B1r

Epistle
from the
Womens Yearly Meeting at York, 16881688.
and

An Epistle from Mary Waite.

B1v
B2r

A testimony for the Lord and
his Truth, given forth by the women
friends, at their yearly meeting, at
York, being a tender salutation of love,
to their friends and sisters, in their several
monthly meetings, in this county,
and else where, greeting.

Dear friends and sisters,

We, being met together in the fear of the
Lord, to wait upon him for his ancient
power, to order us, and, in his wisdom and
counsel, to guide us in our exercise relating to
church affairs: It hath pleased him to break in
among us in a glorious manner, to our great satisfaction,
and he hath filled our meeting with his
living presence, and crowned our assembly with
his heavenly power, and opened the fountain of
life unto us, and caused the streams of his love
freely to flow among us, and run from vessel to
vessel, to the gladding of our hearts, which causeth
living praise, and hearty thanksgiving to be rendered
unto him, who alone is worthy. And, friends,
we hereby signify to you, that there hath been many
living testimonies delivered among us from the divine
openings of the spirit of life, in many brethren and
sisters, whereby we are fully satisfied that the
Lord is well pleased with this our service, and
doth accept our sacrifices and free-will offerings, B2 and B2v 4
and returns an answer of peace unto our bosoms,
which is greatly our reward. Here hath also been
brought several testimonies in writing from divers
of our monthly meetings, to our great satisfaction,
touching the care of friends for the honour of God,
and prosperity of truth in one another. And, dear
friends, in that unchangeable love and precious
truth of our God, we dearly salute you, wherein
our relation and acquaintance with him, and one
with another, in spirit, is daily renewed, and our
care and concern for his honour, and one another’s
good, is still continued; and therein we see there
is as great need as ever to watch over one another
for good; tho’ it hath pleased God, in his infinite
mercy and love, to give us a day of ease and liberty,
as to the outward, and hath broken the bonds of
many captives, and hath set the oppressed free,
and hath opened the prison doors in a great measure:
living praises be given him for ever! And
now, friends, it is our desire that we all may make
a right use of it, and answer the end of the Lord
in it, and neither take nor give liberty to that part
in any which may give the Lord occasion to suffer
our bonds to be renewed, but in his fear and
holy awe walk humbly before him, in a holy and
self-denying life, under the cross of Christ Jesus,
“which daily crucifies us to the world, and the
world to us”
, and teacheth us to deny ungodliness,
and worldly lusts, and to live righteously and soberly
in this present world, that by our holy lives
and righteous conversation, others, seeing our good works, B3r 5
works, may glorify our heavenly Father, and that,
by our truth-like and Christian behaviour, and upright
dealing in all our affairs among the children
of men, we may walk as becomes the truth. And,
dear friends, join not with any sort of people further
than will stand with truth’s honour, and reach
God’s witness in every conscience, but as much as
in you lieth live peaceably with all men, and do
good unto all, especially unto the houshold of faith,
and so daily fulfill the royal law of love, in shewing
to all men that you are Christ’s disciples, by
loving him and one another. And, friends, we cannot
but warn you of the separating and quarrelling
spirit which leads unto strife, contention and jangling,
and would thereby lay waste your concern
for God’s honour, and one another’s good; this is
that old adversary and enemy of mankind, who,
in all ages, “went about like a roaring lion, seeking
whom he might devour”
, and, as a ravenous
wolf, sometimes gets the sheeps cloathing, and
never wants specious pretences to accomplish his
design, and bring about his end, which is to divide,
rend, tear, destroy and separate from God and one
another; and would lay waste the heritage of God,
and make spoil of his plantation, and leave his tender
plants without care, in the briars and thorns,
and every hurtful weed to wrap about them to
hinder their growth, and draw them out of their
order, by reason of which, as in the days of old, the
way of truth might be evil spoken of. The Lord
disappoint him of his purpose, and frustrate him of
his B3v 6
his end, is our prayer, and keep him livingly sensible,
that the end of the Lord, in all his fatherly
corrections, gentle chastisements, and kind reproofs,
hath been to preserve us from the snares of the
enemy. Therefore, dear friends, be concerned for
the preservation of one another in every of your
respective monthly meetings, and be faithful in performing
