Judith Zinspenning. (1664)
Sewell, William. The History of the Rise, Increase, and Progress of the Christian People Called Quakers. A New Edition, in Two Volumes. Philadelphia: Uriah Hunt, 1832. Volume II, pages 44 - 46.
This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.
I wrote these things to you in true love, and though but young, yet as one that takes care for you;
for the Lord knows how often ye are in my remembrances; desiring for you, that ye many not
only know the truth, but that ye may be found to be living witnesses of it: for I, knowing the
preciousness of it, cannot but desire that others may also participate of the same; labour,
therefore, for it, my friends, that so, when the Lord comes and calls to an account, every one
may be found faithful according to what he heath received: for this is the talent which the Lord
hath given, viz. the knowledge of him who is true, and who rewardeth every one according to
his deeds: but the negligent and slothful servant said that his Lord was an hard man, and that he
gathered where he had no strewed, and this was his condemnation; for the Lord said, "Thou
knewest that I was an austere man; wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that
at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?" Mind these things, my beloved
friends, ye that have an ear to hear, and dig after this parable in yourselves; for we all have
received talents, some more, and others less. Let therefore every one be faithful to the Lord,
according to what he hath received; for truly some of you, I believe, have received five talents.
Let it but be duly considered and seen in the light of the Lord, what knowledge ye have had of
the eternal God beyond many, even when ye were yet in darkness: how often hath the Lord
appeared, and clearly made manifest himself? And how abundantly hath he made it known in the
heart, that he it was who was worthy to be feared and served? Certainly that is a great and
weighty talent, and therefore the Lord may say justly, what could I have done more to my
vineyard: O my friends, besides all this, he hath caused his eternal light to shine into our hearts,
whereby we have seen the corrupted ways of the world, and paths leading to death. This, I say,
the Lord hath showed us by his eternal light: glory and praises be given to our God for ever.
Dear friends, go on in that in which ye have begun; for I can bear witness for the Lord, that his
love hath been abundantly shed abroad upon us, without respect of persons: because those that
fear him, and work righteousness, are acceptable to him; and he makes his truth manifest among
us, and causeth his peace and mercy to rest upon us. It is true, that Satan doth not rest to scatter
this, and to sow doubts and unbelief in our hearts; but we keeping close to the Lord, are
preserved from his snares; and happy is he who hath found a place where he is freed from
tempests: but before this place be found, there are many hidden rocks that may be struck on, not
unknown to me. And therefore I have true compassion on those who are not past them all yet;
for shipwreck may easily be suffered on any of these.
Yet in all this danger there is something on which we may rely safely, and to which we may trust,
being as a beacon, viz. the light shining in our hearts, though it be sometimes but as a spark, and
so small, in regard of the manifold seducings, that it can hardly be discerned. Here then is no
small grief and anguish; here all the mercies of the Lord, which formerly we enjoyed abundantly,
are called in question, or doubted of; here is danger, and yet certainty; for by not sinning, the
beacon in minded, and by relying on a true hope to be saved, we are preserved in the tempest. I
write these thing for the information of those that are travelling towards a city that hath a
foundation, and whose builder and maker is God; for to such my love is extended, and my desire
to the Lord for them is, that they may be kept by his power, to remain standing at his coming.
Dear friends, keep you meetings in the fear of the Lord, and have a care that you minds are not
drawn out to heard words outwardly; but stand in the cross to that which desireth refreshment
from without: and when at any time ye feel but little refreshment, let it not enter into your hearts
that the Lord is not mindful of you; but centre down into yourselves, in the pure light, and stand
still therein; then it may be ye will find the cause why the presence of the Lord is departed from
you for some time; and ye putting away the cause, shall enjoy the Lord again to your comfort.
May God Almighty preserve you all by his power, lest any strife or discord be found among you;
and may you grow up in love, and thereby be obliged to bear each other's burdens; and let no
transitory things cumber you hearts, but be resigned to the Lord; for that to which we are called,
is not to be compared to that which is transitory, or perishing; since it is a treasure that is
everlasting, and to which the world and all that is in it, is but as dung; because the most glorious
part of it is but vanity or vanities. O, my friends, let none be stopped by that which is an
impediment to enter into the kingdom of heaven; but strive all to enter the narrow gate; and
search every one of you in your own hearts, with the light ye are enlightened with, which shall
manifest your own states to you; and keeping there, it shall multiply your peace, and every one
shall find therein his own teacher, as those have experienced who sought the Lord with all their
heart. Now the God of all mercies, who alone is immortal, keep you and us altogether to the end;
that so in these dangerous times we may remain standing, to the glory of his great name. O
friends, keep out of craftiness, and enter not readily into discourse with those that are out of the
truth; for they speak in their own will, and are crafty, and, knowing no bridle to their mind, it
produceth that by which the simple and innocent are caught; but stand ye rather, and keep in that
wherein ye see their subtilty; for then though ye may not have a word to apologize for
yourselves, yet ye shall be above them.
This is written form me, a young plant, in love to you, according to the gift received from the
Lord. My salutation is to you all in the light of truth.