Chapter One

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My Dear Children:

1. Not knowing how long it may please God to continue me amongst you, I am willing to embrace this opportunity of leaving you my advice and counsel with respect to your Christian and civil capacity and duty in this world. And I both beseech you and charge you, by the relation you have to me, and the affection I have always shown to you, and indeed received from you, that you lay up the same in your hearts, as well as your heads, with a wise and religious care.

2. I will begin with that which is the beginning of all true wisdom and happiness - the holy fear of God.

Children, Fear God; that is to say, have an holy awe upon your minds to avoid that which is evil, and a strict care to embrace and do that which is good. The measure and standard of which knowledge and duty is the light of Christ in your consciences, by which, as in John 3: 2O, 21, you may clearly see if your deeds - aye, and your words and thoughts, too, are wrought in God or not; (for they are the deeds of the mind, and for which you must be judged); I say, with this divine light of Christ in your consciences, you may bring your thoughts, words, and works to judgment in yourselves, and have a right, true, sound, and unerring sense of your duty towards God and man. And as you come to obey this blessed light in its holy convictions, it will lead you out of the world's dark and degenerate ways and works, and bring you unto Christ's way and life, and to be of the number of his true, self-denying followers, to take up your cross for his sake, that bore his for yours, and to become the children of the Light, putting it on as your Holy armor, by which you may see and resist the fiery darts of Satan's temptations, and overcome him in all his assaults.

3. I would a little explain this principle to you: It is called Light (John 1: 9; 3: 19, 20, 21, and 8:12; Ephes. 5. 8, 13, 14; 1 Thess. 5: 5; 1 Epistle of John 1: 5, 6, 7 ; Rev, 21: 23) because it gives man a sight of his sin; and it is also called the Quickening Spirit, for so he is called; and the Lord from heaven (as 1 Cor. 15: 45, 57) who is called and calls himself the Light of the world (John 8: 12); and why is he called the Spirit? Because He gives man spiritual life. And (John 16: 8) Christ promised to send his spirit to convince the world of their sins. Wherefore, that which convinces you and all people of their sins is the spirit of Christ: This is highly prized (Rom. 8), as you may read in that great and sweet chapter, for the children of God are led by it. This reveals the things of God that appertain to man's salvation and happiness (1 Cor. 2: 10, 11, 12). It is the earnest God gives His people (2 Cor. 5: 5). It is the great end, and benefit, and blessing of the coming of Christ, viz.: The shining forth of this Light, and pouring forth of this Spirit. Yea Christ is not received by them that resist his light and spirit in their hearts; nor can they have the benefit of his birth, life, death, resurrection, intercession, etc.., who rebel against the Light. God sent his Son to bless us, in turning us from the evil of our ways: Therefore have a care of evil, for that turns you away from God; and wherein you have done evil, do so no more: But be ye turned, my dear children, from that evil in thought, as well as in word or deed, or that will turn you from God your Creator, and Christ whom he has given you for your redeemer; who redeems and saves his people from their sins (Tit. 2: 14), not in their sins; read Acts 2 and Heb. 8, and the Christian dispensation will appear to be that of the spirit, which sin quencheth, hardens the heart against, and bolts the door upon. This holy, divine principle is called grace, too (1 Tim.2:11,12); there you will see the nature and office of it, and its blessed effects upon those that were taught of it in the primitive days. And why Grace? Because it is God's love, and not our desert, his good will, his kindness, For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3: 16). And it is this holy Son, that in John 1:14, 16, is declared to be full of grace and truth, and that of his grace we receive grace for grace; that is, we receive of him the fullness, what measure of grace we need. And the Lord told Paul in his great trials, when ready to stagger about the sufficiency of the grace he had received to deliver him: My grace is sufficient for thee (2 Cor. 12: 9). Oh, children! love the grace, hearken to this grace; it will teach you, it will sanctify you, it will lead you to the rest and kingdom of God; as it taught the saints of old, first, what to deny, viz.: To deny ungodliness and worldly lusts; and then what to do, viz.: To live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Tit. 2: 11, 12 ). And he that is full of grace is full of light; and he that is full of light is the quickening spirit that gives a manifestation of his spirit to every one to profit with (1 Cor. 12: 7). And he that is the quickening spirit is the truth. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, said he to his poor followers (John 14: 6); and if the truth make you free, said he to the Jews, then are you free indeed (John 8: 32, 36). And this truth sheds abroad itself in man, and begets truth in the inward parts, and makes false, rebellious, hypocritical man a true man to God again. Truth in the inward parts is of great price with the Lord. And why called Truth? Because it tells man the truth of his spiritual state; it shows him this state, deals plainly with him, and sets his sins in order before him. So that, my dear children, the light, spirit, grace, and truth are not divers principles, but divers words or denominations given to one eternal power and heavenly principle in you, though not of you, but of God, according to the manifestationor operation thereof in the servants of God of old time: Light, to discover and give discerning; Spirit, to quicken and enliven; Grace, to wit: the love of God; Truth, because it tells man the truth of his condition, and redeems him from the errors of his ways; so that as darkness, death, sin, and error are the same, light, spirit, grace, and truth are the same.

4. This is that which is come by Christ; and a measure of this light, spirit, grace, and truth is given to every man and woman to see their way to go by. This is that which distinguishes Friends from all other societies, as they are found walking in the same, which leads out of vain honors, compliments ments, lusts, and pleasures of the world.

O, my dear children! this is the pearl of price; part with all for it, but never part with it for all the world. This is the gospel leaven to leaven you; that is, sanctify and season you in body, soul, and spirit, to God your heavenly Father's use and service, and your own lasting comfort. Yea, this is the divine incorruptible seed of the kingdom, of which all truly regenerate men,and women, Christians of Christ's making are born.

