SOME ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE, SUFFERINGS AND, TESTIMONIES,
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Ambrose Rigge (1635-1705), born in Bampton in Westmorland England, was an eminent Quaker minister. From his schoolmaster background, his writings were succinct, easily understood, carefully documented with scripture backup, and very instructive. In 2008, very little of his writings can be found. His writings were often convicting of those comfortable with their continuing sins, failing to conquer sin through the inward cross of self denial; therefore also failing to enter into the Kingdom of God. He writes plainly as to the necessity of the cross, and exposes the appeals to bypass this prerequisite of becoming a true Christian. This cry was not a popular, so his books fell into obscurity. His writings are truly great and stand with the best of the early Quaker exhortations, reproofs, and encouragements. His Journal is short, but instructive. His letters are outstanding, scholarly, logical, convicting, and inpiring.
"I have been in eleven prisons in this county, one of which held me ten years, four months and upward,
The Lord knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever.—Psalm 37:18.
Whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.—Heb13:7.
George Whitehead’s TESTIMONY concerning AMBROSE RIGGE
WE having for many years been acquainted, (as he was my countryman and loving friend), we loved as brethren from the first, after we received the love of the Truth—which he retained; and being faithful to the Lord, according to his gift, was made partaker of the gospel ministry and testimony, by the word of eternal life, and faithfully labored in this with fervent zeal to promote truth and righteousness; by which the Lord made him instrumental in convincing and converting many souls to Christ and his righteousness. The Lord gave him not only to believe, and to declare his name and gospel truth, but also patiently to suffer for the same. Besides the persecutions he suffered in the commonwealth's days, by severe stripes, (publicly whipped at the post). His many years imprisonment in Horsham jail in Sussex, after King Charles II was restored to the crown, doubtless was one of the greatest trials; yet the Lord greatly supported and strengthened him, and many other innocent sufferers in those days.
In the year 1672, a concern greatly fell upon me to have the king moved for the release of many faithful Friends and brethren who then had been long confined in prisons; as I knew this our ancient friend and brother was, and Thomas Taylor, William Dewsberry, and many others, throughout England and Wales; many of which were under sentence of premunire.* Our friend Thomas Moore, thereupon delivered a paper of mine to the king, in behalf of the prisoners; and soon after that, I went with him to the king, and he granted us liberty to come before him and his council, the next council day in the same week. Accordingly we were admitted, and appeared before the king and a full council, where I had liberty fully to plead the innocent cause of our friends in the prisons, and the reason of their not swearing allegiance to the king; it being really matter of conscience to them not to swear at all in any case, etc. The king answered, I will pardon them; that is, discharge them from the penalties of the laws, and their estates from confiscation, which had been forfeited by the judgment of premunire. This was to be done by the king's letters patent under the great seal of England, which I was constrained to follow and solicit, through the several offices which such letters patent pass, before effected; which took me up near six months time and labor to get thoroughly effected and executed, so as to release Friends out of prison, and re-convey their estates forfeited. However, I was truly glad and thankful to God when it was obtained and done. And so was this my dear friend and brother Ambrose Rigge, with many more faithful friends and brethren, who had long deeply suffered. I remember he would often mention the same to me with grateful acknowledgement of my kindness and industry to obtain that liberty for him and many others, being above 480 in all, released out of prisons. He was of a loving and grateful spirit and temper, and not apt to forget acts of kindness; knowing how comfortable true love and brotherly kindness are, and how happy and pleasant a thing it is for brethren to live therein.
He loved unity, peace and concord, and hated strife, divisions and discord, and was zealous against the sowers thereof. He truly loved his ancient brethren who kept their dominion in the Truth; and as he loved union, peace and concord in the churches of Christ and labored for the promotion and increase thereof, we had sweet society therein, even in true brotherly love and kindness, blessed be the Lord our God, for his great kindness and love in his dear Son to us. And as therein we have been sufferers, and spiritual warriors for his name and truth in his church militant here on earth, I firmly believe and hope that we shall rejoice and triumph together in Christ, with his church triumphant in his heavenly kingdom and glory forever. I was at the funeral of our ancient friend and brother Ambrose Rigge at Riegate, (also spelled Rygate) which was accompanied with a great concourse, and with solemnity, in which the Lord's presence and power did attend us, and bless our assembly. For he was a man that had obtained a good report, and left a sweet savor of truth and honesty behind him.
London, the 25th of the Second month, 1709
A TRUE RELATION OF AMBROSE RIGGE, BY WAY OF JOURNAL
A TRUE relation of the first manifestation of the love of God in Christ Jesus unto me. To the best of my remembrance, when I was about ten or twelve years of age, the Lord touched my heart with a sense of my latter end, which I often deeply considered when I was at the free school among my schoolmates. I often thought of my creator, and of his great work in the creation, and that to him all must give an account of their deeds, whether good or evil; yet being daily conversant with my playmates, I was led into wantonness and play, and many youthful pleasures, in the midst of which I was often smitten by the rod of God, though I knew him not. Yet one thing did somewhat comfort me, that I abhorred vain and desperate oaths and drunkenness, which I saw many were swallowed up withal, who were my companions; for there was an hatred in my heart of such things. Being brought up to read the Scriptures from a child, and thinking therein to find something of life; but being a stranger to Him in whom life was and is, I was still in darkness and the region of the shadow of death. Yet I found them declaring of the day of the Lord that should burn as an oven, wherein all the proud, and all who did wickedly, should be as stubble, and the day that comes should leave them neither root nor branch, (Mat 4, and many such places); which I believed were true, and would come to pass. Notwithstanding I was not so overcome of gross evils, yet I daily found sin reigning and ruling in me, and leading me captive into divers lusts and vain pleasures, which became my great burden; under which I often groaned and cried to the Lord for deliverance. But being in the kingdom and power of darkness, I saw no way of deliverance, but still remained under the bondage of corruption. Then when I could write, I took much delight in writing the priest's sermons, and as I went home got them without book, so that I had gathered much into my knowledge, but still remained a stranger to the life of Christ, which my soul breathed after, and was without God in the world, wandering from mountain to hill, yet found no rest for the sole of my foot. In this condition I remained till I was sixteen years of age, running from one high-priest to another, expecting to receive that from them which my soul thirsted after, but still remained unsatisfied. They were to me physicians of no value, though they told to me apply the promises and get faith. Yet both they and I being ignorant of the word of faith, which the apostle preached, near in the heart, Rom. 10:8, through the hearing of which, faith comes to be received; I knew not that unto which the promise of life was, and found that ruling in me unto which the promise of life was not. So that whatever plaster was applied to me while the corruption was not purged out, was of no value as to my cure; for, from the crown of my head, to the sole of my foot, I was full of bruises and putrefying sores, so that I was often loathsome to myself. Yet not knowing how to be healed, I sought further, and met with some books that did somewhat suit my condition, which I took delight to read, and gathered a form of prayer, which I often used in private, with many earnest breathings to the Lord, that if he had any blessing to bestow upon me on earth, he would show me his way of Truth. For I plainly saw that many of the priests were as bad as myself, and some worse, and so could expect no good fruit from evil trees. Then I turned from them, and went after others, who were a little more refined, and thought from them to have more satisfaction, but found none, but was sensible that my wounds grew more and more putrefied; and that which the best of them had applied, proved no relief at all to me, nor proper at all to my distemper. So then my soul often mourned to the Lord in secret, for the knowledge of his way, desiring neither riches nor honor in the world; but that I might know the good physician, who could make me every whit whole, which was of more value to me than all the treasures of Egypt. Though some youthful pleasures prevailed over me, which kept me above the witness of God in me, yet had I secret reproofs, which caused sadness in the midst of my joy.
And though I was as a wild heifer, unaccustomed to the yoke, yet I was always preserved from gross evils, by him whom I now knew to be my strength, though I had many occasions and provocations thereunto, glory, honor, and living praises unto the Lord God, and to the Lamb forevermore.
The way and manner of my first coming to the knowledge of the Truth, and way of peace, which had been the breathing of my soul from my youth.
