|Lamentations 4 |
1 How has the gold become dim! How has the most fine gold changed! The stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.
2 The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!
3 Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones; but the daughter of my people has become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.
4 The tongue of the sucking child cleaves to the roof of his mouth for thirst; the young children ask bread, and no man breaks it to them.
5 They who fed delicately, are desolate in the streets. Those who were brought up in scarlet, embrace dunghills.
6 For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her.
7 Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire;
8 Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets. Their skin cleaves to their bones; it is withered, it has become like a stick.
9 They who are slain with the sword are better than those who are slain with hunger for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.
10 The hands of the pitiful women have boiled their own children. They were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people.
11 The LORD has accomplished his fury; he has poured out his fierce anger, and has kindled a fire in Zion, and it has devoured the foundations thereof.
12 The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy would have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.
13 For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, who have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her,
14 They have wandered as blind men in the streets; they have polluted themselves with blood, so that men could not touch their garments.
15 They cried to them, "Depart; it is unclean; depart, depart, do not touch." When they fled away and wandered, they said among the heathen, "They shall no longer sojourn there."
16 The anger of the LORD has divided them; he will no more regard them. They did not respect the persons of the priests, they did not favor the elders.1
17 As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help. In our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us.
18 They hunt our steps, that we cannot go in our streets; our end is near, our days are fulfilled for our end is come.
19 Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven. They pursued us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness.
20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, "Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen."
21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, who dwells in the land of Uz; the cup also shall pass through to you. You shall be drunken and shall make yourself naked.
22 The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry you away into captivity. He will visit your iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will discover your sins.
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1 They did not favor the elders. This is a principal reason the Quaker faith deterioated; they stopped favoring the elders. The early Quakers were strongly counseled to never make any change in their proceedings that the elder members did not agree with. The younger was supposed to submit to the elder, who would obviously have more spiritual maturity. They understood that different people had different measures of the Spirit of Christ, not everyone was equal. As another great worthy of the Lord, Isaac Penington, said:
And Friends, you that are weak, bless God for the strong; you that have need of a pillar to lean upon, bless God, who has provided pillars in his house; and, in fear and the guidance of his Spirit, make use of these pillars; who are faithful, and have ability from God, in his power and glorious presence with them, to help to sustain his building, even as they had ability from the Lord to gather unto him. He that despises him that is sent, despises Him that sent him; and he that undervalues any gift, office, or work, that God has bestowed upon any person, despises the wisdom and disposal of the Giver. Are all fathers? Have all overcome the enemy? Are all grown up in the life? Are all stars in the firmament of God's power? Has God made all equal? Are there not different states, different degrees, different growths, different places, etc.?
Then, if God has made a difference, and given degrees of life, and gifts different, according to his pleasure; what wisdom and spirit is that, which does not acknowledge this, but would make all equal? Oh my Friends! Fear before the Lord; honor the Lord in his appearances, and in the differences which he has made among the children of men, and among his people. He gave prophets of old, and the rest of the people were not equal with them. He gave evangelists, apostles, pastors, teachers, etc., and the other members of the churches were not equal with them. He has given fathers and elders now, and the babes and young men are not equal with them. Thus it is, in truth, from the Lord; and what is of God in you, will so acknowledge it.
Therefore watch, everyone, to feel and know his own place and service in the body, and to be sensible of the gifts, places, and services of others; that the Lord may be honored in all, and everyone owned and honored in the Lord, and not otherwise.
One reason the Quaker faith deteriorated is because, in the name of tolerance and love, they failed to insist on standards of conduct from their members; and a little leaven affects the whole loaf. They lost any resemblance to the 'unity of Holy Spirit,' replacing it with a diversity of spirits. Deterioration of their faith was sealed when the Quakers began denying any authority necessary within the Church, as was beginning in Fox's time. (Click here for his statements regarding this deception of supposed "freedom.") They also later gave up the requirement for the Scriptures to not be violated by their understandings, resulting actions, and resulting pursuits; rationalizing that the Spirit could conflict with and override the Scriptures — directly opposite to the early Quaker's fundamental tenet. Further, they dropped the requirement to never violate the elder's wishes in any changes to their policies or directions; instead, they substituted a consensus of opinion required, giving license to those spiritually immature persons, often the most aggressive in nature, to seize and control the direction of the church. These aggressive, immature persons, often attaining office in the Church, then began quarrelling over all sorts of matters, including scriptural, doctrine fine points, insisting their interpretations were correct in heated arguments attacking their opponents, leading to a series of splits in the Society, and forcing the true worshipers to leave. And of course, as they abandoned their faith in the divinity of Jesus, or even a belief in God, the Holy Spirit no longer presides over their meetings; therefore, they now bring preconceived statements to be shared in their meetings, as well as highlight their social actions. Thus their meetings are only a form of the original.
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