Eight people gathered on January 17th to read and discuss Epistle 40 from The Works of George Fox (1831), which is found in volume 7 on page 49. In this epistle, Fox conveys to Friends “the counsel of the Lord” to attend to His power, which is pure. As a person is enabled to have unity with that which is pure, he comes into unity with others who likewise know purity, “with hearts joined together!” In the spirit and power of the Lord, one may also discern what is contrary to that spirit, such as “men’s evil wills.”
Right use of language was a theme that ran throughout our discussion. When conscious of the inward Christ, one may be given to preach the gospel, which draws people into the unity that Fox calls for. Fox warns that “lightness and frowardness” run contrary to the purity that is sensed in Christ’s presence, and distract from receiving divine consolation. “Let thy words be few” (Eccles. 5:2) was brought forward as an early Quaker principle, cautioning against the human tendency to form words without the understanding or power that is received from God. An exchange on the necessary and intrinsic relationship between spirit and words can be found at 46:00 in the recording and runs through 54:20.
Also of interest is a conversation on the nature of righteousness in which self-righteousness is distinguished from the righteousness that comes from God. The ground and nature of each is explored beginning at 29:24 and ending at 39:11.
The recording has been edited to minimize silent time between speakers.