AFTER my long travail in the night of darkness and ignorance, wherein I had toiled and taken nothing, it pleased the Lord of his infinite goodness and tender mercy to me and many more, to send his true and faithful messenger, George Fox, into our parts, who published the everlasting gospel. He said we had a light, unto which we did well to take heed, until the day dawned, and the day star arose in our hearts; which was glad tidings to us, who so long had sat in darkness and blindness of mind. This testimony I then both believed and received, not because it was his testimony alone, but because it was indeed the testimony of the word of God, which became quick and powerful in me, and sharper than a two-edged sword, to the cutting down of the man of sin, which had long ruled in my heart; with which there was a great and long warfare before the strong man was overcome, that a stronger than he .might rule. Many and strange were his wiles, and strong was his temptation to overthrow that little measure of faith, which the Lord had wrought in my heart by hearing the word, through which I came to have some small victory over him and his power, by which he had long led me captive at his will; but as I took heed to the word of faith, which was near in my heart, the day began more and more to spring from on high, and the day star to appear in my heart. Then the foggy mists of the night began to vanish away, and the day star went before me, till it led me to see him, whom I had pierced. And then a day of bitterness came upon me, and I was in sorrow as a man for his only son, and judgment began to be laid to the line in me, and righteousness to the plummet; so that I said in the morning, would God it were evening; and in the evening, would God it were morning, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, who was arisen to shake terribly the earth. But in the midst of all, it was said, I will not break a braised reed, nor quench the smoking flax, till I have brought forth judgment into victory. In the belief of this, I waited long upon the Lord in the way of his judgments, until I felt his mercy spring unto me, which was manifested in me. So then I became as a stranger to my near relations; for my father and mother forsook me; my friends and acquaintance stood afar off, wondering at me, and I was a hissing to many; and I was sorely beaten by those who formerly would have hugged me, because I now feared the Lord, and trembled at his word; yes, and at the last I was cast out of all which might administer comfort to my outward man; so that for some time I had not whereon to lay my head. Then I walked about in solitary places, being compassed with many and sore temptations, both inwardly and outwardly; in the midst of which, the Lord spoke comfortably unto me, and said, Fear not, I will be with you and care for you; which did refresh my soul and bear up my spirit. But sometimes looking out at the prosperity of the wicked, my foot had well near slipped; and withal, considering the many troubles that I was compassed with. But the good Shepherd drew me in again with his crook, and made me lie down among the sheep of his pasture, where I found fresh pastures and living streams, which renewed my strength as the morning; and I became strong in spirit, and in the faith of the Son of God, by which I obtained victory and freedom in my own particular, over that which long had victory over me. Yet, as I said above, my father and mother stood far from me, and I became as a stranger to my mother's children; but the Lord regarded me, and had respect unto me, and gave me more and more of his good Spirit to direct my steps, that my feet did not slide. Often, when I was alone, temptation was sore upon me, and did strongly beset me; yet I still did resolve in my breast to follow the Lamb whithersoever he went; and whatsoever sufferings overtook me, I would never deny the Truth, which the Lord had so clearly manifested to me. Then I concluded to go to London and take some employment among Friends; and something was very forward in me so to do; but yet the Lord would not allow me, but counseled me to stay and wait, until he called me forth. So I waited a season, and at length the word of the Lord came unto me, which said, you shall go forth into the south to be a witness unto my name, for which you shall suffer many things; but I will be with you. This seemed hard to me at first; and I could much more willingly have stayed at home; so I bore and weighed it a pretty while, before I related it to any, yet never concluding to disobey the Lord's word, whatever I suffered, if I saw him still requiring this of me. At length I was greatly pressed in spirit day and night, so that neither my sleep, nor any other enjoyment was pleasant to me, till I freely gave up to part with all to follow the leadings of the Lord. When I did freely answer his requirements, I felt his arm stretched out over me, and the light of his countenance was upon me; so that the parting with my father and mother, my friends and acquaintance, with my native country, was little in comparison of that joy which was set before me.
Then was a fellow-traveler prepared for me, namely, Thomas Robertson of Westmoreland, who was made willing to leave his dear wife and tender babes, to go with me into the Lord's harvest. We took our journey about the time called Easter, in the year 1655, and through much reproach and hard travel on foot, came to London; and alter a little stay, it was upon us to pass further southward. So early in the morning we took water, and passed down the Thames, towards Gravesend, and in the boat were divers passengers with us, who perceiving what we were, did exceedingly scoff, and shamefully entreat us, till on a sudden a great ship came running with full sail before the wind, and was near to run over the boat in which they and we were. This did so terrify them, that their laughter was turned into fear and horror, which made them quake far more than us, whom before they had reproached under that name. The danger was so imminent, that the boatman had much ado to save himself; yet the Lord delivered us, and brought us safely on shore at Gravesend, and from there we traveled to Rochester; where it was laid upon us to go to a Baptist meeting, at which we were apprehended by soldiers, and brought before the governor, who examined us, and finding we were north countrymen, said we might pass no further without a certificate, and committed us prisoners. But there being one of our own countrymen, a soldier in the place, who gave testimony of our honesty in our own country, we were freed; but withal, much tempted to go back into our own country again, for they told us many dangers were before us, if we went forward. Yet we consulted not with flesh and blood, but went forward in the name and power of God, till we came to Dover, where there was an open door to us, and the Lord also opened our mouths to publish the everlasting gospel, though in weakness, fear, and in much trembling; yet thereby several were turned from darkness to the light, and from the power of Satan to God, in order to receive remission of sins, and an inheritance among the sanctified. From there we came to Folkstone, where some received us and believed, and were gathered to God. And we passed to Hyde and Rumney, where several received our testimony, unto whom the arm of God was revealed, through which they were gathered from the barren mountains into the low valleys. At Lydd we found Samuel Fisher, a pastor of a congregation of the Baptists, with whom we had discourse, he being a great scholar, and having formerly been a parish priest, but one who waited for the coming of the kingdom of God in power. He received our testimony, and was willing to become a fool, that he might be made wise to salvation, and from a teacher came to learn, and so received wisdom and spiritual understanding, to become a preacher of righteousness, in which he lived and died.
After his convincement we came to Staplehurst, where we found a great congregation of Seekers, so called, among whom we had good service; many of them being convinced, with their teacher, his wife and children, who lived and died in the faith. The harvest grew so great, and the laborers being few, we were forced to separate one from the other; and one of us to take that care and charge which both did before. But after we had a little cleared ourselves of that county, it was upon us to pass through the western counties nearly two hundred miles, to proclaim the acceptable day of the Lord in towns, cities and villages, which we gave up to do. Being parted one from the other, Thomas Robertson was two or three days' journey before me; but both of us being as strangers and pilgrims in the earth, and having none to direct us but the Lord alone, we were driven to many straits outwardly; but in all we were supplied with courage and strength to undergo whatever was laid upon us. Thomas Robertson passed before me through the county of Sussex, only I heard of him accidentally near Chichester, at a house by the way side, at which I called to get a little water to quench my thirst. The woman began to tell me of a man who called there two or three days before, whose words gave me to understand that it was my companion. When I had drank, I passed into the city on the seventh-day at night; and on the first-day I was moved to go to the Baptist meeting, where I declared the word of Truth, though with much opposition; which testimony some received, and some rejected. But after a little time the mayor of the city having notice given of me, sent the constable to bring me before him. When I came without respecting his person by putting off the hat, he was in a great rage, and sent for one called a justice; who, when he came, took of my hat himself, and commanded men to search me, saying, I was a Jesuit, or one come from Rome; and would have committed me to the Gatehouse forthwith, but the Lord turned their hearts; so that after some discourse they freed me. After which I got a meeting at the inn; so the next morning I left the city and came into Hampshire, and from there into Wiltshire, and all through the country till I came near to Bristol, before I saw the face of a Friend. The strength of my body was well nigh spent with travel; but meeting with some Friends, I was revived and strengthened; and staying there a little space, I was pressed in spirit to go forward. I came to Bristol, and from there to Exeter, where were two brethren of my country in prison; and going to visit them, Thomas Robertson and I met together again in safety, after our long journey, and in that city we stayed some small time, declaring the Truth; but they stopped their ears, and hardened their hearts against truth and us; so that we shook off the dust of their city as a witness against them, and came away again for Bristol, where we had service.
From there we came to Reading, and stayed a little season; and from there we were moved to go to Basingstoke in Hampshire, where, through some difficulty, we obtained a meeting; but before the people had all come together, the chief priest and rulers came, who caused us to be haled out of the meeting, and tendered us the oath of abjuration; and because, for conscience sake, we could not swear, they carried us forthwith to prison. But before they put us into the room, they separated us one from the other, and searched us, and took away our money, linen, and ink-horns. Then they thought of some way to keep us apart; but not having two rooms bad enough, they thrust us down together into a low strait room, and locked us close up, and appointed two rude men with halberds* to watch over us within the prison all night, and in the morning freed them, and shut us close, and gave a command, that if any of our friends came but upon the ground, before the prison-door to visit us, they should be fined. They kept us nearly three days before they brought us our money; in all which time we could not call for any necessities, because we had no money, and we could not eat any man's bread for nothing. When the people cried out upon them, they brought us our money; and the jailer would have eight pence a night for a nasty bed which stood in the room; and when we could not satisfy his desire, he caused it to be taken away. So we got some straw, and laid upon it all the time we continued there. The jailer caused boards to be nailed before the window, that we might not see the light, and at night would not allow us to have a candle or fire. All which we bore with patience, till they were weary of their cruelty; by which several, both in town and country, were convinced of the Truth, and remained therein. And there they kept us nearly a quarter of a year, and at their sessions freed us.
When we were clear of the town, we were moved to pass for Southampton, where the Lord opened a door unto us, and his word was effectual in us, to the turning of a remnant from darkness to the light, who walk in it to this day. Thomas Robertson left me, and went to Portsmouth, and gave a testimony there; after whom I also went and stayed nearly ten days, having good service. On the first-day I was moved to go to the steeple-house, to bear testimony against their worship, at which the priests and rulers were offended; and on the second day, as I was passing out of town, I was apprehended by soldiers, and had before the governor, who would have prosecuted me as a vagrant, but could not find matter enough so to do, but sent me out of town with a constable; but after a little time I returned again, and then they received the word of God with gladness, and a meeting was established there. With much difficulty I got into the Isle of Wright, where some were added to the Lord's flock; and the Lord delivered me out of the hands of unreasonable men. From there I came over into Hampshire, and passed from town to town, and from village to village; and the Lord was with me, and made his word effectual in my mouth, to the turning of many to righteousness, in which they were established.
After I had continued among them for a season, I came into Sussex, where I had good service, and a great gathering there was to the Truth; and many received the word of God with joy, and met often together; in whose meetings God manifested his presence and power in a large measure, among whom my ! soul was refreshed But after a little time I was moved to go back again into Hampshire, to water the tender plants there. When I had done this, I was pressed in spirit to go into Dorsetshire, to Weymouth and Melcomb-Regis; and there I was moved to go to a steeple-house, to declare against an hireling priest; for which I was apprehended, and carried to a nasty prison underground, where I had neither bed, fire, nor anything to sit down upon but a stone; and a heap of filth was in one corner of it, and some nasty straw, where seamen had laid in. There I was kept two or three days; but I could look up, and see the people in the street, and there I had good service, and preached the Truth to the tendering of many. And from there I was sent to Dorchester, to the county jail, where was a terrible sickness, which some called the plague, which swept away most of the prisoners. But the Lord was with me there, and kept me in the hollow of his hand; so that an hair of my head was not hurt. There I was kept eleven weeks, where I had very good service for the Lord, to the convincing and confirming of many in the Truth, in which they have now found rest for their souls.
