AN EPISTLE TO All that profess the Light of Jesus Christ WITHIN To be their Guide.


Printed in the Year, 1678.

To all that Profess the Light of Je­sus Christ (within) to be their Guide, Greeting.

Dear Friends, Brethren, and Sisters,

THat believe in the inward, and spiritual Grace, which is the Light of our Lord Jesus Christ, I salute you all, desiring, that as we received Christ Jesus the Lord, we may all [so] walk in him. In order hereunto let us all watch, and be mindful how we received the truth at the be­ginning, which is the subject matter upon my heart, by this Epistle to signifie unto you.

For you know, many of us before we received the Truth (as it is in Jesus) felt some stirrings of life, and therefore se­parated in our Judgments, and Opinions from the generality of our Neighbors, and Country men where we dwelt: be­cause of an inward cry from a deep want in our Souls, and hungering after the constant enjoyment of [that] which [we] with many others professed; but could not find in any thing under the Sun.

So poor and needy were we, that the dealings of God with our spirits in that day, in some sense may be said to resemble Gods proceedings with Adam, when he set all the creatures before him, before he gave him a meet-helper, that when he saw he could find out no fit helper for himself amongst them all, he might make the more account of the meet helper that was [after] given him of God.

So it was inwardly with us, until that Trumpet sounded which directed our minds to the light of Christ Jesus in our own hearts and Consciences, which when we believed the report, and made tryal of its sufficiency, we soon found the [Page 2] meet-helper for our souls (to wit) the arm of the Lord to be re­vealed in [it] and made [so] bare, that we knew it to be the Lords own arm, which brought deliverance to us.

But not from all our enemies at once, yet [so] that we un­derstood plainly, (by certain experience) that the tendency thereof, and the end of its being made bare, was in order to deliver us out of the hands of [all] our enemies; that being de­livered, we might serve God without a tormenting, distrustful fear in holiness, and righteousness before [him] all the days of our lives.

And the way thereunto, was by the working of this arm of power in our inward parts, to make a separation [within] be­tween the precious and the vile within, and between our own spirits, and Gods Spirit; between our own wills, and Gods will; between our own thoughts, and Gods thoughts; and our own ways, and Gods ways, &c.

So that we found the great business of regeneration and re­stauration was to be wrought [within us;] and what sorrow, what trouble, what horror, what distress, what Warrs, and ru­mor of warrs, was [within us] many knows; and what earth­quakes was in divers hearts (which might occasion the name QUAKER to be given to some of us) those that were eye-wit­nesses from the beginning are not ignorant of these things.

O what carefulness, what watchfulness, what circumspe­ction, what awfulness of God, and what dread of his power was upon our spirits, lest we should speak our own words, work our own works, walk in our [own] ways, or think our [own] thoughts; so diligently did we keep a watching, and over our own hearts, being conscious to our selves, that we should give an account for every idle word, which caused us to learn a bridle for our tongues, that our words might be few, and savory, ministring grace to the hearers.

How solid were our looks? how grave were our counte­nances, how serious were our carriages? and how exempla­ry our behaviours, and conversations amongst all that we conversed with? lest we should give occasion for any to speak evil of the blessed truth of the Living God.

And if any, though but newly convinced thereof, walked disorderly, or that took up their rest in a [bare] convincement, and came not to be converted to the life, and power of God in their own particular (which at the beginning was soon disco­vered by that spirit of discerning which in the light we recei­ved from God

How conscienciously solicitous were we, to admonish, in­struct, advise and counsel them to take heed of a false rest, or running into, or doing any thing by [bare] imitation from others: Yet how tender were we, of bruising, hurting, stop­ping, or hindering any stirrings of light and life, lest the lame should be turned out of the way, or the seeble be left behind.

The spirit of Holy David was in our hearts, who would not consent that the sore, and weary ones (that could not get over the River Bezor, should lose their part of the prey, because they tarried with the stuff; but made it a Law, and a Statute in Israel for ever, that they should have part alike.

And how did we love, and pity those, that took pleasure in the stones of Zion, and favoured the dust thereof? what care­fulness was upon us for them; and if we found any but like the young man (in Mark 19.22) that had been religiously inclined from their youth, how did we love them? watching for opportunities to communicate some spiritual advice unto them.

