55: William Dewsberry’s Works: Very Excellent, concerning Ministers

Pages 16, 18, 21, 23, 216, 218, 229:

Dear Friends—servants and children of the most high God, whom he hath called and chosen out of the world—be faithful! All of you in his counsel [a]wait his power to guide you in all your thoughts, words, and works. In his pure fear—in obedience, to will—I charge you in his presence be valiant for your freedom in dwelling in the power of the living God, that may arm you against the fiery darts of the devil.

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Him to refit in his appearance in all his wiles, who goes about like a roaring lion—to draw you every way seeking to get your minds from the Pure; to draw your minds into the visible things, your affections there to captivate, your wills to satisfy in created and perishing objects or the knowledge of the truth in your or the fleshy wisdom; to feed with the swine upon the husks: the form and image of what you have enjoyed or what you see in the vision, what you do not enjoy in the possession, and speak in a drunken spirit words without knowledge.

And with them fits a painted beast: the will at liberty out of the cross. And thou, whose condition this is, art the foolish virgin turned from pure wisdom of God, the light of Christ, that convinced thee of sin. And now [thou] appearest in the outward formality in the sight of men with a lamp like the wise virgin’s but, dwelling in the power of God, wants [lacks] the oil of joy and gladness. In the power of his Love—which the wife virgins have in their lamps, which excerciseth their consciences and keeps all their affections in order to the spirit of TRUTH, which bridles their tongues not to utter words before the Lord, but in true silence—wait upon him until his Spirit moves, his mind to declare unto your consciences.

You foolish virgins, I speak: you are strangers to life the wise virgins enjoy, though amongst them you come. Your life is beautifying the outside of the lamp with words being quickly spoken. But the fear of God is not before your eyes. But your wills are out of the cross. A false joy ariseth in you. Speaking what you do not possess, prizing and glorying in other men’s lines, and contending for TRUTH with that mind which is out of the Truth and becomes trees blossoming with leaves, but bear[ing] no fruit.

And here your folly is made manifest while you speak to others. Yourselves are under reproof. In you are strangers to [the] Life of God. I charge and command you: silence, silence, flesh! And speak not before the Lord, you foolish ones that dare to make mention of his Name while the worker of iniquity reigns in you, whom the Lord will destroy except [unless] you repent. 

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Dear children of the Lord God, be valiant, bold, and faithful in your measures: that in the Light, Life and Power of God you may stand in the day of great trial, which they will [force] upon all you that make mention of his Name. For power will be given to the beast his horn to exalt, even to the host of heaven, for the clearing of the sanctuary of the Lord. Then [in the] will [of] all foolish virgins and painted beast—that are enemies to the cross of Christ, who hath defiled the sanctuary of the living of God in coming before him amongst his saints and children—and from amongst them shall come trembling before the power of the beast when he utters his voice and commands all to worship his image.

But then shall all you children of the most high God whom he hath called and are faithful to him in his eternal Life rejoice. Who will you keep in that day in rest and peace in the ancient of days? Who will sit to judge in righteousness all that withstands the rising of his glory? And of his dominion there shall be no end.

Therefore [you] who make mention of the name of the living God: examine your hearts and search them, and try your ways with the Light. So will you be preserved pure, clean, and unblameable before him, and will be fortified by his eternal power against all the deceit, subtlety, windings, and twistings of the serpent within you and without you. I charge you all in the presence of the Lord God: to abide with God in what he hath communicated to you, and run not from the witness of the Eternal Spirit that hath sealed you up in measure in the power of his Love. Thou dost run out to speak further than thou witnesseth, art a filthy drunkard that lavisheth out thyself without the fear of the Lord, and so spends and wastes upon thy lusts, and the plagues and vengeance of the Lord is thy portion, thou filthy drunkard. For no drunkard or lustful person shall inherit the kingdom of God.

All dear lambs and children of the Lord, abide in the witness of the eternal Spirit, which will pass judgment and bruise the head of the serpent in you. So will you be armed against all the glorious appearances of the serpent without [outside] you, to keep him out of the scriptures. And the least of you in the truth of God will overturn all priests and the men of the world with their—or that dwell in their—serpentine wisdom and make a trade of the letter [rather than the spirit], speaking and disputing of the saints’ condition, as the devil did about the body of Moses, but cannot witness the scriptures, sealed up to their souls by the eternal Spirit. 

Dear Friends, meet often together in the name and fear of the living God, and take heed of words. Let’s see that the Witness speak, which will cut down your own wills. And it will minister to the Witness in others, to the slaying of their wills. And take heed of watching over one another with an evil eye, to spy out one another’s weakness and declare it to others and discover their nakedness. Thou that art here art cursed Hamand the wrath of will be revealed upon thee.

But watch over one another with a pure single eye. And if thou see the pure in bondage in anyone by the deceit, whisper thou not behind their back to others, but let the Witness in thee which sees the deceit and suffers with the Pure that is pressed down in it, let it declare and witness forth the mind of the living God, against the deceit. And it will cut it down, and the pure holy Seed will be set at liberty. And thy conscience will be kept clean unto the Lord in discharging thy duty. And so will thy captivated brother or sister be restored again forth out of the hand of  the destroyer. And then thou wilt have union together in that which is pure forever in the Lord. And the eternal God of power keep you, all his dear children, in his pure wisdom, to walk faithfully with him and one with another. And the blessing of the Lord God almighty be with you forever. Amen.  —William Dewsberry.      

So all children, keep your eye with God, and with clearness eye him in every motion, in his everlasting power. Then will [God] cause his Light to shine in the brightness of his everlasting glory, which will stop all forward and dry spirits, which [are] hasty to utter words before the Lord.

If any simple heart should utter words through weakness out[side] of the savory Life, in what you may, bear it in the Meeting, and after[ward] speak to them to restore them in a spirit of meekness. Try all spirits and taste the breath from whence the words proceed. And not to lay your hands hastily on any, whatever they may pretend. But in that [searching Light] which tries and weighs your own spirits in coolness and singleness of heart, tryand taste what spirits they are on, that come amongst you or in at this day, wherein many come forth to the owning of the TRUTHin their judgments and regulate the outward man in some outward gestures like to the children of the TRUTH.

But though they pretend zeal and obedience to God in what they do, they being gone from the Light, they neither regard the glory of God nor the good of his people. For all that they now do is wrought in a self-serving spirit, where they enter in a mysterious working of the deceit of their hearts, to set up and cover themselves with a voluntary humility and feigned love, gathering all the eloquent and enticing words of man’s wisdom as they can, with which they make a flourish in a discoursative [discoursing] spirit, speaking high words of that they never did know, to get entrance upon the affections of the tender-hearted ones, that are afraid to judge any but themselves, [along] with others that look more at high words than to feel from whence they come or to know the end for which they are spoken. And they seek to overcome with their subtle, enticing words, to carry on their own Interest, intrude into the [vocal] ministry, and run [on] when God never sent them. Therefore they do not profit the people. 

So are the children born of the royal Seed burdened now. All dear children of the Lord, watch and pray that you may be guided by the power of his Spirit in all your ways. And be careful that none be hasty to utter words before the Lord, neither suffer any sighs or groans or anything to be heard to pass through you. But you have the seal of the Spirit of the Lord. He requires it of you. This I am commanded to lay as a charge upon you.