your service and duty to God, and to one
another, as he opens it in you, and lays it upon
you, in exhortation, admonition and reproof, in tender
love, for so it will be as the balm of Gilead unto
those who are wounded by the wiles of the enemy;
for, dear friends, it is the very end of our
travel and labour of love, “that the hungry may be
fed, the naked cloathed, the weak strengthened,
the feeble comforted, and the wounded healed”
. So
that the very weakest, and hindermost of the flock,
may be gathered into the fold of rest and safety,
where no destroyer can come, where the ransomed
and redeemed by the Lord have the songs of deliverance
and high praise in their mouths, giving
him the honour, who alone is worthy for ever. And,
friends, let us ever remember the tender dealing
and mercies of the Lord to us, and that it was not
for our deserts, nor any worthiness in us, but his
own good will, and for his seed sake, in which he
heard our many cries, and had regard to our tears,
and helped us through many exercises and trials inwardly
and outwardly, and hath been our rock
and refuge, and our sure hiding place, in many
storms and exercises; and yet preserves in perfect
peace B4r 7
peace all those that trust in him, who keep his new
creation full of joy; and the voice of thanksgiving
and melody is heard in our land, and the Lord becomes
unto us the place of broad rivers, and makes
us before him as well watered gardens, and affects
our hearts with his divine love to praise his name.
And now to you young women, whom our souls
love, and whom the Lord delighteth to do good
unto, and hath visited with the tastes of his love,
be you ordered by him in all things, that, in your
modest and chast behaviour, your comely and decent
dresses in your apparel, and in all other things
you may be good examples to others, not only
those that are without, but to some professing of
the faith, that in the line of life, and language of
truth, we may speak one to another and say, “Arise,
ye daughters of Sion, shake yourselves from the
dust of the earth”
, put on the beautiful garments,
even the robes of righteousness, the saints cloathing,
the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. And
be not too careful for preferment or riches in this
world, but be careful to know the Lord to be
your portion and the lot of your inheritance. Then
testimonies will arise as in the days of old; our lot
is fallen in a good ground, we have large possessions.
And, friends, be not concerned in reference to marriage
out of God’s fear, but first wait to know
your Maker to become your husband and the
bridegroom of your souls, then you will come to
know that you are not your own, but that he
must have the ordering and disposing of you, in
soul, B4v 8
soul, body and spirit, which are all his; for he, being
the only one unto you, and the chiefest of ten
thousand among you, will be your beloved and
your friend. Oh! friends, this state is happy, and
blessed are they that attain it, and live in it; the Lord
is not unmindful of them, but in his own time, if
he see it good for them, can provide meet helps
for them; then will your marriage be honourable,
being orderly accomplished with the assent of parents,
and the unity of friends, and an honour to
God, and comfort to your own souls: then husbands
and children are a blessing in the hands of the Lord,
and you will arise in your day, age and generation,
as mothers in Israel, as those holy ancients whose
living testimonies reacheth unto us, and blessed
memories liveth with us according to our measures;
as Lydia open hearted to God and one to another,
as Dorcas careful to do one another good, as Deborah
concerned in the common wealth of Israel, and as
Iael zealous for the truth, who was praised above
women. And you, friends, who are under the present
concern, and in your day’s work, do it not
negligently, not with careless minds, but be you
diligent in every of your womens meetings, and
order two faithful women in every meeting to take
the care upon them, and so far as may answer
truth, do you endeavour that nothing be practised
among you, but what tends to God’s honour, and
one another’s comfort; let nothing be indulged or
connived at in any, whereby truth is dishonoured,
and let that be cherished and encouraged in all
wherewith C1r 9
wherewith truth is honoured; and these our testimonies
cast not carelesly into a corner, but some
time peruse them, and mark well the wholesome
advice therein; that our travel may be answered,
the Lord honoured, and you reap the benefit; and
let a record be kept from month to month, and
from year to year, of the Lord’s dealing with us,
and mercy to us, to future ages; that from age to
age, and one generation to another, his own works
may praise him, to whom all praises do belong,
and be ascribed both now and for ever.

