William Evans.

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

. (page 36 of 104)
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In the ever-blessed Truth which endures
for ever, I tenderly salute you, desiring greatly
your prosperity and growth therein, to serve
^our generation according to the will of God;
m which you will have peace for ever. Now
the God of heaven hath not only called you
to watch and take care, of your own hearts
and families, but also over the flock and family
of God where you live j therefore be careful
and diligent ip your meetings, and in a faith-
ful discharge, as before the Lord, to answer
the service efieQtually ; and to that end I ex-
hort you, to wait diligently upon the Lord, to
feel his sweet opening power and spring of
Divine wisdom, that you may see your seve-
ral places in the body, and your service in
that place faithfully performed.

For some time it hath lain before me, in the
name of the Lord, to stir you up to an increase
of love ; and you that have families, sons and
daughters, stir them up often to come to meet-
ings, and into the service with you, in answer-
ing to the Lord's requiring — that when you
are taken away, they may serve the Lord,
being thereby trained up in his way. There-
fore I charge all young men and women, in
the sight of him who shall judge righteously,
who hath put you in some measure in a ca-
pacity to serve the Lord, in the men and wo-
men's meetings, that you neglect not your
care herein, lest the Lord exercise you with
various trials, unthought of by the careless
mind ; for if ye do love, and give up to serve
the Lord, and bring of your substance to
serve the poor, as the Lord hath commanded,
you will find a reward in your bosoms, and a
satisfaction by being in your duty and service.

And, dear Friends, lift up your heads in the
light of the Lord, to feel his eternal arm to
gather you into a growing state, in the holy
root of life, that therein you may be able to
stand in the day of his vengeance, that breaks
over a sinful people, for the humbling of thou-
sands to the dust Arise, shake yourselves in
the strength of the Lord from the dust of the
earth ; put on strength and heavenly zeal, for
his name and his sweet counsel, with your
minds gathered to see the fulfilling of the
words of the Lord. The God of our tender
mercies incline you all to take his counsel,
that you may serve him in all faithfulness ;
and as living travellers, journey on to come
to Zion, the city of the heavenly king, where
his glory shines, his love flows, his mercy ex-
tends, and the joy of the Lord springs up, to
furnish man with living high praises to him
that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb

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for ever more ; and that you may have your
lot and portion in that city, hath been the tra-
vail of soul, and ardent desires of your
Tender friend and brother,

Charles Marshall.

An Epistle to Friends,
Dear Friends and brethren,
That are sufiering for your meeting to-

f ether, in answer to the requirings of the
pirit of Jesus ; my love in the fellowship of
the suflerings of Christ salutes you, breathing
to the God of the spirits of all flesh for you,
that the grace that brings salvation, the mercy
that comforts, the peace that is as a refresh-
ing river, may be multiplied in you, and
amongst you, to your satisfaction and rejoic-
ing in the Lord. Lifl up your heads in the
light of the Lord, behold and livingly. remem-
ber what the Lord, the jealous God, hath done
for you these many years ; who hath in unut-
terable kindness visited you with his day-
spring from on high, and with his excellent,
powerful arm hath saved and wrought for us,
time afler time; and beyond all expression
hath wonderfully turned back the enemy of
our souls. He hath indeed bound the seas as
with swaddling bands, and said to the proud
waves of persecution, hitherto shall you come
and no further ; whose arm hath brought out
of bonds and set at liberty, and hath rebuked,
as in the midst of a storm, and brought a
sweet calm; we have seen what his power
hath done, and have been deeply engaged
unto him, and bowed in the sense of his un-
speakable love.

