Unto Thee in Order Most Excellent Friend…
William, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, (called with Robert our brother;) separated unto The Gospel Of God, which I have received from God by revelation; (wherein all of God have stood and by which all are now saved;) to be published throughout all nations to declare what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God: unto all people of good will that in every place call upon the almighty God, both theirs and ours; but especially to you, most excellent friend, beloved of God, called to be a saint: grace unto you, and mercy and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
First, O Friend, I thank God through Jesus Christ that the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, has given me grace with unspeakable joy, and a peace which passes all understanding, to declare unto you what God has both wrought and taught in me concerning his kingdom, even the revelation of Jesus Christ, according to the blessed gospel of the blessed God which is committed to my trust.
For God is my witness that since I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, without ceasing I make mention of you in my prayers: that the God of my Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his glorious gospel which is the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the Chief Cornerstone. Amen.
Now when you were a child you spake as a child, you understood as a child, you thought as a child: but when you became a man, you put away childish things. Rejoice, O happy Friend, in thy youth: as one innocent your heart cheered you in the days of your youth; you walked in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes. But now you have come to know...that for all these things God has brought you into judgment.
For it is appointed unto all men once to die. Then shall the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern. Then shall the flesh of the happy man return to the earth as it was: for out of the ground you were taken: for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return; and the spirit of man shall return unto God who gives the Light: for the Light that is come is the judgment.
Now the Son is that true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world: for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. And this is the condemnation: Light is come into the world, even through the darkness of every man’s soul; and men love darkness rather than Light, neither come to the Light, because their deeds are evil. And this is the evil: the work of man being without is in darkness; the faith of man being alone is dead. But where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. For the riches of the goodness and forbearance and longsuffering of God appoint unto every man a day of visitation: to enlighten that man unto his own darkness, and allow that man to judge himself, his works and his faith, whether they be good or evil. And unto that man who acknowledges the righteous judgment of God, which is always according to truth, and comes to the Light, then will God himself appoint a day of salvation, glory, honour, and peace; that his work and faith be made manifest; that that man be wrought in God.
So as much as in me is, most excellent Friend, I am ready to both teach and preach the gospel, to open your eyes, and to turn you from darkness to Light, and from the power of Satan unto God; that you may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by the Faith that is in Jesus.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from Faith to faith. As it is commanded, the just shall live by his Faith. And the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and charity out of a good conscience, and charity out of Faith unfeigned.
And now abides faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. For the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us that we might give unto you, most excellent Friend, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; in hope that God who commanded the Light to shine out of darkness, may shine also in your heart, to give unto you the Light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Amen.