An Epistle to Friends in Ireland   Leave a comment

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This is from The Missing Cross to Purity:

[Note: Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough once traveled together to Ireland, according to the Lord’s instructions to both, to preach the true gospel. They were very successful, reaching many people, and then they were arrested and expelled back to England. This appears to have been written when they were in detention in Dublin, awaiting their transport back to England. He is writing to those who they had just convinced and set up in silent meetings in the weeks before their arrest. It serves as an excellent statement of what happens in the spiritual journey: from the touch, to the tribulation, and the kingdom, and then the union.]

To all of you who believed the report, and who received the testimony, and to whom the word of the Lord came in power, to the turning of you, in any measure, from darkness to light, our souls’ wish and desire the multiplying and abounding of the grace and love of God in you and among you; that thereby, you may grow in union and favor with God, and into the fellowship with all the Children of the Light; and may be nourished as newborn babes, by the milk of the word, which endures forever. And truly, though we are now separated from you in the body, we are present with you in spirit, not ceasing in prayer to God for you; but with heart breathings to Him, our souls are poured out at the throne of Grace on your behalf that your faith may not be made void, knowing your state and condition; being full sensible of your weakness to resist temptations of the enemy, but young and tender in the experience of the way and operation of God; and unacquainted with the wiles of Satan, who will not cease in seeking whom he may devour, and whom he may lead aside in the bypaths of iniquity, from the obedience and faith in Christ Jesus; that shipwreck may be made of those good desires now begotten in you, through the ministry of Christ sent to you; by whom a good work has begun in you, which will bring forth the redemption and salvation of your souls, if you abide in the patience, enduring the cross and sufferings unto the end.

And dear friends, this charge, in the name of the Lord, we lay upon you; that in the fear of the Lord, you meet together, waiting in the patient hope, in the Light which leads out of the night and out of all the works of darkness, unto the day, glory, and rising of the Sun of Righteousness that all clouds and veils may be removed and the night of darkness and stumbling may be wholly finished; that as Children of the Light, and of the day, you may walk, bringing forth fruits of righteousness, to the glory of God; being judged in the flesh, and condemned as men in the flesh, and changed, from its nature of transgression and disobedience, into the Divine nature of God, and into the likeness of the Father; that from this time forward, as a people redeemed by Him, and saved by Him, you may serve Him in newness of life, by the Spirit of his Son; who dwells in you, as you dwell in the Light.

May the Lord God Almighty preserve you, to the finishing of your course with joy, in the way of the Lord; that you may know as you are known; and victory may be given you over death, hell, and the grave; and that through the war you may partake of the crown immortal, which fades not away. Therefore be faithful in obedience to the will of God, made manifest in the Light, which condemns the evil, and chooses the good. Daily become subject to the cross of Christ, taking up his yoke and burden, which kills and crucifies the fleshly man, with his affections, desires, and lusts; that being slain to all mortal, you may reign immortality over all your enemies inward and outward; against which you are to war, even against spiritual wickedness in high places, and against exalting thoughts and imaginations. Therefore put on the strength of the Lord Jesus Christ, and gird yourselves with his power; and be low in heart, and subject to the Father in all things; and be not high-minded, but fear; and stand in awe, and sin not; neither flee from the cross of Christ, but let it be your rejoicing; and let love abound among you, even the love with which you are loved by the Father; being of one heart, and like minded with one another, and forgiving one another, and humbly reproving one another, if any are overtaken with a fault.

Wait for discerning, to have salt in yourselves, to know and savor one another in the spirit, and operation, and working of it; that being sensible, and feeling one another’s conditions in the spirit, you may speak to the informing of one another, to the building up on one another, in the precious faith. But be slow to speak, and swift to hear; and do not feed each other’s sensual wisdom, which is the serpent’s seat. For words without knowledge darken counsel, and betray simplicity. But take heed to the measure of the Light of Christ, and be watchful in it; having the loins of your minds girded up, as obedient servants, waiting for the will of God; to be doers of his will from the simplicity and sincerity of the heart. Be watchful, for fear that the tempter by imaginations presents himself in a way and voice, like the way and voice of the True Shepard; and thereby the simplicity is ensnared, and your way and savor is lost, and darkness and clouds come over you; and so deceit strengthens itself; and takes an offence in Christ Jesus. The last end of which will be worse than the beginning, and the way of truth will be blasphemed; and the grace of God will be turned into lack of restraint; and the door of Life will be shut against them. But be upright hearted; and single minded unto the end; for he who overcomes shall eat of the hidden manna. Rev 2:17, John 6:31-35.

