Volume 6, The Works of George Fox, Doctrinal Books III, Continued
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Several treatises worthy of every true Christian's serious consideration.
By George Fox
I. A distinction between the prophets of God, Christ, and his ministers, and the messengers of Satan; for the one preaches up Christ's works and things, and the other preaches up Satan's works and his evil things. Wherein you may clearly see, the outward body of man and woman is not the body of death, nor sins of the flesh, nor the old man with his deceitful lusts, which must be put off; and how that men and women had outward bodies, before the body of death, and sins of the flesh, and the old man came into them, and by what means they came into man, and by what means they are cast out again, while men and women are upon the earth. And how that the ministers of Satan teach people, that they must carry about them a body of death, and sins of the flesh, and imperfection, while on this side the grave, which never did the prophets of God, Christ, nor his apostles preach any such doctrine.
The Protestant priests, ministers, and teachers, preach to the people, and teach them both in public and private, that they must carry a body of sin, and a body of death, as long as they live on this side the grave; and none can be made free from sin and this body of death, as long as they live upon the earth. And they have so riveted this doctrine into the people, of carrying a body of sin and death, and not being made free from it while upon the earth, that both the professors and the hearers, as well as the priests, plead for this body of sin, death and imperfection while upon the earth; and many of the teachers and professors are so ignorant, that they say, the outward body or creature of man and woman, is the outward body of sin and death; which doctrine is utterly false, and they are quite mistaken, for the apostle said, ‘The earnest expectation of the whole creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God, because the creation itself shall also be delivered from the slavery of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.’ Rom 8:19-21. So here it is clear that the outward man of flesh, blood, and bones, is not the old man with his body of death, and body of the sins of the flesh. For the apostle said, ‘Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin; for he that is dead is free from sin; but now being made free from sin, and become servants of God, that you have your fruits unto holiness, and your end everlasting life.’ Rom 6:6-7,22. So you may see here that the Romans, and the church of Christ, and the apostles, as men and women, were living, though the old man of sin was crucified.
And in the beginning, when God Almighty created man and woman in his own likeness and image, God blessed them, and said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it. And said unto them, ‘Have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over every beast of the earth; and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.
Now here you may see all that God made was very good, perfect, and blessed; and man and woman had no body of death, nor body of sin, though they had outward bodies when God made them. And the Lord God planted a garden, and put them into it, to dress it, and keep it, and said unto them, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may eat freely, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat; for in the day you eat thereof, you shall surely die.’
Now here you may see Adam and Eve in paradise, what commands God gave unto them, and as long as they kept under God's teaching they kept in his image, and were blessed, perfect, and happy, and they had dominion over all that God made, and the serpent; and they had outward bodies, yet they had no body of death, nor body of sin, but were perfect, as you may see in Gen 1:26-29,2:15-25. For Adam said, ‘Eve was bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh.’ So it is clear that their outward body of flesh and bone, is not the body of death, and body of sin, the old man which must be crucified and put off, as in Rom 6:6. And Adam and Eve did not have the old man, (the body of death and body of sin), when God made them, nor as long as they kept under God's teaching, until after they hearkened unto the serpent's false teaching; for ‘the serpent said unto the woman, yes, has God said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden? The woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, namely, of the knowledge of good and evil, God has said you shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die; for God said, in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.’* The serpent said to the woman, ‘you shall not surely die, for God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ Here the devil was a liar and a murderer from the beginning, for he taught them to eat that which the Lord said, ‘in the day they did eat they should surely die,’ and the serpent said, ‘they should not surely die, they should be as gods.’ So in this it is plainly seen, he was a murderer and a liar from the beginning. ‘And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, namely, the tree of knowledge of good and evil,’ which God said, ‘in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die;’ here went out the lust of the flesh, ‘and she saw that it was pleasant to the eyes,’ here was the lust of the eye to that which God forbade, ‘and she saw it was a tree to be desired to make one wise;’ here was the pride of life.
And John said, ‘For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world; and the world passes away and the lust thereof, but he that does the will of God abides forever.’ 1 John 2:16-17. And James said in his General Epistle to the church of Christ, ‘But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed; then when lust has conceived it brings forth sin, and sin, when it is finished brings forth death.’ James 1:14-15. Now here is the conception of the body of sin and death, ‘and the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.’ Eph 4:22. Now here you may see clearly, this old man which lust has conceived, which brings forth the birth of sin and death, and the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world; so this old man with his deceitful lusts, and body of sin and death, is not the outward creature of man and woman, nor his outward flesh and blood which God has made. For you may see Adam and Eve had no body of death and body of sin when God Almighty made them; but when they forsook God and disobeyed his command, and forsook his teaching, and obeyed the serpent's, the liar and murderer's teaching, who abode not in the truth, and so followed the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father. So when lust was conceived, it brought forth sin, and when it was finished it brought forth death, and so there came the body of sin, and body of death into man and woman, called the old man with his deceitful lusts, which has a wisdom below, which is earthly, sensual, and devilish, which is not from above. This wisdom man and woman got by hearkening to the serpent, and looking out at the tree they thought to be made wise, became fools. After man and woman had transgressed the command of God, and disobeyed him, in eating that which God had forbidden, and hearkening to the serpent, and obeying him, they died, and fell from the image and likeness of God, and his wisdom, power, and dominion; and then God drove them out of paradise into the earth. And though man and woman died from the image and likeness of God, of righteousness and holiness, and his wisdom and power, yet they were alive outwardly in the earth, with their body of death, and sins of the flesh, and had children. And in process of time, the serpent the devil that deceived them, telling them, ‘they should be as gods,’ (instead of that occurring), he came to be god of the world, having gotten in by disobedience, to rule in the disobedient. So I say in process of time, the devil got the disobedient to make gods of stocks [wood] and stones, and to worship them. Now all the devil's messengers, teachers, ministers, disciples, prophets, bishops, and shepherds, and his angels and unclean spirits, like the devil that abode not in the truth, all these preach up a body of death, and a body of the sins of the flesh, that men must carry about them as long as they live while on this side the grave, and say they must not be made free from sin and this body of death; whereas the body of death and sins of the flesh, came into man and woman by disobeying God, and forsaking his teaching, and hearkening to the devil's teaching. And so the devil and all his messengers, ministers, prophets, false apostles, priests, bishops, and shepherds, study and labor with all their might in the devil's dark power and unclean spirit, to keep up the devil's works in man and woman, and tells them, there is no perfection here, no overcoming here, while on this side the grave. So they deny the purpose of Christ's coming, for God never sent any of his prophets, nor his son, nor his apostles, to tell the people they must carry a body of death, or a body of the sins of the flesh to the grave, but said, ‘Be you holy, for I am holy.’ And Peter said, ‘He that has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conduct.’ 1 Peter 1:15. ‘And for this purpose was the son of God manifest that he might destroy the works of the devil.’ And again, ‘You know that Christ was manifest to take away sin.’ 1 John 3:5,8. This is the ministers' of Christ's doctrine, and the blood of Christ cleanses from all sins. 1 John 1:7. And he shall finish transgression, and make an end of sin, and make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness, to wit Christ. Dan 9:24. Now the devil's teachers say you must have your sin, and it is not taken away as long as you live, but you must carry about you the body of death and sins of the flesh to the grave, which is the devil's works, and his ministers' doctrine.
And Peter said ‘Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conduct, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish or spot.’ 1 Pet 1:18-19. And the apostle said, ‘Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.’ Heb 10:22. And Christ ‘sanctifies his people with his own blood.’ Heb 13:12. And John said, Christ that ‘loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.’ Rev 1:5. And again the apostle said, ‘We have redemption through the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of sins.’ Eph 1:7. And the apostle said, ‘being justified by the blood of Christ.’ Rom 5:9. So you may see the doctrine of the holy apostles of Christ was not to preach up the body of death and sins to the grave, as Satan's ministers do, but how they were washed, and cleansed, and justified by the blood of Christ.
The Lord said, Noah was a just and perfect man in his generation, and walked with God. The Lord said to Abraham, ‘I am God Almighty, walk before me, and be you perfect.’ Gen 6:9, 17:1. And the Lord said unto Israel, ‘You shall be perfect with the Lord your God.’ Deut 18:13. The Lord said Job was a perfect and upright man, one that feared God and eschewed evil. Job 1:1, 2:3. Solomon said, ‘The path of the just is a shining light which shines more and more unto the perfect day.’ Pro 4:18. And Christ said, ‘Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ Mat 5:48. Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth were both righteous before God, and walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. Luke 1:5-6. The apostle said to the Corinthians, ‘That you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.’ And again the apostle said, ‘We speak wisdom among them that are perfect.’ 1 Cor 1:10, 2:6. And the apostle said, ‘Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.’ 2 Cor 7:1. And the apostle said to the Corinthians, ‘We wish even your perfection. Finally brethren, farewell, be you perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind.’ 2 Cor 13: 9,11. And James said, ‘Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.’ James 1:4. And the apostle said, strong meat belongs to those who are of full age, (or perfect); let us go on to perfection. Heb 5:14, 6:1. And Peter said to the saints, ‘The God of all grace who has called us into his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered awhile, make you perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.’ 1 Pet 5:10. And the apostle said, ‘that the man of God may be perfect,’ 2 Tim 3:17. And you may see in Eph 4 how Christ gives gifts unto men ‘for the work of the ministry, and for the perfecting of the saints, and for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come into the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’ Eph 4:1-4. And again the apostle said, ‘Christ in you the hope of glory, whom we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.’ Col 1:27-28.
