Returning to the Source

My dear friend, never follow a bad example, but keep following a good one; whoever does what is right is from God, but no one who does what is wrong has ever seen God. – 3 John: 11

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Once again, we are pointed toward the Source and reminded of our need to walk it that Light.

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Listen to Elizabeth Bathurst:

  • Thus having written my Experience of the Quakers Principle, I shall write something to detect the erroneous and false Opinion, that is got up in the Minds of many, concerning the Way and Means by which People come to believe therein.
  • But since I find it was more by Education and Tradition, than any certain Evidence I could have of the Truth of that Religion, I find myself obliged to detect those Errors in publick, which I have heard, divers of them, cast upon the People called Quakers in private, charitably judging they speak not so much against them out of Ill-will, as Ignorance of, and Unacquaintance with.
  • For if a Man abide not in me (saith Christ) he is cast forth as a Branch, and is withered, John xv. 6. and in Vers. 10. he tells them, If ye keep my Commandments, ye shall abide in my Love, even as I have kept my Father’s Commandments, and abide in his Love. Thereby signifying, that if we keep not his Commandments, neither shall we abide in his Love; so then if we abide not in that which keeps us in the Love of God, we cannot abide in God, for God is Love.
  • For that in the Conscience which checks for Sin, and excites to Holiness, is the Voice of the Son of God, by whom in these last Days, the Father speaketh unto us: O! be ye persuaded to hearken diligently unto him; Hear, and your Souls shall live; and I will make an everlasting Covenant with you (saith the Lord) even the sure Mercies of David.
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Voices of proclamation

Just listen to Elizabeth Bathurst (1655?-1685):

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John the Evangelist calls him the true Light that lighteth every Man that cometh into the World, John i. 9. The other John, or John the Divine, saith, This is he which was, and is, and is to come, Rev. i. 8. And now since he is come to a Remnant, and they have believed in his Light as manifest in them, they are not ashamed to confess that in the Mind, which gives a Discovery of Sin, to be the Power of God, the Appearance of Jesus, and that the Light of the Lamb, which the Nations of them that are saved must and shall walk for ever in, according to Rev. xxi. 23, 24. Neither is this any new Doctrine, Opinion or Principle, other than that which Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with all the Holy Patriarchs of old, were led and guided by, in Things relating both to Faith, Life and Worship: For what else could be a Rule unto them in Matters of Salvation but this Divine Principle, when as they had no written Laws nor Ordinances amongst them? Which Principle is Christ, the Light and Leader of People in all Ages of the World, who is one in all, never was divided, though variously described; being the same, who by his Light sheweth unto the Wicked, and condemns them for the Vanity of their Thoughts; who also by the same Spirit comforts and consolates his Peoples Hearts, that so as many as whose Minds are turned to this Light of Jesus, and stayed in it, though it be but small in its first Appearance, yet shall they see a Growth and Increase of it.

Of the living omnipotent Power

Just listen to Elizabeth Bathurst (1655?-1685):

