Ambrose Rigge's Doctrinal Writings
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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 experience the baptism of fire and death into Christ, and the entrance 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.
THE great and everlasting God who created heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is therein, by his word; also created man in his own image, which is righteousness and holiness; and brought forth woman, of his bone and flesh, and breathed into their nostrils the breath of life, so that they became living souls. He gave them the possession of life, the very tree of it, with intent and purpose that they might live with him, by it, in the beauty of his holiness forever; and might enjoy communion and fellowship with him, during their continuance upon the earth, in his covenant of life made with them. But they breaking his covenant, by giving ear to the serpent's subtlety, death entered upon them, and reigned over them, and over all, in the fallen estate. Death reigned from Adam until Moses, by whom he added the law, because of their transgression, which was to continue upon them until the seed, that is, Christ, came; who was to bruise the head of the serpent, which had prevailed over them, and had power to destroy that death, which by sin had got dominion over them. This is that Christ of God, who in our day is manifested in spirit, to destroy the works of the devil, and to restore all mankind into that perfection of holiness, in which they were created.
All who truly receive him, in his spiritual appearance, and give up to follow him, in the strait and narrow way of holiness, to them he now gives power to become sons and daughters of God; who not only have received the spirit of adoption, but are given up to walk in it, by which they are able to call God Father; being made sons and daughters of God, by following the leadings and dictates of his spirit, and begotten by his immortal word, which lives and abides forever. These are of that birth which can call no man father, or master, on earth; and yet are servants of all, for Christ's sake, their heavenly Prince of peace, of whom they have learned to be meek and lowly, and their souls are entered into rest with him, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest, and where the voice of the oppressor is heard no more.
He has broken, and will yet go on to break, the covenant which many have made with death, i.e., to be subjected to the reigning power of it, so long as they are on earth; and the agreement that they have made with hell, to be under the servitude of sin, and bondage of corruption, all their lives, and never to be freed from sin and corruption all their days, as thousands are seduced to believe.
Hereby the coming, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, our complete savior and Mediator, are made void and of none effect; and the blood of his cross counted a vain thing; which is a great offence against God.
For, first, his coming and manifestation was to take away sin, 1 John 3:5. “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous," verse 7. “Whoever abides in him, sins not: whosoever sins, has not seen him, neither has known him," verse 6. “He that commits sin, is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil," 1 John 3:8. “Whoever is born of God, sins not; for his seed in him: neither can he sin, because he is born of God. In his are the children of God known, and the children of the devil: whosoever does not righteousness, is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother," 1 John 3:9-10.
So they who plead for sin to continue in their mortal bodies during life, do oppose the benefit of his coming and manifestation, which was to take away sin, and to finish transgression, 1 John 3:5, Heb 9:26, 1 Tim 1:15, Dan 9:24, and consequently of the benefit of his suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension into glory; he being a perfect sacrifice for sin, and a Mediator, who has power to destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, Heb 2:14; “and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage," verse 15. "Who ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things: and he gave some, apostles; some, prophets; some, evangelists; some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till we all come in 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 4:10-13.
Thus they magnified him, who were true witnesses of the power of his death, and virtue of his resurrection and ascension, by which they obtained victory over death, darkness, and the power of the grave; and were made more than conquerors, through him that loved them, Rom 8:37. And gave thanks to God, who had given them victory through Jesus Christ, and triumphed over death, and the sting of it, which is sin, 1 Cor 15:55-57.
Secondly, those who believe that men must carry about with them a body of sin, while on earth, do, as to themselves, make the circumcision and baptism of Christ of no effect, repugnant to the apostle's testimony, Col 2:10-11. "You are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power: in which you are circumcised, with the circumcision made without hands; to the putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ. Buried with him by baptism, in which also you are risen with him, through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead," Col 2:10-12. And also John, though a minister of water baptism, yet testified of Christ, that “he should baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor [mark thoroughly] and gather his wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire," Mat 3:11-12. Here is a thorough separation, the wheat from the chaff; Christ's baptism does not leave a body of sin in them who are baptized with it: for as "many as were baptized into Christ, were baptized into his death; they were buried with him by baptism into his death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father; so also they should walk in newness of life. Knowing that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that now forward we should not serve sin," Rom 6:3-6.
Thirdly, they who plead for the continuance of sin all a man's days, have made the blood of Christ of no more value than the blood of bulls and goats, offered in the first covenant, sprinkling them that were unclean, and which sanctifies as touching the purifying of the flesh. But how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your consciences from dead works to serve the living God? Heb 9:13-14. Here was an inward purging of the conscience from death and dead works, by virtue of the blood of Jesus. Here is the antitype of Moses, sprinkling the people under the law, with water and the blood of calves and goats, with purple wool and hysop; who sprinkled the tabernacle with blood, and all the ministering vessels, saying, “This is the blood of the Testament which God has appointed unto you," Heb 9:19-21.
For if the blood of bulls and goats could have taken away sin, there had been no need of another sacrifice: but finding fault with them, he said, “Behold, the days come, said the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand, to lead them out of the land of Egypt. Because they continued not in my covenant, I regarded them not, said the Lord."
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, said the Lord, I will put my laws in their minds, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."
Here is known the blood of sprinkling, which speaks better things than that of Abel, and which is able to cleanse from all sin, and sanctify throughout in body, soul and spirit; ending all the offerings and sacrifices of the law and first covenant, which could not make the comers thereunto perfect, as pertaining to the conscience, Heb 9:9. And therefore could not continue, but was disannulled, because the weakness and ineffectiveness of it; being but shadows and types of the spiritual sprinkling, sanctifying and purifying of the heart and conscience, by the blood of Jesus, the Lamb without spot, who by "one offering perfected forever those who are sanctified," Heb 10:14.
Fourthly, they who plead for a body of sin, for term of life, make the circumcision of Christ of no value, and Paul, that great minister of the true gospel, to bear a false testimony. He said to the Romans, who were baptized into the death of Christ, which is a death unto sin; "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin," Rom 6:6. “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit: for the law of the Spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, has made me free from the law of sin and death," Rom 8:2. “For while you were servants to sin, you were free from righteousness; but now being free from sin, and made servants unto God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life,” Rom 6:20-22.
Fifthly, they who do not believe a freedom from sin on this side the grave, make the promise of Christ to the Jews that believed in him, of none effect, who said, “If they continued in his word, then were they his disciples indeed; and they should know the Truth, and the Truth should make them free," John 8:31-32. "And if the Son (who is the Truth) make you free, then are you free indeed," v. 36.
This freedom, by the Son, is obtained by none but those who are given up to follow him and obey his word, to whom he gives power, not only to be servants, but sons of God. Neither can any stand fast in this freedom, but as they are daily supported by his power, in whom their freedom stands; this made the apostle exhort the saints, who were born of the free woman by promise, to " stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made them free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage," Gal 5:1. And to the Hebrews, “Forasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and blood; he also himself took part with them, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil. And that he might deliver them, who through fear of death, were all their life time subject to bondage."
Now a body of sin, all the life long, keeps the soul in bondage; from which bondage the Son of Man is come to deliver. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together, until now, Rom 8:21-22, that is, until the work of deliverance by the Son of God was known, who was, and is able to save to the uttermost, all who come to God by him; seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them, Heb 7:25. So he was and is a perfect savior to save his people, disciples and followers from (mark from, not in) their sins, Mat 1:21.
