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have the same liberty at Dantzic to meet together in our own hired houses; which cannot be any prejudice, either to the king or the city, for us to meet together to wait upon the Lord, and pray unto him, and to serve and worship him in Spirit and in truth in our own hired louses; seeing our principle leads us to hurt no man, but to love our enemies, and to pray for them: yea, them that persecute us. Therefore, O king, consider, and the city of Dantzic, would you not think it hard for others to force you from your religion to another, contrary to your consciences ? And if it be so, that you would think it hard to you, then do you unto others as you vould have them do unto you;' do not you that unto others, which you would not have them do unto you; for that is the royal law, which ought to be obeyed. And so in love to thy immortal soul, and for thy eternal good, this is written.”
G. F. "Postscript.— Blessed be the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.' And remember, Oking, Justin Martyr's two Apologies to the Roman emperors, in the defence of the persecuted Christians; and that notable Apology, which was written by Tertullian, upon the same subject; which are not only for the Christian religion, but against all persecution for religion.”
“Dear Peter Hendricks, John Claus, J. Rawlins, and all the rest of Friends
in Amsterdam, Friesland, and Rotterdam, to whom is my love in the Seed of life, that is over all.
*I RECEIVED your letter with one from Dantzic: I have written something directed to you, to the King of Poland, which you may translate into High Dutch, and send to Friends there to give to the king; or you may print it, after it be delivered in manuscript, which may be serviceable to other princes. So in haste, with my love. The Lord God Almighty over all give you dominion in his eternal power, and in it over all preserve you, and keep you to his glory, that you may answer that of God in all people. Amen."
GEORGE Fox, - London, the 13th of the 9th Month, 1677. .
I continued yet in and about London some weeks, the parliament sitting again, and Friends attending to get some redress of our sufferings, which about this time were very great, and heavy upon many Friends in divers parts of the nation; being very unduly prosecuted upon the statutcs made against Popish recusants; though our persecutors could not but know that Friends were utterly against Popery; having borne testimony against it in word and writing, and suffered under it. But though many of the i members of parliament in each house were kind to Friends, and willing to do something for their ease, yet having much business, they were hindered from doing the good they would, so that the sufferings of Friends continued.
But that which added much to the grief and exercise of Friends, was, that some who made a profession of the same truth with us, being gone from the simplicity of the gospel into a fleshly liberty, and labouring to draw others after them, opposed the order and discipline, which God by his power had set up and established in his church; and made a great noise and clamour against prescriptions; whereby they easily drew after them such as were loosely inclined, and desired a broader way than the path of truth to walk in. Some also that were more simple, but young in truth, or weak in judgment, were apt to be betrayed by them, not knowing the depths of Satan in these wiles; for whose sake I was moved to write the following paper, for undeceiving the deceived, and opening the understandings of the weak in this matter :
“ALL you that deny prescriptions without distinction, may as well deny all the Scriptures, which were given forth by the power and Spirit of God. For do not they prescribe how men should walk towards God and man, both in the Old Testament and in the New Yea, from the very first promise of Christ in Genesis, what people ought to believe and trust in, and all along, till ye come to the prophets ? Did not the Lord prescribe to his people by the fathers, and then by his prophets ? Did he not prescribe to the people how they should walk, though they turned against the prophets in the old covenant, for declaring or prescribing to them the way, how they might walk to please God, and keep in favour with him ? In the days of Christ, did not he prescribe and teach, how people should walk and believe? And after him, did not the apostles prescribe to people how they might come to believe, and receive the gospel and the kingdom of God, directing to that which would give them the knowledge of God, and how they should walk in the new covenant in the days of the gospel, and by what way they should come to the holy city? And did not the apostles send forth their decrees by faithful chosen men, that had hazarded their lives for Christ's sake, to the churches, by which they were established ? So you that deny prescriptions given forth by the power and Spirit of God, do thereby oppose the Spirit that gave them forth in all the holy men of God. Were there not some all along in the days of Moses, in the days of the prophets, in the days of Christ, and in the days of his apostles, who did withstand that which they gave forth from the Spirit of God? And hath there not been the like since the days of the apostles ? How many have risen, since truth appeared, to oppose the order which stands in the power and Spirit of God? who are but in the same spirit which hath opposed the Spirit of God all along from the beginning. See, what names or titles the Spirit of God gave that opposing spirit in the old covenant, and also in the new; which is the same now; for after the Lord had given forth the old covenant, there were some among themselves that opposed; these were worse than public enemies. And likewise, in the days of the new covenant, in the gospel-times, you may see what sort opposed Christ and the apostles, after they came to some sight of the truth, and how they turned against Christ and his apostles ? See whatá liberty they pleaded for, and ran into, in the apostles' days, who could not abide the cross, the yoke of Jesus.