As if the new kindred that Christ speaks of, Mat. 12. (to wit] Whosoever shall do my Fathers will (the same is my Mother, Si­ster, and Brother) was now discovered again, and the beauties of holiness were now made manifest, with the many glorious priviledges enjoyed thereby; as to see clearly, and know certainly the living God; for hereby came we to know [that we knew him] because of the beauties of holiness, in keeping close to [his Commandments] whereby our love to God, and one to another was manifest unto all.

For we durst not let in distrustful thoughts of God, nor one of another, Faith in him [then] becoming our Law; so that our care was stedfastly, and constantly to believe in the light, by which we had seen him, and to dwell in a holy fear, lest [Page 4]we should transgress the Law of Faith, by which Christ was [then] kept dwelling in our hearts, and all boasting of SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS was utterly excluded.

But with how much difficulty we kept [that] Faith, you only know, who like valiant Souldiers have endured hardship in the good sight of Faith, whereby we our selves were pre­served, and kept by the power of God through Faith, that we might (in due time) receive the end of our Faith (for we had nothing else in our eye, but to be saved from sin) [to wit) the salvation of our souls.

And then, because we believed in the power, as we were moved of [it] we spake by [it] and [such words] like Jona­thans bow, never returned empty, but wounded the Hypocrites; like the man that shot the arrow out of simplicity, which smote disguised Ahab between the harness; so that he died according to the word of the Lord by Micaiah.

You may remember also, how like Ephraim (at first) we were as little children, and spake trembling; saying often in our hearts, ar Jacob did of the Mountain where God appeared (to wit) how dreadful is this place, and [then] how quick, and powerful were [those words] that proceeded from that dread of God in our hearts

The great mystery of the false Prophet, that rides upon the Beast, being [then] inwardly discovered, with the mystery of his name, and number thereof (to wit) the number of a man; which caused us at the beginning so to cry down vain, corrupt man, both in our selves, and others; feeling that [God] was risen in [his] power, to confound its wisdom, and to bring his fleshly prudence and policy to nothing: therefore we feared the getting up of that mans-part in our selves, being so battered by the inward Judgments of God upon our selves.

That with good Jehosaphat we said in our hearts, we know not what to do, but our eyes are towards thee, O God; then in this valley of helplesness, straights, poverty, lowliness, and humility, God pleaded with our fleshly part; so that in the day of our distress, although we multiplied our services, and doubled our offerings and observations, to obtain relief; yet [Page 5]Christ refused all these our works, that he might [freely] make himself known unto us (which in due time he did) as Joseph unto his brethren (and saith that Scripture) there stood no man with him, when he made himself known unto them; to the exalting of the riches of the glory of his grace [in us] where­by sorrow fled away, and our own mournful spirits were now made to rejoyce in God, and our formerly troubled souls began now to magnifie our Saviour.

Thus former things passed away, till the tempestuous Sea was no more; but joy and gladness was in our dwellings, and the voice of melody in all our hearts, and in the midst of all our Assemblies.

But before we came hither, you know (fellow Travellers) that Mount Sinai was first in our way, where we tarried a while, and felt the entertainment of her flames, and heard the voice of words, and the sound of her trumpets, and were witnesses of her terrible earth-quakes [yet fled not] but with Moses, a remnant drew near unto the thick darkness where God was: but others made this Mountain the end of their journy, escaping with their lives still in their own doings: yet these, though they might in Profession come out with us, thus far they were not of us, and (in time) will go out from us, that it may appear they came not through [all] the tribulations that a remnant went through.

For from thence a remnant came unto the ministration of the Prophets, where they met with openings, and prophesies of good things [yet] to come, before they did come: and here others fled as on the Sabbath day, as if [now] all labour was at an end, and here they took up their rest, (but God did not sanctifie it) and therefore glorying and pride got up in these; Boasting in the GIFTED-MAN, soon forgetting all dependance upon the opener, viz. the spirit of truth, to exercise their hearts and tongues in the mannagement of all, for the glory of God, and refreshment of his own seed in the hearts of his people.

