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An Epistle to Convinced Friends

By Margaret Fell


      An Epistle To Convinced Friends, In 1656.

      Dear Friends, brethren and sisters in the eternal light, by which we are gathered, which is or teacher and leader: which light cometh from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Captain of our salvation, in whom is life, and this life is the light of men; who has laid down His life for sheep, and who gives unto His sheep eternal life; and this life is in His Son: your righteousness is of me, saith the Lord; and this is the heritage of the saints: this you are made partakers of, who walk in the light, and dwell in the light, you shall have the light of life, and come to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, who is come a light into the world: he that believes in Him, shall not walk in darkness, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. And this is the Father's free love, to send His only begotten Son into the world, who is hated and rejected of men, but chosen of God and precious, who is become the head of our corner: glory eternal be to the living God. On Him are we built, in Him are we rooted and grounded: He is our foundation and root, we His offspring, on whom we stand fast, unmovable. This is the corner stone, which all the builders refuse and disallow; but on this rock is the whole church built, which is made of living stones, elect and precious, the spiritual temple, whose maker and builder is God. And now we having an high priest over the household of God, let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Wherefore return to the shepherd of your souls, an unchangeable priest which is made with an oath forever, after the order of Melchisedeck, who is made surety of a better testament, who needeth not daily to offer sacrifice, but He hath offered one sacrifice, and forever is set down at the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting until his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified; and of this the Holy Ghost is a witness to us in the fulfilling of the everlasting promise of the Lord God, who hath said, I will put my laws in their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.

      Now, dear brethren, of this bear witness, and of the truth and faithfulness of the Lord God, you may set to your seals, all who abide in the light, and depart from iniquity, who name this name, which is better than other names: to which every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess. And now that ye are made partakers of a living, pure, eternal, immortal principle, which came from the living God, by which you may enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus, by this new and living way,which He hath consecrated for us through the veil (that is to say), His flesh; therefore hold fast the profession of your faith without wavering, for faithful is He that hath promised; and in the straight and narrow way leads to life pass on, that through the straight gate you may enter, which few there be that find. Oh! in the eternal light (which is one in all) which leads up to the Father of light; and in the measure of light received from the Father and the fountain of light and life, all wait, and dwell; and to the life raised by the immortal Word of life, join you minds; and pass from death to life, that so you may come to know and witness the true love that is to the brethren, where unity is; whereby you all may know that your are true disciples; in that you love one another; and here you fulfil the whole law, and keep the new commandment, which your Lord and Master has commanded.

      Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, consider what ye are called to, and what ye are made to partake of of,even of a living, and pure and holy priesthood, a peculiar people ye are, and of the holy nation, and of the Royal Seed. Now with the light which is eternal, which searches, ties, examines, weighs, and makes all things manifest of what sort are are; let it search and try you, how you grow up in the eternal and immortal birth, and do not deceive you souls: For except you be born again, of water and of the spirit, ye cannot enter. Now see whether ye can read this in the light; and whether ye know, and see, and witness this is your own particulars; yea or nay; and see whether you are not like Nicodemus, who said, How can these things be? and whether ye re not ignorant of this.

      Therefore come down to the witness of God, and deal plainly with your own souls; and let the judge which stands at the door, pass sentence upon you. Let the time past suffice, that you have hid the talent in the earth, which you have received from the Lord to profit withal. And let the earth give up her dead, and the sea give up her dead, and hell give up her dead, and let all come to judgment; and let death and hell be cst into the lake; and freely give up that which is for the sword to the sword; and that which is for the fire, to the fire; so those wo are dead in sin, may arise. For what avails it else, for you to take the profession and form of the living truth? For if the dead rise not, ye are yet in your sins, and your faith is in vain. Therefore see what your are doing: for it is not the sayer, but he that doeth the will of my Father; and many shall be called and few chosen. Now see with the light which is eternal, that ye are not only of the many which are called, but of the few which are chosen; and give all diligence not to make only your calling, but your election sure. And Friends, your day of calling is come; ye are called out of the world, and separated form the world, by the call of the living God: the light calls out of Sodom and Egypt, where the many are, Therefor do not deceive yourselves, for ye are some of the many that are called; and ye are make partakers of that which calls continually, the voice behind, which cries, This is the way, walk in it; why will ye die? Now consider, how you hearken to this holy call, how you are obedient to it how you are subject, and how you are taught and guided, by the measure of God's spirit; for all the children of the Lord are taught of the Lord, and in righteousness are they established. Now search with the light, which is eternal, whether ye are established in righteousness and purity; if ye are not, then mind the teaching of the Lord, for he that walks in the light, as he is in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin. Now examine whether ye are cleansed, whether ye are purged, whether ye are washed; for if ye walk in the light, then ye witness cleansing and washing.