Sixthly, they who deny perfection in this life, make the command of Christ of no force, Mat 5:48. Be you perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. His command was to living men, not dead. Now if this perfection is not attainable, the lip of Truth would not have commanded it; whose commands were ever just, and not grievous, 1 John 5:3.
Seventhly, they who do not believe perfection in holiness on this side the grave, have undervalued, and not truly believed, Christ's prayer, John 17:23, I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me. And also Paul's testimony to the Corinthians: And my speech and preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. However we speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nothing, 1 Cor 2:4-6. And in his second epistle, he exhorted them to press on to perfection, 2 Cor 13:11. And the same apostle, writing to the Ephesians, speaks thus of Christ: He that descended, is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. And he gave some, apostles; some, prophets; some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers: for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till we all come in 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 4:10-13.
Now these gifts are all void, and of none effect, with those who do not believe any perfection to be witnessed in this life. It is a manifest token they know nothing of them, nor the work of the true ministry, nor the gradual steps of all true gospel believers, towards the perfection of holiness, in the sight of God, which all true followers of Christ are pressing forward to obtain, through the power and efficacy of the life of Jesus, which is brought to light and manifested in mortal flesh, in our day, through the gospel of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, which is a gospel of glad tidings; namely, deliverance from the slavery of sin and Satan, and perfect redemption, reconciliation and salvation, brought near to every man's house, to be wrought in man by Christ, God's great workman. This all who truly believe in him are living witnesses of; being made his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, that we should walk in them; according to Eph 2:9-10. They only who are true witnesses of this work, can praise the Lord, being made living members of that body, of which Christ is head, ruler and lawgiver. They are not of this world, as he is not of this world; neither seek the honor or preferment of it; but are as strangers and pilgrims in it. And though they are on earth, yet their conduct is in heaven; having the seal of the Spirit of God, bearing witness with their spirits, that they are the sons and daughters of God.
This is the effect and fruit of the true gospel day, wrought and brought forth in all them who walk in it to the end. These are not tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, through the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait, for their ungodly gain, to deceive; but are born of that elect seed, into which no deceiver can enter; and walk in the light of the Lamb, according to the prophecy of John, Rev 21:23-24, in which is no night or shadow of death. These have the white stone, and a new name, which no man knows but he who has it; and are clothed in white linen, which is the Lamb's righteousness, put upon them by him who has wrought it in them; having oil in their own lamps, and are ready to enter with the bridegroom, whenever he calls.
But let those consider of it who have not oil in their own lamps, but are forced to go to them that sell; that they may read how such were entertained by the heavenly Bridegroom, Mat 25. “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh; go you out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; for fear that there be not enough for us and you: but go you rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not."
Now these were accounted virgins, and knew their duty in their life time, which was to have oil within, to keep their lamps always burning to be ready to enter, whenever their soul's bridegroom came. But the foolish did not, yet realized they lacked it, when the bridegroom came, and so went to buy of them that sold. But oh! while they were gone, the door was shut, and they could not enter the marriage chamber. Oh! dread and fear this, all you who are gone out to buy, for fear that the door of entrance be shut against you forever.
Eighthly, they who plead for sin and imperfection to remain, during all the days of their lives, have thereby, to themselves, subverted the testimony of John, the beloved disciple, 1 John 4:17: 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; [mark, in this world.] He did not say, welcome death to make us perfect, as some imperfect workmen have done of late; attributing more power and virtue to a winding-sheet, than to the blood of Jesus Christ, repugnant to the testimony of the saints and true believers, who in their day testified, that if they walked in the light, as God is in the light, they had fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleansed them from all sin, 1 John 1:7. This John spoke in the faith, which the believers were growing up into; which afterwards they witnessed, as I have noted above.
Ninthly, they who say, they cannot be made clean in this world, have no share in those blessings which Christ pronounced, Mat 5:8: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God: and, Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled, verse 6.
Now none can be filled with righteousness, or witness a pure heart, while a body of sin remains; neither can any be made partakers of the living faith, which purifies the heart, 1 Pet 1:22, Acts 15:9, 1 Tim 1:5, while they continue in sin and unbelief, that they cannot be made pure in this world. And if not in this world, it highly concerns every such, while they have a day, to consider when or where they shall be made free and fit to enter the kingdom of heaven, where no unclean person can come, Eph 5:5, Isa 38:18, neither can death nor the grave praise the Lord, nor they that go down to the pit hope for his Truth.
Objection. But the great objection and plea, that many in our day have, is that in John, where he said: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us, 1 John 1:8, supposing, that neither he, nor any of the holy men of God, either did, or ever was to know a better state and condition, than continuing in sin all their days; which is a great mistake, and of dangerous consequence, as all may see, who read 1 John 3:2-10: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that has this hope in him, purifies himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin. Whosoever abides in him sins not: whosoever sins has not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil. And 1 John 4:17, 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.
Here was perfection witnessed by them in this world, being made more than conquerors, through him that loved them, Rom 8:37. And Paul writing unto the Romans, says: That as sin has reigned unto death, so grace might reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Rom 5:21, Rom 6:1.
And writing to the Ephesians, about the state of the church, he exhorted husbands to love their wives, even as Christ loved his church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of water, by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it might be holy and without blemish, Eph 5:27.
This is the church of the first-born, which Paul testified of to the Hebrews, who were come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; 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, Heb 12:22-23.
And Jesus said unto his disciples: Behold, I give you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, [within a man] and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Here was perfect freedom to the church, who were made partakers of that precious faith, which then was delivered to them, by which they had victory over death, hell and the grave, and were made an habitation of God through the Spirit: Eph 2:19-22.
They were far from pleading for the continuance of sin during the whole course of their lives, as many in our days are doing; who though they profess Christ in words, yet in works deny him, which is a sort of atheism; and so their works give their words the lie; for it is not words, but works, that manifest true faith, James 2:14-25. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also, verse 26. They who are out of that faith which purifies the heart, and gives victory over the world, and do not believe any victory on this side of the grave, their preaching is vain, and their faith vain, and they are yet in their sins; and what is worse, will not believe any freedom from sin in this world. Christ is not king, governor and bishop in the souls of such; neither have they part in him, who is the resurrection and the life, because not washed and sanctified by him; for he said to Peter, if I wash you not, you have no part with me, John 13:8-10.
Objection. But I have heard some affirm, that God allows sin, in the dearest of his children, to keep them humble.
This is a doctrine of antichrist, and has not the least footing in the Holy scripture, neither was ever heard of among the worst of the Jews' false prophets, that ever I heard or read. For if sin be the cause of humility, Christ came in vain, who was the perfect pattern of humility, in whom was no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth, 1 Pet 2:22.
But it is the power of God that deliveres man from sin, and keeps him in a daily humble frame of mind and spirit, to be preserved through faith to the end of time. This made Paul, when his departure drew near, not boastingly, but humbly to say: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing, 2 Tim4:6-8. He had not the great work of salvation and victory to do at his departure out of the world; but witnessed it done, and boldly testified it to Timothy, as some of his last words.