Now here it may be clearly seen, God, and Christ, and his prophets and apostles, call and encourage to perfection, and justify the perfect. And the work of the ministers of Christ was and is to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, and bring them to a perfect man. So here it is clearly seen from Genesis to Revelation, never did God, the prophets, Christ, nor his apostles preach up a doctrine to people, and tell them they should not be perfect, but they must carry a body of sin and death while they are upon the earth to the grave. So is it not clear here that all such are Satan's ministers and preachers, and not God's nor Christ's, that say people must be imperfect, and have a body of sin and death while upon the earth, which body of sin and imperfection came into man and woman by disobeying God, and hearkening to the devil, and obeying him, and so his ministers preach up the devil's works, which Christ came to destroy, and Christ through death destroys death, and the devil, the power of death, and bruises the serpent's head.
Now the scriptures that the ministers of Satan used to bring for a body of sin, and a body of death and imperfection are as follow. David was a sinner, cry they, and cried out of his sins and iniquities after he had committed adultery and murder, etc., but he confessed his sins and transgressions, and said, ‘My sins are ever before me.’ Psalm 51 throughout. But David said, ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far has he, (namely, the Lord), removed our transgressions from us;’ and said, ‘Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name;’ and again, ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who has forgiven all your iniquities, who has healed all your diseases,’ Psalm 103:1-3,11-12.
Now here you may see Satan's ministers and preachers take David's sins and transgressions, which Satan tempted him to run out into; but how the Lord had forgiven David all his iniquities, and healed all his diseases, and his transgressions were removed as far as the east was from the west, and how that all within him praised God. These scriptures are against Satan and his ministers, and are not for their purpose.
And again, Satan's ministers say, that the most righteous man that is, sins seven times a day; and this both priests and professors have affirmed to my face that it was scripture, but I searched the scriptures, and never found any such scripture. But Solomon said, ‘Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwellings of the righteous. Spoil not his resting place; for a just man falls seven times, and rises again, but the wicked shall fall into mischief.’ Prov 24:15-16. Now this is not speaking to seven times a day; and though David did fall, yet he rose again and was healed, and his iniquities were removed, as far as the east is from the west.
But hear what Solomon said concerning the Church: ‘You are all fair, my love, there is no spot in you.’ Song 4:7. ‘Open to me my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled.’ Song 5:2. So Solomon is far from saying, she had a body of death, and a body of sin. And David said, ‘Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace.’ Psalm 32:37. But Satan and his ministers will not allow there is any perfect man and upright, to be marked; for the devil who is blind, has blinded his ministers, and they can neither behold nor mark the perfect man.
And another scripture Satan's ministers bring, of Peter's saying to Christ, ‘though I should die with you, yet I would not deny you;’ and after Peter was examined, he cursed and swore, and said he did not know the man, namely Christ. Mat 26:69-74. But in the 75th verse, you may see Peter repented of what he had said, and wept bitterly. And Christ said unto Peter, ‘When you are converted strengthen your brethren.’ Luke 12:23. So it seems that Peter was not wholly converted when he denied Christ. And Satan's messengers say, that Judas was partaker of the ministry, who carried the bag and betrayed Christ. Judas was like the devil, who did not abide in the truth; and is not covetous Judas's bag imposed upon all Satan's ministers and messengers? And do not they hold it by imposition? And are they not worse than Judas? For Judas put in his bag what people gave him, but did not have a law or staff to compel people to contribute to his bag, nor cast any into prison, as Satan's ministers and messengers do, and have done.
And again Satan's messengers and ministers say, Paul cried out and said, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?’ And he was in a warfare, and therefore people must be in a warfare, and carry a body of death, and a body of sin about with them as long as they live, to the grave, and there is no overcoming nor no victory here. But in this, Satan's messengers and ministers wrong the apostle's words, and do not take them all; for though he cried out, who shall deliver him from that body of death and sin; yet he thanks God through Jesus Christ our Lord, and said, ‘The law of the spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, has made me free from the law of sin and death.’ Mark, he said Christ Jesus had made him free, as in Rom 7:24-25, 8:1-2. And said, there was ‘no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.’ And again, he said, ‘Thanks be to God, who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Cor 15:57. And again, he said, ‘Those who are in Christ are new creatures.’ And again, the apostle said, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.’ 2 Tim 4:7.
Then the apostle, if he had fought the good fight, he was not fighting; and having kept the faith he kept the victory; for faith is the victory. And John said, ‘his is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.’ 1 John 5:4. And Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. Heb 12:2. So here you may see the apostle had fought and kept the faith of Christ which is the victory. So he was not always fighting and warring as Satan's messengers would have it, who was a liar from the beginning. For the apostle said, ‘I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, (mark, live), yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.’ Gal 2:20. [Faith that purifies the heart.]
And the apostle said, ‘That you put off the former conduct, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness, (now this new creation, the devil's messengers and ministers are ignorant of), and true holiness.’ Eph 4:22-24. Now these were the ministers of Christ that preached this true doctrine; but the ministers and messengers of Satan say, they must carry the old man, which is corrupt, with his deceitful lusts, while they are upon the earth, to the grave with them. And again the apostle said to the church of Christ, the Colossians, ‘Seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of God that created him; and you are complete in him, (Christ), which is the head of all principality and power; in whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ.’ Col 3: 9-10,2:10-11.
And here you may see the true christians were circumcised with the spirit, and they had put off the old man with his deeds, and his body of death, and put on the new man, which is after God, and were complete in Christ their head, while they were upon the earth, before they went to the grave. But Satan and his messengers, and ministers, and hearers say, that they must carry the body of death and sins of the flesh, with the old man and his deeds, while they are upon the earth; but I say, by disobeying God, and hearkening to the serpent's teaching, this body of death and sins of the flesh, with the old man, with his deceitful lusts, came into man and woman who had none before. And now the devil and his teachers say, they must carry this body of death and sins of the flesh, and the old man and his lusts, as long as they live upon the earth, until they go to the grave. But Christ's ministers say to the believers in Christ, they had put off the old man and his deeds, and the body of the sins of the flesh, with the circumcision of the spirit, while they are upon the earth. But the circumcision of Christ with his holy spirit, Satan and his ministers with his unclean spirit, deny while they are upon the earth. Therefore the devil's messengers and hearers, carry a body of death and the sins of the flesh, and the old man with his deceitful lusts as long as they live, to the grave; and this is the devil's doctrine, but not Christ's nor his apostles.
And the apostle said to the believers in Christ, ‘We have redemption through his blood.’ Col 1:14. And again the apostle said to the Ephesians, ‘We have redemption through Christ's blood, the forgiveness of our sins.’ Eph 1:7. And the Lord said, ‘their sins and iniquities I will remember no more.’ Heb 8:12. And the apostle said to the Jews, ‘Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.’ Acts 3:19. So if people do repent and are converted, then their sins are blotted out, then they are not like to carry their body of death, nor read their sins, when they are forgiven and blotted out; and this is a contrary doctrine to the devil and his ministers, who say, they must carry this body of death and sins to the grave.
John said, the devil ‘sinned from the beginning,’ and ‘he that commits sin is of the devil; and for this purpose the Son of God is revealed [in us], that he might destroy [in us] the works [sin] of the devil, and Christ was manifest to take away our sins, and in him is no sin, and whosoever abides in him sins not, and whosoever is born of God does not commit sin, for his seed remains in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God; in this the children of God are manifest from the children of the devil.’ 1 John 3:5-11.
Now concerning the devil's ministers, messengers, and teachers, who say, there is no victory nor overcoming on this side the grave. But John said in his General Epistle to the church of Christ, ‘I have written to you young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.’ 1 John 2:14. This is contrary to the devil's ministers and messengers, that say, there is no overcoming sin, which is of the wicked one, on this side the grave. But John, a minister of God, writes to the young men in Christ, and tells them, they had overcome the wicked one, and that was while they were upon the earth, and could read his epistle. And again, the apostle John said, ‘whosoever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith,’ 1 John 5:4; John said this to the believers in Christ while they were upon the earth, and if they have overcome the world, then they have overcome the devil, the god of the world. And ‘who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the son of God? and he that believes is born of God.’ Here you may see the devil's messengers, ministers, hearers, and teachers, are not in this true belief, born of God that overcomes the wicked world, neither are they in the true faith, which Christ is the author of, which overcomes the world, and gives the victory over the world which lies in wickedness, and is the shield that quenches all the fiery darts of Satan. 1 John 4:5,19. And John said to the followers of Christ, ‘Little children you have overcome them, (the spirit of antichrist, already in this world, namely, Satan and his ministers), because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.’ 1 John 4:3-4. And again, John said to the believers in Christ, ‘Every man that has this hope, purifies himself, even as he is pure.’ 1 John 3:3, Col 1:27.
