William Evans.

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

. (page 37 of 104)
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walk in; we fear we shall become a by-word
and a scorn of our neighbours and acquaint-
ance ; nay, we doubt our kindred and near
leiatbos would forsake us, and we should be-
come as strangers to them, and lose their re-
spect, and it n»y be lose our employ and
trade, and endanger a disappointment on our-
selves of the esxpectation we had from some
lehtions- And should we go to markets and
ftirs, and use but few words in our dealing,
u the fear of the Lord teacheth, and refuse
to drink to ezceasy add not be Tainly merryt as

in times past we were, we should be a derision
and a by- word, and scorned by such who have
been our companions in those things. And
this might be very hard to bear, not only to
us, but also some near relations."

To which I answer: If any should meet
with such exercises as these, for turning from
sin and evil, and ceasing to walk in the broad
way, there is no cause to be discouraged.
Those, saith the Scripture, that depart from
iniquity make themselves a prey; and the
servants of the Lord were the song of the
drunkard. And the apostle saith, ** Wherein
they think it strange that you run not with
them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil
of you; who shall give an account to him that
is ready to judge the quick and dead." So
overlook all the reproaches you meet with for
righteousness sake; for ye may remembet
how Christ Jesus the Lord was reproached,
for following whom ye may be reproached.
But afler ye are exercised in the narrow way,
taking up the cross of Christ Jesus, despising
the shame, you will feel that soul-satisfaction,
peace and Divine consolation, that will admin-
ister heavenly content, that will out-balance
all exercises and trials of this nature. You
will oAen have cause to magnify the Lord,
and to say, he is good, and abounding in love
and tender mercies over the workmanship of
his hand, who hath visited our souls when we
were posting on in the broad way of destruc-
tion, and had only a profession, by the hear-
ing of the ear, of God, Christ and his kingdom,
the Scriptures, and of religion ; once a week
confessing we were miserable sinners, erring
and straying from the right way of the Lord,
but knew not the true repentance, which is
always accompanied with a true forsaking of
sin and iniquity. But the God of the Hebrews
hath met with us, who beheld us as bond*
slaves in spiritual Egypt, and be hath visited
our souls with his heavenly light, by which
we have seen our sinful ways and life, and
vain worships, which were so far from being
performed in the Spirit, that we were some of
that number in our parish who despised the
Spirit, and mocked them that worship in it,
which is the ancient worship Christ set up
above sixteen hundred years ago, as ye may
read. Jesus said unto the woman, ** The hour
Cometh, and now is, that the true worshippers
shall worship the Father in Spirit and in
Truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship
him* God is a Spirit, and they that worship
him, must worship him in Spirit and in
Truth." So we now see, that all worship
not performed in the Spirit and Truth, hath
no acceptance with the holy, and righteous
God, through whose favour we contemn alt
reproaches for his name sake, rather choosing

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to sufier with a people truly feariDg God, and
eschewing evil, than to live in the pleasures
of sin, which are but for a season, and then
end in torments, pains, miseries and asto-
nishment beyond all description of words.
Now where any poor travelling souls are
thus exercised in coming out of the broad
way into the narrow way of life eternal, and
inwardly waiting on the Lord, receiving the
instruction of his heavenly gift, such will un-
derstand more of the straight gate and nar-
row way, and it will be daily more easy and
delightful to the obedient ; and they will expe-
rience what Christ Jesus saith, ^*Take my
yoke upon you, and learn of roe, for I am
meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find
rest unto your souls; for my yoke is easy,
and my burthen light." The yoke and bur-
then of Christ Jesus are indeed easy, when
the mind is subjected to the saving grace of
God, which teacheth what to deny, and how
to walk, so as thou mayst have an answer of
peace, in pleasing God the fountain of all our
mercies. And when any mock or scoff, thou
wilt remember, thou wast walking once in
Ishmael's way of scoffing, as they are, and
thou wilt pity them, and thy soul will be con-
cerned for thy relations and acquaintance;
crying; to the Lord, that as he has visited thy
soul through his grace, that brings salvation,
and show^ thee kindness, so he would do for
thy neighbours. This leads into the Christian
nature and spirit, not to render evil for evil,
anger for anger, scoffing and reproaching for
the same; but good for evil, love for hatred;
praying for them as Christ Jesus did ; " Father,
forgive them, they know not what they do."

