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generation, that many have had a true taste of the love of God, and of the powers of the world to come, but they are gone from it again, and are turned aside into the crooked path, like the dog to his vomit, and like the sow that was washed, into the mire again, where they are defiled with the flesh-pots of Egypt, after which they lusted. Oh, mark and behold the end of all such that depart from the living God! Oh, is not the unclean spirit entered into them again, and become worse than before? So none rejoice at hearing of those who turn from the Truth, which they were once in, for verily it will not ease you of your misery and torment, which will come upon you if you go on in sin, and despise the day of your visitation; so I have cleared my conscience to you all in the sight of God.
From a friend of the Truth, and a sufferer for the seed's sake, which is kept in bondage under Pharaoh and his taskmasters; my name in the flesh is
MARMADUKE STEVENSON. Written in the common jail of
Boston in New England, in America, in the beginning of the Seventh month, 1659.
This is a copy of Marmaduke Stevenson's Letter to the Lord's
People. • Oh, my dear and well-beloved ones, who are sealed with me in the holy covenant of our Father's love, my love and life run out to you all, who are chosen of God, and faithful, for you are dear unto me, the Lord knows it, and are as seals upon my breast; you lambs of my Father's fold, and sheep of His pasture, the remembrance of you is precious to me, my dearly beloved ones, who are of the holy seed, and bear the right image, which springs from the true vine and offspring of David, and stock of Abraham, the father of the faithful; and the redeemed ones, who are reconciled to God, and one to another, in that which sea and land cannot separate, where you may feel me knit and joined to you with the Spirit of Truth, and linked to you, as members of His body, who is our head and rock of sure defence for us to fly unto, where we are kept safe in the hour of temptation, and in the day of trial shall we be preserved in the hollow of His hand, where His banner of love will be over us, to compass us about, where we shall have recourse to the living springs which come from the pure fountain and well-spring of life, which issues forth abundantly, to refresh the hungry, and strengthen the feeble-minded; where you may feel me, my beloved ones, in the green pastures, among the lilies of the pleasant springs, where our souls are bathed and refreshed together, with the overcomings of God's love, and the virtue of His presence, which is as precious ointment poured forth, giving a pleasant smell. So, my dear friends, let us always wait at the altar of the Lord, to see the table spread, that so we may sit down and eat together, and be refreshed with the hidden manna, and living food of life, which comes from Him who is our lise, our peace, our strength, and our preserver night and day. Oh, my beloved ones, let us all go on in His strength, who is our Prince and Saviour, that we may bear His image, who is meek and lowly in heart and mind, the true and sure foundation of many generations, the chief corner-stone, elect and precious, the rock of ages, on which the saints were built; and if we all abide thereon, we shall never be moved, but stand forever as trees of righteousness, rooted and grounded in Him, who will be with us in all our trials and temptations which we may meet withal; and here will the Lord our God be honoured by us all who are faithful unto death; we shall assuredly have a crown of lise which will never be taken from us. Oh, my beloved ones, what shall I say unto you, who drink with me at the living fountain, where we are nourished and brought up, as twins in the womb, at the breasts of consolation, where I do embrace you in the bond of peace, which will never be broken? Oh, feel me, and read me in your hearts, for I am filled with love when I think upon you, and broken into tears; for the remembrance of you who are faithful doth refresh my soul, which makes me often to think upon you, and have you in remembrance; you jewels of my Father, and first-fruits of His increase, if I forget you, then let the Lord forget me; nay, verily, you cannot be forgotten by me; so long as I abide in the vine, I am a branch of the same nature with you, which springs from the good tree which the Lord hath blessed, where we do grow together in His life and image, as members of His body, where we shall live to all eternity, and sit down in the kingdom of rest and peace, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to sing the songs of deliverance to the Most High who sits on the throne, who alone is worthy of all honour and living praises, to whom it is due, now and forever, Amen. And this will be the portion of our cup, if we all stand steadfast to that we have received, and be faithful in our measures, in doing the will of God, we shall find peace and unity with the Lord, which is joy unspeakable and glorious, which will never be taken from us. So, dear hearts, let us all press forward to the mark of the high calling; so shall we obtain the crown from Him, where our lives are hid with Christ in God, where we shall remain forever with Him. After our testimony is finished, we shall lay down our heads with joy and peace, and receive the reward of everlasting