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Thus it appears, that the Light of Jesus in the Conscience is no natural insufficient Thing, as some have sought to render it, being something of God placed in every Man, to witness against all Sin, convincing and reproving for that which is Evil; contrariwise, prompting, exciting and enclining to that which is good: So that as many as yield to the Motives of it, it is sufficient, not only to condemn and destroy, but also to justify and save; being a Measure of the living omnipotent Power of that One Law-giver, who is able to save, as well as to destroy, see James iv. 12. which Power is Christ, as saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. i. 23, 24. We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a Stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks Foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God: Who, as he was once manifest in the Flesh, so now is he manifest in the Spirit, to be that Covenant of Light, which the Father promised by the Mouth of his Holy Prophet, Isa. xlii. 6. And this Light, Power and Arm is, in measure, extended and reached forth, at one Time or other, unto all People, for the gathering unto him, in whom the Election stands; that so as many as obey his Call, in yielding themselves to be gathered by this gathering Arm, may make their Election, and consequently, their Salvation sure in him: For this is he who would have gathered Jerusalem, and saved her from that Ruin and Destruction which afterwards came upon her, because she knew not the Time of her Visitation: ‘Tis the very same Jesus and no other, whom we believe in for our Saviour, who by his spiritual Appearance in the Hearts of the Children of Men, gives Light, gives Life, gives Power and Victory over Sin, to as many as follow the Leadings and Guidance of this immaculate Lamb) for ’tis given to the Lamb and his Followers to overcome; and whoso overcometh, shall sit down with the Lamb in his Throne, and live and reign with him for evermore: Even the same which was with his Church in the Wilderness, being that spiritual Rock that followed them, of which they drank by the Way, and were refreshed in him, who is the Rock of Ages, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the first and the last; the Ancient of Days; whose Dominion is an everlasting Dominion, which shall not pass away, and his Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed; whose Goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting: For he is the blessed and only Potentate, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, who only hath Immortality and eternal Life; to whom be Glory and Honour, Dominion and Power, henceforth and for ever.

Here now you have a Description, and that in Scripture Dialect, concerning the Principle of our Faith; something I have writ as to the Nature of it, which, though at first it causeth Grief, and brings in Sorrow upon the Soul, yet doth this Sorrow work Repentance, never to be repented of; after which cometh reviving: So that it was truly said, tho’ Weeping may endure for a Night, yet Joycometh in the Morning; for they that sow in Tears shall reap in Joy; he that goeth forth weeping, bearing precious Seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing his Sheaves with him. And such shall truly say, In the Lord have we Righteousness and Strength; for in the Lord shall all the Seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory (in him) not in Wisdom, Wealth, nor Strength, but in this, that they know him to be the Lord, who exerciseth Loving-kindness, Judgment and Righteousness in the Earth, as saith the Prophets. And this is he whom we acknowledge to be our Judge and Law-giver; yea, he is our King, and he will save us: For to this End he hath appeared by his Light in our Hearts, and for this End doth he appear in the Hearts of all Men, that as many as bow down to the Measure of his Appearance in them, may thereby see and be enabled to forsake their Ways and Doings, which have not been good, whereby they may be saved from Sin; and by the same saving Power and Spirit in their Hearts, come to be led into the Way of all Truth, which Way of Truth is Christ, our Mediator and Intercessor with the Father, through whom Man comes to be accepted of God, as he cometh into him, in whom alone the Father is well pleased: For ’tis no other Jesus, concerning whom I write, but the same that was born of the Virgin, even the Lord’s Christ, who hath made himself known unto his Servants by such peculiar Names as suited the particular Circumstances of their Souls; and according to their several Experiences of him, so they reported concerning him, Isaiah describes him to be as the Shadow of a great Rock in a weary Land, a Resuge from Heat, a Cover from Rain and from Storms, Chap. iv. Vers. 6. and Chap. xxxii. Vers. 2. Again, he speaks of his being to his People, as a Place of broad Rivers and Streams, Chap. xxxiii. Vers. 21. David calls him the Shepherd of Israel, which leadeth Joseph like a Flock, Psal. lxxx. 1. He also calls him the Watchman of Israel, who neither slumbers nor sleeps, Psal. cxxi. 4. Paul speaks of his being our High-Priest, yea, a Priest for ever, after the Order of Melchizedeck, Heb. v. 6. And likewise calls him the Minister of the Sanctuary, and of the true Tabernacle which God hath pitched, Chap. viii. 2.

A confession of faith

Just listen to Elizabeth Bathurst (1655?-1685):

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Read here now what this Principle is, in which the Lord hath given a Remnant to believe.

‘Tis the Grace of God, ’tis the Light of Jesus, ’tis a Manifestation of the Spirit, ’tis the Glad tidings of Salvation, ’tis the Word of Reconciliation, ’tis the Law written in the Heart, ’tis the Word of Faith, ’tis the Seed of the Kingdom, ’tis that Stone which hath been rejected by many a foolish Builder, but now it is become the Head of Sion’s Corner.

