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Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel

I saw this law was the pure love of God which was upon me, and which I must go through, though I was troubled while I was under it for I could not be dead to the law but through the law which did judge and condemn that which is to be condemned. I saw many talked of the law, who had never known the law to be their schoolmaster; and many talked of the Gospel of Christ, who had never known life and immortality brought to light in them by it. You that have been under that schoolmaster, and the condemnation of it, know these things; for though the Lord in that day opened these things unto me in secret, they have since been published by his eternal spirit, as on the house-top. And as you brought into the law, and through the law to be dead to it, and witness the righteousness of the law fulfilled in you, ye will afterwards come to know what it is to be brought into the faith, and through faith from under the law. And abiding in the faith which Christ is the author of, ye will have peace and access to God (Journal, 16).

In this passage, Fox affirms the necessary function of the law that God has given us as a help. It is only by obeying the law and being brought into a realization of one's spiritual deadness that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled. After that inward dying to the self, afterwards we "come to know what it is to be brought into the faith, and through faith from under the law." This passage clearly underscores the valid use and necessity of the law, as Fox inwardly discovered and outwardly affirmed, and we, who have also been under that same schoolmaster, and the condemnation of it, we also, like Fox, witness its necessity. After the necessary process of condemnation of all that is to be condemned, that the pure love of God requires us to go through, then we are given the faith. Then we are given to know, Christ, the gospel, the power of God. There is no inward resurrection, if there is no inward crucifixion. The outward law is the first part of the process, and necessary as Fox here affirms. 

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Comment by Ellis Hein on 1stMo. 21, 2015 at 13:10

I ran across the following paragraph in Lewis Benson's The Early Quaker Vision of the Church  from  Quaker Religious Thought, Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 7, (Spring 1960) which I thought applicable.

Hearing God's voice "while it is today" does not mean emphasis on the subjective psychological factor of Christian experience at the expense of the historical and social factors. Hearing and obeying the voice of God leads men into a holy community and it leads to a prophetic understanding of the meaning of history. The word that is heard today is related to all that God has said and done before. It is only as we become obedient participants in holy history that we come to understand the meaning of salvation. As Fox found himself caught up in the messianic event and saw heavenly Jerusalem coming down to be established again in the earth, he was able to read the Scriptures aright because he had come into the relationship that the prophets and apostles were in who gave them forth. Fox rejects the claims of all who assert that their individual Christian experience is sufficient and that they have no need for holy history. It is such, he says, that "start up to be as  Gods and never came through the prophets, nor Moses' house, nor Christ..." [there is supposed to be an apostrophe after Moses, indicating the possessive. But it keeps getting cut off.]

That final quote from Fox is taken from Geoffrey Nuttall, Studies in Christian Enthusiasm, p. 86. I would be interested if anyone knows Nuttall's source. I would like to see the whole context of what Fox is saying. The quote is such an enticing morsel.

Comment by Patricia Dallmann on 1stMo. 22, 2015 at 18:30

I've put a request in to our yearly meeting library for Studies in Christian Enthusiasm, which will arrive in about a month (it's at a monthly meeting library for a few weeks). So, I'll post any information about the Fox quote that Geoffrey Nuttall provides. It's an early Pendle Hill pamphlet from 1948. Thanks for posting the passage. I, too, find the Fox quote intriguing, as it describes a type of error that consumes many more today than it did in Fox's own time.

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