Evans, William and Evans, Thomas, eds. Friends' Library. Philadelphia: Joseph Rakestraw, 1838,
Vol II, pages 55-56.
This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.
In all your meetings together to do service for the Lord, his truth, and people, and to see that
good order be kept in the churches of Christ, wait diligently to be endowed with power and
wisdom from above, which is pure, and peaceable; that by the same you may be guided to judge
of and determine all that you have committed to your trust and charge, whether in things spiritual
or temporal. Thus good order the blessed unity and fellowship that stands in the one spirit, may be
preserved amongst you, and every one may have right done them, and true judgment in the power
and wisdom of God may be set upon the head of that which is unruly, stubborn and rebellious. For
take notice, that every one who professeth to be a member of the body, or of the meeting, where
things are to be done in unity, according to order, and settled and agreed to by the ancient and
elder brethren of the church of Christ; every such an one ought to be subject and condescending
one unto another, in things which are already settled and established as to church order; and not
any one to say in this or the other, I would be left to my freedom and liberty.
Let all seriously consider, that if every one of you when met together, should be of this mind,
would not this tend to lay aside and break all order, rule and fellowship, as it is already settled
according to truth, in our men and women's meetings, as seen meet in the wisdom of God? Yes,
surely it would. Wherefore I cannot but say unto you, for the clearing of my spirit, that care be
taken to keep up the good order settled in the church; notwithstanding some in their particular
judgment be against it. I speak in tenderness, for the good and preservation of all who love good
order and unity with the people of God, beware every one of reasoning above the simplicity of the
truth; for the apostle warned to take heed that you be not betrayed from the simplicity that is in
Christ, as the serpent beguiled Eve.
Dear brethren and sisters, be ye all careful to keep low and near the Lord, and then you will be
kept near and dear one unto another; and the Fountain of life, and Divine wisdom will be opened
unto you, and the streams thereof will run plentifully among you; which will make all your
meetings and undertakings sweet and comfortable, in the wisdom and power of God; and in the
heavenly fellowship of his spirit, all the disorderly, unsubjected, and unruly will be judged and cast
out from among you.
Wherefore, dear Friends, keep close together, as a body fitly framed together in unity, for we need
not to want anything amongst ourselves, that may tend to strengthen us against the enemy within,
or his instruments without; for he is strong and subtle, and they are many, all seeking to devour
and break us asunder, which all the powers of hell and death shall never be able to do, as our care
is to keep close together. Let your continued care and mine be, that nothing upon any account
may be given way to, that may tend to do any hurt, or make any breach amongst ourselves; but as
the Lord hath honoured us with his truth, above many, to his praise and glory, and our comfort,
be it spoken, he hath preserved us in unity, and sweet communion together for many years. Oh!
that we may still be concerned as one man, of one heart and mind, to continue and persevere unto
the end, in that in which we have begun and thus far are preserve living to god, zealous for his
name truth, and glory; and through our careful settling, and steadfast abiding upon the rock and
living root that bears us, we may bring forth fruit more abundantly, through the fresh springs of
life, which will spring afresh into us and through Him, who is the fountain of all our mercies,
blessings, favours, and preservations; that living praises in our hearts and mouths in our
assemblies may arise to the Lord, in a sense of life, being broken and tendered before him, to
bless, praise, and magnify his holy and honourable name, for our preservation in his truth, near to
himself, and in love and unity one with another; which is the travail and living concern and prayer
of your brother, that yo may be so kept and preserved for ever, unto the end, Amen.
Known to you by the name of
From my prison-house, in Carlisle, in Cumberland, the 29th of the Third Month, 1684.