Volume 4, The Works of George Fox, Doctrinal Books I, Continued
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Site Editor’s Preface: Shortly after King Charles II replaced the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, thirty-one religious fanatics of the Fifth Monarchy men tried to establish Jesus' kingdom by revolution, shouting, "The King Jesus and the heads upon the gates;" this put all London in terror. They routed the of militia, put the king's lifeguard to the run, broke through the city gates, killed twenty men, and led every one to believe that they numbered five hundred, while every householder armed himself and forty thousand stood ready to oppose these fierce fanatics.
This small group's act of violence created a great fear in the nation of any dissident religious group. Rumors quickly spread that Quakers were tied to this radical group, which the Monarchy men denied in their trial at Parliament. But, because the Quakers were growing, with people leaving many Episcopalian churches empty, the Episcopalian Parliament saw an opportunity to reestablish the supremacy of Church of England, by creating an act making all other churches illegal, but which was deliberately created in hopes of destroying the hated Quakers. The Act below is from George Whitehead’s A Christian Progress:
This Act was leveled against the people called Quakers, when nothing was justly chargeable against them, nor could any matter of fact be proved, but what concerned religion, and worship toward Almighty God, according to their conscientious persuasions; therefore it was purely for serving and worshipping Him according to our consciences, that we suffered greatly by this Act for a time.”
CONCERNING THE ACT That prohibits, that not above four or five may meet.
—By George Fox
This act would have taken hold upon Christ and his disciples, had he been in your days. Christ it is known had twelve apostles, and seventy disciples, which often met together; and besides the great multitudes that met with Christ in the towns, wildernesses, and mountains, in the days of Caesar and the Jews. You do not read that either Caesar or the Jews made any acts, or laws, that Christ and his disciples should not meet together; though at the last, by that law that they had among themselves, they put him to death for saying that he was the Son of God. Did not the Romans, who were heathens, let the Jews have their liberty to worship God, when they had power over them, though their religion differed from theirs, as you may read both in the scriptures, and in Eusebius, and Josephus?
Had not the children of Israel, (though in captivity in a strange land), liberty in the empire of Nebuchadnezzar, though his religion differed from theirs, until that Nebuchadnezzar set up his golden image, with all his music, who cast the three children into the fiery furnace because they would not worship it, but worshipped God, and did give to Nebuchadnezzar the things that belonged to him. Did not the Lord preserve these three children that stood for him, and worshipped him? Did not Nebuchadnezzar change his word and decree which he had made, to burn them that would not worship his image, and make another decree, by which he gave liberty to the children of Israel, and sent it among all his people and nations, that they should not speak anything amiss against the God of the children of Israel? Did Nebuchadnezzar not afterwards confess to the God of heaven that his kingdom was an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion from generation to generation? Did Nebuchadnezzar not hold the children of Israel in great esteem, though they differed from his nation's religion, worship, laws, and manners? This you may read in Daniel, the 3rd and 4th chapters. In Daniel, Chapter 5, did not Belshazzar, his son, give liberty to the children of Israel? But when this Belshazzar meddled with the vessels of the children of Israel which were brought out of the temple at Jerusalem, was not there a hand-writing on the wall against him? So you, who are in spiritual Babylon, that meddle with the vessels of the children of God, and Jews in the spirit, do you not think that the hand-writing is against you, “Mene Tekel?” You are found too light, being weighed in the balance. Do you not divide rather than unite? Are your years not numbered? Has not spiritual Babylon set up his spiritual image, and music about it? Have you not burnt and persecuted those who cannot fall down to it, as you may read in history, and in the Revelation. Yet you have not come so far as Nebuchadnezzar, who altered his decrees, and confessed to the God of heaven, and gave liberty to such as differed from his national worship? Did not Belshazzar have a great esteem for the Jews, though they differed from his religion, and were captives in his country? If it had been your day, would you not have said the three children were disobedient and willful, because they would not fall down at the sound of the music, and worship his image, but obeyed the Lord?
Was it not some of the Babylonians who were the informers against the children of Israel, the outward Jews, that raised persecution against them? Are there not many informers now in spiritual Babylon, who raise persecution upon the Jews in the spirit?
In Daniel 6:1-5, 24-28 , in the days of Darius, emperor, did not the children of have Israel liberty under the emperor in his empire, though they differed from his national worship and religion, until that some of the princes sought to find out a fault or occasion against him, but could find no fault, he being faithful? Then the men said, “we shall not find anything against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”
Now here you may see Daniel had liberty concerning the law of his God, until this time, at which they had made a decree, according to the Medes and Persians, which alters not, “that whosoever asked any petition for thirty days, saving of the king Darius, should be cast into the lions' den.
