George Fox: An exhortation to Friends in the Ministry

Note from G. Amoss

The following exhortation is made available here in conjunction with a series of blog posts on "That of God" at The Postmodern Quaker blog. As always with Fox's writings, biblical references, often eschatological/apocalyptic, are implicit in almost every phrase; a few are discussed in the blog posts. The source for this document is George Fox, Works, Vol. 1, 1831 edition, pp. 287-289.


Friends,

In the power of life and wisdom, and dread of the Lord God of life, and heaven and earth, dwell; that in the wisdom of God over all ye may be preserved, and be a terror to all the adversaries of God, and a dread, answering that of God in them all, spreading the truth abroad, awakening the witness, confounding the deceit, gathering up out of transgression into the life, the covenant of light and peace with God. Let all nations hear the sound by word or writing. Spare no place, spare no tongue, nor pen; but be obedient to the Lord God: go through the work; be valiant for the truth upon earth; tread and trample upon all that is contrary. Ye have the power, do not abuse it; and strength and presence of the Lord; eye it, and the wisdom; that with it you may all be ordered to the glory of the Lord God. Keep in the dominion; keep in the power over all deceit; tread over them in that which lets you see to the world's end, and the utmost parts of the earth. Reign and rule with Christ, whose sceptre and throne are now set up, whose dominion is over all to the ends of the earth; whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, his throne an everlasting throne, his kingdom an everlasting kingdom, his power above all powers. Therefore this is the word of the Lord to you all, " Keep in the wisdom of God," that spreads over all the earth; the wisdom of the creation, that is pure from above, not destructive. For now shall salvation go out of Zion, to judge the mount of Esau; now shall the law go forth from Jerusalem, to answer the principle of God in all; to hew down all inventors and inventions. For all the princes of the earth are but as air to the power of the Lord God, which you are in, and have tasted of; therefore live in it, that is the word of the Lord God to you all; do not abuse it; keep down and low; and take heed of false joys, that will change.

Bring all into the worship of God. Plough up the fallow ground. Thresh and get out the corn; that the seed, the wheat, may be gathered into the barn: that to the beginning all people may come; to Christ, who was before the world was made. For the chaff is come upon the wheat by transgression. He that treads it out is out of transgression, fathoms transgression, puts a difference between the precious and the vile, can pick out the wheat from the tares, and gather into the garner; so brings to the lively hope the immortal soul, into God out of which it came. None worship God but who come to the principle of God, which they have transgressed. None are ploughed up but he who comes to the principle of God in him, that he hath transgressed. Then he doth service to God; then is the planting, watering, and increase from God. So the ministers of the spirit must minister to the spirit that is in prison, which hath been in captivity in every one; that with the spirit of Christ people may be led out of captivity up to God, the Father of spirits, to serve him, and have unity with him, with the scriptures, and one with another. This is the word of the Lord God to you all, a charge to you all in the presence of the living God; be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come; that your life and conduct may preach among all sorts of people, and to them. Then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one; whereby in them ye may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them to bless you: then to the Lord God you shall be a sweet savour, and a blessing.

Spare no deceit. Lay the sword upon it; go over it. Keep yourselves clear of the blood of all men, either by word or writing, and keep yourselves clean, that you may stand in your throne, and every one have his lot and stand in the lot in the ancient of days. The blessing of the Lord be with you, and keep you over all the idolatrous worships and worshippers. Let them know the living God; for teachings, churches, worships must be thrown down with the power of the Lord God, set up by man's earthly understanding, knowledge, and will. All this must be thrown down with that which gave forth the scripture; and who are in that, reign over it all. That is the word of the Lord God to you all. In that is God worshipped, that brings to declare his will, and brings to the church in God, the ground and pillar of truth: for now is the mighty day of the Lord appeared, and the arrows of the Almighty gone forth; which shall stick in the hearts of the wicked. Now will I arise, saith the Lord God Almighty, to trample and thunder down deceit, which hath long reigned and stained the earth. Now will I have my glory out of every one. The Lord God Almighty over all in his strength and power keep you to his glory, that you may come to answer that of God in every one in the world. Proclaim the mighty day of the Lord of fire and sword, who will be worshipped in spirit and in truth; and keep in the life and power of the Lord God, that the inhabitants of the earth may tremble before you: that God's power and majesty may be admired among hypocrites and heathen, and ye in the wisdom, dread, life, terror, and dominion preserved to his glory; that nothing may rule or reign but power and life itself, and in the wisdom of Ged ye may be preserved in it. This is the word of the Lord God to you all. The call is now out of transgression, the spirit bids, come. The call is now from all false worships and gods, from all inventions and dead works, to serve the living God. The call is to repentance, to amendment of life, whereby righteousness may be brought forth, which shall go throughout the earth. Therefore ye that be chosen and faithful, who are with the Lamb, go through your work faithfully in the strength and power of the Lord, and be obedient to the power; for that will save you out of the hands of unreasonable men, and preserve you over the world to himself. Hereby you may live in the kingdom that stands in power, which hath no end; where glory and life is.'


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