Preface To Margaret Fell's Epistles

Written by Herself

Friendly Reader: --

The following epistles were written at the first appearance of truth among us, when we were young in it: the Light of Christ being our first principle, our minds being turned to it, and it having become our teacher, leader, and guider, we saw perfectly that there was no safety, nor preservation out of sin and transgression, but as we obeyed the Light, and following it in our hearts and consciences, it leading out of sin, transgression, and iniquity: so as we waited in it, and dwelt in it, we came to witness a washing and cleansing, by the blood of Jesus. And so we came to discern, between the precious and the vile, and between the holy, and the unclean, and between the chaff, and the wheat; and between those that served God, and those that served Him not. And when we came to this sight, and knowledge, and discerning, then we became very zealous for God, and for His truth, and for the preservation of His people in the truth; and our hearts became tender, and we had a pity for all people's souls that remained in darkness. We were moved of the Lord to write often to Friends, and our testimony was very much to the Light of Christ in the conscience; because we that that this was the way, and there was no other; for Christ Jesus said, I am the Light; He also said, I am the way, the truth, and the life; and there is none that can come to the Father, but by me.

And so we received His Testimony, and could set our seals that it was true. And then we saw the great concern that lay upon this, which is the salvation of poor people's souls. And we knowing as Christ said, they that hated the Light it was their condemnation; and also those that obeyed it, it would bring them to Christ their salvation; this made us very importunate with all people, both Friends and others, to direct them to the Light, and obey it.

And also there being such a body of darkness, which warred against it; for people having lived in darkness, and out of the knowledge of the Light, it was such a new doctrine to them, and there was a mighty war in people's minds against it; and the priests and professors setting themselves against it; and some said it was a dim Light, and some scoffingly called it a dark lantern, and others said it was not sufficient to condemn: so in their dark imaginations they fought against it. And very much we had to do in the beginning to get people convinced of the Truth, and of the sufficiency of it; and also those that were convinced, to keep them in obedience to it. But the Lord's arm and power carried on His own work, notwithstanding all the opposition of the power of darkness; glory and praises be to His holy name forever.

Here are a few epistles preserved, but many more are wanting, the copies being lost, with many other papers and letters that might have been serviceable; but in love to all people, we bring those that we have to open view; that if the Lord give a blessing to them, they may be serviceable hereafter, as they have been to many heretofore. The Truth is one and the same always; and though ages and generations pass away, and one generation goes and another comes, yet the word, and Power, and the Spirit of the living God endures forever, and is the same, and never changes.

And so, reader, cleave to the blessed Light and Truth of the living God, that He hath placed in thy heart, and believe in it, and hearken to it, and obey it, and it will lead thee in the path that we have gone, and then thou wilt see, and feel, and understand what we have been through; and thou wilt come to be a witness of the living God and His Truth, which will be peace and comfort to thy soul.

The Lord God Almighty open thy heart, and enlighten the eye of thy understanding, that thou mayest come to have unity with all the saints in the Light.