When I came to that prison, I found my dear brother Humphrey Smith there, who took the sickness of the prison, and was very near death, unto whom I was greatly helpful, for he was not willing to take anything but from me; but the Lord raised him up again. Joseph Coale and William Bayly were sent prisoners there also, but we were all preserved and delivered by the mighty arm and power of God. And from that imprisonment also the Lord set me free; and while I was there, preserved me from that raging disease, which swept away many in a small time, giving me assurance, that a hair of my head should not fall without him, which was fulfilled to the utmost. For though I was in many dangers of sickness in that prison, besides the contagious disease; yet I was never better, nor more healthy than I was there; blessed and praised be the name of the Lord forever.
When I was delivered, I went and labored again in the vineyard of the Lord, and came to Weymouth and Melcomb-Regis, from where I had been sent to prison, and there I had good service for the Lord among his flock. Being clear of that place, I departed in peace, and came to Corsetown, in the Isle of Purbeck, where I was resisted, and by force of armed men kept out of the town, the inhabitants pretending a fear of me, as I came from among so many infected persons in the prison. I not being willing to bring any danger among them, departed and came to Poole, where I was gladly received, and there I continued a few days in the labor of the gospel, confirming them who had heard the word of God and believed. From there I passed to Ringwood, where I found a few who believed the Truth; among whom I gave testimony of the same, to the establishing them in the faith, which was begotten in them by the word of Truth. Then I came to Southampton, where I had formerly labored; and I was much refreshed among the plants of God, who rejoiced and praised God for my deliverance out of that dangerous prison before mentioned. I preached the word of God with a ready mind, and had many large and precious meetings, as also in the country about; and the word of the Lord grew, and many came to believe the Truth.
In Southampton I was moved to go to a steeple-house, where one Nathaniel Robinson, an Independent priest, was speaking a divination of his own brain; and after he had ended, I desired to be heard a few words in-the fear of God; but he fled and left me to the mercy of his rude hearers, who with violence haled me out of their synagogue; and the said Nathaniel Robinson caused the rulers to send me to prison, where I continued a very close prisoner; and when some of my Friends came from the country to visit me, they abused them, and shamefully entreated them at their inn, and in the streets also. One Edward Southwood, being a soldier in the army, and having leave from his officer to come to visit me, they caused him to be surprised in the inn, and took his arms from him, and would not allow him to come into the prison to me; but over all their cruelty, the Lord kept him, and gave him patience to bear what they were allowed to inflict upon him. They allowed very few to come at me, yes, scarcely those who were to bring me necessities. All which I suffered till the Lord set me at liberty over all their cruelties.
Then I began again to labor in the Lord's harvest, and he was with me, and gave me power to undergo whatever he allowed to be laid upon me. I was moved to go into the Isle of Wight, and purposed to have gone on board at Portsmouth, but was stopped by the governor. Then I came back again to Southampton, and from there to Hurstcastle, and there I met with some Baptists, with whom I had a conference; and understanding whither I was to go, after I had got under sail, they betrayed me to the muster-master, who caused the master of the vessel to put me ashore again. So there I was out of all hopes of having any passage; and was forced to come back through the forest that night in much rain to Limington, where I procured passage in a boat that went with faggots [torches]. In the night season, and about the 10th or 11th hour, we landed in the Island. I took up at an inn that night, and in the morning I went to Newport, their chief town, where the professors were rich and full, and rejected the counsel of God, and despised his messenger sent to them in tender love. I declared the word of Truth among them as it was upon me; but before I passed out of the Island, I was seized on by the soldiers, and carried to the castle at Cowes, and the governor sent me out of the Island; but I not being clear, returned again after a little time, and there was a small remnant gathered, among whom I traveled through many hardships. In that Island I was imprisoned in a filthy cold prison, in the middle of the street, in their great town, where I had good service. And when they perceived that, they put me in another prison, in a back room, where I could not see the street, nor people come at me, where they kept me some time. Yet at length the Lord delivered me, and there was a meeting settled.
About that time a law made against vagrants was perversely executed against Friends, who were taken from their own homes or dwelling places, by which many innocent men suffered who had good estates; and some it was said in the very parish where they were born, if they were taken in another. Coming to Southampton, where some Friends were put in the house of correction, I presently going to see them, was apprehended by the officers, and with great abuse thrown headlong into the cage; and without any further examination, the mayor granted a warrant to whip me at the whipping post in the market-place, which was executed by the hangman accordingly in a cruel manner. After this they threw me across a hand-barrow, and carried me along the streets between two men, and then threw me into a cart, and drew me out at the gate, in cold, snow, and frosty weather, without the least refreshment, and so drew me to the next tithing [a district in a town] that night; their warrant requiring me to be carried from tithing to tithing, till I came at my own parish. After I was gone, the mayor, whose name was Peter Seale, threatened that if ever I returned again, I should be whipped a second time, and burned in the shoulder with the letter (R) as broad as a shilling; the other magistrates would not join with him in the work he had undertaken. But before his warrant had got me twenty miles, the Lord overthrew it, and delivered me out of their hands; and in a little time I was moved of the Lord to go to Southampton again, which I did, and had several meetings, and no man laid hands on me; and then in my freedom I went out again, and labored in the Lord's work, and it was upon me to come to Southampton again. I had only been come in a little time, till the constable took me and carried me before the aforesaid mayor, who was in a great rage, and threatened to execute the rigor of the law upon me; and in order thereto, sent for a justice of the town, but he being more moderate, and having no hand in his former proceeding, discouraged him so, that he was forced to let his work fall, and after much ado he let me go free. In a little time after he was smitten with a bloody flux, which all his physicians could not cure, but shortly ended his days in misery; and the constable, who was his chief agent in his wicked proceedings, the hand of God fell upon him and his family, so that he was forced to fly out of the town and died miserably. I had peace and freedom a considerable time after, till King Charles II. was restored; but in the same year he was crowned, I was taken upon the road at Petersfield in Hampshire, and there before Humphrey Bennet, and John Norton, called justices, I had the oath of allegiance tendered me. And because for conscience sake I could not swear, they condemned me to the common jail at Winchester, and took my horse from me; there I continued till the assizes, and then was run to a premunire by judge Foster and Tyrrell, and committed close prisoner, and in the jail suffered many abuses from the prisoners, by the connivance of the jailer; till the king freed me by proclamation, and they were made to deliver me my horse again, and then I traveled in Truth's service, in several counties, for a pretty season, till the spring.
In the year 1662, I was at a meeting, at Captain Thomas Luxford's house, at Hurst Pierpoint in Sussex; and by the instigation of Leonard Letchford, priest of that place, I was apprehended and carried before Nisell Rivers, Walter Burrill, and Richard Bridger, called justices, who tendered me the oath of allegiance; and because I could not, for conscience sake swear, they committed me to Horsham jail, the 28th day of the third month, 1662, where I continued till the assizes, and before Samuel Brown, then judge, I was premunired. By the instigation of the aforesaid Leonard Letchford, I was continued close prisoner, where I continued above ten years, under many sore abuses in the prison, from several cruel jailers, but the hand of the Lord overtook them, and cut several of them off while I continued prisoner there. I was freely resigned up to suffer all the days of my life, if it was the will of the Lord to allow it, seeing no way of deliverance from man, in whom I put no confidence; but with a godly confidence, was resolved to wait in patience all the days of my appointed time. At length, when I least expected my deliverance, the Lord brought it to pass, and opened the heart of the king to grant my liberty by patent, under the great seal, with many more who suffered for the testimony of a good conscience. In the time of my imprisonment, the aforesaid Leonard Letchford sued my wife by her maiden name, for tithes of and, for which he had kept her father prisoner several years, and sent her to prison also; and at the assizes got a false verdict against her, and took out an execution against her, with which he sent the bailiffs, and took my goods that I had bought and labored for with my hands in prison, leaving us not a bed to lie upon, nor any other necessaries to assist us in prison, that they cared to carry away, to the very pot that we borrowed, while prisoners, to boil our meat in; all which I could easily have recovered by law, when I was freed out of prison; but I freely committed my cause to God, to whom vengeance belongs.
In a short time, my father-in-law, Thomas Luxford, was freed also, whom the said Leonard Letchford had kept many years in prison, who boasted that he had laid us so fast, that the king should not free us. And if we had but a little liberty granted us, once in a twelve month, to go to visit our families, he sought out many inventions to have the sheriff fined; and thereby incensed the jailer to keep us close; and made many applications to the worst of the justices, who he thought were most bitter against us, to add affliction to our bonds; but he lived to see us both freed out of prison to his great torment, as he many ways expressed.
The said Thomas Luxford has also suffered many years, for refusing to send in arms from year to year, to the value of between twenty and thirty pounds, for which, one year, they took away his wife's bed and bedding, as soon as she was risen out of it, for one year's tax for drums and colors.
