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to Truth, superstition and infidelity ; superstition that hath usurped the place of vital religion ; and, infidelity, that slights and disbelieves the only means by which men can become livingly acquainted therewith.
We observe the simple and honest account you give of your weak estate, and the steps which you have taken towards recovery: and your application to us hath humbled us under the reflection, how deficient many amongst ús are, who have long enjoyed so many privileges. Nevertheless we have been comforted in believing that the Almighty hath, in his infinite love, awakened the minds of many of you to feel after, and turn to, the manifestations of his light, grace, or good spirit, in the inward of your souls; as the means, through obedience thereto, to gather you to himself. And it is our earnest wish that you may be led rightly along under its influence, and become lights to those among whom you dwell, drawing others, by your example, to see its beauty, and administering grace to those who observe your love, and humble walking before God; thus will you partake of the peace which Christ promised to his followers ;
-Peace I leave with you ; my peace I give unto you--not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.'-John xiv. 27.
It was by a steady attention to this Divine principle, that our worthy predecessors, a little more than a century ago, were led from the many who were crying-Lo! here is Christ; or, lo! there he is in this or the other form or ceremony ; to the gift of his Spirit within them; which induced them to meet often together, and sit down in so. lemn silence, waiting therein to feel a right qualification to worship God in spirit; knowing all the willings and runnings of the creature brought into obedience to the Divine will : by this means their understandings were enlightened to see, and they strengthened to perform, those things that were re, quired of them.
We, therefore, beseech you to wait, in that measure of light or grace vouchsafed unto you, for further manifestations of the Divine will; and not to suppose, because the Lord hath, in measure, given you to see what you were, that you have already attained, or are made perfect. Some of us know by living experience, that there is a necessity daily to wait for renewed counsel and ability to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God, in Christ Jesus.' --Phil. iii. 14. And we know the benefit of often meeting together, to wait upon and worship God. Endeavour, therefore, to get into a deep, reverent frame of spirit, wherein not only an outward, but an inward silence is witnessed; all cogitations which hinder the true worship in spirit, being resisted, and every thing that is of man laid low, that so all may experience both the will and the deed wrought in them, by the operation of the same blessed spirit; for, although we may be convinced of the truths of the gospel as they are inwardly revealed, yet we must wait on the same Divine power for strength and ability to discharge every duty, lest, having run before our guide, instead of following him, it should be said unto us, who hath required this of you ? But, in learning of the light, grace, or spirit of Christ, we come to receive the true faith, and are enabled to do
those works which please God, being the fruit of his own spirit in us.
How unspeakable is the privilege ; to be redeemed from dependance on human instruction ;brought into the true gospel dispensation, and taught of the Lord himself.
And, dear friends, we cannot confine to worship alone, our belief of the necessity of an internal guide ; but, receiving the apostolic injunction, Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God ;' and, satisfied that his own works alone glorify him, we are led to see his influence necessary for the due regulation of our outward conduct; and, for endeavouring to preserve inviolate our several testimonies both in worship and conduct. Our forefathers long bore the contempt, the envy, and the cruel persecution of worldly men ; nevertheless, our annals do not furnish any instance, wherein the sincere mind, under sufferings, ever breathed in vain to the Lord for support. And much; very much did the patience wherewith our ancestors bore their sufferings, conduce to open the eyes of the people, spread the knowledge of our glorious principle, and multiply its converts.
Finally, friends, suffer us to exhort you to keep to the law and the testimony, as delivered to the saints in the doctrines contained in the Holy Scriptures, and avoid the attempts of any to draw you into disputes upon subtle and unessential questions. And we trust, as you adhere to the simple, yet clear doctrines of Truth, you will be enabled to resist and confound gainsayers, and become (as we have already hinted) lights in a dark world. For, let it be
ever borne in mind, that your conduct being circumspect, your words few and savoury, all your deportment solid and grave, and your lives blameless, will be the best evidence of the truth of your profession, and that you are led and taught by the Holy Spirit.
We have been pleased with the company and society of our friend, De Marcillac, whom we love in the Truth, and desire his safe and peaceful return to you with this our Epistle. We also have, with pleasure, to inform you that his deportment hath been consistent with his profession. Our said friend proposes to take with him sundry books, which we trust he will communicate to you, and give you such further information concerning us as you may require. And we desire, from time to time, to hear from you, as the Lord may open your hearts.
We are your affectionate Friends."
Sarah Grubb's account of a Visit to Friends of
Congenies and other places, in company with George Dilliyn and others.
“ We came to Nismes and Congenies the 22d and 23d of the 5th month, 1788, having travelled nine hundred and fifty miles from Amsterdam. We entered Nismes with a peaceful serenity upon our spirits, and next day went to Congenies, about four leagues. Our arrival drew out of their habitations the people in general : some looked at us with astonishment, and others with countenances which put me in mind of Mary's salutation to Elizabeth. These soon acknowledged us, and drèw us into the house of a steady, valuable widow, where we were solemnly saluted and received, and our minds melted together, and such a stream of gospel love flowed, as some of us thought exceeded what we had before experienced, though no words were used to ex
Our Friends are, most of them, poor, industrious people, but we were favoured with all that was needful, though those things that we call so are scarce, the country being generally overspread with vine-yards, olive-yards, and mulberry trees. It can hardly be thought how comfortable we were. Peace of mind sweetens every inconvenience.
We found these people different from our Society in their outward appearance, and in their want of settlement, and sufficient quietude in their religious assemblies. But the humility and simplicity of their meetings, attended with a lively consciousness of their own weakness, make them ready to embrace every offer of help that is suited to their capacity and progress in the Truth. There are a few of them, amongst the younger sort particularly, who furnish a hope that there will be a Society in this dark part of the world, established upon the right foundation. We soon found, that, to be useful to them, the visiters must be weak with the visited, and in christian condescension bear with them, till Truth opened a door of utterance to show them a more excellent way,
Their monthly meeting was held on first-day, wherein, of their own accord, they laid open their discipline, by reading their minutes or agreements acceded to on their first setting up these nieetings, which, for consistency with their profession, are in