And now, dear friends and brethren, keep
your meetings in the name, power, and au-
thority of the living God, and let all be ga*
thered into the name of Jesus, the immaculate
Lamb of God, who will then be known to be
in the midst of you. Wait diligently with the
loins of your minds girded with the Truth, in
the fear and awe of the mighty Jehovah,
whoee fear will keep out the fear of man,
whose hreath is in his nostrils, and his life
every moment at the disposal of the great
Creator. Let none reason with flesh and
hlood, nor take counsel of him that moved to
say. Master save thyself; but overcome all
such reasonings of the earthly wisdom, and
walk in the Seed imnrortal, whose life will
make all your meetings sweet and refreshing,
and terrible to the workers of iniquity. So,
dear friends,.in the weighty sense of the hon-
our and dignity of the precious Truth, which
you are concerned in, before the eyes of many
that are upon you, let the increase of it have
weight with you over all your interests, and
eye the Loitl, who can give and take away,
Vol. IV.— No. 6.

whose are the cattle on a thousand hills. Look
not at the things that are seen, which are car-
nal, but at those which are not seen with the
visible eye, which are eternal, and no mora
suffering shall come on you who keep re-
signed to the Lord and his counsel, than shall
be to his honour, and in the end over all, you
shall be comforted and filled with joy, when
your enemies shall feel the tribulation and an«
guish which the Lord is rendering to the work*
ers of iniquity. So, into his arm do I commit
you, and to the word of his patience that keeps
in the hour of temptation ; and may the Lord
arise among you in the glory of his own power,
and in the excellency of his own brightness,
to the astonishment of the wicked, and to the
refreshing and comforting of you all ; in whose
name I send this counsel amongst you, who

Your brother in labour and travail in the Gospel
of life and salvatioD,

Charles Marshall. .
Titherton, the SOdi of the

An Epistle to Friends coming forth in the

Dearly beloved Friends,
Who in your assemblies sometimes feel a
testimony for the Lord to spring in your hearts»
keep your watch in the light, that so none stay
behind, nor run before ; but let all that open
their mouths in the assemblies of the Lord's
people, do it as the oracle of God, in the aris*
ing of the eternal power ; for nothing can be*
get to God, but what comes from the word of
life, that lives and abides forever; and nothing
can refresh, strengthen or comfort that which is
begotten by the word of life, but what springs
from the same. Therefore, dear Friends, whom
this concerns, wait diligently, not only to know
and savour every motion, but also to know the
appointed time when the motion should be
brought forth ; so shall what is ministered, if
it be but few words, reach, and do its service.
For this I have learned, that though there may
be a true motion of the power of the Lord,
and a true operation thereof, yet where there
is not a waiting for the perfecting of what is
to be brought forth, but instead thereof, com-
ing forth before the time, there is an untimely
birth ; which hurts the vessel through which
it comes, and the hearers are burthened ; and
the life which first moved comes to be op-
pressed. As long as any are found walking
in this by-path, although they may find the
power of God moving in them, yet they never
come to be skilful, nor to divide the word
aright ; and such do not truly grow, but some-
times bring forth a mixture, sowing the field

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with two sorts of grain, and wearing a linen
and woollen garment.

Friends, this lieth upon my spirit to all who
feel the beginning of a testimony spring in
your hearts, wait diligently in that light, low,
in stillness and passiveness of spirit, and you
will come to feel the counsel of the liord
sealed to your understandings, and see the
time when to speak, and when to be silent,
and here will be a right increase of your tes-
timony. When that which is sealed to the
understanding is offered, retire inward and
sink down into stillness, and keep in the vaU
ley; and let all know, that no ministration,
save that which comes from the life itself, from
the fresh arisings of the pure power of the
Lord, availeth any thing ; and all ministering
out of this will fade and come to an end, in
the approaching day of trial.

And, dear Friends, as the will of the Lord
is made manifest, yield sincere obedience
thereto, if the requiring be but a few words ;
for I have seen it a dangerous thing to resist
the motions of God's power, and have known
many hours of sorrow for it. In the begin-
ning of a testimony for the Lord, even in the
upright heart, great will be the opposition of _
the enemy every way, and where he cannot
lead to an untimely birth, he will endeavour
to shut up the heart in disobedience or rebel-
lion, or raise up many fears and doubts, if
possible to bewilder the soul. Here I had
perished, if it had not been fer the love and
tender mercy of the Lord. And so, dear
Friends, for whose sake I am moved thus to
write, when a motion is felt, and openings are
in the heart, sink down in that in which no
vain thought can be hidden, and stand single
and passive. The more still, humble and pas-
sive thou art, who art thus exercised, the mo-
tion of life will the more show itself, and the
power will arise and clear thy understanding;
and then, in that which warmeth thy heart,
and moveth on thy spirit, enter into thy ser-
vice ; and when that is done, add not, but sit
in the still habitation, and in humility and pas-
siveness, and thou wilt feel the reward of obe-
dience, and grow in experience and knowledge,
and be more and more furnished td every g<x>d
word and work.