Do not strive with each another, neither judge each other, in whatever you do not see in the Light; but keep at home in your own conditions, waiting until judgment is perfected in victory, and your redemption is brought forth. Though you have trouble in the world, and suffering and reproaches from it; yet in Christ shall you have peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For your present troubles, and sufferings, are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in you. Coming through the same entrance of tribulations with us, you shall be made partakers of the same life, and glory, and inheritance, to rejoice, and sing the song of the Lamb for evermore, over the beast, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.

All of you, whether masters or servants, parents or children; whatever calling or condition, walk as becomes the gospel of Christ Jesus, in all holiness, and purity, and humility in your conduct; and be examples of righteousness to each other, that in your several places you may honor Him who has called you, by works of faith and righteousness; that thereby the mouth of those who wait for your halt of progress may be stopped; and by your good works God may be glorified in the sight of your enemies. For the gospel preached to you was not to lead into words only, but into life and power, and our unity stands with those who are in the life and power; and we shall never be ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. Therefore dear children, be diligent in the Lord’s work, and steadfast in watching over your own hearts in particular; and watch over one another in general for good, and not evil; that you may grow up into one body, members of one head, joined by the Spirit to Christ Jesus, who is the Light of the world; upon whom you have believed to your salvation, if you continue in the faith. And your rock of defense and salvation, has become the stumbling stone, and rock of offence to the princes and to the rulers. Beloved, truly our bowels are troubled for you, not being ignorant of the very purpose of Satan; who has now stirred up his agents, thinking to make void your faith and belief, and even to slay the child [within] while he is young: but our confidence in the Lord in this is strong, that He will preserve you to his praise, and the little seed shall never be forgotten of Him; but though it was sown in weakness, it shall arise, and spring, and be raised in power to the torment of all the Lord’s enemies.

You whose hearts God has touched, and who have entered into the way, look not back at any glory left behind; but freely give up all, and press on in the straight way, through the death of the enmity upon the cross; and as you deny yourselves for Christ, so will your reward be from Him manifold. Dwell in the judgment until the ground of all unrighteousness is removed; and so eternal peace be manifested to the seed of immortality. Do not look back at hardships or at the multitudes of temptations; but mind the Light, which is the whole armor of God, whereby you will receive strength to overcome all your enemies; and the Covenant of God will be established with you, in which you will receive the blessing in all things, and will know how to use all things to the glory of God; seeing his pure presence in all his blessings. Stand always in the cross to the carnal, and your understandings will be kept open and clear, to receive the pure teachings of the Father; and his wisdom from above will grow in you; and the wisdom of the earthly will die. If you abide in the Light that is from the beginning, you need no one to teach you; but by the anointing which you will receive, you will be taught all things in the way of God perfectly; and so stand witnesses for the Lord, and against all the world and its deceits. Beware of the love of the world; and of the bad ground; and of the envious man, for fear that he sow tares among the good seed, and so you become corrupted, and the just principle in you is betrayed; and so Satan exalts himself above the measure of God’s Spirit revealed in you; and so you perish in the arguing. But our hearts hope better things of you, even your growth into the inheritance with Christ; to reign with Him over the world, in the incorruptible inheritance; that we may reign together in one heart and mind, one with another. And truly herein will our joy be increased, in the midst of our troubles and sufferings, to hear and understand of your faithfulness and obedience, in the faith of the gospel declared unto you.

To the Grace of God, upon whom you have believed, we do commit you, in the bowels of everlasting love and pity, with tenderness of soul and spirit, to be kept in the power of God unto the day of salvation. The eternal presence of the Lord God, the Everlasting Father be with you all. Amen, Amen.

We are yours in the Lord and are fellow prisoners for the testimony of Jesus, which we hold, known to you, and not to the world.

From the house of the Sergeant at Arms in Dublin, the 24th of the 12th month 1655

Francis Howgill

Edward Burrough

Revival in Ireland?
William Edmundson, The Irish Hammer

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