Friends,—Keep out of the vain fashions of the world; let not your eyes, and minds, and spirits run after every fashion (in apparel) of the nations; for that will lead you from the solid life into unity with that spirit that leads to follow the fashions of the nations, after every fashion of apparel that gets up. But mind that which is sober and modest, and keep to your plain fashions, that therein you may judge the world [1 Cor 6:2], whose minds and eyes are in, ‘what they shall put on, and what they shall eat [Mat 6:25]’. . . . Therefore all keep down that spirit of the world [1 Cor 2:12] that runs into so many fashions to please the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life [1 Jn 2:16]. And fashion not yourselves according to your former lust of ignorance [1 Pet 1:14]; and let the time past be sufficient, in which you have lived according to the lusts of men, and the course of the world, that the rest of your time you may live to the will of God, taking no thought what ye shall eat, what ye shall drink, or what ye shall put on; that therein your lives may judge the heathen, and that you may be as the lilies [Mat 6:28f]. For nothing you brought into the world, neither any thing shall you take out [1 Tim 6:7]. And, therefore, while the eye is gazing after every new fashion, and the mind and desire is thirsting to get it; when it has it, it lifts up the mind, and so brings under the judgment of them that are in the sober life, and of the world also, and to be like them. Therefore take heed of the world's fashions, lest ye be moulded up into their spirit, and that will bring you to slight truth, and lift up the wrong eye, and wrong mind, and wrong spirit, and hurt and blind the pure eye, and pure mind, and quench the holy spirit [1 Th 5:19]; and through such foolish toys, and fashions, and fading things, you may lose your conditions. Therefore take heed of the world's vanity, and trust not in the uncertain riches [1 Tim 6:17], neither covet the riches of this world, but seek the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, and all other things will follow [Mat 6:33]; and let your minds be above the costly <301> and vain fashions of attire, but mind the hidden man of the heart, which is a meek and a quiet spirit, which is of great price with the Lord [1 Pet 3:4]. And keep to justice and truth in all your dealings and tradings, at a word, and to the form of sound words [2 Tim 1:13], in the power of the Lord and in equity, in yea and nay in all your dealings [Mat 5:37 James 5:12], that your lives and conversations may be in heaven [Phil 3:20], and above the earth, that they may preach to all that you have to deal with; so that you may be as a city set on a hill, that cannot be hid, and as lights of the world [Mat 5:14], answering the equal principle in all, that God in all things may be glorified [1 Pet 4:11]. So that you may pass your time here with fear, as pilgrims, and strangers [Heb 11:13], and sojourners, having an eye over all things that are uncertain, as cities, houses, lands, goods, and as things below. Possess them as if ye did not; and they that marry, as if they did not [1 Cor 7:29f]; yet as having a city, whose maker and builder is God [Heb 11:10], and a possession of an inheritance that will never fade away [1 Pet 1:4], in which you have riches that will abide with you eternally [Prov 8:18, Mat 6:20]. G. F.
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