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I was a little recovered, I went to ExFIELD, visiting Friends there and thereabouts; and so to Dalston to see the widow Stot; and thence to LONDON, some Friends being come over from New Jersey in America, about business, which I was desired to be present at.
It was the latter end of the summer when I came to LONDON, where I stayed the winter following; saving that once or twice, my wife being in town with me, I went with her to her son Rous's at Kingston. And though my body was very weak; yet I was in continual service, either in public meetings, when I was able to bear them, or in particular business amongst Friends, and visiting those that were sufferers for truth, either by imprisonment or loss of goods. Many things also in this time I wrote, some for the press, and some for particular service; as letters to the King of Denmark and Duke of Holstein, on behalf of Friends that were sufferers in their dominions; of the latter, the following is a copy :“For the Duke of Holstein, uchom I entreat, in the love of God, to read orer
this, which is sent in love to him. “I UNDERSTAND that formerly, by some evil-minded persons, it was reported to thee, when Elizabeth Hendricks came to Frederickstadt to visit the people called Quakers, that it was a scandal to the Christian religion, that a woman should be suffered to preach in a public assembly religiously gathered together, &c. Upon which thou gave forth an order to the rulers of Frederickstadt, 'to make the said people leave that place forthwith, or to send them away. But the said rulers being Arminians, and they, or their fathers, having come to live there, as a persecuted people in Holland, not much above threescore years ago, made answer to the duke, 'they were not willing to persecute others for conscience' sake, who had looked upon persecution on that account in their own case as antichristian,' &c. But after that, the people of God, in scorn called Quakers, wrote unto thee, O duke, from Fredrickstadt; and since that time they have had their liberty, and their meetings peaceable, to serve and worship God almost these twenty years at Fredrickstadt, and thereabouts, freely without any molestation; which liberty they have acknowledged as a great favour and kindness from thee.
“And now, O duke, thou professing Christianity from the great and mighty name of Christ Jesus, who is King of kings and Lord of lords, and the Holy Scriptures of truth of the Old and New Testament, do not you use many women's words in your service and worship out of the Old and New Testament? The apostle saith, 'Let your women keep silence in the
the gospel" against the clamour and opposition of apostate brethren, and the unfounded imputations of others, decidedly hostile to the truth as it is in Jesus. His solicitude, however, to promote the welfare of the Society, and procure relief to his Friends under suffering, both at home and abroad, remained undiminished. In the course of his declining state, he wrote many epistles to his friends, some of sympathy and consolation, to encourage and strengthen them in their deep sufferings; others of counsel, exhortation, and reproof, “ stirring up the pure mind by way of remembrance," and labouring to build them up in the most loly faith ; and, on all occasions, seeking not his own honour, but the honour of God only, and the edification of his church and people.
churches ;' and that, he did not permit a woman to speak, but to be under obedience; and if she will learn anything, to ask her husband at home; for it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church.' And 1 Tim. i. 11, 12. •Women are to learn in silence and not suffered to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.' 1 Cor. xiv. 34. Now, here the duke may see, what sort of women were to be in silence and in subjection, whom the law commands to be silent, and not to usurp authority over the man, nor to speak in the church; these were unruly women. In the same chapter, he commands women ‘not to plait or broider their hair, nor to wear gold, pearls, or costly array. These things were forbidden by the apostle; and such women, as wear such things, are to learn in silence and to be subject, and not to usurp authority over the men; for it is a shame for such to speak in the church. But do not such women as these, that wear gold and silver, and pearls and gaudy apparel, or costly array, and plait and broider their hair, speak in your church, when your priest sets them to sing psalms? Do not they speak when they sing psalms ? Consider this, 0 duke! Yet you say, “your women must keep silence in the church, and must not speak in the church;' but when they sing psalms in your churches, are they then silent? Though the apostle forbids such women before-mentioned to speak in the church, yet in another place the apostle encourages the good or holy women to be teachers of good things, as in Tit. ii. 3, 4. The apostle said, 'I entreat thee, true yoke-fellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are written in the book of life.' Here he owns these holy women, and encourages them, which laboured with him in the gospel, and did not forbid them; Phil. iv. 2, 3 He likewise commends Phæbe unto the church of the Romans, calls her 'a servant unto the church of Cenchrea,' sends his epistle by her to the Romans from Corinth, and desires the church at Rome to receive her in the Lord as becometh saints:' and to assist her in whatsoever business she had need of; for she had been a succourer of many and of himself also.' And he said,
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus, who have for my life laid down their own necks; unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Now here the duke may see these were good, holy women, whom the apostle did not forbid speaking, Rom. xvi. 1-4, but commended them. And Priscilla and Aquila instructed and expounded unto Apollos the way of God more perfectly, Acts xviii. 26. So here Priscilla was an instructor as well as Aquila; which holy women the apostle doth not forbid. Neither did the apostle forbid Philip's four daughters, which were virgins, to prophesy. Women might pray and prophesy in the church, 1 Cor. xi. 5.