After I was freed out of prison at Horsham, I continued my family in the town about a year, and then removed to Gatton in Surrey, where I continued about fourteen years, where Robert Pepys the priest excommunicated me, my wife and servants, for not coming to the steeplehouse, and afterwards sued me in the Exchequer, for tithes, and for the value of twenty shillings run me to a writ of rebellion, and so to a sequestration, and seized my goods to the value of sixty pounds. Many other sufferings and exercises I had there, but the Lord was with me, and delivered me out of them all; and much good service I had in the country there about; find many were gathered to the Lord, and established in the faith of the gospel. Robert Pepys, priest of Gatton in Surrey, his false accusations to the justices at the sessions against Ambrose Rigge; a copy whereof folio which follows:
”This Ambrose is lately come into this parish, from Horsham, where he was in the prison (as it is reported) seven years for his damnable heresies, and wicked opinions; and this being a private parish, he thinks to roost here, and impudently presumes to board and teach youth in his house; and has at this time twelve or fourteen in his house; and being a man of parts and learning, does a great deal of mischief in seducing others; to effecting which, he spares neither pains nor time. And what Tertullus the orator said falsely and foolishly of St. Paul, may very truly be said of this man, that he is a plague, a pestilent fellow. He is justly suspected to be a Jesuit, or one that has kept their conventicles. And this honorable court is humbly and earnestly requested by the minister and parishioners, to take special notice of him, as a most dangerous person to the church, being a ringleader of sects and schisms."
AMBROSE RIGGE'S LETTER TO ROBERT PEPYS.
NEIGHBOR PEPYS,—I am credibly informed, that you did greatly instigate the magistrates, at the sessions in Southwark, against me, and there affirmed several untruths in a letter above mentioned. I have reason to wonder, why upon all occasions, when you think you can do me a mischief, you seek my ruin, who never sought your hurt in word or deed? If you know that I have in any way trespassed against you, how can you pray to God to forgive you your trespasses, who does not forgive others their trespasses? And how do you love your neighbor as yourself, who are always, when you think you can prevail, seeking your neighbor’s ruin? If I were in an error in judgment, the course you have taken since I came to Gatton, is more like to harden me, than to convince me that you are in the way of Truth, your daily practice is so repugnant to Christianity, and common civility among men. God Almighty open your eyes that you may see what you are doing, and whom you are striving against. I have lived by you peaceably, on my part, these several years, and served you in what I could, both in health and sickness; and for which of my good deeds to you do you conspire against me? The Lord judge between us: it is only my body you can touch; and if you get it, it will do you little good. The Jews' priests stirred up the rulers against Christ and his followers, under the name of deceivers, and ring-leaders of sects, Acts 24:5. When they dared not encounter them by spiritual weapons, then they had them to be cast into prison, by false accusations, as you and your brethren have done many at this day, till you have made yourselves a stink to the whole land, that it is ready to spew you out. I have often desired your prosecutors to favor you; but it seems you spurs on mine to hunt my soul as much as you can. Instead of loving enemies, you are for persecuting your friends and neighbors, whom you could never convince of the least evil, either in life or doctrine, by the Scriptures, your own professed rule. Well, you shall go no further than you are allowed from on high; to all which I have learned to say, "Thy will, О Lord, be done;" but this know, "That it were better for you that a millstone were hung about your neck, and you cast into the sea, than to offend one of the least of them who believe in Christ. "Do not covet my vineyard by ensnaring me, for fear that Ahab's reward becomes your portion. No more, but that I am, a friend to you and all men.
To the inhabitants of Gatton, in the county of Surrey, and to all others whom it does or may concern.
FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS,—As of old, he that was born after the flesh, persecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so it is at this day, Gal 4:29, for such is the implacable enmity of many priests in our age, that scarcely any who will not put into their mouths and satisfy their covetous desires, can be secure from the lash of their scandalous tongues and wicked hands, they being in the way of Cain, and also in the steps of the false prophets of Israel; Micah 3:5. Crying, Peace, peace, to them who put into their mouths, and feed them with tithes, gins and rewards; but against those who for conscience sake cannot, they even prepare war. Of this spirit has Robert Pepy's, priest of Gatton, fully manifested himself to be since he came to Gatton, as several can witness; but more especially since I denied to pay him tithes, it being no gospel right to any minister, as I am ready to prove by the Scripture. For this cause did he break forth in a rage, and before several witnesses, said : If he had leave from the king, he would himself hang ten thousand of us, called Quakers; and also said, it would never be well till the Spanish Inquisition was up in England again. If this be not the spirit of Cain, the murderer, I know not what it is. But he being out of hopes of effecting this at present, he sued me in the Exchequer for tithes, and also got me, my wife and servants put in the bishop's court, because we could not partake of his sacrifice; and with his own hand wrote many grievous lies and false accusations against me, to kindle the wrath of the magistrates to destroy me, as is manifest by his letter before mentioned : First, that I was in the prison in Horsham, as is reported, seven years for my damnable heresies, and wicked opinions, etc. As for my being in prison there above ten years I deny not; for I suffered there as a Christian for well doing, of which I have no cause to be ashamed; but damnable heresies and wicked opinions, I utterly deny. Let him, or the worst of my enemies, prove the least heresy against me if they can; till which I shall reckon my sufferings there for righteousness. Secondly, that I do a great deal of mischief here in seducing others, to effect which, he said, I spare neither pains nor time. Let him prove whom I have seduced, and what evil I have done since I came here, or else this will prove his burden also in the day of account. The same false spirit that led Tertullus the orator, to call Paul a pestilent fellow, and a ring-leader of sects, etc. does now lead him to speak as falsely and foolishly against me; but he has proved no more against me than Tertullus the orator did against Paul; but it was ever the manner of that spirit to charge high and prove nothing, and so it is at this day. To say that I am justly suspected to be a Jesuit, or one that has often been at their conventicles, is a most notorious falsehood. For God is my witness, I never was in any of the Jesuits or Papists conventicles, and I hope never shall, unless it is to bear witness again their idolatry. Here let the people take notice by the way, that this priest said, he would hang so many of us, called Quakers, as is before expressed, in the presence of several professed Papists, with whom, at that time, he went into his church, and expressed a great deal of kindness to them, and said he would do what they required of him; if they would but speak the word it should be done. Of this I was an eye and ear-witness, by which let wise men judge who is nearest of kin to the Papists, he or I? Or whether, if I were a Papist, I should not have more favor from him, yes or no? Lastly, he charged me of being a dangerous person to the church. I suppose he means that church of which he is, which plainly manifests it to be a false church, and built upon the sand, which is in danger of falling; for the true church is built upon that Rock, "which the gates of hell cannot prevail against." Mat 16:18. Those things, before expressed, I could have passed by, and have patiently borne with silence, as to my own particular, knowing for whose sake I am thus reviled and persecuted, and all manner of evil falsely said of me; such things being always the portion of the disciples of Christ from the world; if it were not for the sake of those who have not had any long acquaintance with me for fear that they should believe his lies; for their sakes chiefly, these lines are written. And now are Christ's words fulfilled, John 16:2. "They have cast us out of their synagogues;" and the priests especially pretend to do good service in killing us; and these things they do because they know not the Father, nor his son Jesus Christ: Therefore all people repent and amend your lives, "for the kingdom of God is at hand. "
This, in tender love and good will, is written by him, who has learned to bless them who curse him; and to do good to them who spitefully hate and persecute him, who is called
In the year 1664, I took Mary Luxford to wife, who was the second daughter of Thomas Luxford, and Elizabeth his wife, of Hurst-Pierpoint in the county of Sussex; she was of honest and considerable parents, who brought her up strictly, according to that religion which they believed to be true, and she lived in great subjection to her parents. Though they came to believe and receive the truth before her, yet she had that reverent respect for them, that she would not willingly appear before them in any dress which she knew they did not love; and was modest and courteous to friends who walked wisely towards her. But in a short time she and her younger sister, Cordelia, were willing to go to a meeting, where they were both convinced, and received the Truth in the love of it, by which they received power to cast off the unfruitful works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, by which they soon became able to quench the fiery darts of the devil, which were not a few in that day; yet through all the Lord in mercy preserved them in faith and patience through many tribulations. On the 6th day of the seventh month, in the year above said, we were married in the prison at Horsham, after I was premunired two years and kept close prisoner, because for conscience sake I could not swear; where I continued eight years after, and four months, all which she bore with much patience. As the Lord, by his immediate hand, brought us together, so he preserved us together, for the space of four and twenty years, in much love and unity, as helpmeets one to another. She was a blessed woman, and loved the Lord and his Truth, and walked in it to the end of her days. She hated all evil in word and deed, and walked before the Lord in much innocence, and loved peace and unity, for she was a woman of a meek and quiet spirit, and loved righteousness wherever it appeared. She was naturally attended with many weaknesses of body, yet was the mother of five healthy children. She much delighted in reading night and day, so long as she had any strength of body; and towards her latter end she had a sense of it, and spoke something of it to me, for she was much spent with a continual consumptive cough. In the latter end of the tenth month, 1688-9, she was taken sick, which increased upon her, notwithstanding many remedies which were sought for her. She bore her sickness with much quietness and patience, till the 6th day of the eleventh month following, and then departed this life, like a lamb, in my arms, and went to her eternal rest in the bosom of the Father's love, in which love she delighted to be in her life time. Her remembrance lives with all who truly knew her; for she was a good example to many, and left a testimony of her innocence and integrity behind her, whose reward is now with her: this lay upon me to write concerning her. The first child she had died, but four are still alive grown up. We educated them in the Truth, in their younger years, and watched over them in love, till they knew the power of God in themselves, unto which we recommended them, by which they have been preserved to this day, to my great comfort. Many days and years have I, with bended knees, in secret, prayed to God, before the throne of his grace, to guard them with his power, from the evil of this world, and to direct their steps in the way of righteousness, which in a great measure I have prior to now enjoyed; blessed and praised be the name of the Lord for ever. I am more than a little comforted in that; the Lord preserve them to the end of their days, in faith and well doing. Amen.