So following this meek Lamb of God, the
Saviour of mankind, thou wilt have an in-
creased sight of the difierenoe between a
Christian in name, and a Christian in nature.
A Christian in name, is such that have only
an outside profession of Christianity, God,
Christ, the Scriptures and religion ; drawing
near to the Lord with the lips, and honouring
him with the mouth, whilst the heart is going
after sin and vanity, and is far from right-
eousness. A Christian in name, and profes-
sion only, is a talker of the narrow way and
straight gate, but is a walker in the broad
way; having a name to live, but is dead in
sins and trespasses. But a true Christian in
the Divine nature is circumcised inwardly,
and is a Jew inward, one that is born again,
without which, Christ Jesus saith, there can-
not be an entering into the kingdom of hea-
ven. He is changed in nature, cut off from
the wild olive, and planted into the true vine,
the Divine nature, from whence fruits of
Christianity are brought forth ; here the cir<
eumeitton is not of the flesh, but that of the

spirit. A Christian in the Divine nature, is
one that hath followed the Lamb in the re-
generation, and hath put off the evil corrupt
nature, and now appears amongst men in sim-
plicity, bringing forth the fruits of the spirit,
love, joy, peace, long-suflfering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, mercy
and good-will to mankind. Persevering in
the way of the Lord, thy experience will in-
crease in the knowledge of the footsteps of
the flock of Christ Jesus; seeing first how
thou wast turned from darkness unto the mar-
vellous light of God's holy day, with which
thy heart was searched, and sin became ex-
ceedingly sinful, and inexpressibly burthen-
some. Then thy soul cried out in distress to
the Lord God for deliverance, who heard the
cry of the poor in spirit, and the siehing of
the needy, and made bare his delivenng arm,
and in due time gave remission of sin, and a
blotting out of transgression. Times of re-
freshment came from the presence of the
Lord, and from the glory of his power, that
wrought efiectually for the cutting off from
the wild olive, and brought thee out of the
broad way, and planted thee in the heavenly
vine of life, which is the way, and made thee a
branch of the vine, daily receiving sap and
Divine virtue from it, and then let thee see thy
daily spiritual incumbent duty, which is, to
abide in the vine, Christ Jesus. For as the
natural branch cannot bring forth fruit, except
it abide in the natural vine, no more can any
bring forth fruit to God (acceptable) except
they abide in the heavenly vine, Christ Jesus.

Thus coming out of the broad way of sin
and iniquity, and walking in the narrow way
of righteousness and holiness, following the
Lamb of God, Christ Jesus, in the regenera-
tion, ye are fitted for his glorious kingdom ;
and they are indeed blessed who are come to
that state, who can in truth say. For them to
live is Christ, and to die, gain. Surely these
have put off the sins of the flesh, the old roan
with his deeds, and have put on the new man,
who is created afler God in righteousness
and holiness. For our life here is very un-
certain and momentary, so that when we lie
down in the evening, we are uncertain of ris-
ing in the morning ; and when we rise in the
morning, we are not certain we shall live until
the evening ; as the servants of God said, Our
life is like water spilt upon the ground, that
cannot be gathered up again ; it is like unto a
weaver's shuttle, quickly displayed and cut off;
and like the trace of a bird through the air.

Well therefore, since our life is so uncer-
tain, and death so certain, dear countrymen
and neighbours, in the tender bowels of Christ
Jesus, I beseech you, for your own soul's
sake, wUlst you have time, a very little lime,