These are all significant Expressions of that excellent Principle, which I have undertaken to treat on. But if any shall say They are Expressions of so different a Nature, that they know not how to reconcile them, and make them one together.

To such I answer, they might as well confess, they cannot understand how the Lamb of God can be the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, nor how the Shepherd of Israel can be the Bishop of his Peoples Souls; there seeming as much Difference

in these latter, as in any of the former; yet do they all speak of one Thing, altho’ it be exprest by divers Names: For it will admit of a manifold Description; tho’, as I said before, ’tis still but one Thing, if rightly understood in its true Notions: And thus I chose to express it, because thus I have found it, viz. A Principle of Divine Light and Life in Christ Jesus, placed in the Conscience, which discovers both Sin and Duty to us; and not only so, but it reproves the one, and enables to perform the other: And this I know, that a Measure of the same is placed in the Consciences of all Mankind, by which they might see the right Way, were but their Minds turned thereunto. Therefore let none slight or undervalue this Light of Jesus, manifest in their Consciences, by calling it, as some have done, A natural, created, insufficient Light, which will lead Men down to utter Darkness. Tho’ sometimes again these very Persons will confess, That the Light of Nature (as they call it) ought to be followed, as far as it will lead; for (say they) though the obeying of its Dictates will never bring Men to Heaven; yet the disobeying them will certainly sink them down to Hell. Hereby rendring the Lord cruel to his Creatures, as if he required them to follow a Guide that would certainly lead them amiss, or leave them short of the Place of Rest; and then would punish them for being misled, or for sitting down when they had no Guide to shew them the Way to walk in; and that from a Purpose in himself, to leave the greatest Part of Mankind without any other Guide to direct them in Matters of Salvation, but that that is so insufficient, that it must be a Miracle if it shew them the Way to Heaven, according to their common Answer, when asked, How those must be saved who have not the Scriptures amongst them? (which these account the only Rule to guide Men) Why, we leave them to the Mercy of God, (say they) the Lord may in an extraordinary Manner bring some to Heaven, if he have any Elect amongst them; but whether any of them shall be saved or not, ’tis hard for us to determine.

Thus they darken Counsel, by uttering Words without Knowledge: They say, The Grace of God is free; and yet they make it a Monopoly, so it shall not be free to all, nor must all be Sharers in it; neither will they allow the Lord himself to dispense it, nor yet to inspire his Servants to go forth and preach it; but arrogate to themselves a kind of Sacerdotal Right to be Dispensers of the Grace of God, and Ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because of some outward Qualifications atchieved by them, as external Parts, or human Learning, altho’ they never were called of God to the Work of the Ministry, nor never had the Word of Reconciliation committed to them; yet would they have People come to enquire of them the Way to the Kingdom, though they are so narrow-spirited, as to shut out the greatest Number of Mankind, by absolute Predestination, not sticking to affirm, that God nor Christ never …

Envisioning the garden anew

Just listen to Elizabeth Bathurst (1655?-1685):

  • Here Man and Woman having transgressed the royal Law of God, by breaking of his Holy Commandment, in eating of the Tree whereof he commanded them, saying, Ye shall not eat thereof, by this they came to be separated from him:
  • Thus Man being drove from the Presence of the Lord, Death came over his Soul, through he lived outwardly, yet did he die as to that inward Principle of Divine Life and Virtue which once he enjoyed, and so the Threatning was fulfilled which the Lord had said, In the Day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.
  • Now that People may attain to what Knowledge may be had of God, by the inward Manifestation of the Light of his Son, which is a Measure of his Spirit, in their Hearts; this is clearly proved by the Apostle, Rom. i. 19. That which may be known of God (saith he) is manifest in Men, for God hath shewed it unto them.
  • O! turn in, turn in, I say, before it be too late, left you at last cry with them spoken of in Jeremiah. The Harvest is past, the Summer is ended, and we are not saved: Work while it is Day, while the Candle of the Lord shineth in your Tabernacle, be you Workers together with God, for the Night cometh wherein no Man can work; and who can tell how soon the Sun of Righteousness may go down upon you, and the Light thereof obscure itself from you.

