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to be despised or rejected, without good cause. Neither is their taking upon them really to de. cide, any just ground to charge them with impo. sition, or to quarrel with their judgment; unless it can be proved, that they are decayed, and have lost their discerning, as above.

Seventhly, That to submit and obey in such cases, is no detracting from the common privilege of Christians, to be inwardly led by the Spirit, seeing the Spirit has led some heretofore so to do, and yet may. And that every pretence of unclearness is not a sufficient excuse for disobedience, seeing that may proceed from obstinacy, or a mind prepossessed with prejudice: Yet say I not any ought to do it before they be clear; and who are every way right, will not want clearness in what they ought to do.

And, lastly, That these principles are no ways tainted with imposition or contrary to true liberty of conscience: and that they fundamentally differ from the usurpation both of popery, prelaa. cy, and presbytery, or any other of that nature.







Concerning Good Order and Discipline in the



My dearly beloved Friends and Brethren,

HAVING been for some time under a deep and mournful sense of the states of many of the Churches of Christ, a weighty concern came upon my spirit, to communicate some of those things to you which came under my consideration, and I could not be easy until I had given up to do it, and as I foresee what I shall write will be long, and the longer by commemorating the dealings of the Lord with us in this nation, as well as by writing some things new and old : So therefore, I desire you will bear its length, it being, in probability, the last time that ever I shall write to you, for I am but weak in body, and ill able to write at this time; and, in all human pros. pect, not likely to continue long in this world. But however that may be, Oh! saith my soul, that the Lord will be pleased to keep and preserve me near to himself to the end, that so in the end of my time, I may attain to that everlast- . ing rest, that the elders, who have gone before me, are already entered into.

And now, my dear friends, I herewith send you the salutation of my endeared love in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which remains as fresh and fervent with me now in old age, as in my youth, more especially to you that travel in spirit, and are zealously concerned for the welfare and prosperity of Sion, you are as near and dear to me as ever, and I have unity with you, in the covenant of love and life, whether you are old or young, rich or poor; for in this love it is that we are bound up together in the bundle of life, being baptized by one Spirit into one body, and in this love which proceeds from the Spirit, the true unity of the Church is kept up and maintained in the bond of peace, where


. by the whole body is edified together in love, which you know is a stronger bond and tie than all outward laws, creeds or confessions of faith without it.

And besides this gift of the holy Spirit, which Christ bas given us for our salvation, he has gie ven additional means and assistances conducive to that great end ; thus he has afforded us the holy scriptures for our information, edification and comfort, through the Spirit. He has sent us his ministers and messengers, whom he has furnished with the immediate power of his word: he has gifted elders to oversee, advise and ad. monish us, and by his holy Spirit, he has moved upon both ministers and elders, to give forth and leave us boly instructions, for keeping godly or. der and discipline in the Churches of Christ, ta be as an hedge and fence about us for our preservation (so far as means can do) in this unity of the Spirit, as well as to keep us from the inroads of the enemy, who goes about continually seeking whom he may devour.

Our gracious Lord has done all this for us in our day and time, as he did formerly, so that we may truly say with that holy prophet Isaiah, who spoke from the mouth of the Lord, saying, What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it. And I pray God it may not be said of many of us now as he said to Israel then, viz: Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, it brought forth wild grapes.

Now, my dear friends, that which bears the greatest weight upon my spirit at this time, is, relating to godly order and discipline in the Churches of Christ : And though I well know that you who have retained your first love to God, and have kept your habitations in his holy truth, do not want any information of mine to convince you of the necessity and service thereof; yet, as out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, so out of the abundant concern I feel upon my spirit for the prosperity of truth, I beseech you bear with me while I ease my mind, if it but prove of the least benefit to the younger in your meeting, by stirring up the

pure way of remembrance ; for notwithstanding I am very sensible that some of you do want but little stirring up to your duty, respecting discipline, yet I believe many others do.

others do. Neither do you

mind by

want to be eonvinced that our women's, as well as men's meetings for discipline, were first set up by the movings of the Lord's power, through that worthy and faithful elder GEORGE Fox; and also, that the authority of these meetings is to be kept up and maintained therein, you are ving witnesses thereof, because the Lord has often owned your services in them by the overshadowings of his glorious power.

You know also, that in the first institution of these our men's meetings, the members of them were to be faithful men, who were to rule and govern for the Lord, men fearing God, and hating eovetousness, agreeable to those in the apostles times, whom the Holy Ghost had made overseers in the Church of Christ; yet this does not exclude honest minded young men from being admitted to sit in those meetings as learners, who, growing in truth, may at length come to have their spiritual senses exercised, so as rightly to discern between good and evil, and things that differ, though at first they may not see into things so clearly as the faithful elders did, yet as they grow in truth, and follow them, as the apostle Paul advises, the Lord in due time will reveal such things unto them... I can speak this from my own experience; likewise, in a more general way, as there are, and always will be, different degrees of growth in the members of the Church of Christ, yet as all are growing in truth, and drawing one way, and aiming at the same thing, namely, the honour of the Lord and prosperity of his holy truth, there will bea general condescension and submission to one another, but more especi.

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