“The apostles showed to the Jews the fulfilling of Joel's prophecy : That in the last days God would pour of his Spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and daughters, servants and handmaids, should prophesy with the Spirit of God.' So the apostle encourages daughters and handmaids to prophesy as well as sons; and if they do prophesy, they must speak to the church or people, Joel ii. 28; Acts ii. 17, 18. Did not Miriam the prophetess sing unto the Lord, and all the women with her, when the Lord
had delivered the children of Israel from Pharaoh ? Did not she praise the Lord, and prophesy in the congregation of the children of Israel ? and was not this in the church? Exod. xv. 21. Moses and Aaron did not forbid her prophesying or speaking ; but Moses said, “Would God all the Lord's people were prophets !' and the Lord's people are women as well as men. Deborah was a judge and a prophetess; and do not you make use of Deborah's and Miriam's words in your service and worship? See (Judg. v. 1-31) Deborah's large speech or song. Barak did not forbid her, nor any of the Jewish priests. Did not she make this speech or song in the congregation or church of Israel? In the book of Ruth there are good speeches of those good women, which were not forbidden. Hannah prayed in the temple before Eli, and the Lord answered her prayer. See what a speech Hannah makes, and a praising of God before Eli the highpriest, who did not forbid her, 1 Sam. ï. 1–10. Josiah the king sent his priest, with several others, to ask counsel of Huldah the prophetess, who dwelt at Jerusalem in the college, 2 Kings xxii. 14; 2 Chron. xxxiv. 22. So here the king and his priests did not despise the counsel of this prophetess; and she prophesied to the congregation of Israel, as may be seen in these chapters.
“And in Luke i. 41–55, see what a godly speech Elizabeth made to Mary, and what a large godly speech Mary made also. Mary said, that the Lord did regard the low estate of his handmaid' &c. And do not you make use in your worship and service of Mary's and Elizabeth's words from Luke i. 41–55, in your churches, and yet forbid women's speaking in your churches ? Yet all sorts of women speak in your churches, when they sing, and say Amen. In Luke ii. there was Anna the prophetess, a widow of about fourscore and four years; who departed not from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayer night and day. Did not she confess Christ Jesus in the temple, and give thanks to the Lord, and 'speak of Christ to all that looked for redemption in Jerusalem ?' Luke ii. 36–38. So such holy women were not forbidden to speak in the church, neither in the law nor gospel. Was it not Mary Magdalene and other women that first preached Christ's resurrection to the apostles? The woman indeed (namely, Eve) was first in transgression; and so they were women that first preached the resurrection of Christ Jesus; for Christ said to Mary, &c., 'Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and to your Father, and to my God and to your God,' John xx. 17. And Luke xxiv. 10, it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, who told the apostles, ‘that Christ was risen from the dead, and their words and these women's words, were as idle tales to the apostles, and they believed them not,' ibid. ver. ll. And ver. 22, ‘Certain women also of our company made us astonished,' they said : so here it may be seen, that the women's preaching the resurrection of Christ did astonish the apostles. Christ sent these women to preach his resurrection; so it is no shame for such women to preach Christ Jesus; neither are they to be silent when Christ sends them. The apostle says, “Every tongue shall confess to God,' Rom. xiv. 11; and Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
God the Father," Phil. i. 11. So here it is clear, that women must confess Christ as well as men, if every tongue must confess. And the apostle saith, There is neither male nor female ; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. iii. 28.
“And whereas it is said, “Women must ask their husbands at home,' &c., the duke knows very well virgins have no husbands, nor widows; for Anna the prophetess was a widow; and if Christ be the husband, men must ask counsel of him at home as well as women, before they teach. And set the case, that a Turk’s wife should be a Christian, or a Papist's wife should be a Lutheran, or a Calvinist, must they ask and learn of their husbands at home, before they confess Christ Jesus in the congregation of the Lord ? Their counsel will be to them to turn Turks or Papists.