But a remnant still travelled on, through John Baptists cry in the wilderness (make straight the way of the Lord) and come [Page 6]to repentance for all their dead words, and works, that every valley might be filled, and every mountain, and hill brought low, and the crooked made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; then came we to see the salvation of God (to wit) the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, whom then we fol­lowed, leaving [John] as some of his [own] disciples did.

Some also came with us as far as Johns Baptism that washeth away the filth of the flesh; but not coming to the Baptism of Christ, which washeth all filthiness both of flesh and spirit; also they left us at John: such as these may be compared to the King of Israel, who at the command of the Prophet smote the ground often; but not smiting it long enough (until the enemy was consumed) he missed of a perfect victory, and full conquest: so do all that take up their rest in any thing short of the Lamb of God.

These things being thus witnessed in the spiritual travels of a remnant at the beginning, let us all search and try our ways, whether we be still following the ancient foot-steps of the flocks of the companions, by keeping in the pure separation from the fleshly part in our selves, ministring [only] from the ability that God gives, which a remnant that have kept to their first love, and their garments clean therein, have done to the praise of the Lord God Almighty for ever.

My exhortation therefore is unto all, but more especially to you that are Children of believing Parents, and Servants to believing Masters, with all the younger men, and younger women convinced in these later times (knowing that a rem­nant of these also have kept their garments clean) to examine your selves how you came by your Profession? whether you that are Children, and Servants, received it by tradition, only because of your outward Relations. &c. or from the inward work of God upon your own spirits, as those did that recei­ved the truth (in the love of God) at the beginning.

For many may endure sufferings, and undergo the reproach of a QƲAKER, and all for sinister ends; as the Shechemites endured the pain of Circumcision to obtain Dinah, Jacobs Daugh­ter, and to accomplish their other ends, and interests: on [Page 7]these terms they were willing to be one people with the Israe­lites; as too many on like conditions at this day may be wil­ling to be called QUAKERS; to whom I say, as Jacob did to Simeon and Levi, you have troubled us, and (as much as in you lies) have made the truth to stink amongst the inhabitants of the Land; (yet a remnant dare not do so, blessed be the Lord.)

But to you that are grieved, and troubled, because of these Shechemites, I say to you also, as the Lord on this occasion said unto troubled Jacob, Arise, let [us] go up to Bethel (the house of God) and dwell there, Gen. 35. (where no Shechemites can come.)

O the bemoanings of many tender souls [at the begin­ning] for the loss of their conditions, sometimes through their own negligence, and sometimes through the enemies subtilty (weeping like Rachel for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because they were not) are fresh in my remem­brance.

But of later times many come amongst us, that in out­ward appearance may seem to be of us, who as yet never tru­ly knew the meaning of such bemoanings, nor the bitterness of Rachels tears, but walk as if the gate of entrance into the truth, was grown wider, and the path, and way thereof, broader than [it] was at the beginning; for how careful were those that came to witness the [truth] at the beginning to keep low, and humble, that they might not be drawn from their own measures, lest their [own] words should become their bur­den, and they be condemned in themselves, for uttering that (as in the name of God) which came not from the Spirit of the living God.

Therefore it was that so mightily grew the word of God, and prospered (bringing all down to the loathing of their persons in true humility) growing up in every honest heart, that the fruits of the Spirit were manifest, as in the Apostles days (to wit) love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meek­ness, temperance; against such there is no law, saith the Apostle: and they that are Christs have crucified the flesh, with the affe­ctions, and lusts. If we live in the spirit, let us all so walk in the [Page 8]spirit, let us not be desirous (saith the Apostle) of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another, &c.

But like Brethren (saith the same Apostle) if a man be over­taken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thy self, lest thou also be tem­pted, bear ye one anothers burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ.

My heart is overcome when I take a view of Gods deal­ings with us from the day that he first visited us unto this pre­sent time; My dear friends and brethren, you know how Christ (our Joseph) knew us when we knew not him, and made himself known to us (as Joseph did unto his brethren) while guilt, and fear; distrust, and horror was in their spirits, and then commanded, that they should do unto, and one for an­other, as he had done unto, and for them all.

