 47. Peter said unto the Jews, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost," Acts ii. 38. And Paul said, “The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent,' Acts xvii. 30. Simon Magus was called to repentance, if he had regarded it, Acts viii. 22. And the apostle Paul preached at Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles (turning them from darkness to the light of Christ, and from the power of Satan to God), that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet, for repentance,' Acts xxvi. 20.
“Here ye may see that people must repent before they believe, and are baptized, and before they receive the Holy Ghost, and the kingdom of God. They must repent of their vain life and conversation before they receive the gospel, be turned from darkness to the light of Christ, and from the power of Satan unto God, before they receive his Holy Spirit, and his gospel of life and salvation. The Lord commands all men everywhere to repent, and do works meet for repentance. They must show forth that their lives and conversations are changed, and that they serve God in newness of life, with new tongues and new hearts."
G. F. Gooses, the 6th Month, 1687
Another short paper I wrote about the same tiine, showing wherein God's people should be like unto him. It was thus :
“God is righteous; and he would have his people to be righteous, and to do righteously. God is holy; and he would have his people holy, and to do holily. God is just; and he would have his people to be just, and to do justly to all. God is light; and his children must walk in his light. God is an eternal, infinite Spirit; and his children must walk in the Spirit. God is merciful; and he would have his people to be merciful. God's sun shines upon the good and the bad, and he causes the rain to fall upon the evil and the good; so should his people do good unto all. God is love; and they that dwell in love dwell in God. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law,' Rom. xii. 10. The apostle says, 'All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,' Gal. v. 14. 'As the Father hath loved me, so I have loved you: continue ye in my love,' Jolin xv. 9. This should be the practice of all God's people."
G. F. Gooses, the 6th Month, 1687.
. And because most people would consess, that God's people should be thus, but few know how to come to this state; therefore in the openings of the Spirit of truth I wrote another short paper, directing to "the right way and means, whereby people might come unto Christ, and so be made like unto God.” Thus:
“CHRIST saith, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,' John xiv. 6. And again, ‘No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him,' John vi. 44. Now, what is the means by which God doth draw people to his Son, but by his Holy Spirit, who ‘poureth out of his Spirit upon all flesh.' By this Holy Spirit, the holy and righteous God doth draw people from their unrighteousness and unholiness, to Christ, the righteous and holy One, the great Prophet in his New Covenant and New Testament, whom Moses in the Old Covenant and Testament said, God would raise up, like unto him, and whom people should hear in all things : and they that would not hear him, should be cut off. They that do not hear the Son of God, the great Prophet, do not mind the drawing of the Father by his Holy Spirit to his Son; but to them that mind the drawings of the good Spirit of the Father to his Son, the Spirit giveth understanding to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life. Then they know that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and that none can come unto God but by and through his Son, who is their Shepherd to feed them in his pastures and springs of life; and his sheep know his holy voice, in whom there was no sin, and in whose mouth there was no guile; and a hireling they will not hear, for he careth not for the sheep; for they are not the hireling's, but Christ's, who hath laid down his life for his sheep. He that robs and steals his neighbour's words, that climbeth up another way, and entereth not by the door, is a thief and a robber; but Christ is the door into his sheepfold, for his sheep to enter in by. They know that Christ is the Bishop of their souls, to see that they do not go astray from God, nor out of his pastures of life;
they know that Christ is their Mediator, and makes their peace with God; and they know that Christ is their High-priest, made higher than the heavens, and hath died for their sins, doth cleanse them with his blood, is risen for their justification; and is able to the utmost to save all that come to God by him.”
G. F. Gooses, the 6th Month, 1687.
Before I left this place I wrote another paper, to show, by many instances from the Holy Scriptures, that the kingdom of God, which most people talk of at a distance, and refer altogether to another life, is in some measure to be known and entered into in this life; but that none can know an entrance thereinto, but such as are regenerated and born again. Of that paper the following is a copy :
“CHRIST saith, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,' John iïi. 3. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,' ver. 6. So, 'except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,' ver. 5. And John, writing to the seven churches in Asia, calls himself their brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, Rev. i. 9. Here you may see, that John was in the kingdom; so he was born again: for he not only saw the kingdom, but was in it.
“And John saith, Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not,' 1 John iii. l. 'Beloved, now are we the sons of God,' ver. 2. “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him,' chap. ii. 29. 'Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God, chap. iii. 9. Again John saith, 'Let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love, chap. iv. 7, 8. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God,' chap. v. 1. And, “Whosoever is born of God, overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,' ver. 4. Were not these, that were born of God, in the kingdom of God? And seeing, John says, every one that doeth righteousness, is born of God, do not such see the kingdom of God that stands in righteousness, and enter into it?
“Peter, in his first general epistle to the church of Christ, saith, “As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby,' 1 Pet. ii. 2. And he tells them they were a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that they should show forth the praises of Him who had called them out of darkness into his marvellous light, ver. 9. And that, as lively stones, they were built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, ver. 5. Did not these new-born babes, these lively stones, spiritual household, royal priesthood, holy nation, and chosen generation, who were called out of darkness into Christ's marvellous light, see,
and enter into bis holy kingdom, being heirs of the same? who were born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God. wbich liveth and abideth for ever, 1 Pet. i. 23. And had these not an entrance ministered to them into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ?
“James, in his general epistle to the church of Christ, says, 'Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, which he bath promised to them that love him?' James ii. 5. The apostle Paul says, 'God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, &c., to redeem them that were under the law; that we might receive the adoption of sons; and because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son ; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ,' Gal. iv. 4-7. The same apostle says, “ As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God;' and tells the saints at Rome, “ Ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs ; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together (namely, with Christ);" Rom. viii. 14–17. Now seeing they are the sons of God that are led by the Spirit of God, and the Spirit beareth witness unto their spirit, that they are the children of God, and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, are not all these children of God heirs of the righteous, glorious kingdom of God? and do they not see it, and enter into it?
« The Lord saith in Hosea i. 10, Where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.' Did not this relate to the gospel-days of the new covenant ? see Rom. ix. 26. And what the Lord said by the prophet Jeremiah, chap. xxxi. 1, the apostle applies to the gospel-days, and says, “Be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,' 2 Cor. vi. 18. Are not these the children that sce, and enter into the righteous kingdom of God, that separate from that which is unclean, and touch it not ?
“The Lord saith also by Isaiah, ‘I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth ?' Isa. xliii. 6. Then does not he bring them to his kingdom of glory, that stands in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost ?
“ The Lord said to Job, "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy,' Job xxxvir. 7, where did these sons of God shout for joy? Was it not in his kingdom of glory?
“ Christ saith, The least in the kingdom of God is greater than John,' Luke vii. 28. And in chap. xvi. 16, he says, “The law and the prophets were until John : since that time (viz., since the law, and the prophets, and John) the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.'
The good seed are the children of the kingdom," Matt. xii. 38.