Now Satan's messengers and ministers deny this hope that purifies people while they are upon the earth, as Christ is pure; they are in the hope of the hypocrite and a dead faith, as in James 2:17-18,20. And though they may call themselves believers, and say there is one God; the devils believe and tremble, so may a vain man in a dead faith say, in which there is not victory over the body of death and sin while upon the earth, as they say.
And Christ said, ‘Verily, verily I say unto you, he that hears [as in listen and hear him speaking to you] my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.’ John 5:24. Now if the believers in Christ are passed from death to life, and have everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, then they are not like to carry the body of death, if they are passed from the death in Adam, to the life in Christ. But Satan's priests, ministers, and teachers cannot be the true believers, that say, they must carry a body of death to the grave; such remain under condemnation, (in the death in Adam), by the light of Christ. John 3:19-20. And Christ said, I am the light of the world, and whosoever believes on me, shall not abide in darkness. Now if the believers in Christ do not abide in darkness, then they do not abide under the devil the power of darkness. For John said, he that believes overcomes the world, then the world's god. John 12:46, 1 John 5:5. Again John said, ‘We know that you are passed from death to life.’ 1 John 3:14. This was while they were upon the earth; then they were passed from the body of death, and the devil the power of death, which Satan's ministers, priests, and teachers plead for, which first came in by hearkening to Satan's teaching, and forsaking God's teaching. And by hearkening to God and Christ's teaching, they came out of death and darkness, and put off the body of death and sins of the flesh, and put off the old man with his deeds while they were upon the earth, and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, while upon the earth. Eph 4:22-24. And so those who are in Christ are new creatures, and old things have passed away. And again the apostle said to the saints, ‘Seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.’ Col 3:9-10. And this was while they were upon the earth. And so it is clear the outward body is not the body of death, and body of sin, nor the old man. For after the old man is crucified, and the body of death and sins of the flesh put off, the saints bodies are the members of Christ, and the temple of the holy ghost, and ‘the temple of the living God, as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’ And this was while they were upon the earth, before they went to the grave. 2 Cor 6:16, Rom 6:6, 1 Cor 6:15-19.
And the apostle said, but now Christ ‘once in the end of the world has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,’ and Christ said, I come to do the will of God, by which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all; for by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified. Hebrews 9:26,10:9-10,14.
Now here you may see Christ puts away sin, and we are sanctified by his will, in and through the offering of his body once for all, and by his one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified. But those who do not believe it is possible to have their sins put away, and to be sanctified and perfected here, they do not believe in Christ the one sacrifice and offering. It is a general saying by the priests, teachers, and professors, that none keep the commands of God. So in this they would make the commands of God grievous, who say, none can live and keep the commandments of God. The Lord said, ‘You shall have no other gods besides me,’ (namely), who is your Maker and Creator. And what! Cannot you live, but you must make gods and graven images, or likenesses of things in heaven, or in the earth, or in the waters, and bow down to them? And cannot you live, but you must dishonor your father and mother? And cannot you live, but you must take the name of the Lord God in vain? And cannot you live, but you must kill, steal, commit adultery, and bear false witness against your neighbor? And cannot you live, but you must covet your neighbor's house, and his wife, and his man servant, maid servant, ox, or ass?
The young man in the gospel told Christ, that from his youth he had kept the commands of God, though he could not sell all and give to the poor, and follow Christ, who is the end of the law for righteousness' sake to everyone that believes. Mat 19:17-21, Rom 10:4. Zachariah and his wife ‘were both righteous, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of God blameless.’ Surely they kept the commandments and ordinances of the Lord then, if they walked in them blameless, as before. And the apostle said to the Galatians, all “the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Gal 5:14. And the apostle said to the Romans, owe no man any thing, but to love one another; for he that loves another fulfills the law, for he that loves God, will not make any other gods. Love will not take God's name in vain. Love will not dishonor father nor mother. Love does not kill, steal, commit adultery, nor bear false witness. Love does not covet neighbor's house, wife, servant, ox, or ass. He that loves his neighbor as himself, this love works no evil to his neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Rom 13:8-10. Now those who are out of this love of God, say they cannot keep the commands of God, but they do not deny keeping the commands of the devil, which are easy enough to them; and the old world, the earth was corrupted by them, and the earth was filled with violence, and all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. Gen 6:11-12. And the Lord brought a flood upon them and destroyed them, saving Noah and his family. And the Lord turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, and delivered just Lot, whose soul was vexed from day to day with their unlawful deeds, as in 2 Pet 2:6-8. Mark, their unlawful deeds; those unlawful deeds were easy enough for them, though the deeds of the law were hard enough for them, as they say now. And you may see in Rev 19:2, the judgment of the great whore which corrupted the earth, which is called the mystery of Babylon, or confusion, the mother of harlots, and abomination of the earth. Rev 17:3-5.
Now this whore, or false church, which is whored from Christ, and corrupts the earth, which rides upon the beast, and sits upon the prophets, multitudes, nations, and tongues, which are called waters. And is not this whore, or false church, called a cage of unclean birds? And does she not have her teachers among the nations, peoples, multitudes, and tongues? And did not the dragon give his power to the beast, that this whore, the false church rides upon, like Balaam upon his ass? And is it likely for the beast, (Rev 16:13), in the dragon's power, which the whore, the false church rides upon; or for the false prophet, or the unclean spirits, (Rev 17:8,15) like frogs that went out of the mouth of the beast and the false prophet; or for the peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues, that the whore that corrupts the earth sits upon, and has made them like waters; I say, is it likely for all these to acknowledge perfection, and the overcoming of the old man and his lusts, and the body of death and sins of the flesh, while on this side the grave? And though all these make war against the Lamb and the saints, the Lamb, I say, who takes away the sins of the world, he shall and will overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings, and those who are with him are called chosen and faithful. And will not the whore, and the beast in the dragon's power, false prophets, and all their followers, say, that no one can keep the law of God and his commands; but they will not deny keeping the beast's, whore's, dragon's, and false prophet's [rituals and ceremonies]. The apostle said, the law is spiritual, just, and good. Solomon said, the law is light. How is it possible for men to keep the law of God, which is spiritual, while those men are who have whored from the spirit of God, and hate his light, and are out of the truth, do not obey it? And is not the end of the whore, beast, false prophet, dragon, or devil, and all his followers, to be consumed and destroyed with fire, as the old world was with water? And the beast, false prophet, and whore, or false church, that take their power from the devil, that abode not in the truth, and set up a worship, and compel others to that worship, and to drink that whore's cup that is whored from the truth; those who worship God in his spirit and truth as Christ commands, and has set up, cannot drink the whore's cup, nor cannot bow to the dragon, the beast's worship, which has been set up by the dragon's power, which is out of the truth.
Job said, no man knows the price of wisdom, it cannot be gotten for gold nor silver, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof; for it cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, or with the precious onix, or sapphire, or pearls, or coral, or rubies. Now all these and many other things may be purchased with the price of gold and silver; and all the histories, libraries, and all the books and authors in the world may be purchased with gold and silver; and all the sciences and natural arts, these may all be purchased and learned for gold and silver; and that which the world calls philosophy, and its books, may all be purchased for gold and silver. One can get a great deal of knowledge from the tree of outward knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, but such knowledge is without life and the true heavenly wisdom; and is lowly, like the fowls of the air, and the lion's whelps, and the fierce lions, and ravenous beasts. But no unclean thing comes in the way and path of the heavenly wisdom, which cannot be obtained or bought for gold nor silver, or precious stones, or jewels, or fine gold, for man knows not the price of it. Job 28, Isa 35. And unto man, God said, ‘Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.’ So it is clear, those who fear God and depart from evil, shall have both wisdom and understanding, though they have not gone to the schools and colleges to learn the priests' seven arts and sciences, and without the great shops of old histories and authors, and the world's philosophy, which things may puff up the fowls of the air, and the vultures and ravenous beasts, with the outward tree of knowledge without life. The Lord said, ‘Every man is brutish by his knowledge.’ And again he said, ‘Every man is brutish in his knowledge; the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the Lord.’ Jeremiah 10:14,21.
Here you may see what men get by their outward knowledge; for when Adam and Eve fed upon the tree of knowledge, then the lamb was slain in them from the foundation of the world. And when the Lamb Christ was manifest in the flesh, then those who were in this outward brutish knowledge and wisdom below, crucified Christ outwardly without the gates of Jerusalem. And after, when christianity was spread up and down the world, and many got an outward form of christianity and denied the power, and got into this brutish outward knowledge and wisdom below, they crucified to themselves Christ afresh, as in Hebrews 6:6. And the beast and whore was, and is in this brutish knowledge and wisdom below, that killed the Lord's witnesses, and the martyrs, and compelled all the world to worship, and to drink the whore's cup, and all did drink and worship, but whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life, slain from the foundation of the world. Rev 13:8. And the beast in the dragon's power, with the seven heads and ten horns, which the whore or false church rides upon, as Balaam did upon his ass. And this whore, or false church, sits, or rides upon peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues, which are called waters. So she makes peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues, like Balaam's ass, and these ten horns of the beast are ten kings, which received power from the dragon; and these ten kings, or ten horns, should hate the whore, or false church, and make her desolate, and burn her with fire, which is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth. So these ten kings that hate the whore, the false church, and burn her with fire, will not then allow her to reign over them, and ride upon them like Balaam upon his ass. Rev 17:12-18. For glory to the Lord God forever, Christ reigns in all his true believers and followers, who is the prince of life and peace, who was before the devil, beast, whore, and his followers were, and will be when they are all gone.