Therefore set all come down to the remembrancer, the Spirit of Truth, which will distinguish between those that are now arrayed with the beautiful garments of their youthful days, viz. humility, meekness, righteousness, and the true zeal of the Lord and those that have only a shew of it; and there let [us] behold one another in our comely attire, as with the lovely Coat of Joseph upon our backs, and the glori­ous visions of the Almighty in our hearts, judging down all stirrings of envyings, and evil surmisings against any; know­ing right well that all such lowings, and bleatings are comman­ded to be slain: for can we consider the price we cost at first, and the love, care, and watchfulness of our God over us unto this day, of whom a remnant can say (as Jacob did) (he hath fed us all our life long) and not be in love one with another.

Can we contemplate of the miseries we have been deliver­ed from, and the mercies we have been made partakers of since we were a people, and not be humbled before our God, for any unthankfulness and distrust: Can we view the prisons, and dungeons, the banishments, and all outward losses and spoil­ing of our goods, with the reproachful scoffs, and scornful slight­ings, by such, that some could say (with holy Job) they were not worthy to eat with the dogs of their flocks, and not be mol­ted [Page 9]before the Lord, and abased as unworthy of the least of all his mercies.

And can we remember our blessed support under all those sufferings, and the sweet presence of the Spirit of Christ in our hearts, saying in us under all these tryals and excercises, as the Disciples did, when they returned to Christ their Master, after their weary travels (to wit) we wanted nothing, &c. we wanted no perfumes to take away the noisome smells, we wanted nothing to make our hard lodging easie, we wanted no pleasant walks to make our strait confinements joyous, nor we wanted not the society of outward relations, and former acquaintance, to pass away the time, because the Lord our God turned all our hardships into unspeakable comfort, and true contentment.

And shall any now say, Gods arm is shortned that he cannot save, or his ear is heavy that he cannot hear? God forbid, that all the milk, and wine, and honey, and other fat things (with which we have been often spiritually feasted at Gods table) should be all forgotten and buried in the Wilderness, saying in our selves as rebellious Israel did of old (to wit) can he now prepare such a table in the Wilderness for us?

But rather let us with Manoah's Wife, the Mother of Sam­pson, conclude, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt-offering, and a meat offering at our hands; neither would he have shewed us all these things, and done so much for us as he hath done from the very beginning, that we were a people unto this day.

Therefore lift up your heads you valliants of Israel, that have come through the dark-burning-Mountain, and through the pleasant and delightful Openings, and Prophesies, through, and beyond all outward washings, unto the Lamb of God, that your robes may be washed white in his Blood, that thereby you may overcome, and then sit down in that Kingdom which can­not be shaken, with weary Abraham, throughly-tired Isaac, and wrestling Jacob.

O how glorious are you [all] in the sight of God, and all his people, even as an Army terrible with banners in the sight of all adversaries; therefore keep your ranks, and march on [Page 10]in your heavenly way, which the Lord of Hosts himself hath set you in, and Babylon the [great] shall fall before you, more and more, for the Lord of Hosts hath spoken it; and you with all the holy Martyrs of Jesus shall rejoyce over her down-fal for ever.

These few words further and again, springs up in my heart to you all dear Friends, Brethren, and Sisters, (to wit) that we may be always mindful how we received the truth at the beginning, and be careful that we travel on with our feet always shod with the same humily, and poverty of spirit [as] when we were first shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.

Never forgetting, nor changing the poor mans food (to wit) our old water and pulse, for any portion of the rich mans dain­ties, but still waiting on God, that in due season gives both milk to babes, and strong meat to them of riper age; bearing in our remembrance the great execution that was done at the beginning, by the smooth stones out of the poor Shepherds bag.

Now to the pure harmless seed (that cries in our hearts) I commend you all, that therein (as in the cleft of [that] Rock) against which the gates of Hell shall never prevail) we all may dwell and abide for ever; so shall the work of the Lord prosper to his own Glory, and all our comforts for ever. Amen,

John Crook.
The 17th. of the. 6th. Month, 1678.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.