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Text Sermons : George Fox : Epistle 190

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O friends! have an esteem of truth and God's glory! Keep down all inordinate affections [Col 3:5], and have an esteem of truth above your lusts and earthly things, worldly riches, and goods, and mind the example of the old world, when the sons of God saw, the daughters of men were fair, they took unto them wives of all that they liked [Gen 6:2]; and so made no distinction between the righteous and the wicked. Which grieved the Lord God, that he said, his spirit should not always strive with man. And therefore he shortened his days to an hundred and twenty years [Gen 6:3] which before were many hundred years. Though Enoch, Methuselah, and Lamech [Gen 5:21-31], and the holy men of God, their marriages God did not judge; but when the sons of those holy men, which were called the sons of God, went to the world for wives, they slew the spiritual birth in them, and quenched the holy spirit [1 Th 5:19] of God in them, and corrupted the earth, and filled it with cruelty, and followed the imaginations of their own hearts' lusts continually [Gen 6:5]; insomuch that they grieved the Lord, and he repented that he made man [Gen 6:6f]. For he saw, all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth, saving Noah, a just man [Gen 6:9], with his family, who walked with God, and did not join with the wickedness of the world. Therefore God destroyed the old world; and the beginning thereof was these bad marriages, as Jude and Peter saith, ‘They followed strange flesh [Jude 1:7],’ by which they came to be corrupted; and therefore God sent a flood, and destroyed the old world with its ungodly deeds [Gen 6:17]. And there is your example, that marry with the world. Gen. vi.

And doth not the Lord say to the children of Israel, ‘Thou shalt not give thy sons nor thy daughters in marriage with the heathen [Deut 7:3].’ And were not such as did so, reproved by the Lord and his prophets? As ye may see through the scriptures. And doth not the apostle say, ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath light with darkness, or Christ with Belial, or a believer with an infidel? [2 Cor 6:14] For how many thousands of the Jews did the Lord destroy, who went and married with other nations, and pleaded liberty? And did not Phineas run one through, and his heathenish women? [Num 25:6-8] And so, must not all such be run through with the sword of the spirit [Eph 6:17] of God? And the Lord said, ‘Phineas hath turned mine anger away from the children of Israel, [Num 25:11]’ when the Lord had destroyed twenty-four thousand of them [Num 25:9]. And doth not the world call such, bastard and hypocrite Quakers, and not faithful, that go to the world for a wife, and to the priests to be married? Oh! that ye should profess truth, and go from its power and life, and so corrupt yourselves, and to have no more esteem of your bodies, which God hath so honoured, and made them <181> vessels of his mercy [Rom 9:21-23], to put his mercy into! and have no more esteem of God, his truth nor his people, but to esteem your affections and lusts above them all, and to make yourselves a talk and a laughing stock, by going into that, for which ye are judged of God, and of all his people, and of that of God in your own consciences also! And do not Friends buy burying-places, because they cannot give their dead bodies to the world, no more than Abraham could [Gen 23]? And ye that profess yourselves to be quickened by Christ [Eph 2:1], and made alive by him [1 Cor 15:22], to give your bodies to them that are dead in sins and trespasses [Eph 2:1],—Oh, ye make yourselves ridiculous both to God's people and the world, and come under the judgment of both, and of God and the scriptures, to be such as follow strange flesh, and corrupt the earth [Gen 6:12, Rev 19:2], like the old world! Ye bring burthens upon the just. But God will shorten your days, as he did the old world's, except ye repent; as ye may read, Gen. vi. And therefore mind God's ordinance, and then ye will know God's joining by his spirit and by his power. And be not corrupted with them, that follow strange flesh, and corrupt themselves, that creep among you [2 Tim 3:6], and would be called by your name, which the priests and the world call bastard Quakers. And therefore keep the gospel order, which is the power of God [Rom 1:16], (before the devil was,) and the government of Christ Jesus, which destroys the devil and all his works [1 Jn 3:8].

G. F.

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