      Beware of betraying the just and the innocent in your (I warn and charge you, as you will answer it to the Lord) with a form and profession of the truth. without the life, and so betray your own souls; but to the pure eternal principle of the Lord God turn, and keep your minds unto this, which is given unto you, for the redeeming and ransoming of your souls form the captivity and bondage of sin and corruption; and hearken diligently to that of God that your souls may live; and that you may see your Saviour, who saves His people from their sins, and so witness the salvation of your souls. Ye are made partakers of the free grace of God, which brings salvation; so let it be your teacher and leader. And beware of turning this grace into wantonness, which is able to save your souls; but receive with meekness the ingrafted Word, that the milk thereof ye may witness, and as new-born babes, desire that you may grown thereby; and so the Word that is nigh, in the heart, which is the Word of faith which we preach; which Word was in the beginning (by which the h eaven and earth were made), which we have heard, which we have seen, which our hands have handles, this we declare unto you. And to the measure of this in you, am I made manifest; and my joy and life is, that you would take heed to your own measures received, and be true and faithful to that which is able to save your souls; that eternal pure redemption ye may come to witness, and the unity of the faith, etc., and so joining to the body, which holdeth the head, from which the living virtue is received, you may grow us as lively plants in the garden of God, which He is dressing, watering, and pruning, that to Him fruit may be brought forth, who is the Lord of the vineyard, and the husbandman, who pruneth every plant that beareth fruit, that it may bring forth more fruit; and every branch that beareth not fruit, He taketh way. Now see with the eternal light, whether you bring forth fruit unto God; for every tree is known by its fruit; and every branch, which the Lord planteth, brings forth fruit (not only leaves, but fruit.) Now search, whether you bring forth fruit or leaves; for that tree, that is in the garden, and brings forth nothing but leaves, is to be cut down.

      Friends, deal plainly with yourselves, and let the eternal light search you, and try you, for the good of your souls; for this will deal plainly with you; it will rip you up, lay you open, and make all manifest that lodgeth in you; the secret subtilty of the enemy of your souls, this eternal searcher and tryer will make manifest. Therefore all come to this, and be searched, judged, lead and guided; for to this you must stand or fall; and if you turn from this, it is a swift witness against the adulterer and the sorcerer, and from it you cannot flee; in this I have cleared my conscience; for the good of your souls I have written who desires that you all might be where I am, that so we might all be one. An dso the Lord God of life and power keep you in his fear, that the Lord God you may serve and honour; that your hearts may be kept clean, and the secrets of the Lord ye may come to know, which none shall ever know, but those that fear Him; and this ye shall eternally witness. And therefore I say again, fear the Lord God, that so the pure wisdom ye may come to learn; for dreadful and terrible is the Lord God; and the day of the vengeance of our God is come, in which He renders to every one according to his deeds; the backslider, the revolter, the disobedient ones, the careless, the slothful, and those whose minds are at liberty, and will not abide in the cross of Christ; all these shall receive according to their deeds.

      Therefore, dear Friends, abide in the cross, and keep your minds to that which is pure; so that you may come to witness the enmity slain, the handwriting of ordinances blotted out, and nailed to the cross, and you crucified to the world,a nd the world to you; and consider one another, and provoke one another ot love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of yourselves, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as you see the day approaching. And dwell in love and unity, in the pure eternal light; there is your fellowship, there is your cleansing and washing. And here is the mystery to all the disobedient ones. And the everlasting God, of light, life and power, keep you all faithful to your own measure; that so the resurrection and the life ye may witness, and the living bread ye may feed on, which, whosoever eateth of, shall never die. So God Almighty be with you, and preserve you all faithful in Christ Jesus.

      From your dear sister in the unchangeable love of Christ, who desires the good of all your souls.

      Margaret Fell.

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