Rigate, the 11th of the Ninth month, 1694.
Concerning the spiritual man, who is begotten of God, through the Spirit, by the immortal word of God, which lives and abides forever, and has received the Spirit of adoption, whereby he cries Abba Father.
As there is a natural man who is corrupted after the deceitful lusts, so there is a spiritual man, who is born of the Spirit, and has the promise of eternal life. Through the adoption, namely the redemption of the body, he is made an habitation of God through the Spirit; in whom God dwells and walks, according to his promise of old, 2 Cor 6:16. He walks in the Spirit, and does not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. In him has God great delight, and gives him wisdom, power, strength, and ability to do whatsoever he commands him, and he can do all things through him who is his strength, Phil 4:13. The commandments of God are not grievous, but joyous to him; no they are his only delight, and this keeps him in love and favour with God; so that he withholds no good thing from him, Psa 84:11, but gives him of the abundance of his heavenly treasure. He feeds him with the heritage of Jacob, even with the finest of the wheat, and with honey out of the rock, Psa 81:16, he opens his breasts of consolation to him, out of which delightsome refreshment comes, whereby he grows in the beauty of holiness. In his mouth are the high praises of the Lord, as a two-edged sword in his hand, through which he executes vengeance upon the heathen, and punishment upon the people, Psa 149:7. As the natural man is wise to do evil, [so the regenerated man] is wise to resist evil, so that it does not come near unto his house; yes, though evil pursue the wicked, yet to him there is a tree of life, Pro 13:21, upon which he feeds, and lives forever.
He is stout and valorous, even as bold as a lion, Pro 28:1; he fears not the swelling of the sea, he is not afraid of the terror of the heart, nor of the arrow that flies by day, Psa 91:5; the law of truth is in his mouth, Mal 2:6; so that his steps cannot slide. He calls no man father upon earth, nor any man master below the sun, Mat 23:9-10; for he is born of God, and receives his law from his mouth; he is created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works, that he may live in them. He lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, Mat 4:4; over him death or darkness has not power, but he stands in the glorious liberty of the sons of God. A freeborn son and heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ Jesus, Rom 8:17, he grows up in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, unto a perfect man, as it is written of him, Eph. 4:13, but this is a mystery to the natural man, even as the wind blows where it wishes, and he hears the sound thereof; but knows not from where it comes, nor whither it goes, John 3:8, even so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Therefore they who are of the flesh, mind the things of the flesh, and they who are of the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. And as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God, Rom 8:14, but the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, 1 Cor 2:14; but the spiritual man judges all things, and he himself is judged of no man, 1 Cor 2:15. This is that noble birth which God has brought forth in many at this day, unto whom we preach perfection and freedom from the law of sin and death, which is the same wisdom which Paul said he preached among them that were perfect, 1 Cor 2:6-7. But this the carnal man cannot endure to hear of, who receives not the things of the Spirit of God, as it is written of him, 1 Cor 2:14. Therefore it is no marvel why he cannot receive this doctrine of perfection, which the holy men of God held forth unto the spiritual man so plentifully throughout the Scriptures of Truth, as I have showed before to all, who with a spiritual eye discern the things of God by which they are only known, 1 Cor 2:11 but they are foolishness and madness to the sons of Belial.
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:9-10. By this a man will soon see whether he is a child of God or of the devil, who would persuade others, that to do good and not to commit sin, is that which none dares challenge upon the earth, and that it would be praise to God to say his commandments cannot be done without sinning or offending; this cannot be paralleled in all the Scripture.
Therefore, oh! you begotten of God, who are born again of the water and of the Spirit, give in your evidence against this unheard of heresy, which God will confound with the breath of his mouth, and with the brightness of his glory. This is arisen and arising to expel all those fogs, mists and vapors with which the man of sin has overspread the earth, in this long night of darkness and apostasy from the life of God, in which [the false church] that has sat upon many waters has made all nations drunk, Rev 17:12,Rev 18:3, and has sat as queen, and seen no sorrow. Her ministers have pampered themselves in the fullness of the earth, and have made merchandize of many through covetousness and feigned words, 2 Pet 2:3, for these sixteen hundred years and upward, ever since antichrist went out into the world, who have continued in the world to this day, 1 John 2:18, deceiving the nations with the multitude of their enchantments. But now is the day of the Lord broken forth in clearness again in this latter age, which has discovered her skirts with all her merchants, who is worse than Balaam the son of Beor, who though he loved the wages of unrighteousness, dared not take it. Num 22:18; Num 24:13. But they love and take it, and persecute all those who will not give it to them, as we have a cloud of witnesses standing upon record against them at this day.
GENTLE AND COURTEOUS READER:
IN this small book are many weighty matters laid down to your serious consideration, even the things which belong to your eternal peace with God; therefore be not rash nor hasty to judge of anything herein, which may be above your capacity, but wait in that measure of the gift of grace which God has bestowed upon you, that it may lead you in the path of righteousness; so will these heavenly mysteries be unfolded unto you. And if in anything you are contrary minded, God shall reveal even this unto you; for he reveals secrets, and the light dwells with him. And as no man knows the things of man, save the spirit of man, that is in him; so no man knows the things of God, save the Spirit of God. Therefore if you would know whether these things in this little volume be of God or no, return to the manifestation of God's spirit, which he has given to you to profit withal; this will be as the key of David unto you, and will open unto you these things, and no man shall shut them from you; but if you shut them from you, no man shall open them to you: therefore unto this I recommend you, and remain your to serve in love,
A standard of righteousness lifted up to the nations, and an ensign of peace unto the people.
IN the beginning God made man upright, Eccl 7:29, perfect and complete in his own image, Gen 1:26-27, which was righteousness and true holiness, and gave him divers commandments, and also power to keep and observe them, while he stood in that perfect image in which he was created; who in that state was a son of God, and heir of life, and had the tree of life freely given him to be his food, that he might live forever. But out of that state the serpent led him to sin and break covenant with God, whereby he lost that perfection of holiness in which he stood complete, while he kept covenant with God. And also was dispossessed of that power by which he kept the commands of God; and so all his posterity died in him from that power and perfection of holiness in which man was created, and fell into Satan's kingdom, which is sin and imperfection; and so were, and always have been, led captive at his will into many noisome lusts, which have drowned thousands in perdition. But as in Adam all died, so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor 15:22.
These glad tidings of life, salvation and redemption, were general to all mankind without respect of persons, who would hear and obey him, by whom God in his eternal purpose would restore man into his first estate, namely by Christ the second Adam, according to his word by Isaiah the prophet, who said that Zion should be redeemed through judgment, and her converts with righteousness, Isa 1:27. He also said he would restore her judges, as at the first, and her counselors as at the beginning, and afterwards she should be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city, verse 26. This was the first promise of man's restoration into that perfection of holiness in which he was created.
And he prophesied of the coming and kingdom of Christ, and said, It shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains: and many people should say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk therein, Isa 2:2-3. And the same prophet cried unto the house of Jacob, and said, Come let us walk in the light of the Lord, Isa 2:5. Here was the way of God, which was his light, prophesied of, to lead man again to God, from where he was fallen, who afterwards came to lead the Israel of God in all his ways; as hereafter I shall fully declare.
The same prophet said, Christ's kingdom should be a tabernacle, when the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughter of Zion by the spirit of judgment and burning, Isa 4:4-6. He saw in a vision the stubbornness of many, to their own destruction, and said they would make their hearts fat, and their ears heavy, and would not hear; and shut their eyes, for fear that they should see, until their cities were wasted without inhabitant, and their houses without men, Isa 6:10-11. But said, in it there should be a remnant, which should be as a lime tree, or as an oak, whose substance was in them when they cast their leaves, so the holy seed should be the substance thereof, Isa 6:13, which afterwards was fulfilled; for Christ the holy seed was after, in the remnant that was saved, as the substance remained in the lime tree or oak, when their leaves were cast. This was also a certain testimony of the Son of God, who was set for the fall and the rising again of many in Israel, Luke 2:34, who was to be manifested in man, to restore him to his first estate, as the apostles at large afterwards witnessed.
The same prophet also prophesied of the birth of this second Adam, and of his kingdom and government, Isa 9:6-7. And said, the remnant of the house of Jacob should no more stay upon him who smote them, but should stay upon the Lord, the holy one of Israel; and should return unto the mighty God, Isa 10:20-21, as afterwards it came to pass. And again he testified of the peaceable kingdom of Christ, wherein the earth should be filled with the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea, Isa 11:1-9, which knowledge came afterwards to be received by the light which God had commanded to shine in their hearts, who were witnesses of the same, 2 Cor 4:6, by which, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God was received in the face of Jesus Christ.
Again, the Lord by the prophet, Isa 55:1, called every one that thirsted to drink freely of the waters of life, without money and without price; and called many to repentance, verse, 6, and said, Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; verse 7. Here was the promise of mercy unto man, if he forsook his unrighteous ways and thoughts; and to no other, as afterwards was testified, Pro 28:13. And furthermore the prophet declares the glory of the true church, and says, the Gentiles shall come to her light, and kings to the brightness of her rising, Isaiah 60:3, which was afterwards fulfilled.
All which prophesies were the universal love of God in Christ Jesus to mankind, for his restoration into that image and perfection of holiness in which he was created; so that to all who received him when he came to be manifested to them, he gave power to become the sons of God, and heirs of life, John 1:12.
