Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
For information on joining the monthly, Saturday, Fox Reading Conference Calls, watch for the monthly listing at http://nffquaker.org/events.
On the 1-9-2016 conference call we read and considered text from The Works of Fox, 1831, pp-75-77. (Note: this material is also available in C.D. format from www.foundationpublicationsnffusa.org/.) We covered such topics as:
The discussion began with comments about the state of meetings where there is much confusion about and corruption of Quaker faith. Our experience is like Fox's who seeing "nothing but corruptions" in "carnal talk and talkers" felt he never "should overcome; [his] troubles, [his] sorrows, and [his] temptations were so great." New variations of confusion brought on by a misapplication of discoveries in neuroscience have supplemented older forms of materialism. We affirmed Fox's statement, however, that "through him [Christ] and his power, light, grace and spirit, [we] should overcome also." It is peace that we receive when we receive Jesus's power to overcome confusion and corruption. We, furthermore, affirmed, as Fox had likewise discovered, "all these troubles were good for [us], and temptations for the trial of [one's] faith."
A couple of Friends affirmed the importance of Fox's metaphor that spoke of his hope not being lost when his condition was veiled: "And when at any time my condition was veiled, my secret belief was stayed firm, and hope underneath held me, as an anchor in the bottom of the sea; and anchored my immortal soul to its Bishop, causing it to swim above the sea, the world where all the raging waves,foul weather, tempests, and temptations are."
Do we take on every delusion? Here is a situation that is beyond our ability to fix. The pain of realizing "I can't fix this" turns us to Christ, focuses our determination to allow Christ to work and to rule. Being anchored to our Bishop checks all manifestations of our impatience to leap ahead in our own strength. If we are to speak, words will be given us. Only the Lord knows what will be effective in convincing.
Out of the heart, the mouth speaks. The words people speak reveal the heart. It is in the heart where Christ works. Do those words reveal any hunger or thirst after righteousness? Genesis speaks of the sword guarding the tree of life. Revelations portrays the sword coming out of the mouth of the conquering Word of God. It is this living sword, the living hammer, and the living fire that can break up and make tender the heart of stone. "Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit," says the Lord. (Zechariah 4:6)
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