And Peter, when near his departure out of the world, having magnified the power of God, through which they had escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, exhorted the saints to give diligence, to make their calling and election sure, 2 Pet 1:4-10. This could not be made while sin remained in their mortal bodies; an end therefore was to be witnessed while they were on earth; for king Hezekiah had before testified, that the Lord had delivered his soul from the pit of corruption, and cast all his sins behind his back. For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot celebrate you; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for your Truth, Isa 38:17-18. Now if death cannot celebrate the name of the Lord, nor the grave praise him, as above, what a deplorable condition are they left in, who are persuaded to believe, that they must have a body of sin until death, and can never be made free on this side the grave? I leave this to God's witness in all consciences deeply to consider.
And further, I desire all who are for the continuance of sin during life, to discover, if they can, by the Holy scripture, when and where men, and all mankind shall be thoroughly cleansed from it; whether before death, at, or after it, between death and judgment; seeing that no unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, or of God, Eph 5:5-6. And John, in the Revelation, testified, concerning the heavenly city, that there shall in no wise enter into it, anything that defiles or works abomination, or makes a lie; but they who are written in the Lamb's book of life, Rev 21:27.
Objection. But some have objected and said, that if people be thoroughly cleansed from sin on this side the grave, they need no Mediator or advocate.
The consequence is unjust, and falsely deduced. There is need of Christ as Mediator and advocate for all mankind, for whom Christ prays or makes intercession, and that is both for transgressors and saints; for the unsanctified and for the sanctified; for the first, that they may be sanctified; for the last, that they may be preserved and kept from the evil. Therefore there is need of Christ as advocate for all mankind.
Query, In what state may persons have the real benefit of Christ's mediation and intercession, in order to receive forgiveness and salvation?
Answer. In a state of need thereof, and true desire thereafter; and when they do not harden their hearts unto willful sinning. Christ makes intercession for men, while they have a day of visitation, in which his Spirit strives with them. But as his Spirit will not always strive with men, if they persist in rebellion; so Christ will not always intercede for them. There is a sin unto death (or a willful sinning until death) for which there is no pardon obtained by sacrifice, advocate or mediator; seeing the apostle to the Hebrews said: If we sin willfully, after we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sin; but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries, Heb 10:26-27.
But there is a sin, not unto death, concerning which, John wrote to the little children, saying, My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not; and if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, 1 John 2:1. For this sin, there is an advocate and mediator. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.
Here the benefit of Christ's mediation and intercession, being our advocate with the Father, is received, and not slighted or frustrated; for he said: The Son of man is as a man taking his journey into a far country, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch you therefore, for you know not the day nor hour when the master of the house cometh; at even, or at midnight, at cock-crowing, or in the morning: for fear that coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch: Mark 13: 34-37. Now there is no state on this side the grave, above a watchful state; for though the enemy is cast out of the house, that is the heart, and it be swept and garnished; yet for want of watchfulness and circumspection, the enemy takes to him seven other spirits, worse than himself, and they enter in and dwell there, and the latter end of that man is worse than the first. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest; but finding none, he said, I will return unto my house whence I came out, Luke 11:24-26.
Upon this account the apostle Peter exhorted the saints, to be sober and vigilant; because, said he, your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist, steadfast in the faith; knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, Establish, strengthen, settle you, 1 Pet 5:8-10.
And Jude the apostle said: The angels that kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he has reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day, Jude 6. This was written not to be imitated, but to excite watchfulness in all who are come to be made an habitation of God, through the Spirit, that they may keep their habitations, and go no more forth to them who say, lo, here is Christ; or lo there. Yes, if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: Behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not, Mat 24:26. For Christ within, the hope of glory, is the portion of all who are not reprobates concerning the faith, 2 Cor 13:5-6. He dwells and walks in his temple; and his sheep hear his voice, and follow him, John 10:3,27, but a stranger will they not follow.
But the sure your habitation and safe resting place is the name of the Lord; the righteous run into it, and is safe: Pro 18:10. Here no devourer can come, nor ravenous beast enter; and those who continue to the end therein, in faith, patience and well-doing, have immortality and everlasting life, being living witnesses of the eternal purpose of God in sending his only begotten Son into the world, i.e. to finish transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, according to the prophecy of Daniel: Dan 9:24. Such have the benefit of his coming, and of his death, resurrection and ascension, and know him their Mediator, to make intercession to the Father for them, day and night: John 17:6-11, that they may be preserved from all sin.
Perfection of freedom from sin in this world, can never be witnessed by any, but by them who receive Christ, as the Father has given him, with faith and full assurance, that he is both willing and able to finish transgression in every soul, and to bring in, and fill it with everlasting righteousness, in place and stead thereof; and to save to the uttermost all who obey him, and come to God by him. By his obedience, all who follow him therein to the end, are sanctified and purified, and shall be glorified with the glory which he is pleased to give them; and so are made his jewels, fit to be gathered into his treasury forever. These are witnesses of the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls; and able to put their seal to the benefit of the coming, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, their mediator and advocate. Therefore perfection and freedom from sin must be believed, and pressed after in this life, or else it can never be truly known or attained unto; nor the benefits of the coming, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus received.
Therefore, woe to that grand enemy of mankind, who has blinded the world from seeing and believing those things which belong to their everlasting felicity; but persuades them, and overpowers them to spend their days in vanity, and to go down to the grave with sorrow, and die in their sins and pollutions, as Christ told the Jews, John 8: 21-24: If you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins; and if you die in your sins, wherever I go, you cannot come.
Now the outward Jews, who would not believe him in his outward appearance, and therefore shut the door of entrance into the kingdom of God against themselves, died in their sins, not believing the benefits of his coming, offering, resurrection, or ascension. So let the outward Christians now beware, for fear that by rejecting, and not receiving him in his inward and spiritual appearance, they shut the door of entrance into the kingdom, against themselves; and give up to be captivated under the power of sin and Satan all their days. For God will not be mocked, neither will his Spirit always strive, nor offer itself to give knowledge of the secrets of God to mortals ; but the day of their visitation will come to an end, and then they shall cry, and he will not hear; and seek death, and shall not find it.
For the great God of Israel has sent his only begotten into the world, in his spiritual appearance, to fulfill the law, and to finish transgression, and to bring in everlasting righteousness; and all who will receive him, and give up to follow him in the regeneration, he will give them power to become the sons and daughters of God; and give them the spirit of adoption, to enable them to cry, Abba, Father; they are not of the world, even as he is not of the world, therefore the world hates them.
Now let all who believe no better than that they must be under the bondage of corruption all the days they have to live on earth, seriously weigh and consider, when or where they shall be made free, seeing no unclean person can ever enter the kingdom of God, Eph 5:5. Let the learned rabbis resolve them, if they can; for it highly concerns them, that their day may not end, before their work is done, and the night come upon them, in which no man can work.
It is not the profession of Christianity, but the work of it in the soul, that renders mankind good and acceptable in the sight of God. I shall only set down a few, among the many testimonies which were given by the ancient primitive Christians, many ages ago( left upon record to this day), namely; Clemens of Alexandria gave this short account of them: "No man is with us a Christian, or accounted truly rich, temperate and generous, but he that is pious and religious; nor does any further bear the image of God, than he speaks and believes what is just and holy; so that in short is the state of us who follow God. Such as are our desires, such are our discourses; such as are our discourses, such are our actions; such as are our actions, such is our life; so universally good is the whole life of Christians. Certainly none were greater enemies to a naked profession, and the covering of a bad life, under the title of Christianity! Do any live otherwise than Christ has commanded? [If so,] it is a most certain argument they are no Christians, though with their tongues they ever so smoothly profess the Christian doctrine; for it is not merely professors, but those who live according to their profession, that shall be saved; as Justin Martyr declared before the emperors.—Primitive Christianity, Part 1. c. 4.