And Jeremiah also prophesied of the scattered flock of the Lord, whom the wicked pastors of Israel had destroyed. And the Lord said, I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries where they have been driven, and will bring them again into their fold, and will set one Shepherd over them, which shall feed them, Jer 23. And in his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our righteousness; verse 6 . And they shall no more say, The Lord lives, which brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, but the Lord lives which brought the seed of the house of Jacob out of the north country, and out of all countries whither he had driven them; verse 7-8. All which the Lord spoke by way of prophesy, that he would restore Israel, his people, unto unity with him, which could not possibly be until he had finished transgression in them, which was the first cause of separation from God and the glory of his power.
And again, the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah prophesied of the restoration of Israel, and said, he would bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth; that scattered Israel will gather them as a shepherd does his flock, Jer 31:10. And also said, he would make a covenant with the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, not according to the covenant which he made with their fathers when he took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, (mark!) but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, Jer 31:31-33. This is the covenant in which Christ was promised, wherein God would write his law in his people's hearts, which afterwards the apostles witnessed, and in which they knew the blood of Christ to cleanse them from all sin, 1 John 1:7. This covenant was a covenant of light, and of life, and they were justified by faith, Gal 3:24. and so were presented blameless unto God, which the blood of bulls and goats could not do, nor any outward thing, Heb 10:4.
And by the mouth of Ezekiel, the Lord promised to gather his people again unto himself, and seek them as a shepherd seeks his sheep, and feed them in a good pasture, Ezek 34:12-16. Here was God's universal love again manifested by way of prophecy, for the recovery of lost man; all which promises were made conditionally unto mankind, if they believed in him whom God has chosen to be the author of eternal salvation, to all who receive and believe in him.
Then afterwards Daniel prophesied of the suffering of the Son of God, of whom the prophets had written, whom the angel showed that seventy weeks were determined to finish transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, Dan 9:24.
And in verse the 26th says, That after sixty- two weeks shall the Messiah be slain, but not for himself; and in verse the 27th, He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause the offerings and the oblations to cease.
This showed the death of the Son of God, before he came into the world, by which sin and transgression were to be finished, which were the cause of offerings and sacrifices, still demonstrating God's eternal purpose through him, to put an end to transgression in man, without which man could never come to him again, nor be restored into that image and glory which he lost by transgression, which is the perfection of holiness in the sight of the Lord, which the apostles testified unto, 2 Cor 7:1, that man might live with God in the spirit, for which end he was created, which was brought to pass through the death and suffering of his Son, whom he sent into the world, that they through him might be saved, John 3:17.
And the Lord spoke again by the mouth of Amos, and said: The ploughman should overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains should drop down with sweet wine, and he would bring again the captivity of his people Israel, Amos 9:13-14.
And Micah foretold of the birth of this savior, even in Bethlehem Ephratah, though it was little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of it should He come forth that was to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting; and he shall stand and rule in the strength of the Lord, and in the majesty of the name of the Lord, and shall be great unto the ends of the earth, Micah 5:2-4.
And also said, that the remnant of Israel should be among many nations, as a dew from the Lord that tarries not for man, and as the showers upon the tender grass, ... And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, as a lion among the beasts of the forest; and as a young lion among the flocks of the sheep; which should rouse them, and go through, and none can deliver, Micah 5:7-8.
All which prophecies being so clear and full, both of the birth and coming of the Son of God, and of his perfecting the work of the Lord, which is to destroy the works of the devil, and restore man into that image and glory of God, which he lost by transgression; that he who runs may read it, Hab 2:2. This was the very end for which he was manifested, and for which he died and rose again, according to the Scriptures.
So when He was come, of whom the prophets gave testimony, and born in Bethlehem of Judea, Mat 2:1, Luke 2:4, He began to do many mighty works and wonders, in restoring the blind to sight, and the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear, as it is written of him, Mark 7:37; whose work was always a work of perfection, both in his restoration of body and soul, who saved to the uttermost, all who came to God by him, Heb 7:25, and made man every whit whole, John 7:23. He did not leave his work imperfect, in or upon them who did believe in him; for then he had done no more than did the old covenant, which was disannulled because of the weakness and unprofitableness thereof; because it made not the comers thereunto perfect; for then it should have ceased, Heb 10:1-2, but he has obtained a more excellent ministry; by how much also he has become a Mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises, Heb 8:6. For if perfection had been by the Levitical priesthood, under which the law was received, what further need was there that another priesthood should arise after the order of Melchisedeck, and not be called after the order of Aaron? Heb 7:11.
The first priesthood, with all its offerings and sacrifices, evening and morning, and with all its rites and ceremonies, could not make the comers thereunto perfect; and the law, with all its works, could never justify any, nor make any thing perfect, Heb 7:19. Therefore Moses did but obtain a servant's place, yet being faithful therein, according to what God had manifested, Heb 3:2,5, he was called the friend of God, in doing whatsoever he commanded him, and laid down his head in peace in the land of Moab; according to the word of the Lord, Deut 34:5. Though that priesthood had not then appeared, through which the perfection of holiness was afterwards witnessed, nor power to become the sons of God—but only servants, who doing what the Lord commanded them, it was well-pleasing to God, and he blessed them in their generation.
God also blessed Abraham in his generation, because he obeyed his word and commandment, and withheld not his only son, at the commandment of the Lord, Gen 22:8-12. He believed in God, and obeyed his word; therefore he died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered unto his people, Gen 25:8. And God said unto him, because you have done this; and has not withheld your son, your only son; in blessing, I will bless you, and in multiplying, I will multiply your seed; and make it as the stars of heaven, and as the sand upon the sea shore, Gen 22:16-17.
And David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him, all the days of his life; save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite, 1 Kings 15:5. For this he suffered the severe judgment of the Lord, so that he laid roaring all the day long, and watered his couch with his tears, Psa 22:1, 32:3. By this judgment he was redeemed again unto God, and became a vessel of honor, to sound forth the praises of God, Psa 98, 101,103, and 104. After which he departed not from the law of God, but continued in the same unto the end of his days.
Many other of the faithful servants of the Lord, who obeyed his word and commandments, I might mention, both in the time of the law and the prophets, who kept the commandments, laws, statutes and ordinances of God; in the keeping of which, he promised life unto man, Lev 8:5, Eze 20:11. These laws, statutes and judgments, were given to Israel; but they despised them, and polluted his Sabbaths; therefore he poured forth his fury upon them in the wilderness to consume them, Eze 20:13. And all that went on in breaking his laws and commandments, he overthrew in the wilderness, and they never came into the promised land, 1 Cor 10:5.
Neither to be idolaters, as were some of them, as it is written; the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play, Exod 32:6,1 Cor 10:7. This was counted idolatry, the which many are found in at this day, who cannot endure so to be called; though we know that no unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, nor of God. Eph 5:3-5
Here follows some of Leonard Letchford's doctrines, by way of query, lately published in two or three papers sent to me, which I shall compare with the writings of the holy men of God, which I have before asserted; who lived but in the days of the first covenant, and the prophets; in which the law and commandments of God were given forth; yet they were blessed in the keeping of them, as I have before showed. Leonard Letchford has lately sought to persuade me, that it would be praise to God, for me to say the commandments of God could not be done without sinning, as he and his brethren have long believed, and caused many to believe, to their own destruction. Thus they have kept people in sin and transgression, and imperfection; for which they have long pleaded, and do yet plead for their disobedience to God's law and commandments, from some failings of the servants of God before mentioned; which were only written to warn all not to tempt the Lord; as some of them tempted him, many of whom were destroyed in their rebellion and disobedience; but they who were willing and obedient, came to eat the good of the land of promise. And none of them did answer the Lord when he gave them his laws, statutes, and ordinances, commandments and precepts, and say it cannot be done, as Leonard Letchford of Hurst Pierpoint.
The paper is as follows, September 6, 1663.
Now Moses and Abraham, as I have before asserted, to whom the law and commandments were given forth, did so keep them, and observe them, that the breach of them was never charged to them, but they were blessed in the keeping and doing of them. David turned not aside from any of the commandments of God all his days, save in the matter of Uriah; and many more, who kept God's laws and commandments all the days of their lives, and were blessed and their posterity after them, and praised God with an upright heart, in their obedience to the law and commandments of God. And none of them did ever say, Lord open my mouth, that my lips may show forth your praise, in saying plainly your commandments cannot be done, as Leonard Letchford does. If they did, show when or where any such doctrine was preached by any, either in the first covenant or the second, or else let those faithful servants of God afore mentioned who kept God's law and commandments, and did live with God in them, be witnesses against those who would have people believe it cannot be done.
1. Christ said, after he had given forth many commandments unto the people: He that breaks one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven, Mat 5:19
2. Christ said to his disciples: If you love me, keep my commandments, John 14:15
7. All which promises were made unto his disciples upon this condition, that they kept his commandments, and not otherwise.
8. To which the disciples answered, not as Leonard Letchford does, in saying it cannot be done, and count this praise to God: but they said, Hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 1 John 2:3
9. Again they spoke in reproof of those who should say they knew God, and kept not his commandments, and said, such were liars, and the truth was not in them. 1 John 2:4
10. Furthermore they testified, That whatsoever they asked, they received of him, because they kept his commandments. 1 John 3:22
11. He that keeps his commandments dwells in him, and he in him; and hereby they knew that he did abide in them, by the Spirit which he gave them. 1 John 3:24. This was their proof of him in the days of old, which is now so much condemned and cried against by Leonard Letchford, and men of his coat, who said, none can exactly keep the commands of God .
Listen, Leonard Letchford. Are not you of another mind, who would have people say, It cannot be done? May not all these rise up in judgment against you?
