To you all, who are enlightened with the light of the spirit, that is the light which shows you sin and evil, and your evil deeds and actings, and the deceit and false-heartedness; it will teach you holiness, walking in it, and bring you into unity; and it will draw your minds up to God, and in it ye will see more light. But hating the light, there is your condemnation. –The Works of George Fox, VII, 53
A group of 11 people gathered the evening of April 18th for the monthly New Foundation Fellowship study of George Fox’s epistles. We read Epistle 43 in which Fox focuses on the opposition between the triumphant power of God and His Truth over the deceit found in the worldly dominion of Satan. A discussion dealing with some of the dynamics of this spiritual conflict begins at 13:55 in the recording with a question of what Fox saw as “devour[ing] the creation”: “And ye that are led forth to exhort, or to reprove, do it with all diligence, taking all opportunities, reproving that which devours the creation, and thereby destroys the very human reason” (52).
Several participants affirmed Fox’s advice to those who “cannot witness [the freedom of Christ]”: to not give up but ”wait and mind the pure, and then the burden will be easy” (52). Early Friend Stephen Crisp was brought to mind as having heard an inward voice address him after he had lost patience while waiting upon the Lord in meeting for worship. (This story is found at 11:55 in the recording.) Some ideas on Fox’s words “And your strength is, to stand still” (52) can be found at 45:45 in the recording.
Fox’s addressing his readers as “you who are elected, called, chosen and faithful” (52-3) prompted a question about whether Quakers believed that they were elected before the foundation of the world and therefore called and chosen. The way in which Quakers understand those terms is different from the way Presbyterians do, and this discussion begins at 42:15 in the recording.
Epistle 43, written in 1653, acknowledges the “discourag[ing] and dishearten[ing]” maneuvers of the “enemies without, which are without God in the world” (51-2), yet encourages Friends to “be bold all in the power of truth [which] triumph[s] over the world” (52).
The recording has been edited to reduce the length of silence between speakers.