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so to number your days, and remember your
latter end, as to apply your hearts to that
heavenly wisdom, which teacheth and in-
structeth to walk in the narrow way of self*
denial, which leads to life eternal. That when
the messenger of death com^, the king of
terrors to all evil doers, it may meet with
you walking in the way of life that endures
for ever, which will be the comfort, joy and
satisfaction of all who have prized their pre-
cious time, that God hath given them in the
riches of his infinite love, to obtain the hea-
venly translation out of the kingdom of dark-
ness, into the kingdom of his dear Son, Christ
Jesus, and thereby are fitted ibr that hour.
Then when nothing but death is expected every
moment, your breath withdrawing, your rela-
tions, friends and acquaintances are about
your death-bed, mourning and lamenting, you
can comfort them with telling your spiritual
experience, that you are passed from death
unto life spiritually; and are assured, when
this earthly tabernacle is dissolved, you have
an house made without hands,, eternal in the
heavens, a mansion of joy and blessedness;
that having fought the good fight, overcome
sin, death, hell and the grave, through hiin
that hath loved and redeemed you with his
precious blood, Christ Jesus, the king of eter-
nal glory, the seal of God's favour, and the
joy of his salvation are upon your spirits:
call to your neighbours who are ignorant
of this precious work ; " Oh, neighbours I do
not content yourselves with the pleasures of
sin which are but for a season, a little season
indeed, and lose your own souls, and be shut
out of the paradise of God: Oh! redeem
your time, spend no more of it in sin and in-
iquity, in vain and fooolish discourses; but
prize every hour, walking in the narrow way,
that ye may enter in at the straight gate into
the kingdom of joy and immortal glory,
where the redeemed enjoy endless blessing
of peace^ and unspeakable consolations, m
beholding the celestial beauty of him who sits
at the table of Divine love, saying. Eat and
drink, O friends, of the bread and water of
life, and let your souls be satisfied with the
fatness of the house of God." Here, in this
kingdom, is an end of all pain, sorrow, tears,
conflict, cruelty of wicked men, and an end
of inhuman ungodly imprisonments. Here the
redeemed of tl^ Lord are out of the reach of
all cruel hard-hearted men ; the weary are at
rest in an immortal sabbath, beholding him
who is a fountain of gardens, and the well of
living waters and Divine streams. Here the
new song is sung before the throne of God in
the springing up of endless increasing joy,
and Divine refireshments, in which arise bles*
sings and glory, wisdom and thanksgivings ;

honour, power and might be unto our God for
ever and evermore, Amen.

Friends, neighbours and countrymen, who
may have any doubt which are true prophets,
ministers or teachers of Christ Jesus, and
which are false prophets, the ministers and
teachers of anti-christ, since there have been
both through many ages of the world ; unto
all such, I make this friendly and Christian
proposition, namely, To do like the noble Be-
reans, who were desirous of truth; search
the Scriptures from Genesis the first, to Re-
velations the last, and mark in what way
they walked, and what fruits they brought
forth, that were true prophets, ministers or
teachers, both under the law and prophets.
And, on the other hand, what way they walk*
ed in, and what fruits they brought forth, who
manifestly were declared to be the false pro*
phets, ministers and teachers, by the true pro-
phets, Christ Jesus, and his apostles ; so may
ye safely conclude, those that walk in the way
of the true, and bring forth the fruits of true
ministecB of Christ Jesus, to be now true;
and those false now, that walk in the way
and footsteps of the false prophets and minis-
ters of anti-christ. So search the Scriptures,
in the Spirit of Truth that leads into all truth,
and receive Christ Jesus's precept. Matt. xvii.
13, 14. about the straight gate and narrow
way,, of which I have in his love treated be^
fore; and in verse 15, following, he saith, Be-
ware of false prophets, dec. (v. 16.) Ye shall
know them by their fruits, &c.

Oh ! thou holy Most High God of mercy
and tender compassion, look down with an
eye of pity on the inhabitants of the earth,
and send forth thy light and truth more and
more, to guide the people out of the broad
way of destruction into thy narrow way of
life, which leads to thy holy mountain, where
there is no hurting nor destroying : O ! that
through the glorious out-stretched arm of thy
salvation, sin may be finished, and iniquity
brought to an end, that the righteousness of
Christ Jesus, the dear Son of thy love, may
cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea.
Ah ! for thy name's sake hear the cry of the
poor, and sighing of the needy, and stretch
forth thy arm and deliver thy oppressed out
of their distresses, that thy creation, O Lord,
may be eased, and thy great name, and the
noble acts of thy Almighty arm and Divine
power may be renowned gloriously through
all the lands. Amen, Amen.

An Epistle to Friends^ <f*e.

Dear Friends,
And all professing the precious truth of our
God, unto whom the redeeming arm of the

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Lord hath reached to redeem out of the na*
ture of sin, into the Divine nature; your mer-
cies herein have been inexpressible.

It hath pressed on my spirit, day and night,
for some time, to visit you with a few line^ in
tender love, to call you, in the name of the
Lord to a spiritual communing with yt>ur own
hearts, before the Lord, with his heavenly
light, inquiring how far you have answered
his heavenly call; whether you have made
your calling sure, by persevering in an inward
hearkening thereto; and whether you have
made your election sure, by coming out of
the reprobate nature, obeying and closing in
spirit with that heavenly power, that trans-
lates out of the kingdom of satan, into the
kingdom of the dear Son of God.