Signed on the behalf of the meeting by


Catharine Whitton
Judith Boulby
Elizabeth Sedman
Frances Taylor INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that cb is unmatched.Mary Waite Deborah Winn Eliz. Beckwith Mary Lindley

C A WARNING
C1v 10


A warning to all friends, who
profess the everlasting truth of God, which
he hath revealed and made manifest in
this his blessed day, whether on this side,
or beyond the seas.

Dear friends,

In tender bowels of love do I feel, from the
Lord, a warning spring in my heart to you; that
you all may be kept low in his humble self-
denying life, where safety is to be found; for, assuredly,
the great and notable day of the Lord is
at hand, in which he will arise in the greatness of
his strength, to plead the cause of his suffering
seed with all its enemies, whether within or without.

So all dear friends be faithful under your several
dispensations; for in our Father’s house are many
mansions. Keep in the low vallies, for there will be
your safety, there will the green pastures of
God’s love be partaken of, and with such will he
delight to dwell. So, all friends, keep to your
watch, that the day of the Lord come not in an hour
you look not for it, and so you receive the unfaithful
servant’s reward; for indeed, friends, my soul
is in a great travel for the prosperity of Sion, that
her walls may be builded, her breaches repaired
and made up; for, for many months, yea some
years, hath my spirit been bowed down, and groaned
under the sense of an easeful, selfish, lukewarm spirit, C2r 11
spirit, that hath crept in upon many for want of
watchfulness, and keeping to the daily cross of
Christ Jesus, and in the narrow way and savoury
life, that only will bring honour and praise to the
name of the Lord. And how to be eased of these
weights and burdens I did not know: my cry was
to the Lord, that he would give me wisdom and
strength to do his will. And it pleased him to lay
his hand upon me, and bring me near to the gates
of death, so far as I saw; and was pleased to hide
himself from me, and my soul was in a languishing
condition, and my cries were great unto the Lord,
that he would not hide his face from me, but let
me feel of his wonted goodness and mercy, by which
I had received daily comfort and satisfaction from
him in his unerring path, in which he had been
pleased to lead me. And, at length, the Lord appeared,
and said he would be my physician, and cure
my disease, and came in and comforted my spirit
with his overcoming love, which greatly revived
me. And in the openings of the bowels of his endless
love, he shewed me a terrible day drew near,
even, as one may say, at the door, and laid it upon
me, to go warn his people in this city, and elsewhere,
to depart from all filthiness both of flesh
and spirit, from all lukewarmness, from the fashions,
customs and friendships of this world; from
pride, covetousness, and every sin that separateth
from the Lord, and bring dryness, barrenness and
deadness upon many, and makes as unsavory salt,
that is good for nothing, but to be cast forth and
trodden upon.

C2 And C2v 12

And to warn them not to delay time, but come
into the true humility, lowliness of spirit, and
self-denying life, that the Lord might be a hiding
place to them, for terrible will that day be to all
the unfaithful and disobedient. All the sinners in
Sion shall be afraid, fearfulness shall take hold on
the hypocrite, dread and horror shall surprise them.
O whither will you unfaithful fly! Would you
not be glad that either rocks or mountains could
hide you from the presence of the Lord, and the
wrath of the Lamb? O this will be a terrible day
indeed unto all those that have had a form of godliness,
but denied the power that would have saved
them out of all defilements and pollutions of this
world.

