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They state that several of them appear in the ministry; especially one woman, who has been instrumental in convincing divers. They latterly appointed one of their number to attend on Friends in London, with an Epistle. This person had been educated for a lawyer, which business he had practiced for some time; but, finding that employment inconsistent with his religious feelings, he undertook the weaving trade,--though a man of considerable estate and family. The Epistle was sealed, and directed to some meeting of Friends in London ;and he desired it might not be opened, till Friends were collected. It was opened and read in the Meeting for Sufferings there, and contained much seasonable and valuable matter. Some Friends were then appointed to draw up an answer to it.
The man - stayed there several weeks;-during which time he improved considerably in the English language, and once appeared in prayer, in a meeting. Friends supplied him with a number of books, and accompanied him to Bristol, where he took shipping for France.
Among other things, he expressed great surprise, on seeing those who profess the inward Light, pow. der their hair, and wear large silver buckles; because, although he had been brought up in the use of these things, yet Truth had led him out of them. By his account, they appear to have been aware of a day of suffering approaching; as they had not yet ventured to keep back the priests' tithes, nor let any books be seen, which spoke against the church of Rome.
The subjoined Epistle, as translated, copied, and sent to Friends in this country, is an interesting
document, exhibiting the simplicity and sincerity of this infant society, in their remote situation. It furnishes a powerful testimony to the universality of that light, grace, or manifestation of the one Holy Spirit, that lighteth every man coming into the world, and hath appeared unto all men, as a teacher, leader, and saviour, to profit withal.
To our brethren and faithful Friends, the true
Christians, or Quakers of England, at London. From Congenies, near Nismes, in Languedoc,
the 4th of October, 1785. “As God has loved us, we ought also to love one another; because, in loving our brethren, we know that we have passed from death to. life. He that loveth not his brother, abideth in death."-1 John. To our brethren, and good Friends of London.
It is in an entire union of heart and soul, that an hundred Christian families are earnestly desirous of imploring assistance from virtuous and enlightened brethren. We believe we cannot apply, with confidence, to friends more true, more sincere, charitable, united, virtuous, and enlightened, than to you, our dear friends of London. And we are persuaded that you will receive, with true satisfaction, these marks of our lively affection, and ardent desire after the complete knowledge, and perfect observation of the true Christian doctrine;—and that you will employ all your zeal to give us every assistance in your power, that may be necessary to our perfect regeneration.
It is in this persuasion, and with this intention, that our good friend, Marcillac, has had it at heart to be acquainted with you, and has thought it his duty to travel three hundred leagues, to visit you. The motive for his journey being so important, we could not but approve it unanimously. We therefore request you all, as endeared friends, and fellowworshippers in spirit and in truth, to esteem our dear brother, Marcillac, a sincere friend, who comes to you with no other design, but to ask for spiritual succour, both for himself and for our little society.
It was at our first setting out in the Christian race, that we thought it our duty to call for your assistance, to belp us to walk with courage in this sublime, and divine way. And since, at a time when we were given up to worldly desires, you condescended to give marks of your attachment, affection, and zeal, to some poor scattered brethren, (when our friend Coudognan was in England in the year 1769;) we are persuaded that you will repeat your regard now that we have begun a new life, in stripping ourselyes of a great part of the mists of corruption, which formerly darkened the eyes of our souls, and eclipsed the Divine light in us, which is alone able to lead to salvation and heavenly felicity..
Yea, we sincerely confess, dear friends, that we have been long lukewarm in the faith, and very weak in works. Though we acknowledged the Holy Spirit for our guide, we were so rash and obdurate, as to wander from the way which it points out to all who submit thereunto, in a docile manner. Led, as we were, into the vices and corruptions of the world, this Divine light was so obscured amongst us, that it shone but dimly in our earthen vessels. The channels, through which this Divine water was to pass,
in order to refresh our souls,—were so filled with earthly defilements, that they yielded but a muddy stream; liable to occasion the greatest maladies of soul, rather than to produce perfect health. Forgetting that our heart was the temple of the Holy Ghost, (as Paul said to the Corinthians) we had no restraint from profaning this temple; and we were fallen and overwhelmed to that degree, that unity did not reign among us;—so that every one seemed only to live to himself, being in love with worldly enjoyments, and in no wise attached to heavenly ones: and the life of our corruptible bodies was a thousand times dearer to us, than that of our incorruptible and never-dying souls. In short, contaminated by the example of a country entirely corrupt, our disease had arrived to that pitch, that we were ready to fall under the weight of our iniquities. Some amongst us were even wholly departed from the faith, and were floating amidst the impetuous waves of worldly corruptions.
Such was our miserable condition, when the Supreme Being condescended to snatch us from the dreadful precipice,-to make us acquainted with our error,-to feel our obduracy,-and to offer the necessary remedies for our terrible disease, -by directing the steps of our good friend, Marcillac, towards us, about the latter end of last year.
This good brother, born in one of the most exalted situations (according to the maxims of the world)-endowed with the greatest natural qualifications, and with a fortune of more than 200,000 livres,-was destined by his parents to the abominable trade of war. Placed, from his infancy, in a regiment of horse, his birth or his talents soon procured him the rank of captain. He was yet young, when he obtained this rank; and he certainly would have got one much higher, according to the opinion of worlds ly men, --but, being intended by the Almighty for a greater purpose, his heart was happily led to me ditation upon religion. "Soon did the Divine Light make him sensible, that the only happiness of mankind consisted in following it;--that it was not in high dominion, and the false vanities of corrupt men, that man can find rest to his soul, and obey the will of the Supreme Being,-in whose eyes no one is great, but he that humbles himself the most in his presence, and does the most good to his fellow-creatures, rather than shed their blood by fire and sword.
At length, being turned from all the abominations of the world, he determined to change his condition of destroyer, to that of preserver of mankind. And, being excited in his own mind, he went into Germany, to visit the Friends of Spiegelberg, in Saxony. There, being confirmed in the faith of the true Christian doctrine, as you profess it, and which we endeavour to follow,-he was led to visit us, and bring us the help so necessary to our infirm state: He made us a visit for the first time, in the month of November, last year: but, having found us in so deplorable à condition, and surrounded by so many defilements, he had very little satisfaction therefrom, and returned, quite sorrowful, to his habitation, distant three leagues from us. Nevertheless he was not disheartened; but, some time after, made us a second visit; and, being moved by the Divine power, he gave us such excellent exhortations, that all our souls were affected therewith. We felt our miseries; and we endeavoured to enrich ourselves with those heavenly blessings, which the Supreme Being condea scended to send us.