William Evans.

The Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) online

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service. And you may let any poor honest
Friend live in part of the house. And so let
it be for the Lord's service to the end of the
world ; and for his people to meet in, to keep
them from the winter cold and the wet, and
the summer heat."

The foregoing extracts are from papers
dated at Kingston-upon-Thames, the 13th of
twelfth month, and the .22nd of first month,
1686-7, which appear to have been sent to
Thomas Lower, who lived at Marsh Grange,
in Lancashire.

In a letter to his son-in-law, Thomas Lower,
dated 28th of second month, 1687, on the sub-
ject, he says : " With my love to thee and thy
wife, with thy mother, and brother, and sister,
at Swarthmore, and thy children, and the rest
of Friends, in the Holy Seed of Life, that
reigns over all. Dear Thomas, I have sent
thee a copy of my mind concerning Petty's,
which thou mayst privately show to thy
mother, and the list of the names. You
that live in the country may know which
of these are the fittest to put into the deed of
trust. Choose out first four of the most faith-
ful and substantial Friends in this list, or other
that you may approve of, to join you four bro-
thers, unto whom the first deed of trust is to
be made ; and then you eight are to make it
over by a deed of uses, to ten or twelve Friends
more : you may consider, who are fit to put
into that second deed. The four names that
are to be joined with you, thou must send
up as shortly as thou canst, that so the deed
may be confirmed as soon as may be.

" This will be a confirmation of what has
all along been in thy mother's mind ; that the
meeting will be continued at Swarthmore.
And as concerning the ten or twelve Friends
more, unto whom you are to make a deed of
uses, the names of them may be consider-
ed afterwards, when this is done. And as
concerning the meeting place itself, whether
the barn or the house, I shall leave it to you.
But if the barn will do better ; if you could
make it wider, may be it may be better, be-
cause there will be the house to go into, and
the ground may be so raised, that you may go
up a step or two into the meeting house ; and



it will be more wholesome. And the yards
are low, which may be raised and laid dry ;
and you have stones enough, and poor men to
get them. And I would have all the thatch
pulled off the houses, and laid in a heap to rot
for manure to be laid upon the close ; and let
all the houses be slated, and the walls about
it to be made substantial to stand, and laid in
lime and sand.

" And I would have a porch made to the
meeting place, on the common side, into the
yard ,• and with rubbish and earth as before,
you iTiay raise the yard and floors. And I
would have the meeting place large, for truth
may increase. The barn made as wide again,
which you may do with pillars, or otherwise,
which I leave to thee and the workmen ; and
I would have thee take Robert Barrow's ad-
vice in it. If you think fit to have the kiln
continued, you may fit it up, if it be worth the
charge of doing. But these things I must
leave to you.

" I would have it gone about, and prepare
things beforehand, as soon as you can ; when
you have viewed it, and see what you will
want ; either lime, sand, wood, or stone. And
I would have Robert Barrow to do it, if he can.
And I would have, next winter, an orchard
planted where you see fit ; you may get some
trees to set in it where thou sees fit. And I
would have some trees set about the close, and
if thou wilt set some of thy fir trees there,
thou may. And when all is done and fitted
completely for the Lord's service and his peo-
ple's, let it stand till there be occasion for it.
I desire thee to be very careful in this thing,
and let it be done as soon as may be ; for
it is not for mj^self, but for the service of
the Lord and his people ; and let it be done

" And as for the affairs of truth, in the
general things are pretty well, and meetings
are quiet both in England and beyond the seas.
The Lord keep his people in his fear and
in humility, in this time of liberty, that they
do not forget Him ; for there is danger in a
time of liberty, as in a time of suflTering, for
that to get up which will not stand faithful ;
but my desire is, that all may walk worthy of
the Lord's mercies. So no more, with my
love to you."

In another letter he further directs : —
" And you may mind to buy all the things at
the best hand, beforehand, to be ready. I
am in the same mind still, not to put any
Friend to a farthing charge. But if Friends
of the meeting or thereaway will come with
their carts, and help to fetch stone, lime, wood,
sand, or slate, I shall take it kindly ; or to get
stone off" the common, if need be ; and you

Vol. I.— No. 3.

may speak to Joseph Sharp, for he is a willing
man, to help in any thing.