Let no man, says Basil, impose upon himself with inconsiderate words, saying, though I be a sinner, yet I am a Christian; and I hope that title shall be my shelter. But listen sinner, all wicked men shall be bundled up together, and iti the great day of divine vengeance shall be indifferently thrown into those merciless and devouring flames."—Prim. Christ. Part 1. fol. 82. с. 4.
Now was corruption creeping into the profession of Christianity; but the upright among them saw it, and gave an early testimony against it; but yet it was not grown to that height of presumption, to plead for the continuance of a body of sin all their days; that came in by degrees afterward, in the midnight of darkness and apostasy from the life of Jesus, our complete savior from sin.
Out of this corruption, the pope sprang, who assumed the honorable title of Christian, and high father, or father of fathers therein; but falling later in the apostasy, [the church] was overwhelmed with more corruption, and set up those things, which the more pure and primitive Christians decried and abhorred; which are too large to mention here.
Being under the bondage of corruption, and ignorant of the power of God, and the sufficiency thereof, to deliver the soul from the pit of corruption in this life, [the false church] concluded that all mankind must carry about them a body of sin all their days. Then did the enemy step in with another delusion, more subtle than before, and put them upon an invention of a purgatory, or a place of cleansing from sin, between death and the day of judgment, which there is not the least color in the Holy scriptures to justify. But the nobility of the people's understandings being clouded with darkness, this was received among them for orthodox, and is to this day among thousands, who err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
Now, my dear friends and countrymen, into whose hands this may come, let moderation and the fear of God attend you in the reading of it; as the love of God, and bowels of compassion to you, has attended me in writing of it. That notwithstanding the subject matter herein contained has been written by some before, yet I could not be clear, not knowing how short my time may be in this world, but leave a testimony also of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, in spirit, in this latter age of the world, to work his Father's will in every soul, which is sanctification, and redemption from sin, death, darkness, und the power of the grave; of which, in my little measure, I have been an eye witness many years; not proposing any outward benefit or advantage to myself in writing it; but the good and well-being of mankind, that they may come to the knowledge of the Truth by which they may be made free and be saved, through faith in the Son of God, while they live; and that they may see, and be made partakers of the benefit of the spiritual appearance and work of the Just One; of which all the prophets, from Moses, bore testimony. His coming, in these latter days, has discovered the workings of Satan, in the long and dark night of apostacy, which have been over the world, since the apostles' days, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness; in which the false church has decked herself with pretences to the jewels of the true, and has set as a queen, arrayed in fine outward garments, pleasant and delightful to the outward eye; and also her golden cup, engaging to the carnal mind and affection; and her temple, like those which Origen, the ancient Christian, testified against among the Egyptians: " When you approach, says he, their sacred places, they have glorious groves and chapels, temples with goodly gates and stately porticos, and many mysteries and religious ceremonies; but when once you are entered, and got within their temples, you shall see nothing desirable there,... But like the woman, which John testified of, who was arrayed in purple, and scarlet colour, decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations, and filthiness: and upon her forehead is written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND ABOMINATIONS OP THE EARTH, Rev 17:4-5."—Prim. Chris. Part 1.p.1.
Nevertheless, many have been in love with her, delighting to drink of her cup, who could not see her inside. But now the great Searcher of hearts is come, and the flying roll of his wrath is entering, and will more and more enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of the false-witness-bearer, who say: Thus said the Lord, and the Lord never spoke to them, and shall destroy it, with the stones and timber thereof: the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it, and it shall come to pass in its season: Zech 5:4. But Zion, which has been as a widow forsaken, shall become as a fruitful hill, and shall no more be called desolate, nor forsaken, but shall put on her beautiful garments; and the Lamb and his followers shall dwell there, where shall be no night, or shadow of death; and Jerusalem shall be a quiet habitation, salvation shall be for walls and bulwarks, and the entrance thereof praise; there is no temple there, but the Lamb, henceforth and forever. Written in the bowels of love and compassion to the souls of people every where, that they may know the seed of God to arise, and bring forth righteousness in them, by a lover of all mankind.
Riegate in Surrey, the 22nd of the Tenth month, 1702.
IT is the universal concern of all mankind upon the face of the whole earth, to seek those things which belong to their eternal peace, happiness, tranquility and rest with God, when time in this world shall be no more. Yet such are the wiles and cunning devices of the serpent and adversary of man's felicity, [who prevailed with Eve in the beginning to break God's covenant of life made with them] that he prevails with the generality of their posterity at this day, to slight, disesteem and undervalue that which should bring their salvation, and them to the knowledge of the way to it, which is God's inward and spiritual grace, which came to be manifested and known by the second Adam, Christ Jesus, John 1:17. This is the root, substance, and life of all true religion in the world, and without it there is none in the earth; for God has given it, to bring salvation to the ends of it and to be a perfect and sufficient teacher to all mankind, 2 Cor 12:9. This was the saints' teacher in the gospel administration which brought their salvation, Titus 2:11-14. And until the nations and people in general come to hear and learn of this inward and spiritual teacher, they can never be taught to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, nor to live soberly and righteously in this present world. This is the Christ of God, spiritually manifested in mortal flesh, to destroy the works of the devil, which who does not hear, receive, follow and obey, can never receive power to become servants or sons of God; but remain all their days in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity, heaping up wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgments of God, and their religion and faith are vain and futile.
Thus Christ being manifested, becomes the author of eternal salvation in all who believe, and is that great mystery which has been hid from our forefathers for many generations. Where he is received, heard and obeyed, he manifests his strength and power in the soul, greater than the power and strength of the enemy, and binds the strong man, who has long kept the hearts of many, and casts him out, and sets up there his own throne, and rules until he has put all his enemies under his feet; and so becomes the hope of glory to the people, Col 1:27. Whoever does not thus receive, hear and obey him, nor give up thus to be governed by him, cannot be his disciples, nor receive power from him, to become sons or servants of the living God. Though they may profess his name in words, and make a fair show of Christianity in the flesh, yet the true Christian life they are strangers to, and without God in the world, dead in sins and trespasses, and can never be raised out of the grave of corruption, but as they believe in, and wait for the manifestation of his power, [which is only known and manifested by his inward light and grace] to work all their works in them and for them. Thus must man be made the workmanship of God, created again in Christ Jesus unto good works, Eph 2:10. This is the new creation, where man receives the image of God, i.e., righteousness, which was lost in the first Adam. "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also," Jam 2:17-20. For by works of righteousness, (which is brought forth in man by Christ, God's righteousness), is saving faith known. No man can have true faith in Christ, who does not show the works of righteousness in his conduct. For the fruit and effect of saving faith in man is an inward righteousness and holiness, by which a man's heart, soul and spirit is sanctified to God, without which no man can see God. Man must follow him in the works of his righteousness, and learn of him, and bear his cross, that is, not one of gold, silver, wood or stone, but that which crucifies their beloved lusts and pleasures, without which they can never wear his crown. For though man by his own power cannot work his own salvation, yet as he believes in and follows Him whom God has given or a leader, Isa 55:4, and a commander to his people, he shall receive power from him to do whatsoever he commands him, and be saved by him from his sin and transgression; for his name is called Jesus, because he saves his people from their sins, Mat 1:21. Whoever is not saved by him here from their sins, can never be saved hereafter by him from the wrath and displeasure of Almighty God, and that death which is the wages of sin, Rom 6:23.