And John said, ‘There appeared a wonder in heaven, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his head,’ the old serpent, the devil, and Satan. Was not this a proud devil? And his tail drew the third part of the stars from heaven, (had not these been some stars in the church?) and cast them to the earth. These stars were lights in the night; but he was cast out of heaven, and persecuted the woman the true church, which had the moon under her feet. And John saw a beast rise out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads ten crowns; and was not this a proud beast? And the dragon gave the beast his power, and his seat, and great authority, and the world worshipped this proud dragon and the beast, and the beast opened his mouth in the devil's power, in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, tabernacle, and those who dwelled in heaven, Rev 13:6, after the dragon was cast out of heaven. So here you may see some dwelled in heaven, and sat in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. And John said, ‘I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns,’ and this woman, the false church, that rode upon the beast, was arrayed in purple, scarlet color, decked with gold, precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of abomination and filthiness of her fornication, and upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery Babylon, mother of harlots, who was drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus. Was not this a proud whore, the false church, that rides upon the beast, that rose out of the sea, in the devil's seat, power and authority? Must not this proud whore, the false church, be burnt, and this proud devil, dragon, and beast, and their followers go into perdition, and the lake of fire? Rev 17, 9:20, 20:10. And the Lamb and the saints will have the victory. Hallelujah.
And Job said, ‘Though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.’ Job 19:26. Satan's messengers say, that must not be in this life, but in another world; but afterwards Job said unto the Lord, ‘I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye sees you.’ Job 42:5. And this was while Job was alive upon the earth. Another scripture Satan's messengers bring against perfection, ‘Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker? He charges his angels with folly.’* Job 4:17-18. Again, ‘How can he be clean that is born of a woman?’ Job 25:4. And again, ‘What is man that he should be clean, and he that is born of a woman should be righteous?’ Job 15:14-15. Now these were not Job's words, but Eliphas' the Temanite, which contended against Job, as in Job 4:1,17-18,15:14-15; and Bildad the Shuhite's words that contended against Job, as in Job 25:5. For God said Job was ‘a perfect and upright man, that feared God and eschewed evil.’ Job 1:8, 2:3. So these were the words with which Job's miserable comforters contended against Job, which Satan's ministers bring against perfection. [And God rebuked them in the end with these words: "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." Job 42:7 ]
And John saw ‘a hundred and forty-four thousand, having their father's name written in their foreheads, which were not defiled, which followed the lamb, in whose mouth was found no guile, for they were without fault before the throne of God.’ And besides, John said he saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, kindreds, and tongues, stand before the throne, and before the lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, crying with a loud voice, saying, salvation unto our God which sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. Rev 7:5-11, 14:1-6.
Now the messengers and ministers of Satan do not see these, but he, who is is a minister of Christ, sees these holy people who follow the Lamb, who were without fault or guile.
And Peter said in his General Epistle to the church of Christ, ‘You are a chosen generation, a holy nation, built up a spiritual house, a holy royal priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ,’ as in 1 Pet 2:5,8,-9. Then surely these have put off the body of death, and sins of the flesh, and the old man with his deceitful lusts.
II. Priests the chief promoters of persecution, in the prophets, Christ, and the apostles' days, and since, and now the Lord is opening the eyes of people's understandings, that they will not let them ride upon them, as Balaam in his error upon his ass, for his wages of unrighteousness.
Here you may see, how the priests in all ages turned against the righteous, and persecuted and killed them. See how Cain the priest was full of wrath, and killed righteous Abel in the field, and what was the end of Cain. Gen 4:5,8.
And you may see how Korah and his company, and Dathan and Abiram opposed Moses and Aaron, and how the Lord did consume them, as in Numb 16:30-35, in their rebellion; and what became of old Eli who reproved his two sons, but did not restrain them, as you may see in 1 Sam 4:10-18; and the badness of the priests you may see in the second chapter. And how the Lord sent Samuel the child to admonish old Eli, for not restraining his sons from their wickedness; and for the wickedness of the priests, God brought his great judgment upon Israel; and see how the man of God cried against Jeroboam and his altar and priests. 1 Kings 13:1-6.
And did not his prophecy come upon them, in 2 Chron 13:17-18. You may see what priests they ordained, 2 Chron 11:15. And you may see what work Josiah made with Balaam's altars, and his idols and priests, how he purged the land of them. 2 Chron 34:3-7. And you may see what work Jehu made with Baal's worshippers, prophets and priests. 2 Kings 10:18-28. And the Lord commanded Jehu. And it had been well for him and his children, if they had not followed the sins of Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin, but walked in the law of God. And you may see how Manasseh made Israel to sin by rearing up altars for Baals, for which cause the Lord carried them into captivity. 2 Chron 33:1-11. And see what work Josiah made with Manassehs' images, altars, and priests. 2 Kings 23:15-21. And how did Ahab and Jezebel with all her Baal's priests and prophets persecute the Lord's people, and what became of them in the end, see 1 Kings 16:30-34,2 Kings 9:30-36. And you may see what Isaiah said, because of the wickedness of the priests and others who had defiled the earth, therefore the Lord would empty the land of them, Isaiah 24:1-7. And also declares, how the priests and prophets have erred through wine and strong drink, for all tables are full of vomits and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. Isaiah 28:7-8.
And again, see how Isaiah cries against the shepherds and watchmen, and calls them greedy dumb dogs that can never have enough, that fill themselves with wine and strong drink; they all look to their own way, everyone for their gain, from their quarter. May not this practice be applied to many of the shepherds, priests and watchmen now of our times, as in Isaiah 56:10-12? And see how Jeremiah testifies against the priests, and how the Lord had made him a brazen wall, and an iron pillar against the priests, Jer 1:18, 2:2-8. And Jeremiah said, ‘Everyone is given to covetousness; from the prophet to the priest, everyone deals falsely.’ Jer 6:13. And again Jeremiah said, ‘A wonderful horrible thing is committed in the land, the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so.’ Jer 5:30-31, 8:10-11.
And did not Pashur son of Immer the high priest, strike Jeremiah, and put him in the stocks, for declaring the truth to him? Jer 20:1-2. And did not Jeremiah tell them, that both prophets and priests were profane? Read Jer 23:11-40. Did the priests and the prophets and the princes not say, that Jeremiah was worthy to die? Jer 26:11. Here you may see the priests had a hand in the persecution of Jeremiah.
And the Lord sent Ezekiel to cry against the priests, and said, they had violated his law, and profaned his holy things, and put no difference between the holy and profane. Eze 22:25-26,2, and how the prophets, were like roaring lions, and daubed with untempered mortar, and how the Lord sent Ezekiel to prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, and how he would gather his people from among them, and set one shepherd over them to feed them, Ezek 34; and was not that Christ? And see how the Lord sent Hosea to cry against the priest, saying, ‘I will also reject you, and you shall be no priest to me, seeing you hast also forgot the law of your God.’ So like priest, like people; and the Lord said he will punish them for their ways. Hosea 4:6,9. And have not the priests now forgotten the law and command of Christ, ‘freely you have received freely give,’ and to keep the gospel without charge? And ‘as a troop of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent, for they commit lewdness.’ Hosea 6:9. Amaziah the priest of Bethel, sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, and told him that Amos the prophet had conspired against him, and forbade him to prophesy any more in the king's chapel, Amos 7:10-17. So here the priest was a lying informer against Amos, for speaking the truth. And you may see how Nehemiah cries to the Lord, because the priests had defiled the priesthood. Neh 13:29. And said, neither our kings, princes, priests, nor our fathers had kept the law of God. Neh 9:34. And Micah said they built up ‘Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity; the heads thereof judge for reward, the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money,’ and yet they would lean upon the Lord, and say, is not the Lord among us, and no evil can come upon us? ‘Therefore shall Zion for your sakes be ploughed up like a field, and Jerusalem shall become on heaps.’ And so it was, and is not this the state of Christendom? Have not the hireling priests and the prophets in Christendom brought it all to a heap of ruin?
And you may see what the Lord said in Malachi, ‘And now, O you priests, this commandment is for you; if you will not hear, and if you will not lay to heart, to give glory unto my name, said the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon their faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts, &c. and you shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, said the Lord of hosts.’ Mal 2:1- 4. May not the priests of our times apply this commandment to themselves?
And the Lord said, ‘I will cut off the remnant of Baal from Jerusalem, and the names of the Chemarims with the priests; the prophets are light and treacherous persons, their priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.’ Zeph 1:4, 3:4.
