Page images

them, for they are inwardly ravening wolves ;' and John exhorts the saints to the anointing within them; and the rest of the apostles exhort the churches to the grace, the light, the truth, the Spirit, the word of faith, and to Christ in their hearts, the hope of glory. Christ told the saints that the Spirit of truth, the Holy Ghost, should be their leader into all. truth; and Jude exhorts the church to "pray in the Holy Ghost,' and 'to be built up in their most holy faith,' which Christ was the author of. Christ, by his servant John, exhorted the seven churches to hear what the Spirit said to the churches, and this was an inward, spiritual hearing. Christ says, the inwardly ravening wolves should have the sheep's clothing. Paul speaks of some in his time, that had a form of godliness, but denied the power.' John said, they went out from us.' Jude said, 'they go in Cain's way, and in Balaam's, and Corah's way. By all which it may

be clearly seen, that the false prophets and antichrists, which Christ foretold should come, the apostles saw were come; and in their day it was the last time; and these went forth from them into the world, and the world went after them. These were the foremen, the leaders of the world, that brought them into a form of godliness, but inwardly ravened from the power and Spirit. These have the sheep's clothing, the words of Christ, of the prophets, and of the apostles; but are inwardly ravened from the power and Spirit that they were in, who gave forth the Scriptures. These have made up the beast and the whore! These have got the dragon's power, the murdering, destroying, persecuting power! And these are they that the world wonders after! These have drunk the blood of the martyrs, prophets, and saints, and persecuted the true church into the wilderness! These have set up the false, compelling worships, and have drunk the blood of the saints, that will not drink of their cup! These have made the cage for the unclean birds, that have their several unclean notes in their cage; which cage is made up by the power of darkness, and uncleanness; and the birds of the cage deny the Holy Ghost, and the power of God, which the apostles were in, to be now manifested in the saints! Thus since Christ said, the false prophets and antichrists should come, and the apostle said, they were come, the beast's and the dragon's worship hath been set up; and the whore is got up with her false prophets, and her cage hath been made, and all nations have drunk of her cup of fornication; the blood of the martyrs and saints they have drunk, and the true church hath fled into the wilderness; and all this since the apostles' days. Yet the blind deceivers, the antichrists and false prophets of our age, would make us and people believe, that the false prophets, antichrists, and deceivers are come but now, though John and other of the apostles tell us they were come above sixteen hundred years ago. And ye may see what work and confusion they have made in the world; how much blood these Cains have drunk that went in Cain's way; which blood cries to God for vengeance upon Christendom ! And how these Balaams, that have erred from the power and Spirit which the apostles were in, have coveted after other men's estates, the many jails, courts, and spoilings of goods will bear witness. And how the Corals have gainsayed the life, power, and spirit, which the apostles and true church were in, and the free teaching of Christ and his apostles, and the work of their ministry, which was to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus,' hath been evident.

“Therefore in the name and power of the Lord Jesus was I sent to preach again the everlasting gospel

, which had been preached before unto Abraham, and in the apostles' days; which was to go over all nations, and be preached to every creature. For as the apostacy hath gone over all nations since the apostles' days, so that the nations are become as waters, unstable, being gone from Christ the foundation ; so must the gospel, the power of God, go over all nations again. We find the false prophets, antichrists, deceivers, whore, false church, beast, and his worship in the dragon's power, have got up in the times between the apostles and us. For Christ said, they should come;' and the apostles saw 'they were come, and coming in their days; and that they went forth from them, and the world went after them. And now hath the Lord raised us up beyond them, and set us over them in the everlasting gospel, the power of God; that as all

. have been darkened by the beast, whore, false prophets, and antichrists, so the everlasting gospel may be preached again by us to all nations, and. to every creature, which will bring life and immortality to light in them, that they may see over the devil and his false prophets, antichrists, seducers, and deceivers, and over the whore and beast, and to that which was before they were. This message of the glorious everlasting gospel was I sent forth to declare and publish, and thousands by it are turned to God, having received it; and are come into subjection to it, and into the holy order of it. And since I have declared this message in this part of the world, and in America, and have written books on the same, to spread it universally abroad; the blind prophets, preachers, and deceivers, have given over tell. ing us the false prophets should come in the last times ;' for a great light is sprung up, and shines over their heads; so that every child in truth sees the folly of their sayings.