Now, the means which God has appointed to bring his salvation to all mankind, is his inward and spiritual grace and truth which came by Christ Jesus, John 1:17. This inward teacher as all mankind come to hear and obey, they through him will be saved, Eph 2:8. He has virtue and power to bring forth righteousness in man, and to work out all unrighteousness. It is like a little leaven hidden in the meal which Christ spoke of, Mat 13:33, and will leaven the whole lump of mankind into sincerity and truth, if it is received and obeyed. This is the precious pearl, hid in the field which is the world, set in man's heart, Ecc 3:11, which the wise man digs deep there to find, Mat 13:45-46, and having found it, sells and parts with all his lusts to purchase it. No man can buy it but with the loss and denial of all things contrary to it. Gold will not purchase it, and silver is dross in comparison of it, the price of it is above rubies; and therefore the wise man said, “Buy the truth, and sell it not," Pro 23:23, Rev 3:18. No man can truly say, "My beloved is mine, and I am his," but as he thus buys it, with the selling of all contrary to it. This is a hard saying to many, or the most part of mankind, especially the rich, who have great possessions; and many beloved lusts and pleasures to part with, which are as dear and near as their right hand or eye. This made the young man, whom Christ spoke unto, Mat 19:21-22, to go away from him sorrowful, who had great possessions; upon which the Son of Man said, “That a rich man should hardly enter into the kingdom of God," verse 23. And "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven," verse 24.
Here is the mystery of godliness revealed, which the natural man cannot see, or perceive, for it is hidden from the wise and prudent of the world, and discovered and revealed unto babes and little ones. The great and proud men of the world are too big to enter the strait gate, and walk in the narrow way; the preaching of the cross of our Lord Jesus to them is foolishness, [and they cannot see the strait gate,] [and the cross] which the apostles preached, and all the true disciples and followers of Jesus Christ took up, who were crucified to the world, and the world to them, Gal 6:14.
Therefore lay aside all your imaginary crosses of gold, silver, wood or stone, they are of no value, neither is there any virtue in them to crucify one lust that wars in your members; yes, though you may carry them in your bosoms, yet your beloved lusts lie there also unmortified, which every day war against the soul, and so far prevail, that they bring forth sin in word and deed, which being finished, brings forth death, James 1:15.
The true cross of Christ is the power of God in all who believe, 1 Cor 1:18. "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven," Col 1:20. That by which the ancient Christians were crucified to the world, and the world to them, was the cross of Christ spiritually borne, Gal 6:14. But since the Christian life and spirit have been laid aside and quenched, the knowledge of this cross has been lost, and people have set up an image of it, and have become strangers and enemies to the cross of Christ, as the Jews and Pharisees were in the gospel day, being without God in the world.
The knowledge of the mystery of God's salvation to all mankind upon the earth, must be opened and manifested by the gift of God, namely, his grace and spirit, as it is received and obeyed. "For as no man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of a man within him: even so the things of God knows no man, but the spirit of God," 1 Cor 2:11. With this spirit within did the prophet Isaiah seek the Lord, Isa 26:9. And with the Spirit of Truth within must all mankind seek the Lord, if they are ever to find him and know his work; for without it the knowledge of God's salvation is, and forever will be, hidden from the wise and prudent of the world. This was the Jews' blindness, the resisting of the spiritual gift of God, Acts 7:51, who by their wicked hands stoned Stephen to death, though they held up the temple worship, the offerings and sacrifices, yet by resisting the spirit of God in themselves, they became more blind than he who had an unclean spirit, who said to Christ, “I know you who you are, the Holy One of God," Mark 1:23-24, Mat 8:29. Yes, the devil confessed him to be the Son of God, Mark 5:7.
The grand cause of all the error in the world, is in going from the Spirit of Truth within, the Comforter now sent, according to the promise of Christ, John 14:16-17, John 14:26. This Comforter being received, heard and obeyed, leads into all truth, and is a perfect guide appointed of God for all mankind, to bring to the knowledge of God's salvation; and thus to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent, is eternal life; and all knowledge short of this, is earthly and carnal. Christ within, the hope of glory, has been as a mystery hid from ages and generations, but revealed in the gospel day, Col 1:26-27. And thus manifested to the gentiles, Acts 13:47, that he might be God's salvation to the ends of the earth; when the wise professing Jews rejected him in his outward appearance in the flesh, to whom he was first offered. This inward and spiritual appearance of the Christ of God in our day, the chief priests and literal and worldly wise professing Christians do oppose and take exception, and will not have him thus to rule in the hearts and consciences of his people; but call the true light, which is his life and spiritual appearance, John 1:4, a dark lantern, and a natural conscience; and so make the word and commandment ineffective by their traditional religion, which is set up in the will and wit of man, and do every day crucify to themselves afresh the Lord of glory, and put him to open shame; for every wicked word and deed is as a spear to wound him.
No man can be a true Christian, who is not baptized into the death of Christ, Rom 6:3-6, that is, dead to sin. This is the true spiritual baptism, of which John's baptism with water was but a figure, type, and forerunner. Neither is he now a gospel Christian, who is one outward; neither is that baptism, that is outward in the flesh; but he is a true Christian, who is one inward, and the one baptism is that of the heart and of the spirit. For neither baptism, nor lack of baptism, as an outward ritual, avails anything, but a new creature, created again in Christ Jesus unto good works to live in them, Eph 2:10. This is Christianity in its ancient glory and purity, which is restored and witnessed by receiving, hearing, and obeying the inward and spiritual "grace of God which brings salvation," Titus 2:11-14. Of which water baptism is an outward and visible ritual, as it is declared in the book of common prayer now used in England, where they say, “That the inward and spiritual grace is a death to sin, and a new birth unto righteousness," ... And until the outward Christians come to hear and obey this inward and spiritual grace, they cannot know or witness God's salvation; for all outside it is only as a shell and shadow, and as chaff to the wheat.