Here you may see all along in the Old Testament the wickedness of the priests and prophets, and how the Lord sent his holy prophets to declare against them; and by their wicked lives and means, often the Jews went into captivity, and the Lord's prophets suffered.
And you may see how the chief priests, scribes, and elders, consulted to put Christ to death. Mat 26:3-4. And in Mat 27, the chief priests and elders took counsel together against Jesus to put him to death. And did not Judas, who betrayed Christ, sell him for thirty pieces of silver unto the chief priests, Mat 26:14-15, 27 1-2, Mark 14:10.
And did not the chief priests and elders persuade the multitude that they should ask of Pilate, Barrabas, and crucify Jesus? And when they were crucifying Christ, did not the chief priests mock him? Mark 25:30-31. And when they had crucified Christ, and watched his sepulcher; and after Christ was risen, some of the watchmen came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests all things that were done concerning Christ; and did not the Jews' chief priests take counsel, and gave large money to the soldiers, to say that his disciples stole him away by night, as they slept, as in Mat 28:11-15. And this saying and lie is commonly reported among the Jews to this day.
So here you may see how busy the priests and chief priests with their company were to crucify and murder the just. And Judas that betrayed Christ, came with a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Mat 26:47, Mark 14:43. Here you may see how eager the priests were to destroy the just, and gave money to tell lies.
And did not the high priests and the kindred of the high priests, gather together against the apostles for preaching Christ after he was risen? And did not they threaten them, and charge them not to speak at all in the name of Jesus? Acts 4:6,18. And did not the high priests rise against the apostles with indignation, and put them into the common prison, but the Lord delivered them, as in Acts 5:17-19. And when that the chief priests took counsel together to put the apostles to death, Gamaliel's counsel stopped them, as in Acts 5:33-42 to the end.
And did not the high priest examine Stephen in his counsel when he was put to death? Acts 6:15, 7:1. And did not Paul say he had authority from the chief priests to shut up the saints in prison, and when that they were put to death he gave his voice against them. Acts 8:3, 26:10. And did not Ananias the high priest, with the elders, and a certain orator named Tertullus, inform the governor Felix against Paul, and called Paul a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition, and sought to take away his life, as in Acts 24. And how the high priests and chief of the Jews informed Festus against Paul, and desired that he would send for him to Jerusalem, lying in wait by the way to kill him. Acts 25:1-3. And after Saul was converted, the Jews took counsel together to kill him, in Acts 9:23. For he was going with his packet of letters from the high priests to persecute the christians at Damascus, and before he got there he was converted; and when he got to Damascus, he preached Christ there, and they set watch at the gates of Damascus to kill him, but he escaped their hands. Acts 9:1-25. And have not the priests had the greatest hand in imprisoning and persecuting God's people since the apostles' days, both among Protestants and Papists; let the scripture prove their persecuting and imprisoning and putting to death in the prophets, Christ, and the apostles' days. But since their days, among Papists and Protestants, the histories and the jails prove the priests stirring up to the persecuting, imprisoning, banishing, and putting to death of God's people. And have not the Jesuits and the priests been like the frogs, the unclean spirits that have gone out of the mouth of the beast and false prophet? Rev 16:13-14.
But have the priests, either Papists or Protestants, come so far as Cain or Balaam? For these heard God's voice, and Balaam went astray, and forsook the right way, and loved the wages of unrighteousness, but Balaam's ass rebuked him for his iniquity, and forbade the madness of him. 2 Pet 2:15-16, Jude 11.
And have not most of the people both among Protestants and Papists, been like dumb asses, and their priests, like or darker than Balaam, ride upon them, who say they never heard the voice of God nor Christ, and the people dared not reprove them for their iniquity, error, and madness, and their wages of unrighteousness? Christ said to his ministers, ‘freely you have received, freely give,’ and they labored ‘to keep the gospel without charge.’ And now the Lord has opened many mouths, that they will not let Balaam's priests and prophets ride upon them, nor follow Balaam's error and way, nor give him the wages of unrighteousness, though he loves it; though the Balaams become angry and cause them to be cast into prison, and their goods spoiled [seized by their opponents]; but declare against the covetous greedy Balaams, and their wages of unrighteousness, and follow Christ their way, who said, freely you have received, freely give; and will not let Baal's priests ride upon them any more. And the Lord has made his people a holy royal priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God by Jesus Christ. 1 Pet 2:5.And how often have the priests generally turned [switched allegiences] within this hundred years, to queen Mary [Roman Catholic], and from Queen Mary to Queen Elizabeth [Protestant], and to King James [Roman Catholic], and then to Oliver and Richard Cromwell [Puritan], and called them Caleb and Joshua that led them into the promised land? But was it [the promised land] not in the tithes, offerings, augmentations, and glebe lands [church property leased to farmers] ? And then when King Charles II came in, did not most of them [the Presbyterian and Congregationalist Puritans] turn to common prayer [becoming Episcopalian ministers] , and persecute those who did not? And when King James came to the throne, what did many of the priests and bishops do then, with their passive obedience and non-resistance? Were not many of them posting [corresponding] to Rome, their mother church, as they call it, (let all the sober judge), and forsaking Jerusalem, which is above, which is free, the mother of all true christians? Gal 4:26.
I desire the bishops and the priests to look into their bishoprics and parishes, and see what scabbed flocks they have, lying, swearing, cursing, damning, with whorehouses, and playhouses, to corrupt youth and people. They may see abundance of theft, murder, and whoredom, and how the jails are filled up and down the nation with thieves and unclean persons; so that many are transported yearly out of England, Scotland and Ireland, into America, of their scabbed flock. These flocks are what the bishops and priests are to watch over, look after, and cure, in all their bishoprics and parsonages; who are hired and take their tithes, Easter-reckonings, and midsummer-dues, to watch over them, and look after them, and yet let them go astray. Yes, the priests are so greedy, they take tithes of those who are not of their church, and spoil [seize] the goods of many, and cast them into the jails, because they will not pay them, and cannot acknowledge them to be ministers of the gospel.
And let the bishops and the priests look into all the sessions, assizes, and courts, and see how the justices of the peace, and the judges are troubled with some of their scabbed flock, which they should oversee, and watch over, and keep from the occasion of the magistrate's sword. What stewards are you, and how do you watch over them, that you may present their souls to God, to whom you must give an account, as you pretend? Are you not ashamed, both bishops, priests, and teachers, to hear that so many of your flock are brought before the sessions and assizes, and how the jails are filled with them, and how many are hung yearly, and how many are transported beyond the seas for their wickedness? Are not these members of your church, which you are to oversee and have the charge over? And pray, consider, are you not like those who do not profit the people at all, but seek you own profit, and your own hire, and tithes, and your gain from your quarter? And therefore, is it not time for you either to amend your ways and watch better over your flocks, or give up your pretending of being a minister of Christ? Read Isa 55, Jer 5:29-31, Jer 23, Micah 3:10-12, Ezek 13.
Now if you priests, bishops, and shepherds, had an outward shepherd that you hired, and let your sheep be so scabbed and corrupted, and that they should run so astray, and he did not watch over them nor oversee them better, would not you soon discharge him? I pray you look into your bishoprics and parishes, and make application upon yourselves, as before.
The apostle Paul said, after he became a christian, and confessed Christ Jesus, "I exercised myself to have always a good conscience, void of offence toward God and toward men." This he declared before Felix, the governor, when he was accused by the high priests and elders of the Jews, which said Paul was a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. Acts 24:5-6,15-16.
Now here you may see when the apostle Paul was turned from the Jews' temple worships, and the priests that took tithes. For the apostle Paul said, when he was brought before king Agrippa, ‘Verily, I thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to Jesus of Nazareth, which things I also did in Jerusalem; and many of the saints I did shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceeding mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. Whereupon as I went to Damascus, with authority and commission from the chief priests, that if I found any of that way, (that is, of those who believed in Christ), whether they were men or women, I might bring them bound to Jerusalem.’ And as he was coming near unto Damascus, Jesus Christ did convert him; and after a while he preached Christ in Damascus, where he was going to persecute, and confounded the Jews, and the Jews took counsel to kill him, as in Acts 26:8-12, 9:1-23.
