William Evans.

The Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds online

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the natural body ; and those whose spiritual
senses are quickened by the virtue which pro-
ceeds from the eternal Sun of righteousness,
do thereby discern that these things are ac-
cording to the clear manifestation of Truth in
their inward parts ; and from a sense thereof,
can of a truth give this testimony, that Christ,
the Lord, by his holy quickening Spirit, hath
appeared in them, to the quickening of their
immortal souls; and that through believing in
the light, and obedience to his appearance,
being come out of that state which is repro-
bated by the Lord, they can of certain ex-
perimental knowledge say, Christ is in us, the
hope of glory.

And so, when we direct people to this Word,
Light, Law, Grace and Spirit, we do not there-
by intend, that Christ Jesus, the light of the
world and gift of God, is not the true Sa-
viour, Redeemer and Reconciler of mankind
onto God.

Now this light and spirit, doth lead the souls
of all such as obey it, up to God, the fountain,
from whom it comes ; and no man sees its
nature, but they who are led by it ; for in the
light of the Lord alone man cometh to see

light, and to have an understanding. Before
this be fully seen or understood, the mind of
man must he brought down, out of all its own
willings and runnings, comprehendings and
searchings, to the light, therein to see a death ^
to his own will, and be comprehended in this
light ; and so man comes to have an under-
standing to know him that is true, and to be
in him that is true.

Now, as any are convinced and converted
by this heavenly principle, which is placed in
the conscience, to be a guide and leader to
mankind, they are led out of darkness, where-
in they have been, while yet the light shone
in darkness, in which darkness no man ever
comprehended this light or heavenly grace.
It sometimes moves through the darkness, on
man's understanding, reproving and discover-
ing the darkness, and causing man to hear its
small still voice ; and so daily continues re-
proving man whilst he remains in rebellion
and disobedience, all the time of his visitation,
and approving and giving peace to man, when
he is obedient.

Although man may change and go from it,
and rebel against it, and thereby become one
of them of whom Job speaks, that rebel
against the light, and thereby know not the
way of it; but give way to the working of
the god of the world, to be drawn out into
fading, perishing things; yet it remains im-
mutable in itself, being of and from the un-
changeable Being, and remains with man un-
til it be taken from him, and he be cast into
utter darkness.

The first operation of this heavenly light,
in those who are convinced by, and turned to
it, the gift of the Father, which Christ Jesus,
in his parable to the Jews, compared to a
grain of mustard-seed, and to a little leaven,
which a woman took and hid in three mea-
sures of meal, until the whole came to be lea-
vened, is to show man his inward state and
condition. The first step in the way of life
is, to be turned to this holy principle, that
teacheth the obedient to know God savingly ;
and when man comes to have a true sense of
his fallen estate, and sees how he hath trans-
gressed against that eternal Being that gave
him life and breath, who waiteth long to be
gracious, and knocketh at the door of the
heart, and hath striven by his Divine light,
the sense hereof will break the heart, and
tender the spirit before the Lord. And under
the weight of the great burthen of sin and
iniquity, there will be a crying out, My sins
they are too heavy for me to bear, and mine
iniquities are gone over mine head ; saying,
as Paul did, " Oh wretched man that I am I
who shall deliver me from the body of this
death?" Here the eye comes to be opened that

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sees him, whom man in his disobedience hath
pierced afresh and put to open shame; and
then there will be days of mourning and wail-
ing, because of him ; and this is truly the day
of Jacob's trouble. In the sense of this de-
plorable fallen estate, and the long-sufiermg
of the Lord, and the long-striving of his Spi-
rit, thou wilt see, that in the justice of God,
eternal death might be thy portion ; but that
vhich brings into this sense, begets a secret
cry in the soul, afler a Deliverer and Saviour,
and will also give a true sight, that there is no
way for thy soul to bo ransomed, but in and
through the tender ipercies of the Lord Jesus
Christ ; which thou wilt see can no other way
be efiectually becun in thee, but in the way of
the judgments of the Lord ; for it is through
judgment that Zion is redeemed, and her con-
verts with righteousness. And here also thou
'wilt see that the measure of the sufferings of
Christ yet behind must be filled up in thee ;
for no othet way can any man pass unto life,
peace and joy, with the Father of spirits, but
the way the Captain of salvation passed, which
was through death ; and here thou wilt begin
to arm thyself with the same mind. For none
cease from sin any further than as they suf-
fer in the flesh the crucifying of the afiections
and lusts thereof; and here the end of the
Gospel's preaching comes to be known and
witnessed, which is, that all men might be
judged as men in the flesh, that so they might
live according to Gk)d in the spirit. And in
this inward exercise, the Lord God Almighty
will bow down his ear, and answer the cries
of thy awakened soul, and manifest his word
of power, which all in this state will know to
be sharper than any two-edged sword, pierc-
ing, to the dividing asunder of thy immortal
soul, from the spirit and nature of transgres-
aion and its daily working, as subjection and
obedience are yielded unto it, making a sepa-
ration between joints and marrow, and giving
thee a discerning of the thoughts and intents
of thy heart.

