An Epistle to Friends Coming Forth in Ministry
by Charles Marshall
Who in your assemblies sometimes feel a testimony for the Lord to spring to your hearts, keep your watch in the light, that so none stay behind, nor run before; but let all that open their mouths in the assemblies of the Lord's people, do it as the oracle of God, in the arising of the eternal power; for nothing can beget to God, but what comes from the word of life, that lives and abides forever; and nothing can refresh, strengthen or comfort that which is begotten by the word of life, but what springs from the same. Therefore, dear Friends, whom this concerns, wait diligently, not only to know and savour every motion, but also to know the appointed time when the motion should be brought forth; so shall what is ministered, if it be but few words, reach, and do its service. For this I have learned,, that though there may be a true motion of the power of the Lord, and a true operation thereof, yet where there is not a waiting for the perfecting of what is to be brought forth, but instead thereof, coming forth before the time, there is an untimely birth; which hurts the vessel through which it comes, and the hearers are burdened; and the life which first moved comes to be oppressed. ....
And, Friends, when any through want of experience err, in running before the power, be very tender; and although there may be a savour and judgment in yourselves, and you may be burthened, yet beware how you speak to ease yourselves, but wait on the Lord therein, to be guided by his counsel; for some having such a sense, and not discerning wherein the miscarriage lay, have run forth in judgment, and have sometimes hurt, and even destroyed, or at least have become a stumbling-block to such an exercised Friend, and have also much hurt themselves. So that not having a true discerning, between the first moving cause, which is the power, they have judged both, and so have brought a hurt over their own souls, through judging the power of the Lord; and this sometimes may extend to hurt others. Out of which snare God Almighty preserve all, that so one may be a strength to another, taking one another by the hand, and saying, "Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, who will teach us more and more his ways; and here, in God's holy mountain, is neither hurting nor destroying. "