Receive it into your hearts, give it room there, let it take deep root in you, and you will be fruitful unto God in every good word and work. As you take heed to it, and the holy enlightenings and motions of it, you will have a perfect discerning of the spirit of this world in all its appearances in yourselves and others; the motions, temptations, and workings of it, as to pride, vanity, covetousness, revenge, uncleanness, hypocrisy, and every evil way; you will see the world in all its shapes and features, and you will be able to judge the world by it, and the spirit of the world in all its appearance; you will see, as I have done, that there is much to deny, much to suffer, and much to do; and you will see that there is no power or virtue but in the light, spirit, grace, an truth of Christ, to carry you through the world to God's glory and your everlasting peace. Yea, you will see what religion is from above, and what is from below; what that is of God's working, and of man's making and forcing; also, what ministry is of his spirit and giving, and what of man's studying, framing, and imposing.

You will, I say, discern the rise, nature, tokens, and fruits of the true from the false ministry, and what worship is spiritual, and what carnal; and what honor is of God, and what that honor is which is from below of men, yea, fallen men that the Jews and the world so generally love, and which is spoken against in John 5:44; you will see the vain and evil communication that corrupts good manners; the snares of much company and business, and especially the danger of the friendship of this present evil world. And you will also see, that the testimony the eternal God hath brought our poor Friends unto, as to religion, worship, truth speaking, ministry, plainness, simplicity and moderation in apparel, furniture, food, salutation, as you may read in their writings, from the very beginning, is a true and heavenly testimony of his mind, will, work:, and dispensation in this last age of the world to mankind, being the revival of true, primitive Christianity: Where your most tender father prays, that you may be kept, and charges you to watch, that you may be preserved in the faith and practice of that blessed testimony, and count it no small mercy from God, nor honor to you, that you come of parents that counted nothing too dear or near to part with, nor too great to do or suffer, that they might approve themselves to God, and testify their love to his most precious truth in the inward parts, in their generation. And I do also charge you, my dear children, to retain in your remembrance those worthy ancients in the work of Christ which remained alive to your day and memory, and yet remain to your knowledge; more especially that man of God and Prince in Israel, the first born and begotten of our day and age of truth, and the first and the great early instrument of God among us, George Fox. And what you have heard, seen, and observed of those Heavenly worthies, their holy wisdom, zeal, love, labors and sufferings, and particular tenderness to you, treasure up for your children after you, and tell them what you have heard, seen, and known of the servants and work of God, and progress thereof as an holy, exemplary, and edifying tradition unto them. And be sure that you forsake not the assembling yourselves with God's people, as the - manner of some was (Heb.10: 25) and is at this day, especially among young people the children of some Friends, whom the love of this present evil world hath hurt and cooled in their love to God and his truth. But do you keep close to meetings, both for worship and business of the church, when of an age and capacity proper for it, and that not out of novelty, formality, or to be seen of men, but in pure fear, love, and conscience to God your creator, as the public, just, and avowed testimony of your duty and homage to him, in which be exemplary, both by timely coming and a reverent and serious deportment during the assembly, in which be not weary, or think the time long till it be over, as some did of the Sabbaths of old time; but let your eye be to him you come to wait upon and serve, and do what you do as to him, and he will be your refreshment and reward; for you shall return with the seals and pledges of his love, mercy, and blessings.

5. Above all things, my dear children, as to your communion and fellowship with Friends, be careful to keep the unity of the faith in the bond of peace. Have a care of reflectors, detractors, backbiters, that undervalue and undermine brethren behind their backs, or slight the good and wholesome order of truth for the preserving things quiet, sweet, and honorable in the church. Have a care of novelties, and airy, changeable people, the conceited, censorious, and puffed up, who at last have always shown themselves to be clouds without rain, and wells without water, that will rather disturb and break the peace and fellowship of the church where they dwell than not have their wills and way take place. I charge you, in the fear of the living God, that you carefully beware of all such; mark them, as the apostle says (Rom. 16:17), and have no fellowship with them, but to advise, exhort, entreat, and finally reprove them (Ephes. 5:11); for God is and will be with his people in this holy dispensation we are now under, and which is now amongst us unto the end of days: It shall grow and increase in gifts, graces, power, and lustre, for it is the last and unchangeable one: And blessed are your eyes, if they see it, and your ears, if they hear it, and your hearts, if they understand it, which I pray that you may, to God's glory and your eternal comfort.

6. Having thus expressed myself to you, my dear children, as to the thing' of God, his truth and Kingdom, I refer you to his light, grace, spirit, and truth within you, and the holy scriptures of truth without you, which from my youth I loved to read, and were ever blessed to me, and which I charge you to read daily; the Old Testament for history chiefly; the Psalms for meditation and devotion; the Prophets for comfort and hope; but especially the New Testament for doctrine, faith, and worship; For they were given forth by holy men of God in divers ages, as they were moved of the Holy Spirit, and are the declared and revealed mind and will of the holy God to mankind under divers dispensations, and they are certainly able to make the man of God perfect, through faith unto salvation; being, such a true and clear testimony to the salvation that is of God, through Christ - the second Adam, the light of the world, the quickening spirit, who is full of grace and truth, whose light, grace, spirit, and truth bear witness to them in every sensible soul, as they frequently, plainly and solemnly bear testimony to the light, spirit, grace, and truth both in himself and in and to his people, to their sanctification, justification, redemption, and consolation, and in all men to their visitation, reproof, and conviction in their evil ways: I say, having thus expressed myself in general refer you, my dear children, to the light and spirit of Jesus, that is within you, and to the scriptures of truth without you, and such other testimonies to the one same eternal truth as have been borne in our day, and shall now descend to particulars, that you may more directly apply what I have said in general, both as to your religious and civil direction in your pilgrimage upon earth.