In contrast to Friends

Just listen to Elizabeth Bathurst (1655?-1685):

  • Thus they darken Counsel, by uttering Words without Knowledge: They say, The Grace of God is free; and yet they make it a Monopoly, so it shall not be free to all, nor must all be Sharers in it; neither will they allow the Lord himself to dispense it, nor yet to inspire his Servants to go forth and preach it; but arrogate to themselves a kind of Sacerdotal Right to be Dispensers of the Grace of God, and Ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because of some outward Qualifications atchieved by them, as external Parts, or human Learning, altho’ they never were called of God to the Work of the Ministry, nor never had the Word of Reconciliation committed to them; yet would they have People come to enquire of them the Way to the Kingdom, though they are so narrow-spirited, as to shut out the greatest Number of Mankind, by absolute Predestination, not sticking to affirm, that God nor Christ never purposed Love nor Salvation to a great Part of Mankind, and that the Coming and Sufferings of Christ never was intended, nor can be useful to their Justification, but must and will be effectual for their Condemnation.
  • So being void of universal. Love themselves, they fondly imagine the Lord to be like themselves; hence concluding, there is no Salvation to be had without the explicit Knowledge of Christ’s Coming in the Flesh, and of the Scriptures, both which we know whole Kingdoms and Empires in the World are unavoidably ignorant of; and yet few or none of these will jeopardize their Lives to preach amongst such, notwithstanding this was the Apostle Paul ‘s Practice, to preach Christ where he had not before been named; for said he, If I build upon another Man’s Foundation, I make my Glorying void.
  • But ’tis the Extent hereof that some would have limited, affirming, that Christ died for a certain definite Number, and not for the whole Lump of Mankind, one as well as another; nay, they speak as if none had any Benefit by, no, nor so much as the Revelation of Christ, this Gift of God, whom to know is eternal Life; but those who have the outward Letter of the Scripture: Yet do I believe, and so do Thousands more, whom the Lord hath called, viz. That the Father of Lights, and God of the Spirits of all Flesh, hath given a Measure of his own Divine Light and Spirit, unto all the Children of Men, to manifest and reveal the Appearance of his Son in them, who is that same Saviour which shed his Blood for us, that he might wash us and cleanse us from our Sins.
  • A Heretick is one that maintains an Error, contrary to the Light of his own Conscience, pertinaciously persisting in it, notwithstanding Reproof. And without doubt the Text was truly exposited, may be understand him to intend the Light of Christ Jesus in the Conscience; (for it is Christ the true Light who lighteth every Man’s Conscience, and that is the Light of Conscience) which if we may believe, he had Regard unto; then it will follow from the foregoing Words, First, That it is possible for People to turn from the true Grace of God, by sinning against the Light which he hath placed in their Consciences: Secondly, That those are nick-named (or miscalled) who are called Hereticks, for acting according to the Dictates of their enlightned Consciences; or, which is more clear, to say, For being guided by the Light of Christ in their Consciences: Thirdly, It follows, that it is utterly impossible to prove a Man an Heretick, unless he be guilty of Heresy, and condemned in himself by the Light of Christ placed in his own Conscience, to shew him what is Error, and what is Truth. Thus much the Words import; but it may be, some will refuse to confess to the Import of them, for fear of being counted Quakers herein: Howbeit the Spirit speaks expresly, That in the latter Days some shall depart from the Truth, &c.
  • And such who have so done, we know that inward Condemnation doth attend them, according as the Apostle Peter and Jude spake of some in their Day, as had forsaken the righteous Way, and were gone astray, following the Way of Baalam, the Son of Besor, who loved the Wages of Unrighteousness: These, saith Jude, are Wells without Water: Clouds carried about with a Tempest, to whom the Mist of Darkness is reserved for ever; for when they speak great swelling Words of Vanity, they allure, through the Lusts of the Flesh, through much Wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in Error: For if after they have escaped the common Pollutions of the World through the Knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the Latter end is worse with them than the Beginning; for it had been better for them not to have known the Way of Righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the Holy Commandments delivered unto them.
  • But it is happened to them according to the true Proverb, the Dog is turned to his Vomit again, and the Sow that was washed to her wallowing in the Mire.
  • And in his Epistle to Timothy, he speaks positively, The Time will come, when they will not endure sound Doctrine, but after their own Lusts shall heap unto themselves Teachers, having itching Ears; and they shall turn away their Ears from the Truth, and shall be turned unto Fables, 2 Tim. iv. 3 ‘Tis likewise said of Hymeneus and Philetus, that concerning the Truth they have erred, 2 Tim. ii. 27.