And may the Lord preserve all who are
thus exercised in this even path, in which they
will feel strengthened with might in the in-
ward man, and furnished to serve the Lord.

And, Friends, when any through want of
experience err, in running before the power,
be very tender ; and although there may be a
savour and judgment in yourselves, and you
may be burthened, yet beware how you speak
to ease yourselves, but wait on the Lord
therein, to be guided by his counsel; for

some having such a sense, and not discern-
ing wherein the miscarriage lay, have run
forth in judgment, and have sometimes hurt,
and even destroyed, or at least have become
a stumbling-block to such an exercised Friend,
and have also much hurt themselves. So that
not having a true discerning, between the first
moving cause, which is the power, and that
which led forth before the power, they have
judged both, and so have brought a hurt over
their own souls, through judging the power of
the Lord ; and this sometimes may extend to
hurt others. Out of which snare God Al-
mighty preserve all, that so one may be a
strength to another, taking one another by
the hand, and saying, <* Let us go up to the
mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God
of Jacob ;" who will teach us more and more
of his ways ; and here, in God's holy moun-
tain, is neither hurting nor destroying.
Given forth through your dear brother,

Chables Marshaix.

A copy of an Epitde to ike women^9 HdXfyftor
Meeting, 1677.
Dear Friends,

Kebp your meetings in the name of the
Lord Jesus Christ, and wait for the arising of
his power amongst you, to open your hearts;
so will wisdom instruct you, and none will be
without the adorning of a meek and quiet spi-
rit, which is of great price with the Lord. And
all keep to the teaching of the grace which
comes by Christ Jesus, in which male and fe-
male are one, being members of one holy
body, Christ Jesus, the head, from whom vir-
tue floweth and love aboundeth, which will
season all your words and deportment, and
make them savoury.

And, dear Friends, be swifl to hear the
heavenly oracle, but slow to speak ; so shall
order in the harmonious love and life be
among you. And let no discouragement be
upon any of your spirits, the Lord bath owned
your meetings with a testimony from heaven;
and I am now constrained to remind you, how
the Lord broke in upon you, in your last
meeting; wherein you were refreshed and
stirred up to your several services in your
respective meetings and femilies, according to
the leadings of his Spirit, that no guilt may
be on any, when they come on their dying
beds : but all in the strength of the Lord's
power, live and walk, and serve your g»iera-
tion according to the will of God. My soul
desireth that his love and life may plentifully
spring amongst you. Farewell in the Lord.

I am your tender friend, in the labour of the
Giospel of peace,

Chables Mabshall.

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And onto this people thou ihnU ny, thai aaith the Lord, behold I eet before you the way of life, and the
way of death. Jer, zxi &

For the oominalkdinent ia a lamp, ond the law ia light, and the xeprooft of iMtraetkn are the way of life.
Tnm, vL 23.

Take last hold of inatnietion, let her not go, keep her^ ibr ihe ia thy life. Ttw. It. la

For we mint all appear belbre the judgment seat of Chriat, that every one may receiTo the thingi done in

hia body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bod ; knowing therelbi« the terrora of the

Lord, we penuade men, Ac 2 Cor, v. 10, 11.

Tribulation and anguiah upon every loul of man that doth evil, of the Jew fint, and also of the Gentile ; bat
gloiy, honour and peace to every man that workelh good, to the Jew fint, and alao to the Gentile ; for there
b no respect of pemna with God. Bxm, ii. 9, 10.