For long hath the spirit of the Lord been
grieved with these, who have long come and sitten
among God’s people, as if they had been of them,
but never came to sink down to the heart searching
light of Christ Jesus in them, that by it they
might be cleansed from all secret and open sins,
from every Dalilah that lodgeth in the bosom, as
pride and covetousness, which often the one attends
the other; covetousness, saith the servant of
the Lord, is the root of all evil, and advised them
to fly from it; but who abide not in the spirit of
judgment, and of burning, which God hath prepared
to purge away the filth of the daughter of
Sion, their filth hath not been purged or done
away, which causeth many miscarriages, blots and
stains, and great reflections have such brought uponon C3r 13
the blessed truth, and much dirt hath been
thrown on the pure, holy, and undefiled way of
the Lord, which he hath cast up for the ransomed
to walk in, and so through the unfaithfulness and
uneven walking of such, the name of the Lord
hath been greatly dishonoured, his spirit grieved,
and the hearts of the righteous made sad. And
many a wounded soul there is among the Lord’s
people, who are bowed under these weights and
pressures; but assuredly the day hastens that every
one must bear their own burden, and the Lord
will ease his innocent ones, who have been bowed
down before him, and have mourned and groaned
under these things; yea the day hastens, that the
unfaithful and disobedient shall bear their own
burdens. And the Lord will arise for his own name
and glory sake, and will ease him of his enemies,
and avenge him of his adversaries, and take to
himself his great power, that he may reign and
rule in the hearts of his, that faithfully labour in
his work, and order their conversations aright before
him. His glory shall rest upon them, for he
will not give it to another seed or birth, but to
Christ Jesus the seed of the woman, who was given
to bruise the serpent’s head; he hath born the
iniquities of all, and been pressed under them as a
cart with sheaves; his face hath been more marred
than any man’s, and his voice not heard in the
streets, no beauty nor comliness seen in him; and,
because he hath been a man of sorrows, and acquainted
with grief, therefore hath he been passed by, C3v 14
by, and not regarded, but the Lord will make
him the joy of many generations, and his Sion the
praise of the whole earth.

Therefore, dear friends, love him with all your
souls, and be you delighted in him above all enjoyments
whatever, that you may lie down in
the bosom of his love, and be nourished by his
side, as children of our heavenly Father, begotten
by the immortal word of life, to live and reign
here in it, and, when time shall be no more, enter
into that blessed rest prepared for all those that
have obeyed his glorious gospel; and though as
yet we be but as the gleaning of the vintage, yet
the Lord hath many to gather, yea the numberless
number shall be gathered, and great will be
the work of our God, which he is bringing to pass
in this his blessed day; it cannot be declared as it
is seen and felt in the spirit.

So, friends, be faithful in the work of your day,
be valiant for the Lord and his blessed truth; come
up in the nobility of his life, and stand faithful
witnesses for him; for we are the city set upon a
hill, yea battle axes in God’s hand, though our
weapons are not carnal, but spiritual and mighty,
through the power of God, to the pulling down
the strong holds of sin and satan. Friends, we are
they whom the Lord hath raised to hold forth
Christ Jesus, whom he hath given for an ensign to
the nations, unto whom all the ends of the earth
must come for salvation.

So, dear friends, let your light shine forth beforefore C4r 15
men, that they may see your good works,
and glorify your heavenly Father, so that by your
godly life and holy conversation many may enquire
the way to Sion.