“We see the same rough and high spirit cries now for liberty, which the power and Spirit of Christ cannot give—cries, 'Imposition,' and yet is imposing ;—cries, 'liberty of conscience,' and yet is opposing liberty of conscience; and cries against ‘prescriptions,' and yet is prescribing both
in words and writing. So with the everlasting power and Spirit of God this Spirit.is fathomed; its rise, beginning, and end; and it is judged. This spirit cries, 'we must not judge conscience; we must not judge matters of faith; and we must not judge spirits, nor religions,' &c. Yes ; they that are in the pure Spirit and power of God, which the apostles were in, judge of conscience, whether it be a seared conscience, or a tender conscience; they judge of faith, whether it be a dead one, or a living one; they judge of religion, whether it be vain, or pure and undefiled; they judge of spirits, and try them, whether they be of God or not; they judge of hope, whether it be that of hypocrites, or the true hope that purifies, even as God is pure; they judge of belief, whether it be that which is born of God, and overcometh the world, or that which runs into the spirit of the world, which lusts to envy, and doth not overcorne the world; they judge of worships, whether they be will-worships, and the worship of the beast and dragon, or the worship of God in Spirit and in truth; they judge of angels, whether they be fallen, or those that keep their habitation ; they judge the world, that grieves and quenches the Spirit, hates the light, turns the grace of God into wantonness, and resists the Holy Ghost; they judge of the hearts, ears, and lips, which are circumcised, and which are uncircumcised; they judge of ministers, and apostles, and messengers, whether they be of Satan or of Christ; they judge of differences in outward things, in the church or elsewhere; yea, the least member of the church hath power to judge of such things, having the one true measure, and true weight to weigh things, and measure things withal, without respect to persons. This judgment is given, and all these things are done, by the same power and Spirit the apostles were in. Such also can judge of election and reprobation; who keep their habitation, and who do not; who are Jews, and who are of the synagogue of Satan; wlio are in the doctrine of Christ, and wlio are in the doctrines of devils; who prescribes and declares things from the power and Spirit of God, and who prescribes and declares things from a loose spirit, to let all loose from under the yoke of Christ, the power of God, into looseness and liberty.
“These likewise can judge and discern, who brings people into the possession of the gospel of light and life, over death and darkness, and into the truth, where the devil cannot get in; and who brings them into the possession of death and darkness, out of the glorious liberty of the gospel, and of Jesus Christ, his faith, truth, Spirit, light, and grace. For there is no true liberty, but in that; and that liberty answers the grace, the truth, the light, the Spirit, the faith, the gospel of Christ in every man and woman, and is the yoke to the contrary in every man and woman. That makes it rage, and swell, and puff up; for it is restless, unruly, out of patience, and ready to curse his God, and that which reigns over him, because it hath not its will. It works with all subtilty and evasion with its restless spirit, to get in and defile the minds of the simple, and to make rapes upon the virgin minds. But as they receive the heavenly wisdom, by which all things were made (which wisdom is above that spirit), through this wisdom they will be preserved over that spirit.
"And Christ bath given judgment to his saints in his church, though
he be judge of all; and the saints, in the power and Spirit of God, had and have power to judge of words and manners, of lives and conversations, of growths and states, from a child to a father in the truth; and to whom they are a savour of death, and to whom they are a savour of life; who serve the Lord Jesus Christ and preach him, and who preach themselves and serve themselves; and who talk of the light, of faith, of the gospel, of hope, and of grace, and preach such things; yet in their works and lives deny them all, and God and Christ, and preach up liberty from that in themselves to that in others, which should be under the yoke and cross of Christ, the power of God. So the saints, in the power and Spirit of Christ, can discern and distinguish, who serves God and Christ, and who serves him not; and can put a distinction between the profane and the holy. But such as have lost their eye-salve, and whose sight is grown dim, lose this judgment, discerning, and distinction in the church of Christ; and such come to be spewed out of Christ's mouth, except they repent; and if not, they come to corrupt the earth, and burden it, that it vomits them out of it.
