Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
As a young man, I had a number of natural history mentors. These men and women were woods-people who organized their lives in such a way that they experienced the natural world to the fullest. They didn't read about the natural histories of the various species in the natural world, they experienced the natural histories personally. They knew the natural history of a species because they observed a species' natural history directly ... immediately ... without borrowing their experience from the abstract recordings of others.
These mentors brought me up with the same spirit.
One day, as a nine year old, I commented to one of them I had located an Indigo Bunting nesting in a tree and went further to suggest: " Indigo Buntings don't usually nest in trees."
"Based on what?" My mentor snapped back.
"How is it that you find it odd that an Indigo Bunting is nesting in a tree?" he said.
"My books say they nest in shrubs and raspberry tangles." I said.
"If you are interested in it, don't read what others say, experience it yourself." he said.
I took that advice to heart and rarely read the literature about the natural history of a particular species I was studying until well after my observations and experiences were complete.
I'm so grateful, for these mentors and the many experiences I shared with them.
In the same way, I do not borrow from others what they think the early Quakers say. I study the early Quakers directly, without the mediation of professors who would tell me what he thinks they say. I experience the early Quaker writers personally and intimately and enter into fellowship with them.
Ultimately, I am grateful, in the power of the presence of Christ, I do not depend on or borrow from the thoughts of others concerning eternal life. What a gift to know the presence of Christ within and to be guided and directed in the Presence itself; immediately and un-borrowed. To anchor consciousness and inform conscience in the immediacy of Presence is to know eternal life. To know eternal life is to know Presence is sufficient to sustain consciousness even upon the dissolution of the body ... death. No fear of death, no fear of the loss of consciousness. This is a new and different consciousness, a new and different conscience, a new and different mind ever renewing from moment to moment.
"If you are interested in it, don't read what others say, experience it in the Quiet and become part of the Effusion... entering into the natural history of the realm of God."
The presence of the Life that was in Jesus and the Life that is available to all, is the sufficient guide and spiritual mentor. In the Life, there is no need to become a borrower and debtor to outward professors or institutions.
Presence is Mentor.