All these gave testimony, how they kept his commandments, through which their love was manifested to him, and for so doing, had no cause to repent any day, nor to ask forgiveness of the Lord; but yet Christ in their infancy taught them to say, Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us, Mat 6:12; but this was before Christ was offered up, who purged their consciences from dead works by the blood of his cross, through the eternal Spirit, by which he cleansed them from all sin, and sanctified them in body, soul, and spirit, which as they grew up unto God in stature, they bear witness unto.
PRIEST LETCHFORD'S QUERY: Whether to do good, and not to commit sin, is a perfection that any man dares challenge while he is upon the earth?
Which plainly demonstrates, that he is against doing good, and for committing of sin, and denies perfection while people are upon the earth; which is absolutely contrary to the doctrine of Christ and his apostles, and makes the coming, suffering and blood of Christ of none effect.
1. It is contrary to the doctrine of Christ, Mat 5:48; who said to his disciples, Be you perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect; which is a perfection of holiness and freedom from sin; for otherwise they could not be perfect, as their heavenly Father was perfect.
2. Christ said unto the young man who had kept the commandments from his youth, If you will be perfect, sell that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me, Mat 19:21.
3. It is contrary to Christ's prayer, John 17:23; who desired that they whom God had given him might be one, as he and his Father was one. He in them, and they in him, that they might be made perfect in one, which could never be until sin and transgression was finished, which was the first cause of separation.
4. To say that none can be perfect while he is upon the earth, is contrary to Christ's words, who said: Every one that is perfect shall be as his Master, Luke 6:40, which agrees with his words, Mat 5:48.
5. It is contrary to the doctrine of Paul, who said: We speak wisdom among them that are perfect, 1 Cor 2:6.
6. It is contrary to the apostle's exhortation: Be perfect,.. 2 Cor 13:11.
7. It is contrary to all the gifts that were given to the apostles, which were for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till they all came into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, Eph 4:11-13; this was a large measure of perfection indeed, which they testified of, which afterwards was fulfilled in them.
8. To say that none can be perfect while he is upon earth, makes Paul's words to the Philippians false; who though he did not claim perfection;* he did not say as Leonard Letchford does, that none could be perfect on earth, but said, he followed after it, Phil 3:12; and pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, verse 14. Let us therefore as many as be perfect be thus minded; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God shall reveal this unto you, Phil 3:15. It seems some were ready to be of another mind then, as many are now, unto whom this was not fully revealed; to whom Paul said, Whereunto we have attained, let us walk by the same rule; let us mind the same thing, v. 16. So that it is clearly manifest that there were degrees of growth in the gift of God, before they came to perfection, for Paul was not perfect while he had a body of sin in him; and the rest were not perfect as soon as they came to be convinced and believe; but first witnessed a warfare against sin, and the power of it, and afterwards came to be freed from sin, and have victory over it, Rom 7:17-21, 1 John 5:4, and then grew up to perfect men in Christ, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; and said, by this was their love made perfect, that they might have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, so were they in this world, 1 John 4:17. If Leonard Letchford had been among them then, surely he would have cried out against them for so saying, and his unbelieving heart would not have received this doctrine, any more than he can now: for if Christ's work had effected no more, but to leave his people still in their sins, he had done no more than the old covenant did, and his blood had been no more available than the blood of bulls and goats, which could not take away sin, nor his offering of more force than the offerings of the old covenant, which did not make the comers thereunto perfect, Heb 10:1; and so were disannulled, because of the weakness and unprofitableness thereof, Heb 7:18. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, verse 19; (mark) the bringing in of a better hope did; this better hope was Christ in them the hope of glory, Col 1:27; who when he was brought within the saints, made them perfect, even as he was in this world.
9. This Christ in the saints the apostles preached, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that they might present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, Col 1:28. This was the end of their preaching, to present every man perfect in Christ: and if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have past away, (mark that) old things past away, which were sin and transgression, and all things are become new, 2 Cor 5:17. Here is the new man who is created in Christ Jesus to good works, that he should walk in them, Eph 2:10. Here are good works, in which they were to walk who were new creatures, without which their faith was dead, even as a body without a spirit, James 2:26. I suppose this may stop Leonard Letchford's mouth from asking, whether to do good, and not to commit sin be a perfection that any man dares challenge while he is on earth. It seems he dares challenge committing of sin, but not doing good while he is upon the earth; and so when all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; he that has done evil and committed sin, shall rise unto the resurrection of condemnation, John 5:28-29.
10. To say that nothing can be perfect upon the earth, is against the apostle's fervent labor in prayers for the saints, which was, that they might stand perfect and complete in all the will of God, Col 4:12.
11. It is against the end for which the Scripture was given forth, which was, that the man of God might be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work, 2 Tim 3:17.
12. It is contrary to the apostle's exhortation, to say that none can be perfect on earth, who said, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance, ... Heb 6:1. And these things we will do if God permit, verse 3.
13. It is contrary to the exhortation of James, who said: let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing, James 1:4; and said: if any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body, James 3:2.
14. It is contrary to Peter's prayer, who prayed: that the God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered awhile, make you perfect, … 1 Pet 5:10.
15. To say that men must commit sin while they arc upon the earth, is contrary to the whole body of the Scripture, and was never affirmed by any of the holy men of God, but by such deceivers as Leonard Letchford has proved himself so to be, by pleading the devil's cause so frequently, which is to keep people in sin for term of life, which if he can by any means do, he knows they must come to him at the last, because the Son of God has spoken it, Luke 13:27.
16. It is contrary to all these plain Scripture proofs, John 8:4, 1 John 3:4, 1 John 3:8. He that commits sin is of the devil...
17. To say that none can be perfect, does make void the apostle's prayers for the Hebrews, when he parted from them; who prayed: that the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, Heb 3:20-21.
18. To say that none can be perfect on earth, makes Paul a liar, who said to the Hebrews: But you are come to Mount Zion, unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to the innumerable company of angels, Heb 12:22. To the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, verse 23.
But it may be objected, that there is not a just man upon earth that does good and sins not.
Objection. But some in their blind ignorance will say, What benefit has man by Christ, if he comes to live without sin?
Answer. He has the benefit of the coming of Christ, of his death, and of his resurrection, and of his blood which was shed for the remission of sins, as it is written, Mat 26:28. And he only can call Christ his redeemer, who is redeemed from all iniquity, Tit 2:14.
Objection. Again it is said, in many things we offend all.
Answer. This was spoken to the brethren as a warning, not to go into the many things, nor to be many masters; for then they should receive greater condemnation: for in many things they offend all, and so did Martha while she was troubled about many things, as Christ told her, Luke 10:41. So when they went into the many things and many masters, as the world does now, they offended all; but as they dwelled in the one thing which Christ spoke of, Luke 10:42, they were kept out of the offences, and kept a conscience void of offence towards God and all men, Acts 24:16, 1 Cor 6:3. And Christ said, woe to the world because of offences, for it must be that offences come; but woe unto that man by whom they come, Mat. 18:7, Luke 17:1.
Objection. It is said also, if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us.
Answer. This was spoken by John before he came to the fullness of Christ, though he was come to a measure of the stature of Christ, which kept him from committing sin; for he said, he that commits sin is of the devil, and has not seen God, neither known him, 1 John 3:8. 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, 1 John 3:9.
John afterwards grew up to a perfect state, and said, Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world, 1 John 4:17. After this he said: Whosoever transgresses and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God; but he that abides in the doctrine of Christ, has both the Father and the Son, 2 John 1:9.
Hear this Leonard Letchford, and all others of a similar belief! John witnessed a further state than committing of sin, or having sin; but said, whoever transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, is not to be received into your house, for fear that they would share responsibility of his evil deeds. Does not this doctrine shut you and all your brethren out of doors, who are not in the doctrine of Christ, but pleading with all your might against it, which is perfection and keeping his commandments, as I have shown you before? This was his doctrine while he was on earth, which you are now so much the opposers of, and pleading for committing sin for duration of life.
I shall not trouble the reader to remember the commandments and laws of Christ, they are so generally known to all who only read the Scriptures.
But I shall further lift up a standard of righteousness against this generation, who daily break the commands of God, and would persuade others so to do, as Leonard Letchford has done. I shall here demonstrate how this strikes at the crown and dignity of Christ; and then I shall leave it to the serious consideration of the honest-hearted, whether this belief is a friend to Christ or an enemy to him.
1. To say the things commanded by Christ cannot be done; renders him unjust to command his servants to do that which he knows they cannot do.
2.. This frustrates the end for which God manifested him, which was to give power to as many as received him to become the sons of God.
3. This makes his commands of no effect; for if the things he commands cannot be done, to what end were they given forth?
4. This doctrine renders him more unjust than the devil; for the devil gives the power to his servants to do all manner of iniquity which he commands them, and they obey his commands daily.
5. This is the highest dishonor that the enemies of Christ can bring to his sovereignty.
6. This makes the second covenant [faith in Christ] inferior to the first, [Law] which is damnable doctrine and heresy.
7. This makes him an insufficient savior, who was called Jesus, because he saved his people from their sins; sin being the breach of God's law and commandments.
9. This renders him a hard master; (to say his commands cannot be done), which none ever said of him, but the slothful servant who hid his talent in the earth.
8. This makes the blood of the covenant of no effect, which was shed to cleanse his people from all sin.
10. To say his commands cannot be done, does make him a liar, who commanded his servants to take his yoke upon them, for his yoke is easy and his burden light.
11. This is an inlet for all the workers of iniquity, to encourage them to break the commands of Christ, and to keep them in unbelief all their days.