Friends, neighbours and countrymen,

Akongst whom I have had my conversa-
tion, in times past, in the fear of the Lord,
and now being a sufferer inr this prison for
Jesus Christ's sake, I am constrained in his
tender love to visit you by these lines, stirring
you up to a serious and tender examination,
what way you are walking in ; seeing there
are but two ways, as Christ Jesus saith ;
*' Enter ye in at the straight gate, for wide is
the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to
destruction, and many there be that go in
thereat ; because straight is the gate, and nar-
row is the way, that leadeth unto life, and few
there be that find it." Now commune with
your own hearts and be truly still, and say to
your souls, what way are we walking in? For
Christ Jesus takes no notice here of ^e many
ways and professions of religion, among Jews
and Gentiles, but plainly concludes all walk-
ing in one of these ways, namely, the wide
gate and broad way, or the straight gate and
narrow way. It is true, there are many ways
and professions of religion in this age 6f the
world ; but now, as then, they are all con-
cluded under these two, the way of life, and
the way of sin and death. As these two ways
are contrary to one another, so are the fruits
difierent that are brought forth by men and
women walking in these ways. All that are
walking in the broad way, are bringing forth
the fruits <tf the broad way, which are wrath,

murder, evil thoughts, adulteries, thefts, false
witnesses, blasphemies, uncleanness, lascivi-
ousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance,
emulation, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies,
envyings, drunkenness, revelling, and such
like, and they who do such things, shall not
inherit the kingdom of God : these are the
fruits of the broad way, and of those walking
therein. And this way is called broad, be-
cause men walk in their sins, in the pleasure
and vanities of their minds ; and the gate is
wide to receive all that spend their precious
time, both morning and evening of their day,
and not in the fear and awe of the holy God.
The multitude walk in this way ; for the devil
cares not what men profess in words, of Grod,
of Christ, the kingdom of heaven, religion and
worship, while they continue walking in the
broad way, which leads to his kingdom of
darkness. Hence it was that the great God
by his servants, the prophets and apostles,
testified against their worships and perform-
ances, and that of several things, which were
once commanded : and why ? Ye may see it was
because they had forsaken the right way of the
Lord, and were performing their worship in
the same nature, spirit and way in which they
were sinning against God ; their hearts were
corrupt, and consciences defiled. And he
complains by Isaiah, << I have spread out my
hands all the day unto a rebellious and gain-
saying people, which walk in a way that is

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not good, after their own hearts." This way
that was not good, was the broad way, in
which they were, as many now are walking
in, notwithstanding all their outside profession
of religion : as saith the Lord by his prophet
Isaiah, " To what purpose is the multitude of
your sacrifices unto me, saith the Lord? I am
full of burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of
fed beasts, and I delight not in the blood of
bullocks, or of lambs, or of the he-goats.
When ye come to appear before me, who hath
required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
Bring no vain oblations, incense is an abomi-
nation to me ; the new moons and sabbaths,
the calling of assemblies I cannot away with ;
it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting ; your
new moons, and your appointed feasts, my
soul hateth, they are a trouble unto me, I am
weary to bear them. And when ye spread
forth your hands, I will bide mine eyes from
you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I
will not hear ; your hands are full of blood.
Wash ye, make ye clean, put away the evil
of your doings from before mine eyes, cease
to do evil, learn to do welF; seek judgment,
relieve the oppressed, plead for the widow," &c.
So you may see, that no performances of wor-
ship, or service, were any longer acceptable
in the sight of God, than they were performed
by men and women walking in the way of the
Lord, denying themselves, and cleaving to the
good Spirit of God, which the prophet said
Grod gave to instruct and guide them, but they
rebelled against it. This is the broad way
Adam and Eve, through disobedience went
into, when they disobeyed God, and trans-
gressed his righteous law and commandment.
This is the broad way that Cain walked in,
when he slew his innocent brother Abel. This
is the way that the old world walked in, when
they had, through disobedience, turned aside,
so that the Lord said, ** My Spirit shall not
always strive with man ;" and it repented the
Lord that he had made man on the earth, add
it grieved him at his heart. This is the broad
way in which Israel walked when they had
forsaken the Lord, the fountain of their living
mercies, and provoked him to anger both in
the wilderness, and through several genera-
tions, as you may read in the prophets, whom
the Lord sent to testify against them. This
is the broad way the scribes and pharisees
were walking in, notwithstanding all their
great professions of religion, who killed the
Lord of life and glory, Christ Jesus. This
broad way is that in which the apostatizing
Christians walked, and are walking, whom
Jude pronounced woe against, because they
walked in the way of Cain. It was goinf
out of the narrow way of obedience, and
walking into the broad way of disobedience.

that brought the judgments, plagues and ca-
lamities, miseries and depopulations of nations
and kingdoms, from Adam's day to this day.
It was going out of the narrow way of obedi-
ence into the broad way of disobedience, that
brought misery on Adam, the curse on Cain,
destruction by a flood on the old world, judg-
ment on the children of Israel in the wilder-
ness, and sore plagues and calamities through
several generations, as you may read all along
in the prophets ; and then what befel Jerusa-
lem and that people, and since through the
ages and generations to this day ?