Now while Paul was persecuting and imprisoning, and consenting to the death of the followers of Christ; and having his packet of letters, and his authority and commission from the chief priests, to go up and down and persecute the saints the believers in Christ, from city to city; then he was exercising an evil conscience towards Christ and men; for Christ said, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the pricks.’ So in this it is clear he was exercising an evil conscience, while he was a persecutor; and the Jews, priests and elders also, which gave him letters, commission and authority, to persecute Christ in his members. Likewise, all the Protestant and Papist priests, which call themselves christians, that have, and do persecute and imprison people for their faith and a good conscience, they have, and are persecuting Christ in his members; such always have and do exercise an evil conscience against Christ in his members. For the Jews and chief priests, would have Christ crucified without the gates of Jerusalem, and cried Mat 27:25, ‘O let his blood be upon them and their children;’ in that they exercised an evil conscience towards Christ. And after Christ was risen, the chief priests and elders, and Saul, imprisoned and persecuted Christ in his members; and so have the Papists, and many of the Protestant priests, because they do not conform. Therefore they have imprisoned and persecuted to death, and seized the property of many; in this they have exercised an evil conscience towards Christ and his people. For Saul, nor any other, did not, nor do any exercise a good conscience towards God and man, until that they were and are converted to Christ Jesus to follow him, and to forsake the Jewish priests, and the tithes, and temple worships, and all other outward temple worships, and priests who take tithes, and persecute others that will not conform and give them their tithes. For Christ said, he came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them; and said, love one another, and love enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; and, freely you have received, freely give. And those who keep the commands of Christ and his gospel without charge, are always exercising a good conscience towards God, in obeying, serving and worshipping him, and a good conscience toward men, in that which is just, righteous, honest, and true; to do unto all men, as they would have others do unto them, according to the royal law of God. And so it is clear, that no persecutor and spoiler of people's goods, in all ages from Cain, both in the days of the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, and since, to this day, did, nor has, nor can exercise a good conscience towards God and man. ‘For he who is born of the flesh, will persecute him who is born of the spirit.’ That persecuting birth of the flesh, is not like to exercise a good conscience towards God or man; he who is born of the spirit, is born of God; for the birth of the flesh does not do unto all men, as it would have them do unto it; and is not like to exercise a good conscience towards God, when it persecutes his spiritual birth, though they go in Cain's, Korah's, Balaam's and Jezebel’s way, in the wolves' and sheep's clothing. All these may make an outward profession of christianity, and deny the power of it (to free from sin); but such are to be turned away from. And is it like that those who go in these evil ways, should exercise a good conscience towards God and man? And also such false teachers that make merchandise of people, that make the gospel chargeable; and such priests and teachers that divine for money, and preach for hire, and bear rule by their means, and preach for handfuls of barley, and pieces of bread, and deceive the people. Such doings the Lord was against, and such shepherds which are called greedy dumb dogs that can never have enough, seeking for their gain from their quarter,... and looking after their own ways, and not after the Lord's; such, God's prophets, Christ and the apostles testified against, and such as these were not like to exercise a good conscience towards God and man.
And when Balak sent messengers to Balaam, to curse the children of Israel, the Lord said, you shall not go with them, you shall not curse them, for they are blessed. And Balak sent other messengers to Balaam, and said, I will promote you to great honor, and will do whatever you ask of me. And after, Balaam went, and God's anger was kindled against him, because he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the way as he rode upon his ass, and he smote his ass, and his ass fell down, and the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and it reproved Balaam. And was not Balaam going to be promoted by Balak, and to receive his wages of unrighteousness? And did not Balaam cause Balak to build altars, and offer up rams and oxen? But for all Balak's and Balaam's offerings, that he might curse the children of Israel, instead of that, the Lord made him to bless them. So Balaam angered Balak, that he missed his honor, and his wages of unrighteousness, though he loved it. Num 22,Num 23, Num 24, 2 Pet 2:15-16.
And do not our spiritual Balaam's that ride upon the dumb asses, so love the wages of unrighteousness, that they would destroy all the Lord's people, if the Lord did not restrain them? But was not Balaam at last slain with the sword? Numb 31:8. And will not all the spiritual Balaams, think you, that are erred from the spirit of God, be slain by the sword of the spirit, the word of God, who love honor, and the wages of unrighteousness? But the Lord is opening the mouths of his people by his spirit, which have been like dumb asses, and they are throwing off Balaam and his error, honor, and wages. That makes the spiritual Balaams angry, that they are ready to kill them, as old Balaam would have done his ass, but the Lord restrains them, as he did him. Glory over all to the Lord forever; so that his holy people can sing hallelujah over them, and learn of Christ, who is meek and low in heart, and in him they have found rest for their souls, who said, ‘Freely you have received, freely give.’
Naaman, captain of the host of Assyria, he was a leper, and had a leprosy, and he came to Elisha to be healed, and he told him go and wash in Jordan seven times, and his flesh should come again, and he should be clean. And he went into Jordan, and washed seven times, and came again to Elisha and was made well. And Naaman would have given Elisha great gifts, but Elisha utterly denied them, and would receive none, but told him go in peace. But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, went after Naaman, and said, My master Elisha has sent me, saying, behold, even now there be come to me, from Mount Ephraim, two young men, of the sons of the prophets; give them, I pray you, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments. And Naaman gave him two talents of silver, and two changes of garments. And Gehazi, Elisha's servant, took them to himself, and bestowed them in the house, and came to Elisha. And Elisha asked him where he came? And he said, his servant went no where; but Elisha said unto him, went not my heart with you when the man turned again in his chariot to meet you? And Elisha said to Gehazi, The leprosy of Naaman shall cleave unto you, and unto your seed for ever; and he went from Elisha a leper, as you may see in 2 Kings 5.
And are not all the covetous teachers in the world of the seed of Gehazi? Yes, have not many of them grown worse than he, who will take money and the clothes from those who don’t acknowledge them [as teachers or preachers], and if they will not give them means or rewards, they will cast them in prison, and spoil [seize] their goods. Is not this covetous leprosy seen upon them, who are of the seed and spirit of Gehazi? For he went with a lie in his mouth to Naaman, (as though Elisha had sent him, but he did not), who gave him two talents of silver, and two changes of garments, which Elisha would not receive from him. Here Elisha, what he had freely received of God, freely gave it again, according to Christ's doctrine, though Gehazi abused Elisha in going unto Naaman in his name. But he who took the reward for doing nothing, got the leprosy with it. And is not this the condition of all the covetous teachers, that are of the spirit and seed of Gehazi, or rather worse, that will take money and rewards by force, of those for whom they have done nothing? And such are not of the spirit and seed of Christ, who said, freely you have received, freely give. And are not these things written for our admonishment, and that we should not follow the examples of that covetous seed and spirit, but follow Christ, and obey his command?
What do you think of Simon Magus, who believed and was baptized? When he saw that through laying on the hands of the apostles, the holy ghost was given, this Simon Magus, offered the apostles money, saying, ‘Give me also this power, that on whomever I lay hands, they may also receive the holy ghost. But Peter said unto him, Your money perish with you, because you have thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you; for I perceive you are in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.’ Acts 8:17-24.
Now here it is clear, that all the teachers in Christendom, who think the gift of God can be purchased with money, possess hearts that are wrong; and they are in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity. Their money will perish with them. They have neither lot nor part in the gift of God; though they may pretend themselves to be believers, and to be baptized, they do not know the baptism of the holy ghost. All the teachers in Christendom may apply Simon Magus' condition to themselves, who have gotten their natural tongues, arts, and sciences, and old authors, and histories, and make people believe that they have the gift of God and have been called to the ministry, when they have neither part nor lot in it. They daily show forth the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity to people who will not give them means for their gift, which they sell to people; but Christ who gives gifts to his people, said, freely you have received, freely give.
The priests and professors used to bring this scripture, the saying of Christ, that ‘the scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat or chair: Therefore whatever they tell you to observe that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders, but will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen of men,’ &c. They love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats at synagogues, and greeting in markets, and to be called of men rabbi, and master. And Christ pronounces eight woes against them, and calls them hypocrites, and fools, and blind guides, who made clean the outside of the cup, and of the platter, but within full of extortion and excess; and called them whitened sepulchers, which indeed appeared beautiful outwardly, but within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness; who also outwardly appeared righteous unto men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity; you serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?’ Mat 23. These are very suitable scriptures for the priests and professors to apply to themselves.
Now the priests and professors say, though they are as bad as scribes and Pharisees, that the people must do as they say, and not as they [the priests] do. And another scripture the priests and professors bring, how Christ said, that the scribes and Pharisees paid tithes of mint, anise, and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith. Mat 23:23- 24. These ought you to have done, and not to leave the others undone: you blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Now the Jews were to hear the scribes and Pharisees, which wrote the law, and read the law; so they were to do the law which Christ came to fulfill, and they were to pay their tithes of mint, anise, and cumin, which were commanded by the law, and not to neglect judgment, mercy, and faith, those weightier matters of the law; for tithes, offerings, and priests, were commanded and held up by the law, and this law served until the seed Christ came, Gal 3:19. And when Christ was come, not to break the law, but to fulfill it; and when he was offered up as a sacrifice once for all, he changed the priesthood, and changed the law, and disannulled the commandment, that gave them tithes, and abolished the priesthood with its daily sacrifice and offerings, with the sacrifice of himself once for them all; when Christ had healed or cleansed any, before he was offered up, he told them go to the priests, and offer a sacrifice for their cleansing, but when Christ by one offering had perfected forever those who are sanctified, as in Heb 10:14. Christ ended all the offerings, by offering up himself, and has abolished the priesthood, and thrown down Moses' chair or seat, and is the end of the law for righteousness' sake, to everyone that believes. And when Christ sent forth his disciples into all nations, to preach the gospel, after he was risen, and gave them power, he did not tell them take tithes of mint, anise, and cumin, etc. but said, Freely you have received, freely give. And when the apostles had either healed any sick, or cleansed any lepers, they did not tell them go to the priest and offer a sacrifice for their cleansing, as Christ had done, in the days of his flesh, but that was the law which Christ told them do and observe, before he was offered up; and Christ is the end of the law for righteousness' sake to everyone that believes. And the apostle said, after Christ was offered up, that no flesh is justified by the deeds of the law; for the apostles knew that Christ by the offering up of himself, had ended and abolished the Jewish priesthood, and their offerings, and ended the daily sacrifices.