12. This makes the apostle's testimony false; who said, greater is he that is in us, than he that is in the world: but this renders him inferior to the prince of the world, if his commands cannot exactly be done without sinning; for what is it that hinders any from keeping his commands, but the prince of this world, by whose power all who break his law and commandments are led?
13. This makes John a liar, who said his commandments were not grievous but joyous.
14. To say the things commanded by Christ cannot be done without committing sin, as Leonard Letchford would have others say, does overthrow the foundation principles of the Church of England’s book of common prayer, which enjoins every child to keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of his life.
15. This make the godfathers and godmothers, (as they are called), covenant-breakers; whom Leonard Letchford and others of his profession have caused to promise and vow that the child should keep God's holy will and commandments, and walk in the same to his life's end.
A few words concerning man in his fallen degenerated estate from God, in which he has not power to keep the commands of God, nor his law, nor to do any work acceptable to him; but all his righteousness is as filthy rags.
ALL men by nature are the children of wrath, as it is written, Eph 2:3, fallen from God and his power, degenerate plants of a strange vine, Jer 2:21, daily bringing forth evil fruit, in which God has no delight; his heart is corrupted, his mind is corrupted, and every part and member of his body, from the crown of the head to the sole of his foot, full of wounds and bruises, and putrefying sores, Isa 1:6; every imagination of his heart is only evil continually, Gen 8:21. So that he is a vessel altogether unfit for the Lord's use or service, neither has the Lord any delight in him in that state, because he is a slave to Satan, led captive at his will, to dishonor his maker in all his words and works: so that all his undertakings and outgoings are to promote Satan's kingdom. He calls evil good, and good evil, puts light for darkness, and darkness for light, and is void of understanding, as the beast that perishes. He is altogether insensible of his creator, and of his way, truth, and life, because they are spiritually discerned; being wholly a stranger to the life of God, and to the covenant of promise, and without God in the world, in its ways and works of darkness; drawing iniquity with cords of vanity, and drinking it in, as the ox drinks water, until he fills himself, and vomits it up again.
In this estate he is compared to a dog, whose nature is to vomit up that which he greedily eats; and to a swine, whose nature is to wallow in the mire, as most pleasing to his nature, until he has fouled himself all over, so that he is loathsome to behold. Even such is man by nature, who wallows in sin and corruption, until he is loathsome in the sight of the Lord, and fit for no service for him, until he is washed again. Therefore the Lord cried unto the house of Israel: Wash yourself and make yourself clean, put away the evil of your doings, Isa 1:16, and then come unto me, verse 18.
In this condition, man's wisdom is earthly, carnal, sensual, and devilish; yet by this he would try to grasp the heavenly mystery of eternity, and dive into the secrets of the Almighty, and set up a way of worship of God in his own selfish will, and establish a righteousness of his own, and will pray, read, sing and perform many duties in a hot zeal, though without understanding the knowledge of God his creator. In this state were the Jews, who killed and persecuted the Lord of life in their darkness and unbelief, in a righteousness of their own, which was as filthy rags, and would not cover them from the wrath of the Almighty, a just reward of all their ungodly deeds, unto whom Christ put forth many parables, and said, Except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, John 3:3. And, except you are converted, and become as little children, you shall in no wise enter the kingdom of God, Luke 18:17, though they were painted white all over as white washed walls, yet they were foul and corrupted, blind and naked; therefore the woe was often pronounced against them; for all their zeal and profession of Christ and the apostles' words.
Therefore, Oh natural man! whoever you are, whether professor or profane, your profession and profaneness are alike, while you are unconverted, unregenerated, and uncreated again into that image and nature which is from above, which can do the will and work of God well-pleasing to him. I do not preach perfection to you, but repentance. I do not say that you can keep the law of God, for then I should contradict you and the Truth also. I do not press you to keep the commandments of God, for you will say with Leonard Letchford it cannot be done. But this I say to you, if you will be wise, you must first become a fool that you may be wise; 1 Cor 3:18, but this you can hardly bear, you are so puffed up in the pride of your heart in what you perform unto God, though when you have done all you can, you are an unworthy servant, as it is written, Luke 17:10, who is to have his portion with hypocrites, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth forever, Mat 25:30.
By your own hand God cannot have a sacrifice well pleasing to him; if you give your first-born for your transgression, or the fruit of your body for the sin of your soul, it is but as the cutting off of a dog's neck, or offering of swine's blood, while your heart is corrupted through the deceitfulness of sin. This is that with which God has a controversy in you; and with you he will not make peace, until this wall of partition is broken down, for it was what first made a separation between your father Adam and him, which stands against all his seed and race after him; and not all the offerings and oblations throughout the first covenant, which stood in outward things, could ever make an atonement, so as to bring Adam's stock into unity with his creator.
Therefore this is my counsel and advice unto you, who are in the unconverted state, alienated from God, and estranged in your mind from his covenant of life, who has any desires in you to return unto the Lord who made you, that he may save you from the heat of his wrath forever. Cease from your own words, works and ways, and be not hasty to run, before your maker leads you by the hand, in the light of his Truth, with which Christ has lighted you, John 1:9, which shines in your dark heart, 2 Cor 4:6, so shall you not abide in darkness, but shall receive the light of life, John 8:12. Listen to his voice; he, who stands at your door and knocks, and who would have you receive him into your heart, which is his throne, upon which he must sit as King, if he ever receives you into protection with him. There he must work the Father's will in you, which is to purify you throughout in body, soul and spirit, without which you can never be a vessel of honor to God to set forth his praise and glory in the earth. He must work His righteousness in you by his right hand, which must cover you forever; and you must be crucified upon his cross from all your own righteousness and unrighteousness, all which spring from the seed of enmity, in which God has no delight, before you know the peace of God, which passes all understanding, to keep your heart and mind. All this you will find true in the day of your visitation, however the false prophets may persuade you to the contrary; that will deceive you in the day of the Lord's fierce indignation, when everyone shall receive a reward according to his deeds. This is a hard saying to you who are still alive in the fullness of delight and pleasure of the flesh, to tell you of dying to your own righteousness and unrighteousness, before you come to live to God. This is a bitter cup to you, of which you must be willing to drink, before you taste of the cup of blessing, which is the communion of the blood of Christ, 1 Cor 10:16. You must suffer with him who died upon the cross, before you know the virtue of his resurrection; you must put off the old man, with his deeds, before you put on the new man, Eph 4:22-24. You must purge out the old leaven of uncleanness, and the old bottle must be broken, before you keep a feast of unleavened bread, 1 Cor 5:7-8, as a passover unto the Lord.
This is the footsteps of the flock, in which you must walk before Christ's righteousness is you. You must buy the Truth with the loss of all that is contrary to it, if ever you truly purchase it, so as to be your forever. This is the word of the Lord God to you, which must be fulfilled in or upon you. Let no man deceive you, through vain words of those who tell you, God looks upon you not as you are in sin, but as you are in Christ. Oh poor deluded wretch! this is the deceivableness of unrighteousness indeed, which would make God аs unrighteous as themselves, to look upon man in Christ when he is not; but in sin and transgression. Give not heed to such lying vanities, for fear that you forsake your own mercies forever. For because of these things has come the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience, Eph 5:6, Col 3:6. He that said to the wicked, you are righteous, shall the nations curse, and people abhor, Pro 24:24. I say, God looks upon you as you are; and he will not justify you in sin, nor hold you guiltless in transgression, but will wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such a one as goes on still in his trespasses, Psa 68:21. Therefore return, return unto the Lord by speedy repentance, and kiss the Son for fear that he is angry, and you perish from the way of life; when his wrath be kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that trust in him, Psa 2:12.
I tell you again, I have not been sent to preach perfection to you, but rather the day of the Lord's vengeance and recompense. I am not to daub you with untempered mortar, as the false prophets have done many years, to cry peace to you in iniquity, to whom the Lord said, There is no peace, Isa 48:22,57:21. Therefore cease from man, and from spending your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfies not, Isa 55:2. And if you are, or have been feeding among the swine upon the husk, and wallowing in the mire among them, and satisfying yourself with a profession of the saints' words outwardly; as they are written in the letter of the Scripture, while you are a stranger to that life in which they lived who gave them forth; oh this is as chaff to the wheat, which is the inward possession of the life and righteousness of the Son of God. Therefore return to your Father's house, to the light in which God dwells, 1 Tim 6:16, so will he meet you, and embrace you, and rejoice over you, and satisfy you with bread enough, Luke 15:17- 20, yes with the fatted calf (his own crucified one) of which you shall feed and never hunger more.
This I was warned by the Lord to lay before all who are yet in Babylon and Egypt, that they may flee out and escape from her sins, for fear that they partake of her plagues, as it is written, Rev 18:4, for the hour of her judgment has come, and the execution will speedily follow, which will leave the wicked neither root nor branch.
Therefore let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into heaviness, for God has clothed himself with a garment of vengeance, and with zeal, as with a cloak, Isa 59:17; and no unclean thing shall now stand before him. Howl you oaks of Bashan, and you cedars of Lebanon, the Lord has laid his axe to your roots, and your strength and tallness must come down. Your fruit has been the fruit of Sodom, and your grapes the grapes of Gomorrah; you have long cumbered the ground, even until it is weary with you, and is ready to vomit you up; therefore bow yourselves unto the mighty God of Jacob, before he cut you down, and cast you into the fire of his jealousy forever. Tremble at the presence of him, whose word is gone forth. He is the God of the whole earth, and before him all nations are as the drop of a bucket, Isa 40:15, who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out the heavens with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance, Isa 40:12. He will render to every man according to the fruit of his doings; therefore while you have a little time, prize it, for fear that the day of your visitation passes away, and the day of wrath comes upon you as a thief in the night, 1 Thes 5:2.
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