First Month 20: Joseph rises to power in Egypt; Jesus' parable of wheat & tares and pearls

One thing I'd like to see happen with the One Year Quaker group is to look at how Friends have interpreted the passages of each day's reading. Lucky for us Esther Greenleaf Murer has spent many years cross-referencing Biblical allusions in early Friends' writings to put together the Quaker Bible Index. You can read today's passage via the Bible Gateway. Believe it or not, Esther's listed even more from today's readings so follow the links if you want more! This weekend I also started my own list of Quaker Bible Resources. I'd love suggestions for additions.

Genesis 41-42 in the Quaker Bible Index

John Woolman (1754): The numerous afflictions of Joseph are very singular, the particular providence of God therein no less manifest. He at length became governor of Egypt and famous for wisdom and virtue. [Gen 41:38-40]

James Nayler (1654): And whereas you allege Joseph's brethren bowing down to him [Gen 43:26] , ... their practice is no rule for us to break the command of God, though they were good men, no more than the practice of Joseph, which swore by the life of Pharaoh [Gen 42:15f], is a warrant to us to swear, though he was a good man.... [JN2: 65, 589 similar]


Matthew 13:24-46 in the Quaker Bible Index

Margaret Fell (1659): Oh how hath this envious man gotten in among you. Surely he hath come in the night, when men was asleep: & hath sown tares among the wheat, which when the reapers come must be bound in bundles and cast into the fire [Mat 13:24-30], for I know that there was good seed sown among you at the first, which when it found good ground, would have brought forth good fruit; but since there are mixed seedsmen come among you & some hath preached Christ of envy & some of good will, ... & so it was easy to stir up jealousy in you, you having the ground of jealousy in yourselves which is as strong as death [Song 8:6].

Sarah Tuke Grubb (1782): But for want of keeping an eye open to this preserving Power, a spirit of indifference hath crept in, and, whilst many have slept, tares have been sown [Mat 13:25]; which as they spring up, have a tendency to choke the good seed [Mat 13:24]; those tender impressions and reproofs of instruction [Prov 6:23], which would have prepared our spirits, and have bound them to the holy law and testimonies of truth.

Isaac Penington (1661): It were better to let many tares grow, than to pluck up one ear of corn. Christ hath absolutely expressed it to be his mind, that he would not have that done which may so much as hazard the plucking up of an ear of corn. Mat 3:29. But oh, how the laws and governments of this world are to be lamented over! And oh, what need there is of their reformation, whose common work it is to pluck up the ears of corn, and leave the tares standing!

Robert Barclay (1678, X.10): This great duty then of waiting upon God must needs be exercised in man's denying self [Mat 16:24], both inwardly and outwardly, in a still and mere dependence on God, in abstracting from all the workings, imaginations, and speculations of his own mind, that being emptied, as it were, of himself.... And man being thus stated, the little Seed of Righteousness which God hath planted in his soul and Christ hath purchased for him, even the measure of Grace and Life (which is burdened and crucified by man's natural thoughts and imaginations), receives a place to arise and becometh a holy birth and geniture in man, and is that divine air in and by which man's soul and spirit comes to be leavened. [Mat 13:31-33]

Isaac Penington:417 (1660): [God's presence] was still near near me all the time of my darkness, and did preserve me, and appear unto me; but I livingly knew it not, but ... waited for such an appearance as could not be questioned by the fleshly wisdom. And he that waits for that, and so despises the day of small things [Zech 4:10], cannot but refuse the little seed; and so, not being received into his earth, it can never grow up in him into a great tree [Mat 13:31f]; whereby the glory of the kingdom will be hid from him, and he shut out of it, when others enter into and sit down in it.

Elizabeth Bathurst (1679): [quotes Mat 13:31f] ...the Seed (or grace) of God, is small in its first appearance (even as the morning -light), but as it is given heed to, and obeyed, it will increase in brightness, till it shine in the soul, like the sun in the firmament at noon-day height; [warns against "despising the day of small things," Zech 4:10].....

Isaac Penington (1661): The second end of persecution in the spirit that persecuteth is, to keep the children of light from gaining further ground. The kingdom of God and his truth is of a growing, spreading nature. It is like leaven [Mat 13:33], like salt, like the light of the morning; its nature is to leaven, to season, to overspread, and gather mankind from the evil, from the darkness, from the corruption, from the death and the destruction. Now the spirit of the world ... hunts and seeks to destroy the vessels wherein the light appeareth....

Job Scott: A little leaven, in time, leavens the whole lump [Gal 5:9], as it is suffered to operate; but until the whole is leavened [Mat 13:33], until every thought is brought into the obedience of Christ, we are never wholly born of the incorruptible seed [1 Pet 1:23], and may be in danger of a total and final apostacy.

George Fox (1686): Christ saith, "Let the tares and the wheat grow together till the harvest [Mat 13:30], which is the end of the world; and then Christ's angels shall separate the tares from the wheat [Mat 13:38-42]. And are not angels spirits, and not men? For Christ commands christian men to "love one another [John 13:34, etc], and love their enemies [Mat 5:44];" and so not to persecute them. And those enemies may be changed by repentance and conversion, from tares to wheat. But if men imprison them, and spoil and destroy them, they do not give them time to repent. So it is clear it is the angels' work to burn the tares, and not men's.

George Fox (1670): Therefore all keep in the sense of truth, and be digging for the pearl in your own field [Mat 13:44-46], and to find the silver in your own house, that was lost [Luke 15:8f], and the leaven [Mat 13:33] in your own hearts; that were it works, and is joined to, will leaven into its own nature.

Isaac Penington (1661): The pearl is exceeding rich, the treasure of life unutterable; and he that will possess it, must sell all for it [Mat 13:44-46]; yea, all the riches of his nature (the best of his will, the best of his wisdom most refined); nay not only so, but all the riches of his spirit, all that he hath held, or can hold out of the life. Then, when he is poor in spirit [Mat 5:3], and hath nothing in him but emptiness, ... then alone is he fit to be comprehended and brought forth in the eternal spring.

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