Falling from grace

A common belief voiced by many Christians is “once saved, always saved,” and too often that’s taken as a license to continue in sin. Not so with Quakers. Listen to Elizabeth Bathurst:

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  • This Doctrine [teaching] being held by the Quakers, it hath been branded with the opprobrious Term of Heterodox; which if so, I know not how the Apostles Doctrine can be accounted Orthodox, and yet I know the general Opinion of many Professors is, Once in Grace, and ever in Grace, (or, once in Christ, and ever in Christ. )
  • Here I’ll digress no farther, but proceed to shew the Apostle’s Judgment in this Matter: Paul speaking of the Jews (whom he calls the natural Branches of the true Olive) how that they were broken off, that the Gentiles (whom he compares to Branches of a wild Olive) they might be grafted in, saith the Apostle to them, Well, because of Unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by Faith; be not high-minded, but fear; for if God spared not the natural Branches, take heed also, lest he spare not thee. Behold therefore (saith he) the Goodness and Severity of God: Towards them that fell, Severity; but towards thee, Goodness, if thou continue in his Goodness, otherwise thou shalt be cut off, Rom. xi. 20, 21, 22. And the Author in his Epistle to the Hebrews, having spoken of Israel of old, to whom God sware in his Wrath, That they should not enter into his Rest: He cautions them, saying, Take heed, lest there be in any of you an evil Heart of Unbelief, in departing from the Living God, Heb. iii. 12. And in Chap. iv. Vers. 11. he exhorts both them and himself, saying, Let us labour therefore to enter into that Rest, lest any Man fall after the same Example of Unbelief. And in Chap. vi. Vers. 4, 5, 6. he shews them the Danger of falling;
  • Nor was this his Suspicion concerning others only, but his Supposition of himself; For I keep under my Body, and bring it into Subjection (saith he) lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a Castaway.
  • And then you will come to know that Faith which Jesus is the Author of, which stands in the Power of God; even in that Power which enables to resist Temptations, and overcome Sin, and to get Victory over the World, and the Spirit of it; so will you witness a dying unto Sin, and a living unto Righteousness, to the Praise of his Grace, who is calling of you out of Darkness into Light, that you may be Holy in all manner of Conversation.
  • So now since God’s saving Arm is made bare for the gathering of many People to himself before your Eyes; Beware therefore lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the Prophets, Behold you Despisers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a Work in your Days, which you shall in no wise believe, though a Man declare it unto you.
  • Although I have heard say, That the Quakers are Free-Willers; yet this doth not prove them to be so, no more than People saying so, is Proof that they deny the Scriptures.
  • Thus, having shewn in several Particulars how grossly People have abused the Principle of the Quakers, I should next come to speak concerning their Practices, to see if they find any more Favour; but remembring my Promise was, not only to rectify Peoples Mistakes concerning, but to inform them in the Principle of true Religion (for the Principle of Truth is but one) I shall therefore, according to the Manifestation of the Spirit given unto me, endeavour to signify, what this Principle is, from whom it comes, and whereto it leads.