As Christ's appearance and manifestation in the substance of the gospel ministration, is inward and spiritual, so is his baptism, and so is his supper, and all his ordinances, and all who truly "eat his flesh, and drink his blood, dwell in him, and he in them," John 6:56. For it is the spirit that quickens all who are made alive by him, the flesh profits nothing, John 6:63. The words he spoke were spirit and life, though mysteriously spoken; at which the Jews murmured, and many of the disciples were offended, John 6:52, John 6:60-61, and looked outward, as too many do in our day, who neither discern his flesh nor blood, and so eat and drink their own damnation. Though the children of Israel ate manna in the wilderness that was rained down from heaven every day, yet as it was outward, they died, John 6:49. Therefore it is not the outward bread, in the gospel dispensation, that nourishes the soul to eternal life, but the spiritual manna, which is received by the indwelling of the Son of God in man, and man dwelling in him, John 6:56-57. They who thus eat his flesh and drink his blood, have eternal life, and he will raise them up at the last day, John 6:54. This is the anti-type, or mystery of all outward types and representations, even the cup of the New Testament in his blood, in all who spiritually receive it; for the outward flesh, bread and cup profit nothing as to the soul's nourishment; it is the spiritual, that gives life, the bread and cup of this nourishes up to eternal life. Where Christ is come and risen in the spirit, his spiritual bread and cup shows his resurrection in the soul. Here those who are quickened and raised by him, live by every word that proceeds out of his mouth, Mat 4:4. And being thus made partakers of his resurrection, over them the second death has no power. This was represented by Moses lifting up the serpent in the Wilderness, John 3:14, Num 21:9; so must the Son of Man be lifted up in the soul, that all who are bitten by the spiritual serpent, may look to him, and be healed. For though he was made a sacrifice to God for the sins of the whole world, that through his life and resurrection the whole world might be saved, yet no man has part in him, or his resurrection, who is not in this world washed from his uncleanness by him. For the purging, which all true Christian believers own, is by the blood of Jesus Christ, to cleanse them from their sins, which none can have the benefit of but those who walk in the light, 1 John 1:7. “For if we say we have fellowship with God, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth," 1 John 1:6-7. "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin." Here is the covenant in which the benefit, virtue, and efficacy of the blood of Jesus is known and witnessed to this day, and must be throughout all generations. Therefore has the true light, or grace of God, lighted every man that cometh into the world, John 1:9, that all might receive it, and walk in it and so be made living witnesses of the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse them from their sins. If the sons and daughters of men had come to know this, they need not have imagined an outward purgatory to cleanse people from their sins; the blood of Jesus thus known and witnessed is sufficient to sanctify and make clean in body, soul and spirit, all who walk in the light; and thus would God's salvation be known and manifested to the ends of the earth. For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines to the west, so is the shining of the Sun of righteousness in the soul of man. But until the day dawns and the morning star arises in the heart, the glorious Sun of righteousness with healing in his wings can never be known to arise; and until this is known and witnessed, all preaching is vain, and people's faith is vain, and they are still in their sins, and can never be made partakers of his resurrection, nor conformable to his death, but live and die in their sins, and wherever he goes they cannot come, John 8:21,24.
Therefore let all be warned, to take heed to the true light and inward spiritual grace of God, and give up to the teachings of it, that they may receive an understanding from God, to know the mysteries of the kingdom of righteousness, which are hid from the wise and prudent of the world, who are glorying in brain-study, human arts and literature, and natural acquirements in the will and wisdom of man. Divine wisdom was never conveyed through these to any of the sons of men. True wisdom is the gift of God, communicated to them who love and fear him; the secrets of the Lord are daily manifested to such, and they do not lack the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of righteousness, but can declare to others what God has done for their souls, of what they have tasted and handled of the word of eternal life; these are able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit.
Until the nations and people in general are turned to, and receive the gift of God, which he has universally given to all mankind to profit withal, they can never see the opening of eternal life; neither can the way of it be manifested or known by anything short of it. Neither can any man know life by it until he is subjected to it, and spiritually baptized by it into the death of Christ; this is the true inward Christian, whose praise is not of men, but of God. For the true Christian baptism is a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, and none are Christians indeed but those who are so baptized. Upon this account said the Son of God unto Nicodemus, “Except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," John 3:3. And again, “Except a man is born of water, and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," verse 5, the spiritual water, with which the Holy Ghost does wash all true believers, and bring them into newness of life. For he is not a Christian that is one outward; neither is that baptism, that is outward in the flesh; but he is a Christian who is one inward, and baptism is that of the heart, and in the spirit. This is the true gospel ministration, the last and greatest that ever the world shall be visited with. This has a more excellent glory, than that which stood in meats and drinks, and carnal ordinances and commandments of men, and therefore is to remain to all generations, 2 Cor 3:6-11.
Now all you who are set down in outward visible signs, and are slighting and neglecting the substance, that is, the inward and spiritual grace which must bring your salvation, the enemy has deceived you in keeping you from receiving, hearing, and obeying it, your sufficient teacher and bringer of salvation. Thus you are ever learning, and can never come to the knowledge of the Spirit of Truth in yourselves, which is given of God to lead you into all truth, John 16:13, the Comforter promised by Christ, John 14:16-17, to abide forever; who he said dwelled with his disciples, and should be in them, verse 17. This Comforter, the Spirit of Truth is arisen in our day, and is manifested in all true believers for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
But oh! let the outward Christians beware, for fear that they reject him in his inward appearance, as the outward Jews rejected him in his outward appearance; for if they wound and crucify the Spirit of Truth, and of Christ in themselves, they will be as guilty of his blood, as were the Jews of old. What slighting, despising, no, blaspheming against this inward and spiritual appearance of Christ have the nominal Christians been guilty of these forty years [1650-1690 persecutions of the Quakers]? How have they buffeted, stoned and imprisoned Him in his servants, for speaking through them? No, they have crucified him afresh and put him to open shame by their ungodly deeds and hard speeches.
Oh Lord! I pray you open their eyes, that they may see him whom they have thus pierced with their sharp spears, and let a day of mourning and lamentation come over them, as was prophesied of the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every family apart, and their wives apart, Zech 12:10-14. He is indeed a Comforter to such mourners now, but cries woe to them who now laugh, as he did in the days of his flesh to the Jews and Pharisees, Luke 6:25. For outward Christianity now, where the inward life, spirit and power of Christ are not received and witnessed, is of no more value in the sight of God than were the Jews offerings and sacrifices, when they were inwardly polluted. For it is the sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit, which the Lord regards, Psa 51:17, and the inward white linen is beautiful in his eye, and his sons and daughters are all glorious within Psa 45:13. They hunger and thirst after an inward righteousness, i.e. the righteousness of faith, which said, go not forth, Mat 24:26. Rom 10:8, for the word is near you in your heart, and in your mouth that you may hear it, and do it. This was the word of faith which the true gospel-ministers preached, believed and received; and who does not receive this inward word, cannot know the salvation of God, for it is the engrafted word that is able to save the soul, James 1:21. Until the people come to hear and to do this word, their buildings are upon the sand, and will not stand in a stormy day; for true and saving faith is obtained and received by hearing this word, in all who live and stand in it, without which no man can please God, Heb 11:6. Thus the ancients received faith, and walked in it, and did many valiant acts, both in the time of the first and second covenant, and had victory over the world; yes, they were made more than conquerors over death, hell and the grave, Rom 8:37, and obtained a good report, though they received not the promise, Heb 11:39.
Now this testimony I must leave to the world, that God has sent his good Spirit into the hearts of the children of men, to be their guide, leader and director in all things relating to his kingdom; and upon the receiving and obeying, or resisting and disobeying this Spirit, stands man's eternal felicity or woe, for nothing short of it can give mankind the knowledge of the mysteries of God's salvation; and all knowledge without it, is earthly and carnal, and can never give life to the soul.
