« PreviousContinue »
desire, so far as the Lord draws me, to follow my forefathers and brethren in suffering and in joy. Wherefore my spirit waits and worships at the feet of Emmanuel, unto whom I commit my cause, who may work my body's deliverance; if not, yet the freedom, peace, joy, and patience, which in the midst of trouble I have enjoyed, and I believe shall continue from Him, shall fully satisfy me; for which let my soul, and all that is within me, praise Him for ever and ever. And I shall continue my exhortation to you, earnestly desiring ye may wait to feel the love and life of God flow in your particular vessels, and therein watch over and serve one another; and let the strong and faithful among you dwell in the power, that he may have a garment ready to cover the nakedness of the weak; and if the tares at any time appear, let wisdom and the spirit of meekness be always used to separate the tares from the wheat, both in the ground and offspring, that the bearer may clearly see it; and then, if he will not put his sharp threshing instrument to cut them down, his blood will be required at his hands, and with compassion pour oil into the wounds of the wounded, and bring them into the house where salvation is; for the Hope of glory in you is come to save that which was lost; so the plant of God will grow, the thorns and thistles will be cut down, and the ground cleaned, that the curse may be no more; and if the weeds should appear again, let them still be trodden down and broken off the root, and in time you shall see them die at the root; and then the plant of renown, the stem of the root of Jesse, within its seed and beginning, may truly be resembled to the little mustard-seed, which will grow and prosper, and be watered with the dew of heaven, which, like soft drops of balm, will gently fall on the branches thereof; as patience working unto perfection waits to enter at the Door of Life, without climbing one step to satisfy the lion of greedy desire, but let it suffer hunger, yea, and death also, through which you will find entrance into the green and pleasant pastures of the folds, where you shall feed as the herd in the low valley of Achor; the entrance thereof will be a door of hope in the day of your greatest need and spiritual hunger, when
experience and hope is added to your patience. And at the threshold thereof, I leave all that hunger and thirst after righteousness to enjoy the desire of their souls.
Boston Prison, in New
This was given forth about three months before he suffered, and was copied by William Coddington, of Rhode Island.
An Epistle of William Leddra to Friends, written by him the day before he was put to death.
To the Society of the little flock of Christ, grace and peace be multiplied:
Most dear and inwardly beloved :
The sweet influences of the morning star, like a flood distilling into my innocent habitation, hath so filled me with the joy of the Lord, in the beauty of holiness, that my spirit is as if it did not inhabit a tabernacle of clay, but is wholly swallowed up in the bosom of eternity, from whence it had its being.
Alas, alas! what can the wrath and spirit of man, that lusteth to envy, aggravated by the heat and strength of the king of the locusts, which came out of the pit, do unto one that is hid in the secret places of the Almighty? Or, unto them that are gathered under the healing wings of the Prince of Peace, under whose armor of light they shall be able to stand in the day of trial, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and the sword of the Spirit, which is their weapon of war against spiritual wickedness, principalities, and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, both within and without? Oh, my beloved! I have waited as a dove, at the windows of the ark, and have stood still in that watch which the Master, without whom I could do nothing, did at His coming reward with the fulness of His love, wherein my heart did rejoice, that I might in the love and life of God speak a few words to you, sealed with the Spirit of promise, that the taste thereof might be a savour of life to your life, and a testimony in
you of my innocent death; and if I had been altogether silent, and the Lord had not opened my mouth unto you, yet He would have opened your hearts, and there have sealed my innocency with the streams of life, by which we are all baptized into that body which is in God, with whom and in whose presence there is life; in which as you abide, you stand upon the pillar and ground of Truth; for, the life being the Truth and the way, go not one step without it, lest you should compass a mountain in the wilderness: for unto everything there is a season; as the flowing of the ocean doth fill every creek and branch thereof, and then retires again towards its own being and fulness, and leaves a savour behind it, so doth the life and virtue of God flow into every one of your hearts, whom He hath made partakers of His divine nature; and when it withdraws but a little, it leaves a sweet savour behind it, that many can say they are made clean through the word that He hath spoken to them; in which innocent condition you may see what you are in the presence of God, and what you are without Him. Therefore, my dear hearts, let the enjoyment of the life alone be your hope, your joy, and consolation, and let the man of God flee those things that would lead the mind out of the cross, for then the savour of the life will be buried. And although some may speak of things that they received in the life, as experiences; yet, the life being veiled, and the savour that it left behind washed away by the fresh floods of temptation, the condition that they did enjoy in the life, boasted of by the airy thing, will be like the manna that was gathered yesterday, without any good scent or savour; for it was only well with the man while he was in the life of innocency; but being driven from the presence of the Lord into the earth, what can he boast of? And although you know these things, and many of you much more than I can say, yet, for the love and zeal I bear to the Truth and honour of God, and tender desire of my soul to those that are young, that they may read me in that from which I write, to strengthen them against the wiles of the subtle serpent that beguiled Eve; I say, stand in the watch within, in the fear of the Lord, which is the very entrance of
wisdom, and the state where you are ready to receive the secrets of the Lord. Hunger and thirst patiently, be not weary, neither doubt; stand still, and cease from thy own working, and in due time thou shalt enter into the rest, and thy eyes shall behold thy salvation, whose testimonies are sure and righteous altogether. Let them be as a seal upon thine arm, and as jewels about thy neck, that others may see what the Lord hath done for your souls. Confess Him before men, yea, before His greatest enemies; fear not what they can do unto you; greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world; for He will clothe you with humility, and in the power of His meekness you shall reign over all the rage of your enemies in the favour of God, wherein, as you stand in faith, ye are the salt of the earth; for many, seeing your good works, may glorify God in the day of their visitation. Take heed of receiving that which you saw not in the light, lest you give ear to the enemy. Bring all things to the light, that they may be proved, whether they be wrought in God; the love of the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, are without the light, in the world; therefore, possess your vessels in all sanctification and honour, and let your eye look at the mark; He that hath called you is holy: and if there be an eye that offends, pluck it out, and cast it from you; let not a temptation take hold, for if you do, it will keep from the favour of God, and that will be a sad state; for, without grace possessed, there is no assurance of salvation. By grace you are saved; and the witnessing of it is sufficient for you, to which I commend you all, my dear Friends, and in it remain, your brother,
Boston jail, the 13th of the
First month, 1660-61,
But the day before he suffered death.