“I entreat the duke to consider these things. I entreat him to mind God's grace and truth in his heart that is come by Jesus; that by his Spirit of Grace and truth he may come to serve and worship God in his Spirit and truth; so that he may serve the living eternal God that made him, in his generation, and have his peace in Christ, that the world cannot take away. And I do desire his good, peace, and prosperity in this world, and his eternal comfort and happiness in the world that is everlasting. Amen.”
G. F. London, 26th of the 8th Month, 1684.
Besides the foregoing, I wrote also epistles to Friends; of one of which the following is a copy :-
“FRIENDS and Brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom you have all life, peace, and salvation ; valk in Him, who is your heavenly Rock and Foundation, that stands sure, who hath all power in heaven and earth given unto him. So his power is over all. Let your faith stand in his power, which is over all from everlasting to everlasting, over the devil and his power; that in the holy, heavenly wisdom of God, ye may be preserved and kept to God's glory, out of all snares and temptations; so that God's wisdom may be justified of all his children in this day of his power, and they all may be faithful, serving and worshipping God in his Spirit and truth, and valiant for it upon the earth. For, as the apostle saith, “They that believe are entered into their rest, and have ceased from their own works, as God did from his. Now this rest is an eternal rest in Christ, the eternal Son of God, in whom every true believer hath everlasting life in Christ Jesus, their rest and everlasting day. For Christ the Rest bruiseth the serpent's head, and through death destroyeth death, and the devil, the power of death, and bis works. He is the Eternal Rest, that giveth eternal life to his sheep. Christ fulfilleth the prophets, and all the figures, shadows, and ceremonies, as in the Old Testament; and all the promises are yea and amen in Christ, who was the Eternal Rest to all true believers in the apostles' days, and ever since, and is so now. Christ is the beginning and the ending, the first and the last, who is ascended above all principalities, powers, thrones, and dominions, that he might fill all things. For by Jesus Christ all things were made and created, whether they be things in beaven, or things in the earth;' and he is the Eternal Rest. They that believe are entered into Christ, their Eternal Rest, in whom they have eternal life and peace with God. Wherefore I say again, in Him who is your Rest, live and abide ; for in Him ye are happy, and his blessings will rest upon you. God Almighty keep and preserve you all, his true believers, in Christ your Rest and Peace this day. Amen.”
G. F. London, the 18th of the 12th Month, 1684-3.
About a month after I got a little out of London, visiting Friends, at South STREET, FORD GREEN, and ENFIELD, where I had meetings. Afterwards I went to WALTHAM ABBEY, and was at the meeting there on a First-day, which was very large and peaceable. Then returning through ENFIELD and EDMONTON SIDE, I came back to London in the 3rd Month, to advise with and assist Friends, in laying their sufferings before the Parliament then sitting. We drew up a short account thereof, which we caused to be printed and spread among the Parliament-men.
The Yearly Meeting coming on, I was much concerned for the Friends that came up to it out of the country, lest they should meet with any trouble or disturbance in their passages up or down; and the rather, because about that time a great bustle arose in the nation on the Duke of Monmouth's landing in the West. But the Lord, according to his wonted goodness, was graciously pleased to preserve Friends in safety, gave us a blessed opportunity to meet together in peace and quietness, and accompanied our meeting with his living, refreshing presence; blessed for ever be his holy name!
Now, considering the hurries that were in the nation, it came upon me, at the close of this meeting, to write a few lines to Friends, " to caution all to keep out of the spirit of the world, in which the trouble is, and to dwell in the peaceable truth ;” as follows :
"DEAR FRIENDS AND BRETHREN, “Whom the Lord hath called and chosen in Christ Jesus, your Life and Salvation, in whom ye have all rest and peace with God; the Lord God by his mighty power, which is over all, hath preserved and supported you to this day, to be a peculiar, holy people to himself, so that by his eternal Spirit and power ye might be all kept out of the world; for in the world is trouble. And now, in this great day of the Lord God Almighty, he is shaking the heavens and the earth of outward professions, their elements are in a heat, their sun and their moon are darkened, the stars falling, and the mountains and hills shaking and tottering, as it was among the Jews in the day of Christ's appearing. Therefore, dear Friends and brethren, dwell in the Seed, Christ Jesus, the Rock and Foundation, that cannot be shaken ; that ye may see with the light and Spirit of Christ, that ye are as fixed stars in the firmament of God's power; and in this his power and light, you will see over all the wandering stars; the clouds without water, and trees without fruit. That which may be shaken, will be shaken; as will all they that are wandered from the firmament of God's power.
“Dear Friends and brethren, you that are redeemed from the death and fall of Adam, by Christ the second Adam, in Him ye have life, rest,