Therefore all you outside Christians, believers still sinning, who have taken up your rest in an outward profession of God and godliness, but live in the profane fashions, customs and superfluities of the world, far beyond those you term heathens, my soul is often bowed down for you, because you are resisting the appearance of God's Spirit, as did the Jews of old. Through your traditional religion, which you have received by and from your darkened and benighted ancestors, you have made the word and commandment of God of no effect, and have worked despitefully against the Spirit of Grace, and have set down at ease in an outside invented form of godliness, imitating some things which the holy men of God did in the days of old, through the leading and dictates of God's Spirit. But this to you is but an image or likeness of a thing in heaven; and it may be said to you, as it was to Judah in the days of Isaiah the prophet, Who has required these things at your hands? Isa 1:12. Your set days and fasts, your morning and evening sacrifices, the Lord has no regard unto, but said at this day, as in days past, Isa 1:16-17, Jer 4:14. Wash your hearts from wickedness; the fountain is open, put away the pride and abominations of the heathen out of your houses and hearts, and boast not yourselves that you are not as other men; by chance not common drunkards, swearers, nor extortionists, nor thieves, nor murderers, but that you pay the tithe of all you possess, give alms, and often have family duties, and frequent the church and its ordinances, as you call them. All this, and much more, if you had it, will not give you acceptance with God, while your inside is full of rottenness and corruption; your kind of righteousness does not exceed not that of the Scribes and Pharisees, but is many degrees short thereof. Arise, arise, this is not your rest, because it is polluted, Mic 2:10. Shake off your night garments, be afflicted and mourn, and weep, let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into heaviness; for the Lord is arisen to plead with all flesh, by his sword, and by fire, and he will leave the outward court to be trodden down of the Gentiles. He is arisen in his fury as a man of war, and is disquieting the nations with wars and commotions, and causing the potsherds of the earth to dash one another to pieces, that he may make way and room for his own kingdom, rule and government in the earth; and all who will not that he should rule, he will slay by the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming. For Babylon must fall among Papists and Protestants, even that which has been built up, by which to reach to heaven, in the will and wisdom of man. For it is come in remembrance before the Lord, and great will be the fall thereof; her merchants shall lament to see her destruction, when they shall not be able to relieve her. The scattered flock of the house of Jacob, God will gather into his own fold, namely, his power, within whose walls is the well of life, where all the sheep of his pasture drink, and here shall none be able to make them afraid, for the power of God is that universal fold, into which the gathering of the nations must be. All who gather not into this power are false shepherds, and gather to themselves for unrighteous gain; but the gathering of the people shall be to the Lord, Gen 49:10, Israel's true Shepherd and leader; so shall the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of God and his Son.
This testimony lay upon me to leave behind to the world, not knowing how long my days may be therein.
Riegate, this 30th of the Third month, 1691.
THE true and everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God, is glad tidings of good things; which are remission of sins, and reconciliation to God by Jesus Christ, Luke 1:19, Luke 8:1, which was preached to give the knowledge of salvation unto all people by the remission of sins, Luke 1:77. So here it manifestly appears, that this gospel was preached to give the knowledge of salvation to all people, which knowledge was only received by the remission of sins.
The false gospel of antichrist, the man of sin, is sad tidings of bad things, in which there is no remission of sins, but a continual slavery unto sin and Satan all man's days, according as it is and has been taught by the teachers of this generation, which is as contrary to the true gospel, as light is to darkness.
The true gospel message is to turn people from darkness to the light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them that are purified and sanctified by faith in his Son, Acts 26:18.
The message of the false gospel is, that people can never come from under the power of Satan, but must have a body of sin as long as they live, which is sad tidings, and not glad tidings. For another to pretend freedom to him that has been under a tyrant's power from his birth, and take his money as though he would bring him to Christ who would free him, and yet in the end tell him he must remain under the power of this tyrant all his days; this is sad tidings to him, who has spent his money, and is neither redeemed, nor has any hopes ever to be while he lives; and such is the false gospel at this day.
The message of the true gospel is a proclamation of liberty and freedom to all captives, who have been imprisoned in sin and transgression, in which the blood of Christ is freely held forth for the remission of sins, Mat 26:28.
The message of the false gospel is continual captivity in sin, and never liberty nor freedom from it, as we have seen by many years sad experience.
The true Captain of salvation said: Learn from me, and you shall find rest to your soul, Mat 11:29.
The false leader said: You shall never overcome, but be in a continual warfare, and shall never come to peace nor rest here, which is sad news indeed. The messengers of the true gospel say: They were circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, Col 2:11.
The messengers of the false gospel say: This can never be done, but men must have a body of sin as long as they live, which is far different from the other.
The messengers of the true gospel say: Christ shall save his people from their sins.
The messengers of the false gospel say: Christ shall save from the punishment due to sin, but not from committing sin; which doctrine overthrows the justice of God, who gives to every one according to their deeds.
As Satan by sin and transgression opened a way into eternal misery and condemnation from God, for all who follow and obey him; so God in his infinite love and mercy by Jesus Christ has opened a gate of mercy unto all mankind, and has prepared a way of life, peace, and eternal salvation, that all who are willing to walk in it, may attain thereunto. This way is called the way of holiness, which the unclean shall not pass over; but the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein, Isa 35:8.
This way is a mystery to all the sons of Adam, and is strait and narrow, and few there be that find it, Mat 7:14; but the way which leads to destruction is wide and broad; and all the unclean, yes, all the workers of iniquity can walk therein, Mat 7:13. There are but these two ways for all mankind to walk in; the one leads to life eternal, and the other to eternal death.*
Now the Lord has opened my heart a little to show unto every one the way of life, which is Christ Jesus; John 14:6, and that by which they may be brought into this way, according as the Spirit of God shall give me utterance. It is written in the Scriptures of truth, that a woman having ten pieces of silver, if she loses one, lights a candle, and sweeps her house, and seeks diligently until she finds it; and when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying: Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I had lost, Luke 15:8-9. This is a parable of the way of life, which is to be found within when the candle is lit; and your house swept, which is your heart, which is foul and corrupted by the enemy of your soul, who has led you from mountain to hill, like a lost sheep,—I mean from one high priest to another, so that you have forgotten your resting place. Therefore has the good shepherd left the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and is gone after you who are lost in the mountains, and will lay you upon his shoulders, bring you home, and rejoice over you, Luke 15:4-5. And when you are come in, you shall be fed in a good pasture by the rivers of water, where you shall not want, Eze 34:14, and your soul shall delight itself in fatness and shall live, Isa 55:2. For the Lord will be your Shepherd, and you shall be established in righteousness, and great shall be your peace, Isa 54:14, and you shall not need to say: Who shall ascend into heaven to fetch Christ from above? or who shall descend into the deep to fetch him from beneath? but the word shall be near you, in your heart and in your mouth, according as it is said, Rom 10:8; Deut 30:14. This will be a lamp to your feet, and a light to your path, Psa 119:105, to guide you in the way of truth and peace, and will give you the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor 4:6. The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. 1 John 2:27
So let every one search his own heart, and light the candle there, that he may find the word of faith there to guide him. This word David hid in his heart, that he might not sin against God, Psa 119:11. This is the word of faith which I preach unto you, that you may come to hear and receive it, whereby faith may be wrought in your heart, to give you victory over the world, sin, death, darkness, and the grave, which have long separated you from God. Then shall you witness him to be your redeemer, even the Holy One of Israel. But if you ask me what must lead you to this redeemer? I answer, the law of God which he has written in your heart, according to his promise in the second covenant, Jer 31:31-33, which law was the apostles' schoolmaster to bring them to Christ, that they might be justified by faith, Gal 3:24. This law will be your schoolmaster to bring you to Christ, that you may be justified by faith, and not by the works of the law. This will be a present teacher with you at all times and in all places, and will never let you do evil, nor do that to another you would not that he should do unto you. It will bring you to love the Lord with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself, as it is written in the law of Moses; yes, when you turn to the right hand or to the left, you shall hear a voice behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, Isa 30:21. But you may object and say, Shall I not go to hear sermons from learned men, such as are brought up at Oxford or Cambridge? I say, cease from man, even from all those who keep you from the law written in your heart, for such have no light in them, Isa 8:20. Such are blind guides, and would keep you from this law which is light, Pro 6:23, for fear that it should discover their darkness unto you, and that they may lead you in blindness and darkness which lead to the chambers of death, Pro 7:27. You may spend all your substance upon the physicians, as the woman had done, and yet was not cured, until she came to Christ, Luke 8:43-44; and you will not be until you come to be led to him, by that which manifests both your deeds of darkness and theirs also, who have applied salve to your wounded soul, before they have cleansed out your corrupted ulcers with which your soul has been loaded; so their salve has taken no impression, nor been available al all unto you; and they have been physicians of no value, Job 13:4, but your corruptions have prevailed upon you until all your money is spent. Oh, therefore listen to him who stands at your door and often knocks. If you will open your door, he will come into you, and will sup with you, and you shall sup with him, Rev 3:20. Then shall you know the supper of the Lord, even a feast of unleavened bread.