All friends be faithful, and keep your meetings
in the fear of the Lord; be diligent in his work,
for the woe and curse belongs to them that do the
Lord’s work negligently, or with careless minds,
and it is come on some already, and will come
more upon others, if by speedy repentance they
return not unto the Lord. So be zealous for the
Lord and his truth, and, as much as in you lies,
gather orderly together as near the time as possible,
that the meeting is appointed at; for disorderly
coming hath been a hurt, and burdened the faithful,
who dare not be negligent in the Lord’s work,
and often they have waited a considerable season,
and God’s power hath been felt, and the manifold
grace of God been dispensed among us, and then
others come in and miss of the counsels, admonitions
and refreshments, which the Lord, by the
operation of his blessed spirit, hands forth to his
people, and so, for want of zeal in coming duly to
meeting, especially on the week days, truth hath
not grown in them, but such have long travelled
in the wilderness, and many carcases fallen there,
and so, for want of zeal and faithfulness, the enemy
hath crept in, and darkened many minds, where
once there was tender good desires raised after
God. So all have need to be faithful, and wait diligently
every opportunity the Lord gives you to feel C4v 16
feel your strength renewed; for in the world are
many incumbrances and intanglements, some on
one hand, and some on another, to draw the mind
from God, and but one to draw it to him; so there
is great need of holy zeal and diligence, in observeing
the time to wait upon the Lord to feel your
strength renewed, to help through the many
things, and his power to strengthen and support,
that in your families, and all your undertakings,
you may be a good savour to the Lord, being
guided by his wisdom to rule and order your children
and servants, and he will give authority to
stand over every thing that is contrary to his witness.
And in the fear of the Lord I warn and exhort
all parents not to wink or connive at any
sin in your children, as you tender their everlasting
well being; let no sin go unreproved or uncorrected,
but take the wise man’s counsel, who
saith, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of correction must drive it out, and
he that corrects his child shall deliver his soul
from death.”
So, friends, train up your children in
the blessed truth and fear of the Lord, so may you
have hope they will not depart from it when they
are old. And take heed of giving way or suffering
them to get into pride, and the vain and foolish
fashions, which are a shame to sober people, and
a great inlet to many evils, for they are prone to
that by nature, and it may soon be set up, but
hard to get it down. So, friends, keep the yoke
upon that nature that is proud, stubborn, or disobedientobedient D1r 17
to parents, break that will in them betimes
which comes from the evil one, and bend
them while they are young, lest when they grow
up you cannot. And then you may sorrow greatly
when it is too late; for by your overlooking
their folly or pride, the wrong nature grows in
them to a strong head, whereby you have helped
them forwards in the broad way which leads to
destruction, and their blood may come to be required
at your hands. Ah, friends! friends! as
much as in you lies keep down the evil, and the
good will arise, then there will be room for the
tender seed to grow up in them, and they will
bless the Lord on your behalfs, for your love and
care of their immortal souls.

And all masters and mistresses of families, keep
in the dominion of truth, that in it you may rule
over every unclean thing, and wrong spirit, that
is contrary to the Lord, that you abiding in him
who is the highest power, and higher than the
powers of darkness, may in it keep your authority
in your families; and look that all be kept
sweet and clean out of the condemnable state, first
in yourselves, and then in your families, to see
that all wildness, wantonness and rudeness, be kept
under by the power, yea every thing that would
blot or stain the precious truth. And then if the
Lord requires any service or testimony of any of
you, for his name and blessed truth, that all may
be clear in yourselves, and justified by God’s witness,D ness, D1v 18
that you have stood in his counsel and authority
in your families, and been good examples in
life and conversation, by keeping your own houses
in order, and ruling there for God; then may you
openly with boldness appear for the Lord, and
thresh down sin and every evil way, in the power
and authority of his life, that none may have
any thing to accuse any of you on the accounts
above mentioned. And, dear friends, all keep
in the savoury life; but more especially you who
are drawn forth to bear publick testimony for
the Lord and his blessed truth, keep you to the
watch, that at all times, places, and on all occasions,
your lives may preach for God, by a clean
unspotted conversation, which is the crown of all
the faithful, who labour in the work of the Lord,
and are upright before him; his glory shall rest
upon them, and their reward is sure.