The 'Lord Almighty is drawing near to
judgment, and will judge in righteousness,
according to the root in which every one
grows, and the fruit they bring forth. All
the worshippers in the outward court will be
trodden down under his judgments and made
desolate. Therefore, in his name that lives
for ever, I say unto you every where, be in-
ward, haste inward into the Divine nature, in
which alone will be a safe abiding place, in
the dreadful day that comes on apace. In
his name I warn all, who have gone from the
obalience to the daily cross of Christ Jesus,
and abide not in the holy watch, and thereby
have got into a false liberty, in their ways,
words, conversations, meats, drink and appa-
rel, to return speedily, under the operation of
the spiritual circumcising knife, that all which
ofiends the Lord, and grieves his good Spirit
given to profit withal, may be effectually re-
moved, and you brought into your first fear,
awe, and holy watchfulness in the light of the
Lamb. So will the Lord be with you in the
day of the dreadful overthrow, when both the
sandy foundations, and the buildings thereon
will fall together. Therefore, in the name of
Almighty God, and in the sense of the ma-
jesty of his glorious presence ; I cry to you,
To the rock. To the rock. To the rock, so
will the Lord favour you, and compass you,
and make you sing of his praise; here is
safety, food and water, heavenly and never-

And unto you, young men, and women, and
children of the people of the Lord, I say, fear
and dread the living God, and bear the yoke
of the Lord Jesus in your youth, and love his
heavenly cross, that crosseth all your inclina-
tions to vanity and vain pleasures. Abstain
from all hurtful company, beware of your de-
sires, that go out to pleasures, meats, drinks,
and apparel, out of the fear of God ; let your
words be few and savoury, and your conver-
sation in all places be in solidity and gravity,

in the heavenly awe of the omnipresent God,
feeling afler the enjoyment of his Divine con-
solations. Read the Scriptures of Truth in
seriousness as ofl as you can, with your minds
turned to that heavenly wisdom, that will open
them unto you; so will your youth preach
forth the honour of truth, and you will be
blessed of God, and be a joy and comfort to
your tender parents. But, if you grow up in
another nature, namely, that which is evil,
that leads into vanity, God Almighty will cut
off many of you from the land of the living ;
for he can raise up seed to Abraham even of
the stones. Hear, fear and tremble before
him, who hath beheld you with an eye of jeal-
ousy ; bow before him, and let none of your
enjoyments puff you up in pride and stout*
heartedness, vanity and a loose life. God
Almighty incline your hearts, and put his
fear m your inward parts, that ye may see
beyond all terrestrial riches, glories, pleasores
and vanities, and be taken up in fervent love
and delight in the heavenly treasures and en-
joyments that never fade away, Amen, Amen.
And all you tender-hearted babes that love
the sincere milk of the word of life, keqi you
near the source of Divine con8olatk>n, and let
nothing come between it and you; so will
your growth be daily from one d^ree of
strength and stature to another in the light,
beholding the snared and temptations of the
enemy, and abiding in a living inward dili-
gence, out of the foolish virgins' state, where
through spiritual idleness, comes spiritual
slumber, to the losing the oil, and so the lamp
goes out. But abiding in a daily subjection
to the heavenly cross, in the holy watch,
growing up to the young man's state, wherein
ye become strong, and the word of God abides
in you ; and you abiding in it, overcome the
wicked one; and ye escape the high- way,
stony and thorny ground ; and so the increase
of riches, or any terrestrial enjoyment, will
not harm you, for you feed on another life,
and behold clearly another glory, even that
which is eternal and celestial ; and so grow
up into the state of fathers, eating of the tree
of life. For you see him who is from the
beginning, and in whose Almighty power is
preservation out of Jeshurun's state, walking
in wisdom, and in the valley of humility,
where Shiloh's brook runs and flows, by
whose water ye are washed, and by the holy
blood and life of the Lamb sprinkled inward-
ly, and with his holy oil anointed, and so
come within the vail, into the holy of holies,
where the glory of the Ancient of Days is be*
held on the mercy-seat of infinite loving kind-
ness. And in the enjoyment of his smiles
and Divine favour, being overcome with the
majesty of his preseuce, offer up, in the

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strength of his love, m^ht, majesty and do-
minion, to the Lord God and the Lamb, with
heavenly praises which ascend to his throne,
who is over ail, God blessed for ever and ever.
Amen, Amen.
From your tender friend and brother in the la^
hour and travail of the Gospel,

Cbaxles Marshall.
Fifth month, 1689.