" The twenty pounds of J. R.'s, which you
are to receive, I have and do order for that
service : and the fifteen pounds thou hast
in thy hands of Jane and Robert Widders, I
order for that service and for the building ;
and the five pounds Susannah brought up, I
took of her, and what more ye do want, when
it is wanted let me know. And so dear Tho-
mas, my love is to thee and all the rest of
Friends, in the holy and peaceable truth, that
is stronger than all they that be out of it.
And God Almighty keep you in it, and in the
order of it. Amen. G. F."

A paper which he wrote towards the close
of the year 1686, concerning the church of
Christ, exhibits a view of the purity and re-
demption from the unsettled spirit of the world,
which through perseverance, the members of
his body are favoured to attain, by the power
of the Holy Spirit. It also contains a declara-
tion of his faith in the propitiatory offering and
sacrifice of Christ for the sins of all mankind,
and in his mediation between God and man.
It is as follows : —

" They are living members, living stones,
built up a spiritual household, the children of
the promise, and of the seed and flesh of
Christ ; as the apostle saith, ' flesh of his flesh,
and bone of his bone.' They are the good
seed, the children of the everlasting kingdom
written in heaven, who have put on the Lord
Jesus Christ. They sit together in heavenly
places in Christ, are clothed with the Sun of
righteousness, Christ Jesus, and have the moon
under their feet. So all changeable things
that are in the world, all changeable religions,
changeable worships, changeable ways, fel-
lowships, churches, and teachers, are as the
moon ; for the moon changes, but the sun
doth not change. The Sun of righteousness
never changeth, nor sets, nor goes down ; but
all the ways, religions, worships, fellowships
of the world, and the teachei's thereof, change
like the moon. The true church, which Christ
is the head of, which is in God the Father, and**
is called ' the pillar and ground of truth,' whose
conversation is in heaven, is clothed with the
Sun, Christ Jesus her head, who doth not
change, and hath all changeable things under
her feet.

" These are the living members, born again
of the immortal Seed by the word of God, who
feed upon the immortal milk, and live and
grow by it. Such are the new creatures in
Christ Jesus, who makes all things new, and
sees the old things pass away. His church,
his members, who are clothed with the sun,
worship in the spirit and in the truth, which



doth not change. Their rehgion is pure and
undefiled before God, that keeps from the
spots of the world, and their way is the new
and hving way, Christ Jesus. So the church
of Christ, that is clothed with the Sun, that
hath the moon and all changeable religions
and ways under her feet, hath an unchangea-
ble worship, religion and way, an unchangea-
ble rock and foundation, Christ Jesus, an un-
changeable high priest; and so are children
of the New Testament, and in the everlasting
covenant of light and life.

" All that profess the Scriptures of the New
and Old Testament, and are not in Christ Jesus,
the apostle tells us are ' reprobates if Christ
be not in them.' These that are not in Christ
cannot be clothed with Christ, the Sun of
righteousness, that never changes. They are
under the changeable moon in the changeable
things, the changeable religions, ways, wor-
ships, teachers, rocks, and foundations. But
Christ, the Son of God and Sun of righteous-
ness, doth not change : in him his people are
gathered, and sit together in heavenly places,
clothed with Christ Jesus, the Sun, that fiUeth
the whole earth with his divine power and
light. So all his people see and feel him both
by sea and land. He is in all places of the
earth felt and seen of all his. He saith to the
outward professors, the Jews, ' I am from
above, ye are from below, ye are of this world.'
So their religions, worships, ways, teachers,
and creeds, are made by men, and ai'e below,
of this world that changeth like the moon.
You may see they are all changeable like the
moon ; but Christ, the Sun, with which the
church is clothed, doth not change, nor his
church ; for they are spiritually-minded, and
their way, worship, and religion is spiritual,
from Christ, who is from above and not of this
world. Christ hath redeemed you from this
world, their changeable rudiments and ele-
ments, and old things, and their changeable
teachers, and from their changeable faiths and
beliefs. For Christ is the Author and Finisher
of his church's faith, who saith, ' Believe in
^he Light, that ye may become children of the
Light.' And it is given them not only to be-
lieve, but to suffer for his name.

