Abington, the 8th of the Tenth Month [December]:
This morning very early it sprung again afresh and very lively in my mind concerning marriages made in the sweet love, fear, wisdom, and counsel of the almighty living Lord God and eternal Father in heaven, if we want riches and honor, pleasure and joy. What is comparable to those marriages made only in the Lord, in the church, in heaven, in the temple?
But few such marriages I fear are to be found nowadays, that are made by the Father in heaven which is the Truth. But abundance of marriages are made by the father in hell, the devil, which is out the Truth. Made by the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and pride of life, and for covetousness to maintain them, which is all of him that is an enemy to all mankind, the devil or Satan.
If we did but know it there is no worse devil or unclean spirit than Self, that dwells and rules in poor mankind to their destruction, soul and body. Self or covetousness, says the apostle, is the root of all evil. Tell me, my Friends and mortals, can there be a worse devil or more unclean spirit or root from which all evil grows, or a worse fountain than that from which all our misery flows?
Can there, my dear and well beloved Friends, be a better God or Holy Spirit than that or he that leads into all Truth, which is heaven itself, and so into all peace and joy? Or a worse devil or unholy spirit than that which leads into all untruth, and so into all sorrow, destruction, and misery? Which is hell enough, in my opinion: Where the worm never dies, and the fire goes not out, and torment enough for the wickedest of men, and greater than I wish for the worst enemies; but rather would pray for them, that they would so live as to escape that place or state of torment.
I have had several other things of moment for a long time moving in mind, concerning the sweet, comfortable, and happy life mankind might live in joy and if he would follow his inward true and spiritual Guide, which would never lead him wrong if he would strictly follow its counsel. I say I had many things in my mind to write, but am a little straitened at present, and must wait to see whether this that is done may be of any service, or in any measure well received by my brethren, which are begotten and born again of the immortal Seed and Word of God, which lives and abides forever, and is God himself. Those thus born are his sons and daughters, God is their own Father, and they his own dear children and his heirs, and joined or equal heirs with Christ in his and their Father’s kingdom, which is and ever will remain an eternal kingdom of GLORY or GLORIOUS GOVERNMENT, where he the Holy One doth rule and govern—which is his church, in his people, in his house or his temple, in New Jerusalem, in his sanctuary, in his kingdom, in himself all one and the same eternal SANCTUM SANCTORUM.
Christ was not ashamed to call such spiritual souls his brethren, which worship God in spirit, and in his church which is his kingdom, saying, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren.” And after his blessed resurrection, sent forth a woman preacher, the very first to declare of it, and I believe to preach freely as she had freely received of him, “Go tell my bretbren I am risen, and that I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” O glorious message! One of the best that ever was, and yet sent by a Woman! The glad tidings of great joy, that their Lord was alive that they thought was dead. They did not reject the testimony because it came by a woman—no more than the Samaritans [rejected] the woman that Jesus sent from Jacob’s Well, as I can find—but they went or ran to see for themselves.
Although I have writ thus much for women’s preaching, yet I would have none go before they are sent of the Lord, no more than men. For it is alike hateful to me and many worthy Friends, to my certain knowledge. I could willingly pray to the Lord with all my soul and spirit that he would be pleased to stop the mouths of all those liars who say “Thus saith the Lord,” when he never spake by them.
Male and female are all one in Christ the Truth—the true church or congregation which is in God—and God in his church which is his kingdom, where he rules and reigns, and is blessed forevermore. So be it.