Now having in short said something of the
broad way and wide gate, and of the walkers
therein, I am to say something of the narrow
way and straight gate, which Christ Jesus
saith, few And. This is the way called in
Scripture the ancient way of holiness, nnd is
called narrow, and the gate straight, because
no double-minded man can walk therein. All
who come to walk in this way, muat leave
their iniquities behind ; for there is no coming
out of the broad into the narrow, but by put-
ting off, as the apostle saith, the old man with
his deeds ; and this is eflected by joining to,
and obeying the grace that came by Christ
Jesus ; which the apostle saith, bringeth sal-
vation, teaching to deny ungodliness and world-
ly lusts ; and not only so, but leads to live
godly, righteously and soberly, in this present
world. This makes manifest the broad way,
gives a sense of the destruction it leads to,
and leads out of it into the narrow way. Al-
though this way is narrow, and the gate
straight to man in the fall and alienation
from God, walking in the broad way, and
laden with sins, yet as men and women come
out of the broad way, and from delighting in
unrighteousness, and come to delight in fol-
lowing the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus, by his
Spirit, who leads the obedient in the blessed
work of regeneration, they will see that the
way of the Lord is a pleasant way, and the
just man's path a shining light, that shioeth
more and more unto the perfect day, and so
shall drink of the brook of comfort and con*
solation by the way, and say with Solomon,
" In the way of righteousness is life, and in
the path-way thereof there is no death:"
[mark] life to the soul, is death to sin ; here
the ransomed by the precious blood of Christ
Jesus return to Sion, with everlasting joy upon
their heads.

But all that come to walk in the straight
way, and enter in at the straight gate, must
take up the cross of Christ Jesus daily, and
deny themselves ; and in the strength received
by the grace of God, resist and withstand all
the temptations of the devil, who tempts most
to that sin and iniquity which he kaows nMU is

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most prone to. But when he comes to tempt,
and thy minxl is exercised in the light of Christ
Jesus, thou seest his temptations, and thy soul's
desires and supplications ascend to the Lord
God of strength, for the liAing up of his spi-
ritual standard in thy soul against the tempta-
tions and power of the enemy, in every evil
thought and inclination, in which the enemy
worketh. In Matthew zv. verse 18., thou
mayest read, Christ Jesus put evil thoughts
first, before wrath, murder and adultery, &c.,
for there is a time of sin's conceiving, before
it is finished; which the apostle observing,
saith, " When it is finished, it brings forth
death ; for the wages of sin is death, but the
gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
our Lord."

Now the holy light and saving grace of
God gives the sight, and makes a discovery
of sin in its first arising, even when the power
of the enemy worketh to tempt and allure man,
and draw him aside ; but now while it is only
in the temptation, and man in the spirit of his
mind not joined to the temptation, it is not
charged as sin ; but when man gives up and
cloeeth with the temptation, so as to obey it,
then is sin finished, and brings forth death.
His servants ye are; saith the apostle, whom
ye obey, whether it be of sin unto death, or of
righteousness unto life.

Now how far reecheth your experience in
this narrow way, where men and women with
their sins cannot walk? For this is the holy
and Divine path, that man finds in his coming
out of sin, and departing from all iniquity.
But some will be ready 40 say, ^* If we should
hearken to this counsel, and obey the grace
of God, thou art directing to, which brings
salvation, which the apostle says teacheth to
deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts ; and
not only so, but brings to live soberly, god-
ly and righteously in this present world, and
«o teacheth to forsake the devil and all his
works, the pomps and vanities of this evil
world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh,
which many have promised in their baptism ;
and ao have our whole conversation changed,
and become other men, not walking in the
way most of our country, town or village

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 36 of 104)