Stephen Crisp

The Christian Experiences Gospel Labours and Writngs of that Ancient Servant of Christ, Stephen Crisp. Philadelphia: Benjamin and Thomas Kite, 1822, pages 310-312.

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Amsterdam, this 19th of the Fifth Month, 1680.

Dear Friends,

In the fellowship of that life that was before death was, do I dearly salute you, praying to the God and Father of life, that ye may livingly be made sensible of the increase of his power, grace, and virtue, from day to day, that as your trials and tribulations abound, you may really feel that seed in yourselves for whose sake the trials and persecutions come; for it was, and is the seed-birth of life that was and is persecuted and afflicted in all ages, as the apostle said, Against thy holy child Jesus have they done all these things. for you know, my Friends, that before his birth in some measure did appear, you were at peace with the world,and the world with you, but when ye were turned from darkness to light, then the dark power began to work against you, and doth still work , and will work so long as its hour lasteth; and what is the work thereof? Is is not to draw or drive you again to darkness, from the light to falsehood, to hypocrisy from truth, to death from life, all which in the light of life you comprehend and discern; and by the operation of that love to God which he hath shed into your hearts by the spirit of his son, you are upholden and preserved in your testimony unto this day, and by the faith which God hath given you, you have the evidence of things you do not yet see, and do enjoy the substance of the things you hope for, even immortality and eternal life, the first fruits whereof as an earnest are revealed by his spirit to your inward parts; and by this faith it is that we know God will put the Seed's enemies under his feet, both inward and outward, according to his promise; but, Friends, it is not the part of him that is a true believe to make haste, but to leave the times, seasons, ways and means to the Lord alone, whose will is to be done in earth as in heaven, and shall be done, in spite of all his enemies. Therefore, dear Friends, stand given up in the will of your God, who hath chosen and called you, to make known his name and power in you, and to let all his enemies know that he is able to support his children in the greatest exercise, by which his name in due time by others shall be acknowledged, as it is among you this day; for whose sake others have formerly suffered and laboured.

And, dear Friend, keep you eye to the power of God, to which all things are possible, and look not too much upon the power of death and darkness, for if you do, you will be captivated in the natural sense, and so will be weakened; but being diligently waiting upon God in the light of his Son, in whom he hath appeared to you, you will be so confirmed in the faith of his power, that you will be able to believe beyond what your natural sense can comprehend; and then feel you the life of the true Christians in all ages of Christendom, in which they have overcome and trampled upon all manner of sufferings, and even death itself.

For alas, my Friends, what is this life? What is this breath? What is this time that we have here on earth but something given us of God wherewith he hath ordained that we should glorify him? And if we love this life, and the things of it so much as not to part with it and them for his name's sake, then are we unworthy of him; but, my Friends, you have seen how the Lord your god hath dealt graciously with you, and hath not in a long time of suffering permitted the fierce waves to devour you, but that both you and your testimony are kept alive unto this day by a secret divine power, and it shall live and outlive your adversaries; therefore be of good courage, the cause in which you are engaged is the Lord Jehovah's, who will arise fro his name's sake in his own time, way nand manner, so you need not to take care how worm Jacob shall arise; your care is only to be faithful to what God hath made manifest to you, and to keep your consciences free, though you shall be bound, that your witness may live, though you should die; the Lord knowns how to raise his seed, a nd to support his servants.

And, my friends, this I must say unto you, that since I came hither I have been truly refreshed in the account I have had out of your letters, and my heart is drawn forth in tender love to you; and were my body able to sustain travelling as it hath been, I should, I believe, come to see your faces; but I am much decayed in body, howbeit my spirit is at liberty, through the grace I have received of God, in which I both rejoice and suffer with the flock and heritage of God everywhere.

And this, my dear Friend, I lay upon you in the name of the Lord, even the same that our Lord hath laid upon us all, to wit, that ye love one anther with sincere love, and that ye be of one mind, in all humility, bearing each others burdens, and washing each other's feet, when need requires, and be a strength one to another according to the ability which God hath given you, that so none may be lost by means of anyone's laying a stumbling-block in their way; but if any will wilfully turn back, and cause the offence of the cross to cease, for the sake whereof you suffer tribulation, their condemnation may be wholly upon their own heads, and you may be kept perfectly clear of their blood. so the God of peace and mercy be with you, and multiply his blessing upon you, and shine into all your souls, in the glorious manifestation of his presence, to your joy and comfort, amen.

Your Friend and brother in the tribulation and patience of Christ, the head of the true body, which is his church,

Stephen Crisp