A general Epistle to Friends,
Dear Friends and brethren.

Who with a high and heavenly calling have
been called out of darkness, and all the ways
and works thereof, to walk in the marvellous
light of the glorious day of God, that hath
precbusly dawned ; grace, mercy and peace
be multiplied in and amongst you.

Friends, the great Husbandman of the whole
earth, having, in the riches of his love, planted
a vineyard with the choicest vine, in a fruitful
hill, in this age of the world, which he hath
pruned, dressed, and plentifully watered, is
coming to take a view thereof, to see what
fruit it bringeth forth ; and therefore it weight-
ily concerns you to see with the light of the
Lord, how you have answered his great and
inexpressible love, which for many years hath
been abundantly extended unto you, and prize
your time whilst you have it, and. it is called
a day of mercy. Oh! have a care that you
give no room to the spirit <^ the world, that
Uinds the eye of the mind, and subjects the
afiecdoDS to things below, and raiseth up the
old love to the world again. Beware of going
out of the simplicity of the Gospel, and let
there be a tender inward care to watch against
all thoughts, that darken you, and grieve the
Spirit of the Lord, and let your words be few
and seasoned with heavenly grace. Go not out
of the exercise of the precious cross of Christ
Jesus, into any excess in meats, drinks or ap-
parel, which are superfluous, and make no
provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusfs there-
of; let not your gold or silver, lands or liv-
ings, furniture or apparel, any way ensnare
you, or entangle, or overcharge you.

For oh. Friends, the enemy of Sion*s pros-
perity hath laid deep snares in the spirit of the
world in those things, to draw out the mind
from the pure innocent life, obtained and en-
joyed through the spiritual exercise of the
cross of Christ Jesus, which crucifies us to
the world and the world unto us ; but if the
mind goes out of the fear of the Lord, and
the holy cross and heavenly watch, into a
false liberty, then you will live to the world
and the world to you ; and here is the way
that death comes over again.

Therefore, dear Friends, this is the word of
Vol. IV.— No. 6.

Truth to all the professors thereof. Abide in
the spiritual watch tower, where you will re-
ceive manifold spiritual advantages, and will
see the approaches of your souPs enemy,
when, where, how, and in what, he works;
and here you see clearly how sin is conceived
in the thoughts, and when it is finished it
brings forth death, and so you receive an un*
derstanding how sin is strengthened and how
overcome, and how it is finished and brought
to an end, and the everlasting righteousness
of Jesus Christ brought in, and how the know-
ledge of God increases and comes to cover
the earth, as the waters cover the sea, and so
shall your peace flow as a river. And, dear
Friends, keep the unity of the Spirit in the
bond of peace, and grow up in it, for whilst
the churches kept in the purity, they were in
the greatest unity ; here they were with one
accord, and great grace was upon them, under
the dominion and beauty of the glorious power
of the Lord ; for Sion is a city at unity with
itself, and the body edifies itself with love.
But when the enemy prevailed to draw out of
the love of Christ Jesus, where all the mem-
bers that hold the Head are knit together as
with joints and bands, then other fruits ap-
peared. Now, dear Friends, as the pure unity
of the churches is in the Spirit, where all have
unity with God, who is a Spirit, and with one
another in his Spirit, which is increased as all
grow up in the nature of Christ Jesus, who is
meek and lowly, so here all are preserved in
the dominion of the edifying love of God, and
in unity one with another, let there be ever so
many thousands; but when the enemy pre-
vailed to draw out of the quickening Spirit of
the second Adam, and out of his nature^
wherein all can follow his blessed example in
washing one another's feet, and led into an-
other spirit and wisdom which is from beneath,
therein arose those bitter fruits mentioned in
the Scriptures of Truth.

Therefore, dear Friends, everywhere, keep
in the name and pure fear of the Most High,
and grow up in the sWeet nature and wisdom
of the Ancient of Days, and watch against the
least appearance of that which would break
your unity ; and if any thing of this nature
hath broken in anywhere, in the name of the
Lord God let it be driven out of the camp, it
being one of the greatest enemies of Sion's

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 37 of 104)