" God's people are a holy nation, a peculiar
people, a spiritual household, and royal priest-
hood, offering up spiritual sacrifice to God by
Jesus Christ, and are zealous of righteousness,
and godly works, and their zeal is for that
which is of God against the evil which is not of

" Christ took upon him the seed of Abra-
ham ; not the corrupt seed of the Gentiles.
So according to the flesh he was of the holy
seed of Abraham and David, and his holy

body and blood was an offering and a sacrifice
for the sins of the whole world, as a lamb
without blemish, whose flesh saw no corrup-
tion. By the one offering of himself in the
New Testament or New Covenant, he has put
an end to all the offerings and sacrifices
amongst the Jews in the Old Testament.
Christ, the holy Seed, was crucified, dead,
and buried according to the flesh, and raised
again the third day, and his flesh saw no cor-
ruption. Though he was crucified in the flesh,
yet quickened again by the Spirit and is alive,
and liveth for evermore, and hath all power in
heaven and earth given to him, and reigneth
over all, and is the One Mediator between God
and man, even the Man Christ Jesus.

"Christ said, 'He gave his flesh for the life
of the world;' and the apostle saith, 'his flesh
saw no corruption ;' so that which saw no
corruption he gave for the life of the corrupt
world to bring them out of corruption. Christ
said again, ' He that eateth my flesh and drink-
eth my blood hath eternal life; for my flesh is
meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
And he that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my
blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.' He that
eats not his flesh and drinks not his blood,
which is the life of the flesh, hath not eternal life.

" The apostle saith, ' All died in Adam ;'
then all are dead. Now all coming spiritually
to eat the flesh of Christ, the second Adam,
and drink his blood, his blood and flesh give
all the dead in Adam life, and quicken them
out of their sins and trespasses in which they
were dead. Thus they come to sit together
in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and
are living members of the church of Christ
that he is the head of, and are clothed with
the Sun of I'ighteousness, the Son of God.

"These see the people how they change
from one worship to another, from one religion
to another, from one way to another, and one
church to another, yet their hearts are not
changed. The letter of the Scripture is read
by the Christians like the Jews, but the myste-
ry is hid ; they have the sheep's clothing, the
outside, but are inwardly departed from the
Spirit, which would bring them into the
lamb's and sheep's nature. The Scripture
saith, ' All the uncircumcised must go down
into the pit ;' therefore all must be circumcised
with the Spirit of God, which puts off the body
of death, and sins of the flesh, that came to
man and woman by their disobedience and
transgressing God's commands. I say, all
must be circumcised with the Spirit, which
puts off the body of death and sins of the flesh,
before they come up into Christ, their rest,
that never fell, and be clothed with him the
Sun of ria;hteousness. G. F."



Nothing appears to have occupied his
thoughts so much as the character and offi-
ces of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was the con-
stant theme of his ministry. The requisitions
of the Mosaic Law, the prophecies of tlie an-
cient prophets and the experiences of holy
men as recited in the Old Testament, were
often brought forward by him to confirm the
authority of Christ as head of the Church,
the indispensible obUgation to keep his com-
mands ; the doctrines of his propitiation, medi-
ation, and intercession, and of the illuminating
power of his Spirit in the hearts of all man-
kind. The following memorandum shows the
train of his thoughts and the subjects which
were uppermost in his mind.

" While I was at Kingston, one day medi-
tating on the things of God, some particular
observations arose in my mind concerning the
first, and the 'second or last Adam.' As

" The first man Adam was made on the
sixth-day of the week ; and Christ, the second
Adam, was crucified on the sixth-day of the

" The first Adam was betrayed by the ser-
pent in the garden of Eden : Christ our Saviour,
the second Adam, was betrayed by Judas in a
garden near Jerusalem.

