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A General Epistle To Friends

By Margaret Fell


      A General Epistle To Friends, 1655

      Friends, whom the Lord God hath called unto the light which is eternal, which the Lord God has sent, to bring His seed out of bondage, and out of the house of darkness, from under Pharaoh, and his task-masters, which has so long been held under the dark power and mystery of iniquity. The Lord God of life and power hath visited you, and sent His servants to awaken you, and to raise you from the dead, that Christ might give you life, who is now come and coming to redeem Israel, and to divide the Red Sea, and to overturn Pharaoh and his host. Stand, still (I say unto you) and see the salvation of God, and in the fear of the living God wait low in your own measure of grace, and harken diligently unto that, that your souls may live. And this you must do, if ever you witness the living God; so in the name and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, at whose name every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, beware how you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which perisheth; it is the diligent hand that maketh rich, but the idle, slothful and negligent, suffer want. and beware of going from you Guide, which keepeth you low and tender, and prize the love of God that ever He should visit you; and beware that you do not requite Him evil for good, for He is a jealous God, and will not clear the guilty; it is the low, and the meek, and the humble that the Lord God teacheth, it is the broken and contrite spirit, that God will not despise. And He, who is the high and lofty one, that inhabiteth eternity, dwelleth in the hearts of the humble.

      But all who are got up in their imaginations, the Lord God will scatter, and the proud, the high, and the lofty, the Lord doth resist; and tis you shall witness, the Lord feeds the hungry, but the rich is sent empty away. And they who thirst and breathe after righteousness, such the Lord satisfieth. So read, and with the eternal light examine and search, and try what it is that you thirst after; whether it be righteousness, purity and holiness, for these will the Lord satisfy; and whoever is not thus seeking, shall never receive satisfaction form the Lord God; but wrath, and terror, and horror, shall fall upon that which is contrary to this. So, as you love your eternal peace, and the redemption of your souls, keep low in your measure of the living testimony which cometh from the living God, which is one in all, in its measure one; there is no division, no rent, but all one. And this gathers your hearts together, and this knits and united unto the body, where the unity is; and who gathers not here, scatters abroad and he that is not with us here, is against us. So examine, and try whether you are gathering now or scattering abroad, with the Light which is eternal, which is one in all. Examine and try your own selves, I charge you, as you will answer it before the Lord God; come down and stoop to the yoke of Christ, which is easy, and take His yoke upon you, and His burden, which is light; and beware of starting from under the yoke of obedience, or pulling away the shoulder; for the God required not only sacrifice, but obedience, which is better, And the mind that looks outward, from the measure enjoyed, and joins to anything without, contrary to the freedom of the spirit within, that mind is for judgment. The eternal spirit of God is one in all, and that which divides one from another, is for judgment, for where division is, that is of the kingdom that cannot stand. So read where you are, for it you are in that which is divided, you cannot stand. So in love and tenderness to your souls, I warn and charge you from the Lord, keep in the light, which is one, and in the power, which is one, and in the measure of life made manifest in you, which is one. and here is no division, nor separation, but a gathering and a knitting. And if you love the light, then you come to the light to be proved, and tried whether your works be wrought in God. But that which hates the light, turns from the light, and that shall be condemned by the light forever. And though you may turn from the light, where the unity is, and you may turn fro the eternal truth; but from the witness of God in your consciences, (which he hath places in you, which beareth witness for the living God,) you can never fly; that shall pursue you wherever you go. And they who turn out from the light, their resurrection is condemnation, and on the left hand they are put among the goats, and shall have their portion with hypocrites and unbelievers; and this shall be witnessed forever.

      And this I was moved of the Lord, to write to you, in love and tenderness to the measure of God in you, with which I have unity, which will witness for me forever; and this is in love to your souls. So the Lord God of life and power keep you alive in that, which He hath placed in you, to His everlasting glory: for a sweet savour we are unto God, both in them that are saved, and in them that perish. And beware how you draw back from the everlasting truth, which the Lord God hath tendered to you, which you shall eternally witness to be of God: for he that draweth back, my soul hath no pleasure in him, saith God. That which we have heard, and have seen, and felt, and our hands have handled, even the word of life which hath been declared unto you.

      From one who desires the good of all souls.

      Margaret Fell.

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