Now unto all you young people, sons and
daughters, apprentices, men or maid servants, all
that are convinced of God’s truth, and the way
that leads to everlasting life and happiness, be
you all faithful to God’s witness in you, and mind
the motions and operations of it, that thereby you
may be changed, and all judge out what’s contrary
to his pure witness; let not your minds
wander, neither look at the vanities in this world,
for Christ’s kingdom is not of it, nor to be found
in pride, wantonness, and lust of the flesh, the
fashions, customs, and friendships of this world, for D2r 19
for the devil is the king of pride, and all its antecedents,
that lead to the gates of hell and everlasting
destruction, where there is woe and misery,
and that for ever more, where the worm
never dies, the fire never goes out; so all you
young and tender ones, where desires are begotten
after God, keep you low in his fear, and to
the daily cross, that all the contrary may be crucified,
and all the enmity slain upon it. For
every one that will be a disciple of Christ Jesus
must come into the self-denying life. You cannot
have two kingdoms; so my advice to you all
is, stoop to Christ’s appearance in you, he who
invites all to come and learn of him, who is
meek and lowly, and you shall find rest to your
souls. So all be faithful in your several places
and the exercises you may be under, that you may
grow in grace, and in the fear and wisdom of God.
Let not your eyes look out at others, but mind
your own conditions; for, if you do, it will spy
many faults in others, and may be overlook more
at home. This hinders the growth of many, so
all wait low within to feel your growth in the
blessed truth, and know how the work goes on,
and whether thou feel God’s love, mercy and
goodness, renewed to thee day by day, or not;
for your accounts will be for the deeds done in
your bodies, and not for others, so every one is
to labour to know your calling and election made
sure.

D2 And D2v 20

And you that are apprentices keep in the
truth, love and obey it, for it will keep you
faithful in your places, and out of every deceitful
way, performing them not with eye service, but
with singleness of heart, as unto the Lord, from
whom you must receive a reward. And if the enemy
entice, consent not, though he come in with
never so fair pretences, That thou mayest deceive
thy master, and it will never be known,
&c. or purloin or waste his Goods: believe him
not, he is a liar, and the father of lyes; for there
is an eye that sees in secret, which will bring all
the hidden deeds of darkness to light, and every
work to judgement. So as thy work is, shall be
thy reward. But fear the Lord and obey his
voice in thee, and he will deliver thee out of
every unclean way and polluted path, by his
dear son Christ Jesus, whom he hath given for
a high way of holiness, and a restorer of paths
to dwell in. Glory to his Name for ever saith
the redeemed, who are now returning unto Sion
with songs of deliverance in their mouths, and
everlasting high praises are sounded unto him,
by those whose garments are made white in the
blood of the Lamb, for Sion’s redeemer is come,
the taker away of sin and iniquity is made manifest,
the mourners in Sion comforted, the weary
travellers are refreshed, the feeble knees are
strengthened, the broken spirit bound up, and
the wounded soul hath oil poured in: who can but D3r 21
but rejoice and be exceeding glad? for he hath
put a new song in our mouths, he hath given
his people beauty for ashes, and, instead of
heaviness, the spirit of praise. All that know
him will speak well of his name, for all the
noble acts he hath brought to pass for his
children. My soul is greatly affected in the
remembrance of the Lord’s numberless mercies
(to me) and a little remnant whom he hath
plucked as brands out of the fire, to shew forth
his praises, and declare of his goodness in the
land of the living, to hold forth Christ, the
way to the Father, to the nations, that his
scattered seed may be gathered from all the
ends of the earth.

So I have cleared my spirit of what hath
long lain upon me, and discharged my
conscience, in delivering the Lord’s message
faithfully, according to the ability he hath
given me. And so am clear in my spirit:
The Lord set it home upon every heart
whom it may concern, and that it may be
received in the same bowels of love it
was given forth. Then shall I have my
reward, and the Lord his glory. And so
shall return to my tent, and enter into
the hole of the rock, where safety is to be D3v 22
be found, till the indignation be over
past; and in the endless unchangeable love
of God do I salute you, and bid you farewell
in the Lord.

Mary Waite.


Let this be read in friends meetings,
when they are gathered together, in the
fear of the Lord, and in his weighty
savoury life.

Finis.