And now for the priests and professors to bring this scripture, though their priests are as bad as white washed walls, and painted sepulchers, and vipers, and serpents, and in all those evils that the scribes and Pharisees were in; yet whatever they told us do, that we must do and observe, but not do as they do, for they say and do not. But I say, Christ said we must not follow the inward ravening wolves, and the false prophets that come in sheep's clothing, for Christ tells us to beware of them. Mat 7:15. And the apostle said, that he that has the form of godliness, but denies the power thereof, from such turn away. 2 Tim 3:5.
But now if you say, that Paul said some preached Christ even of envy and strife, ... supposing to add afflictions to my bonds… And the apostle said, whether in pretence or truth Christ is preached, I therein do rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice. Phil 1:15-18.
And now you that bring these scriptures for men that are in strife and envy, you are very dark concerning the times the apostle speaks of; for you must consider how all were hated that professed the name of Christ, and how the Jews said to Paul at Rome concerning this sect, ‘we know that everywhere it is spoken against,’ namely, those who believe in Christ. Acts 28:22.
And so the apostle did rejoice, if envious contentious men, and men of strife did preach Christ, so that his name was spread abroad at that time. But when Christ's name was spread abroad, and many came into a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, the apostle bids the church of Christ turn away from such, as in 2 Tim 3:5. And the apostle Paul said, brethren be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an example; for many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. And let the teachers in Christendom apply these scriptures to themselves who mind earthly things. Phil 3:17-19. So here you may see the apostle does not rejoice at such as these, but weeps. And also you may see, James, Peter, Jude, John, in their epistles, and John in his revelations, reproved such as forsook Christ the right way, and did not walk in it, or that erred from the faith. And the apostle said, ‘There are many unruly vain talkers and deceivers, ... whose mouth must be stopped; teaching things that they ought not, for lucre's sake.’ Tit 1:10. And so the apostle does not rejoice at such as preach Christ out of envy and strife, which added afflictions to his bonds; but those who had the form of godliness, denying the power thereof, they were to turn away from.
All you priests, teachers, and professors, that mock and scoff at the motions and movings of the spirit of God in his people; yes, your very children as well as yourselves will mock and scoff, and say the spirit moves you, which does demonstrate that you are all erred from the spirit of God, and to the motions and movings of it you have stopped your ears, and closed your eyes, and so know not the things of God, for no man knows the things of God, but by the spirit of God. And so you that scoff and mock at the movings of the spirit of God, I say unto you, you had never had the scriptures, neither priests, teachers, nor professors, if the spirit of God had not moved the holy men to give them forth, of which by your own wills and private interpretations you make a trade [create a job with an income]; yes, one of the greatest merchandise and trades in Christendom, to get money by the scriptures that holy men of God spoke forth, as they were moved by the holy ghost; and they came not by the will of man, neither are they of any private interpretation. Now you who mock and scoff at the motions of the holy ghost or spirit, and yet make merchandise and trade of the scriptures, which holy men of God spoke forth as they were moved by the holy ghost, as before; and in this you show forth your error and apostasy from the holy spirit, who was in those who gave forth the scriptures as they were moved by the holy ghost. And so you are very unlikely to be led into all truth by the holy ghost, or to pray or have any fellowship in the holy ghost, denying deny it, and saying you don't have the same spirit, as did the early church of Christ, and the apostles had it in their days.
Now you bishops, priests, professors and others, who call yourselves Protestants, and the reformed church, I entreat you to consider these things as follow, by which we have suffered imprisonments, and spoiling of our goods; when you are perseucting us, the true Protestants, and true reformed church.
We have greatly suffered both imprisonments, and the spoiling of our goods, because we could not observe your holy-days, as you call them, and for opening of our shops we have been much assaulted by the rude multitudes, and sometimes our goods have been spoiled, and we are cast into prison; especially, because we could not observe [close our shops] that you call Christmas day.* Now was not Christmas day set up by the Papists, and also your Candlemas, and Michaelmas, and Childermas, and Lammas, were not all these masses set up by the Papists, and not by Christ and his apostles? and are they not their relics of Popery? And did the apostles command that the christians should observe Easter, the Jews' passover, or Whitsuntide, the Jews' Pentecost, in the gospel day, in the new covenant and testament?
And again, did Christ and the apostles command the christians to observe circumcision, and the epiphany, and the purification of Mary, St. Matthew's day, Ash Wednesday, the Annunciation, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Mark the evangelist's day, Philip and Jacob's day, and Holy Thursday, St. Barnabas, Trinity Sunday, John Baptist's day, Peter and James's day, Bartholomew's day, Simon and Jude's day, All Saints' day, Andrew's day, Thomas's day, Stephen's day, John the evangelist's day, and Innocents' day, and Paul's day of his conversion, and that they should observe all these days in their several months and years; where did ever Christ and his apostles give the church command to observe these days, times, months and years? for the apostle Paul said, ‘I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.’ Acts 20:27.
Now, where did the apostle in all the counsel of God declare to the church of Christ, that they should observe these days before mentioned, in their times, months, and years? No, was not the apostle Paul so far from telling the church of Christ to observe Christ's day, or any of the apostles', or his own, that he said, ‘O you foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth,’ ... And also he said. ‘Are you so foolish having begun in the spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh? But now after that you have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements, or rudiments, whereunto you desire again to be brought into slavery? You observe days and months, and times and years;’ the apostle said, ‘I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.’ Gal 3:1-3, 4:9-11.
Now let all Protestants, and professors of the reformed churches consider these things, and the apostle's labor, and these foolish Galatians, that went into these weak elements and rudiments that brought them into slavery, that had begun in the spirit, and thought to have been made perfect in the flesh; and therefore pray consider, you that set up these days, for people to observe.
And do not you say to your people in your steeple houses, ‘Six days you shall labor, and do all that you have to do,’ ... And then do not you stand up in the same steeple houses, and told your holy-days and mass days; and have your paritors [church officials with authority of the courts to collect money and assess fines], and other officers to trouble people for opening their shops on many of those days,* which you have no command from God, nor Christ, nor his apostles, to keep or observe. But all you Protestants, consider, is not God, and Christ, and his truth and name more dishonored and blasphemed upon your holy-days [today called holidays], as you call them, than any other day in the week, when all are let loose to sports and plays, and all manner of vain pastimes, as they call it, and drunkenness, looseness, lightness, wantonness, oaths and profaneness, out of the very bounds of sobriety, modesty, and christian moderation, which should be showed forth by all the true christians? And those who turned again to the weak elements and rudiments, to which they were brought into slavery, in their observing days, months, times, and years; this was not a christian gospel practice in the new covenant; but a gospel and christian testimony and judgment, against those who did do so. And the apostle said, ‘Stand fast therefore in your liberty in which Christ has made you free, and do not become entangled again with the yoke of slavery,’ as some of the Galatians were; even going back into the Jewish circumcision, besides their observing of days, times, months, and years; and so it could not have been the spirit of God that led into such things. For the apostle calls them fools, and said, ‘Who has bewitched you, that you have begun in the spirit, and think to be made perfect in the flesh.’ And therefore I desire you in the spirit of meekness, that you may reform, and be reformed out of these weak elements and rudiments, which brought people into slavery in the apostles' days; and therefore they must also bring people into slavery now; for which you have no command from Christ, nor his apostles, but their testimony against them. Therefore I desire you may be reformed by the spirit of God into the primitive reformation, the apostles' testimony, practice, and judgment, and to stand fast in the liberty, where Christ makes free out of slavery, and not to force others to that which brings into slavery.
And you know the great observation on May-day, a great deal of vanity and looseness is acted upon that day; and was not the ground of observing May-day, and the may-poles, from Flora, a prostitute at Rome? Is not this a heathenish custom, and not fit to be practiced among them who profess the gospel day of Christ, and his new covenant, and the true christians who are followers of Christ? And seeing you have no such command from Christ, nor his apostles, to follow any such vain custom and tradition, like your forefathers the heathen, but not the forefathers the apostles and the church of Christ in the primitive times.
And did ever the Jews in the old testament observe Adam and Eve's days, or Noah's day, who by faith built the ark, who was a just man, and perfect in his generation, and walked with God, or Enoch's day, who walked with God. Gen 5:22, 6:9.
