Monday, June 15, 2009

Early Friends' Experiences of the Light, Part 7

This is a continuation of a previous post.

Friends experienced feelings of peace and a sense of divine love through the Light. John Gratton wrote that “The sense of his love, and the experience which I have of his goodness, tenders my poor heart, and bows my spirit before him; and I hope you partake with me, and will also feel with me beyond words or writings.” This divine aspect of love was also felt between one another. Elizabeth Chester wrote of her husband Edward:

He would often say, he felt more of the love of God than he could express, and he much desired stillness and retirement, saying, he knew the worth of a quiet habitation. I felt him in that love of God, which surpasses the love of all things here below, in which we were joined together by the Lord

Isaac Penington wrote than when some Quakers first reached that of God within him, it stirred up love towards those Friends:

As I remember, at the very first, they reached to the life of God in me, which life answered their voice, and caused a great love in me to spring to them ... And this was the effect of almost every discourse with them; they still reached my heart, and I felt them in the secrets of my soul; which caused the love in me always to continue, yea, sometimes to increase towards them

Stephen Grellet wrote of divine love enabling him to speak to others:

I proceeded in it in much lowness of spirit, keeping close to my heavenly guide. He so condescended to me, that on coming into a family, a feeling of Divine love clothing me, I was enable to communicate my concern for them, so as, in many instances, to reach the witness for Truth in their hearts. Many of these opportunities were favoured seasons, and proved visitations of love and mercy to the people. Most of them received us, and our books, with tears of gratitude.

Friends found that dwelling in the Light gave them a peace that was contrary to the spirit of war. George Fox often said that it took away the occasion of all war, as he does here:

for dwelling in the word, it takes away the occasion of wars, and gathers our hearts together to God, and unto one another, and brings to the beginning, before wars were

Friends also felt a peace in doing what they were led to do. John Woolman wrote:

As I was favored to keep to the root, and endeavor to discharge what I believed was required of me, I found inward peace therein, from time to time, and thankfulness of heart to the Lord, who was graciously pleased to be a guide to me.

Friends experienced a sense of peace and love from the Light unlike anything they knew of. John Gratton wrote:

And Oh the peace that flowed in my heart! as Christ promised, not as the world giveth, who cry peace, peace, when there is no peace at all experienced. But, praises to the God of my life, his peace hath he given to me and many thousands in this day; that peace the world does not know, neither can they take it away from us, glory to the Highest for ever. Oh! the love and life that flows here, and springs from the Fountain of living waters, in whom all our fresh springs are. Feel it reader, in thyself, hast thou not seen it gush out of thy rocky heart?

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