As the soul ^ives up in love to God, freely
to follow him m the way of his judgments,
and gives up to the sword of the Lord, that
which is for the sword, and that which is for
destruction, to be destroyed, the precious
work of the Lord will prosper. And although
this be a time of sorrow, of trouble and an-
guish, yet it is a good day. Therefore strive
not to get from under it, neither to make
haste ; for the true godly sorrow worketh the
true repentance, which is never to be repented
of. After the true repentance, follows the
true knowledge of remission and forgiveness;
and so thy iniquities, by the judgments of the
Lord, come to be blotted out; and then the

times of refreshment come from the preaenoe
of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

As there is a faithful abiding in inward
watchfulness, and continual obedience to this
heavenly light, in which the beginning of the
work of God was known, there will be a
going on from step to step in the footsteps of
the flock of Christ Jesus, and a growing from
strength to strength, over sin and the nature
thereof, and from one degree of grace to an-
other; and the eye of the understanding will
be single; and here every thing which doth
let, will be seen, and the soul will not start
aside from an inward travail, until that which
hindereth be taken out of the way, and until
all the rule and authority of the enemy be
subdued under the feet of the Lord^s anointed,
and the government in the soul be upon his
shoulders, whose right it is to reign over all.

And here salvation, redemptk>n and restor-
aticMi is effectually enjoyed, through faith and
the effectual working of the Almighty power
of God, unto whom be the glory of his own
work for ever ; and here will be a growing
and increasing, until there is a coming into
that precious state and image, in which man
was before he fell.

The by-patha, crooked tBoys, wUes and 9nares 9f
the enemy discaoered.

Now when the mind is turned to this Divine
heavenly principle, and the work of the Lord
is begun, the same destroyer that brought man
into bondage at first, and hath kept him in
bondage, will begin to work cunningly, and
endeavour to destroy the work of God begun
in the soul ; and that he may aocomplish his
end, he will go about every way, seeking an
entrance, and will \ay his temptations suitable
to the propensity or inclinations of the crea-

If the heart be bowed under a weighty
sense of iniquity and many transgressions,
through which sorrow and bitterness is great,
the enemy will work in his transforraings, and
in appearance like the light, yet in nature con-
trary thereto. For, though the light gives the
certain understanding of the inward state, and
brings sorrow because of sin, and shows the
mountain of iniquity, y^ it begets a secret
hope of overcoming by the Lord's strength.

But when the enemy sees the soul bowed
down, he oflen afflicts and brings it into un-
belief of ever overcoming, thereby endeavour-
ing to sink it into despair; knowing, if he
overcomes, he still keeps under his power, al-
though in another appearance. But all who
are thus exercised, waiting on the Lord singly,
with the mind stayed in the light, will disco-

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ver this snare; for, as I said) although the
true appearance of God's heavenly light and
grace brings a day of trouble, sorrow and an-
guish, yet that sorrow is not a sorrow with-
out hope; but the enemy's working is to bring
into a sorrow^ithout hope, and to draw down
the spirit into the chambers of darkness.