If you will receive him, he will cleanse your sores and lance your wounds like the good physician, and reach the living sensible part in you, that the corruption has not prevailed against; and nothing else he will suffer to remain within, that he may thoroughly cure you, and make you perfectly whole in body, soul and spirit; and then he will pour in the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness, that you may be called a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, Isa 61:3.
Then shall the light of the moon be as the light of the sun; and the light of the sun shall be seven-fold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up your breach and heals the stroke of your wound, Isa 30:26. Then shall you, who have been deaf, hear, and your blind eye shall be opened, and shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness, Isa 29:18, and you shall increase your joy in the Lord, and rejoice in the Holy One of Israel, verse 19. Then shall judgment dwell in the wilderness, which you shall love, and righteousness in the fruitful field in which you shall dwell, and the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever, Isa 32:16-17. Then shall your soul delight itself in the Lord its Redeemer, and magnify the name of the God of Israel all your days.
You shall not need to be taught of your neighbor or of your brother to know the Lord, for you shall know him, and be taught of him, and great shall be your peace, according to the words of Jeremiah, Jer 31:4, Isa 54:13, John 6:45; and the anointing with which he has anointed you shall abide in you, and you shall not need any man to teach you, but as the anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth and is no lie, and even as it teaches you, you shall abide in him, 1 John 2:27. These things I have written to you concerning any that would seduce you from this inward teacher, verse 26; that if any come to your house and bring not this doctrine, do not wish him not God speed, for fear that you become a partner of his evil deeds; yes, if I, or an angel from heaven preach any other doctrine, let us be accursed, and let God give no more increase to our work, than he has done to the work of the priests these many years.
Therefore cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils, and listen unto him by whom God speaks in these last days, as you may read, Heb 1:1-2, who said: Learn of me and you shall find rest for your souls, Mat 11:29. He will be a sufficient teacher unto you in all the ways of righteousness, and be a wall unto you in the time of storm, and a shadow in the time of heat, Isa 25:4, yes, he will be your shepherd, and spread your table in the sight of your enemies, Psa 23:1-5, and he will lead you into green pastures by the rivers of water, and will restore your soul to praise and glorify his name forever.
THE deep and weighty consideration of the true and acceptable worship and service of Almighty God, who is an unlimited spirit of life, light and glory, has been upon me from year to year, since he first opened my eyes to see and know what was good and acceptable in his sight. To wait diligently upon him, in the true silence of all flesh; to know what is his good and perfect will, and with what to come before him, and what offering is and has been acceptable to him, whether prayer, praises, preaching or silence; all or any of which being performed as he requires in a broken and contrite spirit, trembling at his word; this both is, and ever was acceptable to him, as he spoke by that evangelical prophet Isaiah 66:2. All other service or sacrifice, though ever so glorious, which is brought forth in the will and wit of man, being never so finely polished with eloquent phrases, is but as the cutting off a dog's neck, or offering swine's blood, which is an abomination in the eye of the pure God. His worship is not limited to day, time, or place, forms, words or names; but is spiritual and only performed by them who are given up to be led and guided by his Spirit, in every duty which he requires of them. These are the spiritual worshippers within the temple, who offer up their hearts as a living sacrifice to God, in the flames of divine love, and who can wait upon him, in true poverty of spirit until he kindles the sacrifice. This is the ancient gospel-worship which our Lord and savior taught the woman of Samaria, John 4:23-24, and which he is now teaching his sons and daughters, servants and handmaids, who are given up to wait upon Him, to know his Divine pleasure, what he will require of them; for that alone is acceptable to him which is of his own preparing; therefore he gave Israel his good Spirit to direct them in his worship and service, Neh 9:20. In the clear gospel-ministration, his worship was not limited to Jerusalem, or the mount, or the temple, or to any set form, but the true worshippers are to worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such he then sought, and is now seeking to worship him.
But oh! How far different are the many forms of worship in this land, which are invented and brought forth in the will and wit of fallen man, for private and sinister ends. When they come together to offer, without any deliberation, or waiting to know the good will and pleasure of God, they speak a divination of their own brain-study, giving to God just as much as they think appropriate, or have shaped into a form, and he must accept of that, or nothing; and when so much is said over, then worship is done.
How would a prince, or a ruler of the earth, be pleased that his servant, upon all occasions, should rush into his presence, and immediately give that to him, which he never required of him, neither commanded him to prepare for him? Will not the master judge it presumption in the servant thus to deal with him from year to year? May not he rather justly say to the servant: "It is your duty to wait upon me, to know my pleasure, and to offer to me what I command you;" and reject him and his offering?
And shall not the just and righteous God, reject all such offerings in this day, and say as once he did to Israel of old; Isaiah 1:11-12, Who required these things at your hands. And, Behold, all you that kindle a fire; that encircle yourselves about with sparks; walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that you have kindled; this shall you have of mine hand, you shall lie down in sorrow, Isa 50:11.
What are all your formal services and sermons, collected together in the will and wisdom of man for money, but sparks of your own kindling; and saying: Thus said the Lord, when the Lord never spoke to you—like the false prophets of Israel, Ezek 13th. Oh! repent, repent; sit down in sackcloth and ashes; let your laughter be turned into mourning, your feasts into fasting, and your joy into heaviness. For the Lord is arisen to search all professions upon the earth, and woe to them who are covered, and not with the Spirit of the Lord, for the day that is approaching, shall try every man's works, whether they are wrought in God, by the motion of his Spirit, or not. And now the skirts of the false church he will fully discover to her shame and confusion; and her merchants he will bring more and more into contempt, who have traded with slaves and souls of men, Rev 18, and through covetousness have made merchandize of the people for many ages, 2 Pet 2, in this long and dark night of apostasy since the apostles days. The hour of her judgment is come, and the Judge stands at the door; let all who fear God, and are willing to obey his word, come out of her, and partake not with her in her sins, for fear that you partake of her plagues. From a lover of the souls of all men,
Riegate, the 30th of the Fourth month, 1697.
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 favor 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. 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.
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