On Divine Light and Life

Just listen to Elizabeth Bathurst (1655?-1685):

  • Sanctification and Justification. Put both these together, because though I do grant they may be distinguished, yet I cannot see how they can be divided, being so near of Kin, that if one languish, t’other cannot but greatly mourn.
  • True indeed, all are not sanctified and made perfect by him, although this was the End of his Coming, that he might finish Transgression, and make an End of Sin, and this was the Will of the Father in sending him, to wit, our thorough Sanctification; but this is not because all have not a Knowledge and Manifestation of his Light, or spiritual Appearance of him in themselves, but because all do not believe in, and obey this his Appearance.
  • Yet do they [Quakers] not expect to be saved, neither for their Faith alone, nor by their Works, but by Christ who worketh true Faith.
  • Thus do they commend themselves to every Man’s Conscience in the Sight of God, by turning them to the Light of Jesus, the Power of God manifest within, which, as ’tis yielded to and obeyed, maketh free from Sin, which still is that one Thing that I am writing concerning, viz. A Principle of Divine Light and Life in Christ Jesus, according to the Apostle’s Record.
  • In him was Life, and the Life was the Light of Men: And this Light, I say, however it may be called, ’tis the Shining of the Sun of Righteousness in Men’s Consciences: ‘Tis not Conscience, which some have described to be a reflex Act of the Mind, whereby Men view their past Actions, the which accuses them for what they have done ill, and approveth of what they have done well; though this be more than some there are will allow in this Matter, yet is this too short to express its noble Nature: For this Principle doth as well shew Men the Sin of their future evil Purposes and Intentions, as set before them the Iniquity of their former Actions.
  • Therefore I say, ’tis not Conscience, for that is but a created Faculty; but that of God placed in the Conscience has its Being from all Eternity, For he that sheweth unto Man his Thoughts, is the same that formed the Mountains, and created the Winds, whose Name is the Lord of Hosts, as saith the Prophet Amos.
  • This is the Seed of the Kingdom of Heaven; for Heaven’s Kingdom is within, as Christ said.
  • Hear ye therefore the Parable of the Sower, saith Christ, When any one heareth the Word of the Kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his Heart: This is he that received Seed by the Wayside, &c.
  • And this Knowledge of himself, the Father is pleased to dispense to Men, in and through the Son of his Love, Christ Jesus our Lord, who is come a Light into the World (saith Christ) that whosoever believeth in me, shall not abide in Darkness. And therefore I believe, and am well assured, this is the one Faith, whereunto many Thousands by the Lord have been gathered, viz. That the God of all Grace hath sent his Son into the World, a free Gift unto the World; and hath given a Measure of his Light and Spirit, to manifest and reveal him unto all Men.
  • ‘Tis to those that are faithful unto Death, to whom is promised a Crown of Life. Such as are implanted into Christ, and abide in him, they shall inherit the Kingdom.

Addressing the opposition to Friends

Just listen to Elizabeth Bathurst (1655?-1685) challenge the critics of Quaker faith:

  • Certainly they want Reason as well as Faith, who cannot judge how these may be distinguished: They place Infallibility in Persons, we in the Holy Spirit and its Teachings.
  • How comes it about then (it may be asked) that this Report has spread so far concerning them? Why truly, Reader, if I may give in my Answer, it must be this, He who was an Enemy to all Righteousness, ever since the Beginning, seeing the Faithful among this People, not only nominally, but really righteous throughout their Conversation, he hath been so enraged against them, that he hath not spared any Pains to put on his Instruments to reproach and vilify them.
  • Therefore have they been masked with the most afrighting Vizards of Self-righteousness and Self-sufficiency, to bring about their own Salvation, that if possible, he might fright People from having any Converse amongst them.
  • And now, since we upon whom the Ends of the World are come, have seen it so come to pass, that People are gone from this Gift of God in themselves, to the many outward Observations of Days, Times and superstitious Customs, thinking to find Christ in them, whilst they shut their Eyes against his Light, which shineth in their Consciences, to guide their Feet in the Path of Peace. Is it not high Time for his faithful Watchmen, who see the Danger of such a State, to cry aloud unto the People, that they may take Warning before it be too late; and therefore do they lift up their Voice like a Trumpet, to sound a Retreat to the Inhabitants of the Earth, who are without the spiritual City of Refuge, that they may return in Time, and lay hold of the Horns of the Heavenly Altar, and get into the Habitation or Tower of Safety, before the Enemy of their Souls take the strong Hold of their Hearts, and fortify himself against them, and keep them without the Gates, till the Avenger of Blood (who once would have had Mercy on them) pursue and overtake them, and so they be destroyed?
  • For tho’ the Lord hath given his Spirit, yea, his Son, to be a Leader and a Commander to the People, yet many there are who do not follow his Guidance, saying in their Hearts, … We will not have this Man to reign over us.
  • O! let us take heed that we do not vex and quench the Spirit of Christ within us, that so we be not of those complained of by Nehemiah, to whom the Lord gave his good Spirit, but they rebelled against it. And what then? So he became their Enemy, and fought against them.
  • These were such of whom Job speaks, saying, They are of those that rebel against the Light: The Light and Spirit here spoken of, being one in Being, and not divided, but distinguished only in Degrees of Discoveries.
  • These are such whom the Apostle Jude, in the 12th and 13th Verses of his Epistle, calls Clouds without Water, carried about of Winds; Trees whose Fruit withereth, twice dead, plucked up by the Roots; raging Waves of the Sea, foaming out their own Shame; wandring Stars, to whom (at least they have Cause to fear) the Blackness of Darkness is reserved for ever, unless they can speedily find a Place for Repentance, before the Decret break forth, before the Day Pass as the Chaff, before the fierce Anger of the Lord come upon them, before the Day of the Lord’s Anger come upon them.
  • And most certain it is, that those who despise the Reproofs of Wisdom, and hate the Knowledge of the Holy, Distress and Anguish will come upon them; but whoso hearkeneth thereunto, shall dwell in a safe Habitation. For Wisdom is a Defence (Christ) the Wisdom of God is a strong Rock, and a sure Foundation; he is that Foundation which God hath laid in Sion, even the Foundation Stone, that tried Stone, the corner Stone, elect, precious, who though he be to many a Stone of stumbling and Rock of Offence, yet as many as believe in him shall never be ashamed.
  • And so it is with these as it was with the Christians of old; their Adversaries put Bearskins upon them, and then set Dogs to bait them. There were such, it is known, that were counted the Filth of the World, and as the Off-scouring of all Things, who wandered about in Sheepskins and Goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the World was not worthy: And what if I shall say, such they are now? Yet are they slighted, contemned, derided, reproached, reviled, defamed, slandred, traduced, malign’d, vilified, and set at nought, as if the worst Term that could be given them, were even good enough: One while they are branded for illiterate Novices; another while counted so profoundly learned, that they must needs be Jesuits; tho’ that Order can boast of Antiquity, whilst these are looked upon as a Novelty; yet are they found in the same ancient Faith with righteous Abel in the Beginning: But ’tis no new Thing for Truth to be called an Upstart, and then prosecuted under the Name of Novilism.
  • And now, my former Familiars, Neighbours, Acquaintance and Kindred in the Flesh, and all others to whom this may come, hereby I invite you all to turn in hither, even into the secret of your own Souls, to that which there reproves you for your Sins, witnessing for God against all Unrighteousness of Men, both in Thought, Word and Action, striving in their Hearts to turn them from the Evil of their Ways, and from the Vanity of their Conversations, to walk in the newness of Life, that so they may be redeemed and restored out of their fallen State of Degeneration, into the Image of God again, which hath been lost through Transgression.
  • I would have none think strange of what I have writ concerning this Thing, though I know ’tis a Mystery to the natural Understanding of the wisest of the Children of Men; and therefore since Paul was called a Babler, for preaching such strange Doctrine to the Stoick Philosophers, Acts xvii. 18. I can expect no better from some, but to be counted a nonsensical Scribbler, for writing of the same; but this I am content to bear, knowing in myself I had no previous Intentions to amuse my Reader, but having undertaken to describe, in measure, the Extent of this powerful Principle of God, placed in the Conscience of his Creatures, following the Footsteps thereof for my Guide in this Matter: Before I can attain to the End of my Journey, I am necessarily brought hither, and as I stand here, I see by the Light of this spiritual Pillar of Fire, that though the Sea, with the Waves thereof, roar, yet is there a Way for the Ransomed of the Lord to pass over; and this Way is Christ, the Light, the Lamb, the Grace, the Gift of God, given by the Father to bring out of the Fall, which all Mankind are in by Nature, that whosever believeth in him, layeth hold on him, and continueth to be led by him, should be brought into Fellowship with himself, and abide therein for ever; and this same is he, who leads in the midst of the Paths of Judgment, and through the many Exercises that I have been writing of, before he brings to the Banks of Salvation, and puts Songs of Deliverance into our Mouths, whereby we can sing of the Mercies of the Lord, and thus having been brought out of spiritual Egypt ‘s Land, and caused to drink deep of the River of Judgment, he then brings to Shilo’s Brook, and giveth to drink of the Waters of Refreshment: So ’tis the same Hand that wounded, which healeth, and that Arm which broke us, doth now bind us up; the same Power which killeth, reviveth, and he who once caused Grief, now giveth Songs in the Night, and appointeth to Zion’ s Mourners Beauty for Ashes, the Oil of Joy for Mourning, and a Garment of Praise for the Spirit of Heaviness, and who will in due Time bring all his true spiritual Israel out of the waste howling Wilderness, into a Land of everlasting Rest.