When the enemy is discovered in this, and
the soul through the love and power of God
is comforted and refreshed, and raised up in
a measure of living hope^ then he endeavours
to lead from the inward daily travail, that
judgment may not be brought forth into vic-
tory ; and so draw the mind into a false per-
suasion of obedience and diligence, when there
is not an abiding in that which gives a true
sense of its state. And as he would have be-
fore destroyed the hope that is an anchor sure
and steadfast, so now he would beget a false
hope and confidence, and bring out of the
daily cross, through which the nature that
hath alienated from God, should be destroyed.

If the enemy be seen and overcome in both
these snares, and the work prospers even until
much be subjected, and through daily obedi-
ence to the heavenly power, much is slain,
and the heart comes in good measure to be
cleansed, and a good progress is made through
the administration of condemnation, that is glo-
rious in its time; and something of pure peace
and heavenly joy arises in the heart ; here
again the enemy will be subtilly at work, to
betray, in persuading to sit down now, as if
all were done ; and thus lead from feeding on
the tree of life, to feed on the tree of know-
ledge of good and evil, and to break th^ com-
mandment of the Lord. At first he subtilly
draws the mind out to take a little liberty, and
from that diligent watchfubess fuid fear it was
in before. And if he can but prevail he will
lead out of the innocent life, and by degrees
open an eye that may see something in out-
ward things that may afiect the mind; and
as he prevails gradually and hiddenly, the eye
that was opened comes agai^, through disobe-
dience, to be in some measure blinded ; and
here loss is sustained, even before the un-
watchfijl is aware. Aud the working of the
enemy is first, to cause such to make ship-
wreck of faith in a little measure ; that is not
to have the daily belief to stand in the power;
the daily enjoyment of which, coming to be
lefl by degrees, there will then be a turning
from the power of godliness, into the form
thereof. And although at times the power of
the Lord m^y be felt in this state, yet there
not being a daily feeling afler it, the enjoy-
ment thereof, as to true refreshment and con-
solation, is lost, and an image comes up in its
place ; and . the enemy presents some objects
to take up the mind, so that by degrees he

Vol- IV.— No. 4.

may enter and defile it, and draw it from it^
true guide, so as to make shipwreck of a goo I

If the enemy be discovered before he can
80 efiect his work, as to bring death and dark-
ness over again, and the power of the Lord
breaks his snares, and gives a true sense
thereof, through which trouble and anguish of
spirit comes, here he will again transform and
work as in the beginning, like the condemning
power of the Lord, endeavouring to lead the
mind into despair of ever recovering its for-
mer condition ; and to draw it to look at him
that hath stung, that so the remedy, the soul-
ransoming power of the Lord, may not be felt
afier, nor looked at. But as there is a true
regard to the Lord, and a waiting upon hiin
in the way of his judgments, having the faith
and confidence to stand in his power, the
backsliding will be healed ; and returning and
diligently keeping in the light, the power of
the Lord God will work over that which has
endeavoured like a roaring lion to destroy,
and so lead on in the way again.

But when deliverance is known from this
deadly snare, and the work again goes on
prosperously until the house be swept and
garnished, and there is a passing from death
unto life, and the ministration of condemna-
tion being gone through, and the spirit that
ruled in the disobedient state cast out, and the
openings of that which doth exceed in glory,
the administration of the Spirit, is known; the
enemy will again transform himself as an
angel /of light, and with all his power and
strength, work by temptation on the right
hand and oq the lefl. For when there are
openings to the understanding, and prophe-
cies, and through the working of the eternal
power joy springs in the heart, then the enemy
will work secretly, to draw the mind o^t of
the valley of humility ; and if he prevail he
will endeavour to lead into extremes, thereby
to destroy the true birth, which is bringing
forth, and so bewilder the mind, and hurry it
through imaginary notions, to dishonour the
name of the living God, and to destroy his
work, which through sorrow and travail hath
been brought forth.

If he cannot prevail here, but the light of
the Lord discovereth him, then will he be at
work, to draw the mind from watchfulness and
daily fear, and the liberty of the sons of God,
which liberty is only to §erve the Lord. For
dominion being felt in sorpe measure, comfort
and ^consolation enjoyed, and praises raised in
the heart to him that hath visited and re-
deemed, the enemy will be ready to draw the
mind out of the stayed estate of meek and
constant watchfulness in the light, thereby
causing the creature prodigally to spend the

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portion, and to lavish out the enjoyment by
running before the leadings and movings of
the power of the Lord, to speak of the enjoy-
ment, the prophecyings and openings, not
being led thereto by that power that first
opened the heart; and here is an untimely
birth brought forth, that will wither and come
to nothing.