" Christ arose from the dead on the first-day
of the week ; and they that do believe on him
are entered into Christ their rest : the Chris-
tians meet together to worship God on the
first-day of the week ; and on the first-day of
the week it was, that God said, ' Let there be
light, and there was light.' The Jews' rest
was on the seventh-day of the week, which
was given to them as a sign of the eternal rest
of the Lord, sanctifying them, after they came
out of the land of Egypt : for before that time
the Lord had not given to man and woman
his outward sabbath-day to keep, neither in
the old world, nor after in Abraham's time,
nor in Isaac's, nor in Jacob's time ; until the
Jews came out of Egypt to Mount Sinai in the
wilderness. Then the Lord gave the law, and
his sabbath, as a sign in the old covenant, of
Christ the eternal rest in the new covenant :
and they that believe do enter into Christ their

" Adam, the first man, is the root from
whence we all spring naturally: and Christ is
called the last or second Adam, because he is
the beginning and root of all that are spir-

" The first Adam was made a living soul :
and Christ the last Adam is a quickening

" Christ by the grace of God tasted death
for every man, that they might all come into
favour with God ; and that every tongue should

confess, that 'Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory
of God the Father,' ".

In a paper concerning the two seeds he
says, " But though Christ is said to be the
seed of David, and of Abraham, as his gene-
ration is declared by Matthew and Luke ; yet
Christ was not born of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man, but of God. For he
was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the
Virgin, and supposed to be the son of Joseph,
but was the son of God. His name was called
Jesus, because he should ' save his people from
their sins ;' and Emmanuel, God with us.
Christ took not upon him the nature of angels,
but the seed of Abraham, (as I said before) and
so was made of the seed of David according to
the flesh, and ' declared to be the Son of God
with power, according to the spirit of holiness,
by the resurrection from the dead,' Rom. i. 4.
So the generation of Christ is a mystery.
Christ saw his seed or word grow up in his
disciples ; and ' Christ in you the hope of
glory,' the apostle calls ' the mystery, which
hath been hid from ages and generations ; but
now is made manifest to the saints, or sancti-
fied ones,' Col. i. 26, 27, ' Whom we preach ;
warning every man, and teaching every man
in all wisdom, that we may present every man
perfect in Christ Jesus,' v. 28. For in Christ,
the second Adam, all ai-e made perfect and
complete; and in Adam in the fall, all are de-
formed and made imperfect ; so out of Christ
all mankind are imperfect and deformed ; let
them paint and dress themselves with the
sheep's clothing, and with the form of godli-
ness, of the prophets', Christ's and his apostles'
words never so much ; yet if Christ be not in
them, they are incomplete, imperfect, deformed,
reprobates. But the apostle tells the church of
Christ, ' Ye are complete in Christ, which is
the head of all principality and power,' Col. ii.
10, for he hath 'all power in heaven and earth
given to him,' Matt, xxviii. 18. So all the
saints are made perfect and complete in Christ
Jesus ; blessed be the Lord God over all for
ever, through Jesus Christ, Amen, Amen.

" G. F.

" Kingston, the 15th of the
1st month, 1686-7."

Having his mind " continually exercised in
the things of God, the sense of his infinite
goodness and mercy to mankind in visiting
them, afi:er they had transgressed and rebelled
against him, and in providing a way and
means for their return to him again," being
deeply impressed upon him, he wrote the fol-
lowing :

" 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
this world ; who hath blinded the eyes of infi-
dels, 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,
who 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 ; and
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 con-
demnation came upon all men, so by Christ's
obedience unto death, justification of life is
come upon all men : and ' he that believeth in
Christ hath eternal life ; but he that doth not
is condemned already.' God would have
all men to be saved, and come unto the know-
ledge of the truth, as it is in Jesus, who is
their Saviour; and in him there is no con-
demnation. G. F."

While at Kingston in 1687, he says, that
his spirit being continually exercised towards
God, he had many precious openings of divine
matters, some of which he committed to wri-
ting. He holds forth in the following extracts
his full belief in the eternal divinity of our
Lord Jesus Christ, and in his glorification
at the right hand of the Father.

" Christ the image of the invisible God, the
first born of every creature, was before any
creature ; for by him were all things created,
that are in heaven and in the earth, visible or
invisible, whether they be thrones or domin-
ions, or principalities or powers, all things
were created by him and for him, and he was
before all things, and by him all things consist ;
and he is the head of the body the church, and
is the beginning, the first born from the dead."