And did ever the Jews observe Abraham's day, or Isaac's, or Jacob's, or Moses', or Aaron's, or Joshua's, or any of the prophets of God's days? Though Abraham saw the day of Christ, and rejoiced, yet he did not say it was an outward day that he saw and observed, nor call it Christmas day, which you have from the pope, and not from Abraham, Christ, nor his apostles. As dark and as blind as the Jews were, yet we do not hear that they observed any of the days before mentioned, in the old testament. But Herod who observed his birthday, and made a feast to his lords and high captains, etc. and when the daughter of Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod, that he said, he would give her whatsoever she would ask, and her mother counseled her to ask John Baptist's head, which was given her in a charger; and here are their fruits of their dancings, and their bloody feast, to slay the just, though we do not hear that Herod, nor any, either in the old or new testament, had any command either from God or Christ so to do. Neither have the christians from Christ or his apostles to observe their days, birthdays, or others: for the apostle said to the Galatians that were turned again to the weak elements and rudiments, whereunto they had been brought into slavery, who observed days, and months, and times, and years, they did not obey the truth in that, before whose eyes Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth, and crucified among them. And do not they crucify Christ among them now, that observe days, months, times, and years? And do not they persecute and spoil the goods of those who obey the truth, and imprison those who cannot observe their days, times, months, and years? Look over all Christendom, I pray, both Protestants and Papists, and see if that birth born of the flesh, has not been persecuting that birth born of the spirit. Gal 4:29.
And where did ever Christ or the apostles command Lent to be kept, and Shrove-Tuesday, and many more holy-days, as you call them, that might be mentioned? And is not there a great deal of rudeness and wickedness committed on that day you call Shrove-Tuesday, throughout the land? And is it not time for you to reform from these heathenish and Popish customs, by the spirit of sobriety and modesty, and that your moderation may appear, that you are christians in nature and deed. I pray, be not offended with such true christians, as cannot in conscience observe such things. And have you not received the names that you give to most of your days and months, from the heathen and Papists, and not from the prophets, Christ, or his apostles? And were not the old pagan Saxons in their idolatry, the first that brought in the names of the days after this manner, and these called christians have retained them to this day.
The first day of the week they worshipped the idol of the sun, from where came Sunday. The second day of the week they worshipped the moon, from where came Moonday, or Monday. The third day they worshipped the idol of the planets, which they called Tuisco, from where came Tuesday. And from the idol Woden, came Wednesday. And from the idol Thor, came Thursday. And from the idol Friga, came Friday. And from the idol Seater, came Saturday. And the heathens called Mars the god of battle, and from there they called the first month [Julian calendar’s first month as March] March. And Venus they called the goddess of love and beauty, and from there they called the second month April. And Maia, a heathen goddess called Flora, Flora and Cloris were called the goddesses of flowers; and unto Maia the heathen idolators used to sacrifice; from there was the third month called May. And upon the first day of the same month, they used to keep Floralia, feasts to the goddesses of the flowers, (namely) Flora and Cloris. And Flora was a strumpet [prostitute] in Rome, that used on the first day of that month, to set up a may-pole before her door, to entice her lovers; from where came may-poles to be first observed. And from the heathen goddess Juno, is the fourth month called June. And in honor to Julius Caesar, a Roman emperor [declared to be a god by the senate] , is the fifth month called July. And the sixth month took its name August, in honor of Augustus Caesar [declared to be a god by the Roman senate]. And September, October, November, and December, are called from the Latines. And one Janus a king of Italy, was for his wisdom pictured with two faces, whom they honored as a God; and from this name Janus, was the eleventh month called January. And Saturnus, Pluto, Februs, were called the gods of hell, whom the heathens said had the rule of the evil spirits there; and from Pluto or Febris, was the twelfth month called February.
And now, are not all these contrary to the holy scripture of truth, and the command of the Lord? Who said, ‘In all things that I have said unto you be circumspect, and make no mention of the names of other gods, neither let them be heard out of your mouths.’ Exod 23:13. And further the Lord said, ‘They shall overthrow their altars, (namely, the heathens), and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and you shall hew down their graven images of their gods, and destroy the name of them out of that place; these are the statutes and judgments which you shall observe to do, in the land which the Lord God of your fathers gives you to possess all the days that you live upon the earth.’ Deu 12:1-3.
And now consider, all you that profess christianity, both Papists and Protestants, do you not make mention of the names of the heathen gods, and are they not heard out of your mouths, as before? No, are they not put in your Almanacs, that your very children may make mention of the heathen gods, and to be heard out of their mouths? Also is not this contrary to the law and command of God to the Jews? And therefore it should be below them, that profess the gospel in the new covenant, when the apostle said, ‘Everyone that names the name of Jesus, let them depart from iniquity;’ and the Jews were to teach their children, to observe and do the law of God in the old testament; much more should the christians teach their children virtue, and the law of love, life, and faith, in the new testament.
And we entreat you to consider, we have suffered many reproaches, and sometimes blows, and had many evil names given to us, and called us ill-bred clowns and unmannerly, to make us odious in the sight of men, because we would not give the title of rabbi, and master, to the priests; which is against the command of Christ, who said to his disciples, ministers, and teachers that he sent forth, ‘Do not be called by men rabbi, rabbi, or master, for one is your master even Christ, and you are all brethren.’ Mat 23:7-8.
Now can’t we read that both the twelve, or seventy disciples, obeyed the command of Christ. For where do you read in the new testament of those titles, Mr. Matthew, Mr. Mark, Mr. Luke, or Mr. John, or any other of the apostles?* Or where do you read that any of the apostles, when they writ one to another, or the church to them, that they called one another masters? For James was far off from titling himself master. For James said, ‘My brethren, not many of you should be teachers, knowing that we who teach will be judged by a stricter judgment.’ So he calls them brethren, (James 3:1.) and not teachers. And Christ did not teach his ministers and disciples clownishness, and ill manners, when he said, Do not be called by men teacher [or Master], for one is your teacher, even Christ, and you are all brothers.
And as for all your titles of bachelor of arts, master of arts, and your several sorts of garments, as surplices, lawn-sleeves, hoods, caps, girdles, etc., do you have any example for these things from Christ and his apostles? Or a command from Christ and his apostles, for your practice in holding up these things, with your rails, altars, organs, and crosses? Or have you received them from the Papists, seeing that we find no command nor example in the new testament for them in the apostles' days? And therefore, it is good to be reformed out of all the relics of heathenism and Popery, and come to the cross of Christ, the power of God, and the fine linen, the righteousness of Christ.
And we have had many hard thoughts upon us, and hard words also, because we cannot give the title of lord bishops, and call them gracious lords. And we never read in the scriptures, when the apostles wrote to the bishops and elders, and said to Timothy and Titus, which were bishops, that they gave them the titles of lords, or gracious lords. And Christ said unto his disciples, ‘The Gentiles exercise lordship and authority over them, and are called benefactors [gracious lords]; but you shall not be so; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he that is chief, as he that does serve.’ Luke 22:25-26.
And here you may see that Christ never set up the title of lord in his church, among his disciples, but he told them, he had appointed them a kingdom,. which was above the glory of the world, and their titles. And Peter writes to the elders, and exhorts them, who said, I am also an elder, and tells the elders ‘Feed the flock of God, which is among you, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but as being examples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd shall appear, you may receive a crown of glory, that fades not away.’ 1 Pet 5:1-4.
Now here it may be seen that Peter who was an elder, he does not call himself lord or master, nor them lords or masters. But they were to be examples to the flock, and to mind Christ their chief shepherd, and to receive the crown of glory of Christ when he should appear.
And the pope who says he sits in Peter's chair and who takes the title of lord, he is greatly different than Peter's doctrine; and the pope is not like to receive a crown of glory of Christ the chief shepherd, who has gotten an outward worldly triple crown upon his head already, of the glory of the world that will fade away. We never read in the scriptures, that Peter had either called himself lord or master, or gave those titles to other elders, though he was an elder. But take away the filthy lucre from either the pope, bishops, and priests, and their titles of lords, and you shall have but a few overseers. And therefore, we do entreat you, who call yourselves Protestants, to reform from all these titles which you have from the pope, and Papists, and not from Christ and his apostles.
And another thing the teachers and professors have taken offence against us, because we use the single language, thou to one, and you to many; which is according to their own teaching books, accidence, and grammar [no longer true today], and the translation of the Bible [only the old KJV], which they are taught at school, and was the practice of the holy men of God, as may be seen in the scriptures of truth; they familiarly used you to one, and you to many. And therefore we thought it very strange, that they would neither allow us to practice what they taught us in grammar, accidence, and Bible, nor practice it themselves. And for the practice of theirs, of saying you to one, and cannot endure to have thee and thou said to them, they neither have it from their accidence, grammar, nor Bible; then is it not from the pope, and their own pride? And I desire the Lord to open your eyes, and give you an understanding, and a tender heart, who profess yourselves Protestants, that with the spiritual armor and weapons, you may subdue atheism, heathenism, and the relics of Popery, and not deny the Popish religion in words, and hold up some of the relics; and that all that profess themselves ministers, may obey Christ's command, Freely you have received, freely give, and to covet no man's gold, silver, nor apparel, but to keep the gospel without charge, as the apostles did. For tithes and offerings are not Christ's gospel ministers' maintenance. For were ever tithes or offerings paid in England by any christians, until after Austin the monk* came in? And so I desire you may be reformed by the spirit of Christ, into the same practice, and spirit, and power, the church of Christ were in the apostles' days. From him who has a tender conscience toward God, and has been a great sufferer for Christ, and the true reformation, and desires your reformation, good, and prosperity here, and your eternal happiness hereafter.
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