Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
So, are we doing anything more than playing semantics? What difference of understanding is to be gained by looking at things from one point of view or the other?
Consider Epistle XXXII in Vol. VII of the Works of Fox, "When your minds go forth from the pure spirit of God and are drawn out from it, there the image of God comes to be lost, in those whose mind goes out from the pure to lust after that which is in the fall, which may appear like truth in the notion..."
Make the following substitution. "When your minds go forth from the pure [breath] of God and are drawn out from it, there the image of God comes to be lost, in those whose mind goes out from the [breath] to lust after that which is in the fall, which may appear like truth in the notion; in that nature, out of the [breath], lodgeth the enchanter and sorcerer."
This is completely different from what Holy Spirit Christianity is saying. Fox has taken his reader back to Eden, to the experience of the temptation. Only now it is not they — Adam and Eve of old — it is I. "...there the image of God comes to be lost, in those whose minds go out from the [breath], to lust after that which is in the fall..." Here the serpent is again holding forth the tempting fruit of something that appears like truth in the notion (but not in substance). Adam and Eve gave way to this temptation and began to fashion coverings for themselves. But God says, "Woe to those who cover themselves but not with my [breath]," that creational breath that made man a living being created in the image of God. Woe, because covering ourselves with something else, we go away from the life of God, away from his image, away from our rightful habitation and inheritance, and away from the happiness and fulfillment that only comes from living in the breath of God.
If we give way to the temptation today, we bring death upon ourselves, we depart from the one source of life. And in this condition we are cast forth to wander over the face of the Earth, ever fashioning coverings to hide ourselves from God.
"So dwell in the light," says Fox, ”and wait upon God to have the image of God renewed; and all come to witness yourselves to be restored by Christ Jesus into the image of God, and be made by him like to God, pure, holy, perfect, and righteous... Mind the joining to the life. Here ye are kept in the image of God...dwell in that which is pure and eternal [the breath], which guides the mind to God... Now if ye hearken diligently, ye will learn your safeguard, and judge forth that which is not [breath]...ye will see, what stains, what defiles, and the pure [living] eye and ear will be opened to hear God..." (Epistle XXXII)
This is Fox's and the early Quaker message in a nutshell. Our inheritance in the life-giving, image-imparting breath of God lies desolate, while we sit in prison and in darkness. Fox's message is the everlasting Gospel because it proclaims that One, Christ Jesus, IS COME to bring us back into our rightful inheritance, saying unto the prisoner, "Go forth," and to the one sitting in darkness, "Step into the Light."
The road to this restoration lies back through Eden, back to the creational breath that breathed into us. "And I will pour out my [breath] upon all flesh..." says the Lord.
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