life which is laid up for us in Christ Jesus. Oh, my beloved ones, who are of the royal seed, which the Lord hath blessed, my life is bound up with you in the holy covenant, where we are linked together as in a chain, and moulded into one mould, where nothing must remain that is not good; for it must be purged out that would defile, that so we may appear like the fine gold which is tried in the fire, to shine forth in the image of the Father as lights to the world, and as cities set on a hill, which cannot be hid: so will the Lord have praise, to whom it is due, by our upright walking and honest conversation, so shall we all be a sweet smell and a good savour in them that are saved, and in them that perish. Oh, my dear friends and brethren, how doth my love abound towards you! Oh, feel it, and let it fill your hearts, for verily you are dear to me; the Lord knows it, whom I serve, that you are often in my remembrance, though my body be far beyond the seas, separated from you, yet doth my soul and life remain with you in the holy covenant, sealed by the spirit of promise, where we shall remain together in rest and sweet peace for evermore, after our testimony is finished. So, all you who are upright in heart, feel my love, and receive my salutation, which springs from the fountain of love, where I am with you, as by the waters of Shiloh, which run softly, where we are watered and refreshed together, day by day, that so we may grow as plants of righteousness, in the true vine, where we are reconciled to the Father, and one to another, in that which sea and land cannot separate; where you may all feel me; and read me in your hearts, with that which was before words were; and if I never see your faces more in the flesh, the will of the Lord be done; for verily my life is not dear to me, to lay it down for His sake, who hath called me out of darkness into His marvellous light, and hath counted me worthy to bear witness of His Truth amongst a blood-thirsty people, whose hearts are removed far from the Lord, that so I may finish my testimony with joy, as the rest of my brethren have done, which are gone before me. For I am freely given up, with my dear brother, called William Robinson, whose love is dear to you all, to lay down our lives as a witness against this people. For us to live is Christ, but to die is gain; for we know that our reward is sure, where we shall enjoy the pure presence of the living God, and be in favour with Him for evermore. Oh, how doth my love abound, and run out in tenderness to you all! Oh, my tongue cannot express it, nor my mouth utter it forth as it flows out to you from the living streams which water the whole city of God. Oh, feel it, and be refreshed.
Here followeth the copy of a letter that Mary Dyer sent to the rulers of Boston, after she had received the sentence of death:
To the General Court now in Boston :
Whereas, I am by many charged with the guiltiness of my own blood; if you mean in my coming to Boston, I am therein clear, and justified by the Lord, in whose will I came, who will require my blood of you, be sure, who have made a law to take away the lives of the innocent servants of God, if they come.among you, who are called by you cursed Quakers; although I say, and am a living witness for them and the Lord, that He hath blessed them, and sent them unto you. Therefore be not found fighters against God, but let my counsel and request be accepted with you, to repeal all such laws, that the Truth and servants of the Lord may have free passage among you, and you be kept from shedding innocent blood, which I know there are many among you would not do, if they knew it to be so. Nor can the enemy that stirreth you up thus to destroy this holy seed, in any measure countervail the great damage that you will procure by thus doing. Therefore, seeing the Lord' hath not hid it from me, it lieth upon me, in love to your souls, thus to persuade you: I have no selfends, the Lord knoweth, for if my life were freely granted by you it would not avail me, nor could I expect it of you, so long as I should daily see or hear the sufferings of these people, my dear brethren and seed, with whom my life is bound up, as I have done these two years; and now it is like to increase, even unto death, for no evil-doing but coming among you. Were the like laws ever heard of among a people that profess Christ come in the flesh? And have such no other weapons but such laws, to fight against spiritual wickedness withal, as you call it? Woe is me for you! Of whom take you counsel? Search with the Light of Christ in ye, and it will show you of whom, as it hath done me and many more who have been disobedient and deceived, as now you are; which Light as you come into, and obeying what is made manifest to you therein, you will not repent that you were kept from shedding blood, though it were from a woman. It is not my own life I seek, for I choose rather to suffer with the
of the seed, which I know the Lord hath blessed, and therefore the enemy thus vehemently seeks to destroy the life thereof, as in all ages he ever did. Oh, hearken not unto him, I beseech you, for the seed's sake, which is one in all, and is dear in the sight of God. Which they that touch, touch the apple of His eye, and cannot escape His wrath. Whereof I having felt, cannot but persuade all men that I have to do withal, especially you who