Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Here's an excerpt from an essay titled "That They All May Be One," which can be found on my website Abiding Quaker. Please visit my site and read the essay. The excerpt follows:
The Quaker movement began with the discovery that God is with us, that we can hear and obey the will of our Creator, a will that is not our own—that we can enter the kingdom, the promised land, while we are yet here on earth and alive, and that we should seek this. Here is Fox’s powerful description of Life in unity with our Creator. Please note that he goes back to the Garden of Eden with his imagery – back to the beginning of the long journey to the promised land. Yet one more term for the journey’s destination is “the paradise of God.”
Now was I come up in spirit through the flaming sword into the paradise of God. All things were new, and all the creation gave another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter. I knew nothing but pureness, and innocency, and righteousness, being renewed up into the image of God by Christ Jesus, so that I say I was come up to the state of Adam which he was in before he fell. The creation was opened to me, and it was showed me how all things had their names given them according to their nature and virtue…But I was immediately taken up in spirit, to see into another or more steadfast state than Adam’s in innocency, even into a state in Christ Jesus, that should never fall. And the Lord showed me that such as were faithful to him in the power and light of Christ, should come up into that state in which Adam was before he fell, in which the admirable works of the creation, and the virtues thereof, may be known, through the openings of that divine Word of wisdom and power by which they were made. Great things did the Lord lead me into, and wonderful depths were opened unto me, beyond what can by words be declared; but as people come into subjection to the spirit of God, and grow up in the image and power of the Almighty, they may receive the Word of wisdom, that opens all things, and come to know the hidden unity in the Eternal Being [Journal, 28-29].
We have here a description of the culminating, transcendent state toward which the Scriptures unswervingly have pointed us. All things were new, says Fox. This is a new state in which we feel Life in the Word, in which we sense the essence and power of things. We know them and can name them, as Adam could name the creatures, while he was yet in God’s image before the Fall [Gen. 2:19]. In the image and power of God where (ego/flesh has been crucified), we are given to know things for what they are, to know the truth that makes us free [Jn. 8:32]. To know reality as it is, apart from the distortions provoked by ego’s greed and fear, is the promise realized.