“Then they raised other objections against us, and invented shifts to save themselves from truth's stroke. For when we blamed them for taking tithes, which came from the tribe of Levi, and were set up here by the Romish church, they would plead, that Christ told the scribes and Pharisees they ought to pay tithes of mint, anise, and cummin, though they had neglected the weightier matters; and that Christ said, “the scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses's seat, therefore all that they bid you do, that do and observe.' And when we told them they were envious, persecuting priests, they would reply, that some preached Christ of envy, and some of contention, and some of good-will. Now these Scriptures, and such like they would bring to darken the minds of their hearers, and to persuade them and us, 'that we ought to do as they say, though they themselves were like the Pharisees; and that we should rejoice when envious men and men of strife preached Christ; and that we should give them the tithes, as the Jews did to the tribe of Levi.' These were fair glosses ; here was a great heap of husks, but no kernel. Now this was their blindness; for the Levitical priesthood Christ hath ended, and disannulled the commandment that gave them tithes, and the law, by which those priests were made. Christ did not come after that order, neither did he send forth his ministers after that order; for those of that order were to take tithes for their maintenance; but his ministers he sent forth freely. And as for hearing that the Pharisees, and the Jews paid tithes of mint, anise, and cummin, that was before Christ was sacrificed and offered up; the Jews were then to do the law, and perform their offerings and sacrifices, which the Jewish priests taught them. But after Christ was offered up, he bid them then, go into all nations and preach the gospel; and lo,' said he, 'I will be with you to the end of the world;' and in another place he saith, 'I will be in you.' So he did not bid them go to hear the Pharisees then, and pay tithe of mint, anise, and cummin then; but 'Go preach the gospel, and believe in the Lord Jesus, and be saved, and receive the gospel,' which would bring people off from the Jews, the tithes, the Levitical law, and the offerings thereof, to Christ, the one Offering, made once for them all. O what work had the apostle with both the Galatians and the Romans, to bring them off the law to the faith in Christ!

“And as for the apostle's saying, 'Some preached Christ of envy and strife,' &c., that was at the first spreading of Christ's name abroad, when they were in danger not only to be cast out of the synagogues, but to be stoned to death, that confessed the name of Jesus, as may be seen by the uproars that were among the Jews and Diana's worshippers at the preaching of Christ. So the apostle might well rejoice, if the envious, and men of strife and contention, preached Christ at that time, though they thought thereby to add affliction to his bonds; but afterward, when Christ's name was spread abroad, and many had got a form of godliness, but denied the power thereof, 'envious, proud, contentious men, men of strife, covetous teachers for filthy lucre,' the apostles commanded the saints to turn from, and not have any fellowship with them. And the deacons and ministers were first to be proved, to see if they were in the power of godliness, and the Holy Ghost made them overseers and preachers. So it may be seen how the priests have abused these Scriptures for their own ends, and have wrested them to their own destruction, to justify envious, contentious men, and men of strife.' Whereas the apostle says, 'the man of God must be patient, and apt to teach ;' and they were to follow Christ, as they had him for their example. The apostle indeed was very tender to people, while he saw them walk in simplicity; as in the case of them that were scrupulous about meats and days; but when the apostle saw that some drew them into the observation of days, and to settle in such things, he then reproves them sharply, and asks them, who had bewitched them?' So in the case of marrying he was tender, lest their minds should be drawn from the Lord's joining; but when they came to forbid marriage, and to set

up rules for meats and drinks, he called it 'a doctrine of devils,' and an erring from the true faith. So also he was tender concerning circumcision, and in tenderness suffered some to be circumcised; but when he saw they went to make a sect thereby, and set up circumcision as a standing practice, he told them plainly, 'if they were circumcised, Christ would profit them nothing. In like manner he was tender concerning baptizing

but when he saw they began to make sects about it, some crying up Paul, others Apollos, he judged them, and called them carna),

with water;

and thanks God he had baptized no more, but such and such; declaring plainly, that he was sent to preach the gospel, and not to baptize;' and brought them to the one baptism by the one Spirit, into the one body, which Christ, the spiritual man, is the head of; and exhorted the church

all to drink into that one Spirit. For he set up in the church one faith, which Christ was the author of; and one baptism, which was that of the Spirit, into the one body; and one Lord Jesus Christ, the spiritual baptizer, whom John said should come after him. And further the apostle declared, that they who worshipped and served God in the Spirit, were of the circumcision of the Spirit, which was not made with hands; by which the body of the sins of the flesh was put off ;' which circumcision Christ is the minister of.*

