Dear Friends,—My love in the Lord Jesus Christ (to you all) in whom I have laboured, and my desires are, the God of all peace, and the son of peace [Luke 10:6], may fill your hearts with his love, and peace, and wisdom, and knowledge, in all things, to do his heavenly glorious will: in that you will know his son's doctrine; and as you know it, obey it. And my desires are in the Lord, that you may all walk worthy of your vocation [Eph 4:1], and of him that has called you to holiness [1 Th 4:7], and righteousness, and to peace [1 Cor 7:15]; so that his peace may flow as a river [Isa 48:18, 66:12], and righteousness run down as a stream [Amos 5:24], to the gladding of the city of God [Psa 46:4]; the walls of which are his power, and salvation [Isa 26:1], and light, and life. <140> And now, my friends, keep all your meetings in the name of Jesus [Mat 18:20], in whom you have all salvation; which is above every name [Phil 2:9] under the whole heaven, in which there is no salvation [Acts 4:12]. And also, all your men and women's meetings every where, keep in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, his gospel, by which he hath brought life and immortality to light [2 Tim 1:10] in you, that you may see over him that hath darkened you, and before he was; which power will preserve you in life and immortality. So that you may now all labour in the gospel, the power of God [Rom 1:16], in his glorious and comfortable gospel, joyfully serving the Lord in his gospel of peace; through which gospel you have peace with God: so that in this gospel, the power of God, there can come nothing between you and God: here is your heavenly order, not of man nor by man [Gal 1:12]. So that all the faithful men and women may, in the Lord's power, be stirred up in their inheritances of the same gospel, and to labour in it, helps-meet [Gen 2:18] in the restoration, as man and woman were before the fall, in the garden of God. All are to work in his righteousness, and in his image, in his power, in his garden, to subdue the earth, and keep the dominion in his power, in the restoration, as man and woman did in the image of God before the fall [Gen 1:27f; Col 3:10]. Whosoever would hinder you in this work, it is the same serpent's spirit that led Adam and Eve into the fall [Gen 3:1-6], from the work of God, which now would keep you in the fall, to do his work and command, and not the Lord's; and therefore over that keep your dominion, authority, and inheritance in the restoration, in the power of God, in which every one of you must give an account to God [Rom 14:12]. And therefore be diligent in the Lord's power, light, life, and spirit, in which you all see your services to God; so that he may be glorified among you all, and in you all, and over you all his glory may shine. And you all, men and women, in your men and women's meetings be diligent, labouring in the light, life, and the power of God, the gospel, in the garden and church of God; so that righteousness and peace may flow down amongst you, and truth, and godliness, purity, virtue, and holiness, over all that is contrary; and that the weight and care of God's glory [2 Cor 4:17?], and his honour, and his pure holy name, and his truth, religion, and worship, you may all stand up for, against that which would in any wise cause it to be evil spoken of by ill walkers and talkers. And let all things you do, be done in love, and condescend one to another [Rom 12:16] in the power of the Lord, and in his truth have esteem one of another, and let all things be done among you without any strife [Phil 2:3]; for it is love that edifies the body [Eph 4:16], and knits it together [Col 2:2], and unites it to Christ the heavenly and holy head. And now, you women, though you have been under reproach, because Eve was first in transgression; the promise was, ‘The seed of <141> the woman should bruise the serpents head [Gen 3:15].’ And this promise of God is fulfilled, ‘A virgin should have a child, and they should call his name Emmanuel, God with us, again [Isa 7:14].’ For man and woman was driven from God out of paradise, and the serpent became their head, and god of the world [2 Cor 4:4]; but Christ is come according to the promise of God and his prophets, who was born of a virgin; and therefore saith Mary, ‘My spirit doth rejoice in God my saviour: my soul doth magnify the Lord, for he hath regard to the low estate of his handmaid; for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed [Luke 1:46-48].’ Now, here comes the reproach to be taken off from women, which were first in transgression, who are not suffered to speak in the church [1 Tim 2:12]; but here Mary did speak, and believe that which was spoken to her: and also the reproach and transgression taken off men, that believe in the seed Christ Jesus, who bruises the head of the serpent, that has brought man and woman into his image, and his works; but Christ destroys both him and his works [Heb 2:14/1 Jn 3:8], and renews man and woman up into the image of God [Col 3:10], as they were in before they fell, and into the power, to have dominion, to work in his garden, to subdue the earth, &c [Gen 1:27f]. So that all are now to labour in the garden of God, that are in the power and image of God, being brought into it by Christ Jesus, that bruises the serpent's head, that has been head in them all. So that Christ Jesus may be head in all men and women, and every man and woman may act from him their holy head, their life, and salvation, and keep his heavenly peace in his church, and every living member (believing in the light, which is the life in Christ) may be grafted into him the fountain of life [Rom 11:17/Psa 36:9], and receive from him the water of life [Rev 21:6], that they may feel the living springs, and the rivers springing up in them to eternal life [John 4:14]: these are living stones, the spiritual household [1 Pet 2:5], of which Christ is both head, rock, and foundation. And Christ is called the green tree [Luke 23:31 GM], which green tree never withers [Psa 1:2], into whom they are grafted [Rom 11:24] by belief in the light, which is the life in him, from whom they all receive their heavenly living nourishment, through which every graft is nourished; then it comes to bud and bring forth fruit [John 15:5] to the praise of the eternal God. Now every one of these living believers are members of the living church in God, which Christ is the head of, and every member in the church hath an office [Rom 12:4]; and so every member is serviceable in the body in his office, in the light, which is over darkness, and was before it was; and in the life which is over death, and was before it was; and in the power of God, which was before the power of the serpent was. And so they are in this light, life, and power to execute their offices: I say, in this divine light, life, power, and spirit of God for God's glory, in truth, purity, virtue, holiness, and righteousness, they are to stand up for the honour of his <142> son, and receive him, who hath all power in heaven and earth given to him [Mat 28:28]; and all that receive him, he gives them power to become the sons and daughters of God [Jn 1:12]; then in his power all are to act and walk, and to serve God in their generation, and in it to serve him in the new creation, in righteousness and holiness, and to stand up in his power for his glory, in his power, righteousness, and holiness, that Christ brings into them, and renews them in, and so into the restoration; that they may labour in the church and garden of God in his power, to his everlasting praise and glory. Amen. And all Friends, stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free [Gal 5:1], and in the liberty in the faith, which Christ is the author and finisher of [Heb 12:2]; which faith purifies the heart [Acts 15:9], and gives victory [1 Jn 5:4], in which you have access to God [Rom 5:2], the mystery of which is held in a pure conscience [1 Tim 3:9]; in which faith it hath its true liberty. And keep in the liberty of the everlasting glorious gospel of peace, which is not of man, nor by man [Gal 1:12], but from heaven; which gospel bringeth (and hath brought) life and immortality to light [2 Tim 1:10], and will preserve you in life and immortality, over him that hath darkened you; and in this gospel you have everlasting liberty and peace, and in the truth, which maketh you free [John 8:32] from him that is out of the truth [John 8:44]. This free state all are to keep in; and also in the pure holy spirit of God and Christ, that doth mortify all that is to be mortified and crucified; and doth baptize you into one body [1 Cor 12:13]. In this holy spirit you are to walk, which leadeth you into all truth [John 16:13], in which is your unity and fellowship; and giveth liberty from that which hath grieved it [Eph 4:30], and quenched [1 Th 5:19], and vexed it [Isa 63:10]. And so in the liberty, and fellowship, and unity of the holy, pure, and peaceable spirit, you are all to dwell and walk, which is the bond of the Prince of princes' peace [Eph 4:3/Dan 8:25], which the world cannot take away. G. F.
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