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.

Grace and peace be multiplied among you, my dearly and much beloved friends, you that have received a blessing from God the heavenly Father in Christ Jesus, the Lord of Glory; who by his unspeakable love, and his unchangeable light, hath drawn you off from the imaginary worship, and brought you in measure to know him who was from the beginning. Dear friends, keep in the light by which ye are enlightened, and in the knowledge of God, which every one hath received for himself; watching against the seducings of Satan, that your eyes may be kept open, lest deceit should prevail in any of you, by which truth might lose its splendour, and the brightness of the Lord become darkened.

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.

Judith Zinspenning.