Guest post by Tone - "That of God within all"

Reproduced with the author's permission from Britain Yearly Meeting's web forum. Tone wrote:

When George Fox recorded this phrase, 'answering that of God in everyone' he was in jail in Launceston. He was suffering at the hands of his oppressors. He saw 'that of God' as being repressed in his tormentors, ignored and 'transgressed'. Answering that of God in them was 'spreading the Truth abroad, awakening the witness, confounding deceit, gathering up out of transgression into the life, the covenant of light and peace with God.'

In short, 'that of God within all' only means something if we all submit ourselves to the will of that God within all.

"Let all nations hear the word by sound or writing. Spare no place, spare
not tongue nor pen, but be obedient to the Lord God and go through the
world and be valiant for the Truth upon earth; tread and trample all
that is contrary under."

So often (not here) I have heard this phrase 'that of God in all' used as a confirmation that we can all do as we please because we are all part of God. But our will is not necessarily God's will for us. Unless we listen, we will never know.

I submit that true joy can only be found by submitting to the will of that of God within us all,
tested in the gathered meeting for worship. It is a hard thing to do. I am not good at it! I am too strong willed!

You can find the original letter that he dictated to Ann Downer (1624-1686), who had
walked all the way from London to Cornwall to help him, in QF&P 19:32

'That of God within' is a challenge, not a benediction.

Views: 50

Comment by Raye on 2nd mo. 5, 2010 at 3:37pm
Thanks and amen! There are many who have seen clips and bits from journals and histories of Friends, perhaps on a poster, or perhaps heard often as part of conversation. It seems to me that in some cases, these clips and bits have developed meanings quite different than when used in their original context. It reminds me of how scripture itself is often used this way - a convenient phrase, lifted out of the flow of a full passage, used to support someone's own idea of "how it ought to be." May we all resist the temptation to do this. May we all spend a little time looking deeper at those catchy little phrases, find out who wrote them, to whom, in what circumstances, and may we be able to read the entire letter or at least chapter, if not book, in which these are contained.
Comment by Lyle Havens on 2nd mo. 5, 2010 at 7:09pm
By the way, I used to have trouble with the phrase "Gods will", when it would pop up in religious conversations and literature, and what that phrase might mean, if anything, but recently have been using the shorthand "God's will =love". Thus, in a pinch, or when stressed for time to discern, God's will is to do something loving.


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