“Therefore, all are exhorted to keep in the power and Spirit of Christ Jesus, in the word of life, and the wisdom of God (which is above that which is below), in which they may keep their heavenly understandings and discernings; and so set the heavenly, spiritual judgment over that which is for judgment, which dishonours God, and leads into loose and false liberty; out of the unity, which stands in the licavenly Spirit, which brings into conformity to the image of the Son of God, and his gospel, the power of God (which was before the devil was), and his truth (which the devil is out of), in which all are of one mind, heart, and soul, and come to drink into one Spirit, being baptized into one Spirit, and so into one body, of which Christ is the head; and so keep one fellowship and unity in the Spirit, which is the bond of peace, the Prince of princes' peace. And they that cry so much against judging, and are afraid of judgment, whether they be apostates, professors, or profane, are the most judging with their censorious, false spirits, and judgment; and yet they cannot bear the true judgment of the Spirit of God, nor stand in his judgment. This hath been manifest from the beginning, they having the false measures, and the false weights; for none have the true measure and true weight but they who keep in the light, power, and Spirit of Christ, And now there is a loose spirit, that cries for liberty, and against prescriptions, and yet is prescribing ways, both by words and writings. The same spirit cries against judging, and would not be judged, and yet is judging with a wrong spirit. This is given forth in reproof to that spirit."
G. F. London, the 9th of the 4th Month, 1678.
When I had finished what service I had for the Lord at this time here, I went towards Hertford; visiting Friends, and having several meetings in the way. At HERTFORD I stayed some days, having much service for the Lord there, both amongst Friends in their meetings, and in conferences with such as having let in evil surmisings and jealousies concerning Friends, stood in opposition to the order of truth: and in answering some books written against truth and Friends. While I was here, it came upon me to write a few lines, and send them abroad amongst Friends, as follows:
“DEAR FRIENDS, «LET the holy Seed of life reign over death and the unholy seed in you all; that in the holy Seed of the kingdom ye may all feel the everlasting holy peace with God, through Christ Jesus, your Saviour, and sit down in Him, your life and glorious rest, the holy rock and foundation, that standeth sure over all from everlasting to everlasting, in whom all the fulness of blessedness is; so that ye may glory in Him that liveth for evermore, Amen! who is your eternal joy, life, and happiness; through whom you have peace with God. This holy Seed bruiseth the head of the serpent, and will outlive all his wrath and rage, malice and envy; who was before he and it were, and remains when he and it are gone into the fire that burns with brimstone. The Seed, Christ, will reign; and so will ye, as ye do live and walk in Him, sit down in Him, and build up one another in the love of God.”
G. F. Hertford, the 10th of the 5th Month, 1678.
Next day a fresh exercise came upon me, with respect to those unruly and disorderly spirits, that were gone out from us, and were labouring to draw others after them into a false liberty. In the sense I had of the hurt and mischief these might do, where they were given way to, I was moved to write a few lines to warn Friends of them, as follows :
“ALL FRIENDS, "KEEP in the tender life of the Lamb, over that unruly, puffed up, and swelling spirit, whose work is for strife, contention, and division, under a pretence of conscience, and drawing into looseness and false liberty, dangerous to the welfare of youth. They that do encourage them, will be guilty of their destruction, and set up a sturdy will, instead of conscience, in their rage and passion; which will quench the universal Spirit in themselves, and in every man and woman: and so, that spirit shall not have liberty in themselves, nor in others; thus they shut up the kingdom of heaven in themselves, and also in others. So a loose spirit getting up under a pretence of liberty of conscience; or a stubborn will, making a profession of the words of truth in a form without power, all looseness and vileness will be sheltered and covered under this pretence, which is for eternal judginent: for that doth dishonour God. Therefore, keep to the tender Spirit of God in all humility, that in it you may know that ye are all members of one another, and all have an office in the church of Christ. All these living members know one another in the Spirit, and not in the flesh. So here is no man ruling over the woman, as Adam did over Eve in the fall : but Christ, the spiritual man, among and over his spiritual members, which are edified in the heavenly love that is shed in their heart from God, where all strife ceases.”
G. F. Hertford, the 11th of the 5th Month, 1678.
I went from Hertford to a meeting at RABLEY-HEATH, and thence to Edward Crouch's, of STEVENAGE. Next day to BALDOCK, where I had a