Where the enemy cannot prevail by these
snares and temptations, he will not cease,
** who goes about as a roaring lion, seeking
whom he may devour," and how he may
again get entrance ; but lays his temptations
according to the spirit, growth, capacities and
inclinations of every one. After the good
work of God has been begun, and the arm of
his salvation hath been wonderfully revealed,
to bring out of Egypt's darkness spiritually,
and hath given many signal deliverances from
the destroying enemy, and has often (ed with
the heavenly food, and caused the rock to
yield water for the thirsty, and many turn-
ings aside in the passage through the wilder-
ness have been seen, the backslidings from a
a sense of the eternal power, have been dis-
covered, and that there is a coming through
the river of judgment, and the mighty power
of Grod drives out the enemy that hath inhab-
ited, where only Abraham's Seed is to inhabit,
and the war in great measure ceaseth, and
part of the good land is possessed and en-
joyed, even the land that floweth with spirit-
ual milk and honey, and the fruit of the vine
drunk of; here also will the crooked, subtle
enemy be working, as he did with outward
Israel, causing Jeshurun to wax fat, and then
kick against the power, leading the mind
through the enjoyment of that which in its
place is good, into ease, and to forget the Lord
that formed man, and brought him into the
land of rest, and lightly to esteem the Rock
of salvation. Thus he leads the mind into a
state of ease, and from the inward enjoyment
of virtue, to set up idols in the heart, and to
serve gods of silver and gold, and a profession
without life and possession. And into this
condition the old enemy prevailed to lead a
people, who in many ages had seen the mighty
works of the Lord, and his arm stretched out
and magnified in the sight of their enemies for
them; nevertheless, they departed from the
Lord, and from the inward sense of his power.
Now the spirit that was cast out, and wan-
dered in dry places, takes to it seven worse
spirits, and returns, tempts, prevails and en-
ters, and the latter end is worse than the be-
ginning. For in the beginning, although the
enemy had his power and rule, yet there was
a sense thereof, and the heart wns humbled,
tender, and brought into true poverty, and

there was a mourning before the Lord for
want of the dominion ; and this state of hu-
miliation and brokenness of heart, in which
the Lord takes delight, in his boundless lov-
ing-kindness he visited and caused his redeem-
ing, saving power to be reveal^. But now in
this other estate, the mind is high, the heart
fat and full, and at ease, and gone into the
love of the world and the things thereof,
through which there is an unmindfulness of
the Lord, who in the beginning was every
day sought after, and diligently waited for;
and the Rock, the Power, is lightly esteemed;
for the estimation is of another thing. Here
two great evils are committed at once, viz:
The fountain of living mercies is forsaken,
and broken cisterns hewn out, even a profes-
sion, that will hold no water, no durable re-
freshment, no durable joy, no durable peace
nor consolation.

The enemy hath thus prevailed through
many ages, to bring thousands from their en-
joyment of God in the pure, tender and up-
right-spirited state, which he efl^ts through
his workings and subtilty, and that gradually.
His first step hereunto is, to bring out of the
constant, daily watchfulness, and causing a
little liberty to be taken to the carnal mmd,
and as it were imperceptibly, a certain enjoy-
ment of sweetness therein, whereby a dark-
ening of the sight comes over the mind, and
so they are allured into more liberty. Some-
times his beginnings are to draw out of obe-
dience in those things that were required in
the day of small things; sometimes into many
words, no more to be as a ** door-keeper in the
house of the Lord," and so the enemy works
to cause such things to seem small and indif-
ferent, and thereby cause the oftence of the
cross to cease. Then the mind runs forth to
make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lust
thereof, either in meats, drinks, apparel, or
such like, which the Truth in time past hftd
made manifest, and the power of God, the
cross of Christ, had crossed, and in measure
lead out of, into watchfulness and pure fear,
not making provision for the flesh in any re-
spect, to fulfil the lusts thereof; but drawing
in practice, as well as in principle, into plain-
ness, and out of all superfluities, admitting the
creature to refresh nature, but not to feed the

