July 22, 2006

George Fox Epistle 10

Well everyone seems to have posted something 'cept me. My favourite poem is TS Elliot's Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock and while I think there's spiritual content -- its longish needs digging and am not sure it fits in the same category as Rumi.

Instead let me post George Fox's Epistle 10 -- which I think offers up an interesting spiritual practice -- one I've found especially hard to put into practice.

X. (10) To Friends, to stand still in trouble, and see the strength of the Lord

Friends,Whatever ye are addicted to, the tempter will come in that thing; and when he can trouble you, then he gets advantage over you, and then ye are gone. Stand still in that which is pure, after ye see yourselves; and then mercy comes in. After thou seest thy thoughts, and the temptations, do not think, but submit; and then power comes. Stand still in that which shows and discovers; and there doth strength immediately come. And stand still in the light, and submit to it, and the other will be hushed and gone; and then content comes. And when temptations and troubles appear, sink down in that which is pure, and all will be hushed, and fly away. Your strength is to stand still, after ye see yourselves; whatsoever ye see yourselves addicted to, temptations, corruption, uncleanness, etc., then ye think ye shall never overcome. And earthly reason will tell you, what ye shall lose; hearken not to that, but stand still in the light that shows them to you, and then strength comes from the Lord, and help contrary to your expectation. Then ye grow up in peace, and no trouble shall move you. David fretted himself, when he looked out; but when he was still, no trouble could move him. When your thoughts are out, abroad, then troubles move you. But come to stay your minds upon that spirit which was before the letter; here ye learn to read the scriptures aright. If ye do any thing in your own wills, then ye tempt God; but stand still in that power which brings peace.


At 10:14 a.m., Blogger Larry said...

There is spiritual content in everything of course, but I must confess that I find less of it in Eliot (especially this) than in most. (No doubt I need a good interpreter.) We did have a creative pamphlet and meeting re Ash Wednesday, which I found quite meaningful.

The trouble with Eliot for me is that I am an American, too. And then I read that he had expressed a pretty low opinion of Blake, which finished him for me! He seemed to be so consistently negative!

Re Epistle 10: bravo. As I read it, one thing came to mind that seemed to me might be an improvement over his prescription. Try laughing; that the devil cannot stand, and he will desert you forthwith.

At 1:21 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

And stand still in the light, and submit to it, and the other will be hushed and gone ....

I like this idea of standing still in the light, and having the "bad spirit" go away - if only I knew how to do ti :-)

I read something somewhere that says that the bad spiritu never goes away, but that we can turn our eyes away from it and toward God, who is always there ready to meet our gaze.

At 10:57 p.m., Blogger Meredith said...

David, I love this Epistle by George Fox. I had not read it before, and I find it truly stunning. The instruction he gives here, of standing still in that which is pure, and seeing ourselves, and in particular our thoughts, more clearly, is echoed in Buddhist practice. I think Fox is saying that no matter what comes to us, temptations, troubles, corruption, fear of loss, whatever it is that troubles us, finding that place of stillness where these thoughts are seen for what they are, simply thoughts that come and go, we will find utter strength beneath the thoughts. Therefore, when we are not at peace, if we ‘sink down in that which is pure, all will be hushed…” This is certainly my experience. When I feel overwrought, if I just let myself settle, peace returns. It always returns.

Thank yo for this post, David.

At 5:13 a.m., Blogger david said...

Fox begins with addiction. That which we give authority to in our lives. In Buddhist terms, our troubles come from our attachments.

I had not picked up the connections with Eastern thought in this one. Thanks Meredith.


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