On her own profession of faith

Just listen to Elizabeth Bathurst (1655?-1685):

  • AN EPISTLE TO Such of the Friends of Christ, as have lately been convinced of the Truth as it is in Jesus.
  • Bear with me, my Friends, to whom I dedicate this little Tract; for though I rank’d this Point amongst the Scruples of the Moderate, having heard some, whom I esteem such, lay this Principle to the Quakers Charge: But now being better acquainted with them, I find they have wrongfully charged it upon them, and therefore I can do no less but use some Sharpness of Speech to refute the Falseness of this Opinion, that through a mistaken Zeal (I am apt to think) some have taken up against them: Well may I say mistaken, for were the Quakers rightly understood, People would find that they have as low Thoughts of any humane Righteousness, as those that daily confess all their Righteousness to be but filthy Rags.
  • And now, my former Acquaintance to whom I present this small Treatise, will you not yield yourselves mistaken in the Reports you have received? I freely acknowledge to you, for my Part, I am willing so to do, and that with Shame taken to myself herein, my Lot having been cast so near this Land of Goshen, that it may well be wondred at, why I did not discern my Mistakes long e’er this Time: Now though it cannot be so said of you, that the Light has shone so clear about you, yet know this every one of you, The Light hath shined in you, and that, I am sure, as it is heeded, will make manifest to you, how falsly the People called Quakers have been accused: They have been looked upon, like the Apostles in Days past, as Setters forth of strange Gods, they have been counted as unknown, and yet well known; they have been reckoned as Deceivers, and yet true: For Truth don’t use to suffer under its own Name; but when Men can fasten the Name of Heresy upon its Principle, then they think they have Pretence enough to punish its Proselytes.
  • Thus I have again touch’d upon the former Particulars, wherein I undertook to vindicate Truth and its Followers; in all which Christ, the Light and Life of Man, is all in all unto his People.
  • Given forth by one of the least of the Flock of Christ, whose outward Name is Elizabeth Bathurst.