But yet the enemy works by degrees, sub-
tilly and covertly to lead out of the liberty of
the cross of Christ Jesus, the power of Grod
unto salvation, into the liberty of the flesh,
and hereby gets a farther entrance ; working
to draw the mind into many words in dealing,
in commerce or converse, and into the love
of the world, and though many times the

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power of God may be felt jn some meaaure,
to draw out of the snare, yet the god of this
world having by this time much blinded the
eye, and darkened the understanding, there is
not a sense of the power of the Lord in its
workings, nor of the subtilty of the enemy.
For the outward profession and conformity
may be in a great measure kept to, under
which the enemy may work undiscovered by
the unwatchful, and so step by step, lead out
of the power of godliness, until he hath slain
the birth, which in the first days of tender
visitation was begotten. Now there will be a
growing high, and such will call the operation
of Goa^s power extremes and imaginations,
and Jeshurun-like, will kick, and turn against
the power of God, for such are best contented
with a likeness and image. Such love smooth
things in the wisdom of the gifted man, that
has lost his way, through erring from the
power, not waiting on all occasions to be
guided thereby. So here is the itching ear,
and heaping up teachers to please self, and
Jezebel is upheld ; which error crept into the
church of Tbyatira; and in all ages they that
went from the broken, tender estate, into the
conditions before discovered, suffered and nur-
tured this Jezebel, who must be cast on the
bed of torments, and all her children killed
with death. All the working of the enemy,
under every guise, is to slay that which was
quickeaed, and to bring in a contentedness
with an outside profession of the way of the
Truth, light and life of Christ Jesus, the power
of God unto salvation, whilst the heart has
flooe from the Lord, and embraced other
bwen. Where the enemy thus prevails, in
process of time he leads again into the world,
from whence the arm of the Lord gathered ;
and the latter end of such is worse than the
bc^ginning. For having made shipwreck of
faith and of a good conscience, the second
death oonnes over, and such become twice
dead, and as salt which has lost its savour,
and are good for nothing, but to be cast forth,
and trodden under foot of men. The preser*
▼atioo out of these by-paths, crooked ways,
wiles, snares and temptations of the enemy,
is only in the true waiting and sincere abiding
in the light, gift and grace of God, in which
the daily revelations and manifestations of
God's eternal power are known, and preserva-
tion in the daily acquaintance and experience
thereof, which keep all truly low and tender,
wherein ariseth an inward breathing and pant-
ing after the daily enjoyment of the life, power,
aid blessed refreshing virtue, which alone re-
new and increase the strength of the inward
man; in which God Almighty preserve all the
travellers Zionward to the end.

The tUter end, and firud destructum of oil false
profeMeions, which have had their rise in the
night of apostacy,

kFtvBL the glorious breaking forth of the
day of God amongst the apostles, the enemy
wrought mightily against that appearance, both
in his instruments, by whom he raised up per-
secution, and by those apostates, in whom he
got an entrance, amongst the churches, and so
prevailed, that a great night of darkness and
apostacy hath been some hundred of years
over the nations of the earth ; in which the
old subtle serpent, in his many transformings,
wrought mightily, to alienate man from Goicl.
Oh ! the ways and inventions that have been
set up in the wisdom which is from below,
which is earthly, sensual and devilish, under
pretence of religion, obedience, and the wor-
ship of God 1 What rending, devouring, mur-
dering and destroying, has there been ibr
many hundred years about religion? First,
the great dragon of persecution appeared to
devour the man-child, and destroy the woman,
but both were preserved ; then he made war
with the remnant of her seed; and after came
in another appearance, which John saw rise
as a beast out of the sea, which had seven
heads and ten horns; and on his horns,
crowns; and upon his heads, the name of
blasphemy; and one of his heads had a
deadly wound by the sword, but this deadly
wound was healed; and all the world won-
dered after the beast, saying. Who is like the
beast? And who is able to make war with
him? And all on the earth worshipped the
beast, whose names are not written in the
book of life of the Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world. And after this, a
second beast appeared, that came out of the
earth; and this beast had two horns like a
lamb, but spake like a dragon: And John saw
that he exercised all the power of the first
beast, which received his power and authority

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 34 of 104)