Again, " Adam and Eve and their children
that disobeyed God, did slay the Lamb ; the
blind Jews that disobeyed God crucified Christ
Jesus ; and the outward Christians that live and
walk not in Christ, but in sin and evil, though
they make an outward profession of Christ,
yet crucify to themselves Christ afresh. As
to Christ himself, he is ascended far above all
principalities, thrones, powers and dominions;
so that they can not put him to death, or cru-
cify him any more, as to himself; but what
the crucifiers and persecutors do now upon
the earth, is against Christ in themselves,
and in his members ; as Christ said to Saul,
why persecutest thou me ? For what is done
to his members, Christ takes as done to him-
self. And they that did not visit Christ, but
persecuted him in his members, persecuted
Christ in themselves first."

He continued visiting the meetings of Friends
in and about London as his health permitted,
and attended the Yearly Meeting in 1688,
which he says was a very refreshing season,
the Lord vouchsafing to honour their assem-
blies with his living glorious presence in a very
plentiful manner.

His health and strength now declined' so
much that he was scarcely able to sit a meet-
ing through ; and when he did, often had to
retire to a chamber contiguous, as soon as it
was over, in order to lie down. " Yet, says
he, did not my weakness take me off from
the service of the Lord, but I continued to
labour in and out of meetings, in the work of the
Lord, as he gave me opportunity and ability."

In the year 1689, he attended the Yearly
Meeting at London, as he had done for some
years previous ; and in the autumn retired to
the house of his son-in-law, William Mead,
where he spent the winter, seldom going out,
except a few times to attend the meeting
where they belonged, which was about half a
mile distant. He however frequently held
meetings in the house with the family, and
such as came to visit him, feeling the great
benefit as well as duty of waiting often upon
the Lord, and worshipping him in as public a
manner as bodily health would permit.

In the second month, 1690, he went up to
London, and attended the Yearly Meeting there
in the fourth month following, for the last time.
It was a favoured season, in which the wonted
goodness of the Lord was manifested, to the
comfort and refreshment of Friends. When
the meeting was over he made a short excur-
sion into the country, returning to the city
again in the seventh month, where he con-
tinued until the time of his decease. He was
almost daily with Friends at some one of their
meetings in that place, and engaged at other
times in writing to his brethren.

For several years before his death he wrote,
annually, a postscript to be added to the Year-
ly Meeting's epistle. The following, showing
the fulness and firmness of his faith in Christ,
was appended to the epistle issued by the last
meeting of that kind which he attended : —

" All Friends, everywhere, that are alive to
God through Jesus Christ, and ai'e living mem-
bers of Christ the holy head ; be still and stand
still in the Lord's camp of holiness and righte-
ousness, and therein see the salvation of God,
and your eternal life, rest, and peace. In it
you may feel and see the Lord's power is over
all ; and how the Lord is at work in his pow-
er, ruling the nations with his rod of iron, and
breaking (in the nations) the old leaky vessels
and cisterns to pieces, like the potter's vessels,
that will not hold his living water of life, who
are erred from the Snirit But blessed be the



Lord God of heaven and earth, who by his
eternal arm and power hath settled all his peo-
ple upon the living, holy rock and foundation,
that stands sure ; whom he hath drawn by his
spirit to his Son, and gathered into the name
of Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, full of
grace and truth : who hath all power in hea-
ven and earth given to him. His name is
above every name under the whole heaven,
and all his living members know, there is no
salvation given by any other name under the
whole heaven, but by the name of Jesus ; and
he, their salvation, and their living head, is
felt in the midst of them in his light, life, spi-
rit, grace, and truth, and his word of patience,
wisdom, and power ; He is his people's pro-
phet, that God hath raised up, in his New Tes-
tament and covenant, to open to them ; and
their living shepherd, that hath purchased, re-
deemed, and bought them with his precious
blood. Christ, the living One, feeds his living
sheep in his living pastures of life, and his
living sheep know their living shepherd's
voice, with his living bread and water, and

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 22 of 105)