“Another great objection they had, That the Quakers denied the sacrament (as they called it) of bread and wine, which,' they said, they were to take, and do in remembrance of Christ to the end of the world Much work we had with the priests and professors about this, and the several modes of receiving it in Christendom, so called ; for some take it kneeling, and some sitting; but none of them all, that ever I could find, take it as the disciples took it. For they took it in a chamber, after supper; but these generally take it before dinner : and some say, after the priest bath blessed it, it is 'Christ's body. But as to the matter, Christ said, 'Do this in remembrance of me.' He did not tell them how often they should do it, or how long; neither did he enjoin them to do it always, as long as they lived, or that all believers in him should do it to the world's end. The apostle Paul, who was not converted till after Christ's death, tells the Corinthians, that he had received of the Lord that which he delivered unto them concerning this matter : and he relates Christ's words concerning the cup thus; “This do ye,' as oft as ye drink it, in ‘remembrance of me: and himself adds, 'For (as often as] ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.' So according to what the apostle here delivers, neither Christ nor he enjoined people to do this always; but leave it to their liberty (as oft as ye drink it, &c]. Now the Jews used to take a cup, and to break bread, and divide it among them in their feasts; as may be seen in the Jewish Antiquities : so that the breaking of bread, and drinking of wine, were Jewish rites, which were not to last always. They also baptized with water; which made it not seem a strange thing to them when John the Baptist came with his decreasing ministration of water-baptism. But as to the bread and wine, after the disciples had taken it, some of them questioned whether Jesus was the Christ; for some of them said, after he was crucified, “We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel,' &c. And though the Corinthians had the bread and wine, and were baptized in water, the apostle told them they were 'reprobates, if Christ was not in them;' and bid them examine themselves.' And as the apostle said, 'As oft as ye do eat this For

a full declaration of the doctrines of Friends as regards Baptism, “the sacrament of bread and wine,” &c., see Bates' Doctrines, Barclay's Apology, Joseph John Gurney's Distinguishing Vieus of Friends, and Jacob Post's History and Mystery of those called the Sacraments.



bread, and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death (till he come].' sò Christ had said before, that he was the bread of life, which came down from heaven;' and that he would come and dwell in them ;' which the apostles did witness fulfilled; and exhorted others to seek for that which comes down from above : but the outward bread and wine, and water, are not from above, but from below. Now ye that eat and drink this outward bread and wine in remembrance of Christ's death, and have your fellowships in that, will ye come no nearer to Christ's death, than to take bread and wine in remembrance of it? After ye have eaten in remembrance of his death, ye must come into his death, and die with him, as the apostles did, if ye will live with him. This is a nearer and further advanced state, to be with him in the fellowship of his death, than only to take bread and wine in remembrance of his death. You must have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings : if ye will reign with him, ye must suffer with him; if will live with him, ye must die with him; and if ye die with him, ye must be buried with him : and being buried with him in the true baptism, ye also rise with him. Then having suffered with him, died with him, and been buried with him, if ye are risen with Christ, 'seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.' Eat the bread which comes down from above, which is not outward bread; and drink the cup of salvation which he gives in his kingdom, which is not outward wine. And then there will not be a looking at the things that are seen (as outward bread and wine, and water are): for, as says the apostle, “The things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.'

“So here are many states and conditions to be gone through, before people come to see and partake of that, which cometh down from above.' For first, there was a taking of the outward bread and wine in remembrance of Christ's death: this was temporary, and not of necessity, but at their liberty; as oft as ye do it, &c. Secondly, there must be a coming into his death, a suffering with Christ; and this is of necessity to salvation, and not temporary, but continual : there must be a dying daily. Thirdly, a being buried with Christ. Fourthly, a rising with Christ. Fifthly, after they are risen with Christ, then a seeking those things which are above; a seeking the bread that comes down from heaven, a feeding on and having fellowship in that. For outward bread, wine, and water, are from below, visible and temporal : but saith the apostle, We look not at things that are seen; for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.' So the fellowship that stands in the use of bread, wine, water, circumcision, outward temple, and things seen, will have an end : but the fellowship which stands in the gospel, the power of God, which was before the Devil was, and which brings life and immortality to light, by which people may see over the Devil, that has darkened them; this fellowship is eternal, and will stand. And all that are in it seek that which is heavenly and eternal, which comes down from above, and are settled in the eternal mystery of the fellowship of the gospel, which is hid from all eyes, that look only at visible things. The apostle told the Corinthians, who were in disorder about wat bread and wine, that he desired to know nothing amongst them but Jesus Christ, and him crucified."

« PreviousContinue »