Now Daniel went into his house, after this decree was made, “his windows in his chamber being open towards Jerusalem, he kneeled down upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God as he had done before this time.”
Now, O you persecutors, would you not say that Daniel was a very fool, and a willful rebellious person, as knowing the king's decree, and the spite of these men against him. He, having been formerly in favor with the king, risking to lose all, and endangering his life? These men, having found Daniel praying to his God, informed the king, and the law was executed upon him; but mark how God preserved Daniel, and how glad the king was of it, and what became of his accusers, who were cast to the lions and torn to pieces. Did not Darius then confess to the living God, and his kingdom, and make another decree to give liberty to Daniel and the children of Israel? Darius, the emperor, wrote to all people, nations, and languages, dwelling on the earth, “That they should all tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, steadfast forever; and his kingdom shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall never have an end.”
So did Daniel and these children of Israel not have liberty in the realm of Darius and Cyrus, kings of Persia and the Medes, though they differed from them in their religion, and were captive? Does not this judge all christians who profess God and Christ, and that they are not to have power over one another's faith, but who cannot give liberty to one another and persecute one another, contrary to the command of Christ, who said, they should love one another?
Jer 39:11-12,40:4, Jeremiah had been cast into the dungeon, set in the stocks, and beaten for his testimony for the Lord by the persecuting Jews, who kept him in prison until Nebuchadnezzar carried away his persecutors captive into Babylon. The captain of this Nebuchadnezzar's guard was left to govern the poor of the people, who had nothing in the land of Judah; and he gave them fields and vineyards. Nebuchadnezzar ordered the captain of his guard concerning Jeremiah: “Take him, and look well to him, do him no harm.” He took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison, and said, “This day I will loose you from the chain which is upon your hand; if it seems good for you to go with me into Babylon, I will look well unto you; but if it seem evil unto you to go into Babylon, forbear; behold, all the land is before you, whether it seems good and convenient to go, there go.” So Jeremiah stayed in the land of Judah.
Now, friends, was there not more mercy in this heathen Nebuchadnezzar than in the Jews and the great persecuting professors? For though he had conquered the land, yet he did not force Jeremiah or the people he left behind him to be of his religion, but left them to follow their own religion in their own land; and has not Nebuchadnezzar exceeded many peoples’ kindness in this; as you may read in Jer 38, 39, 40.
Have you not read in Ezra, the proclamation of Cyrus, king of Persia, to all the Jews among the people throughout all his kingdom, how that the Jews might go up and build their temple, and what large liberty was given to them, and how that they might have liberty to go and serve, and worship God? Although the children of Israel were of another religion than the Medes and Persians, yet he gave the children of Israel liberty. But it was the Lord, who stirred up the spirit of this Cyrus, king of Persia, to give liberty to worship God, and serve him. Accordingly, people may judge what it is that stirs up the spirits of people to persecute people for worshipping God, Ezra 1. Did not a prophet rise up to persecute the Jews afterwards, and call them a rebellious people, under a pretence that if they built a temple, they should damage the king, Ezra 4, but afterwards the persecutor was frustrated, and the children of Israel went on in their work.
So this Darius made another decree for the Jews' liberty, and the building of the temple, “and whosoever should alter a word of the decree, the timber should be plucked down from his house, and [a gallows] being set up, he was to be hung thereon, and his house to be made a dunghill; and the children of Israel were to pray for the life of the king and his sons.”
Here you may see what liberty this man, called a heathen, gave to the outward Jews, who differed from him in religion, who was a heathen; and what a strict decree he made against those that were against the Jews, and would have hindered them from building the temple; and so this decree was for the service of God, contrary to his own religion, which temple Christ has ended, and the priests' and the Jews' services, “and now he is not a Jew that is one outward;” so that command, decree, and penalty of Darius is ended, for such a work; “for he is a Jew who is one inward—whose weapons are spiritual and not carnal;” but the inward temple comes to be raised up by the spirit, and the law and command of Jesus observed, “to love one another;” yet Darius may judge the persecuting spirit in christians. Artaxerxes made a decree that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of God of heaven, should require, should be done for the house of the God of heaven, for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his son; and so Ezra was to set magistrates and judges, and such as knew the law, and taught them that knew it not; “and whosoever would not do the law of God, and the law of the king, judgment was to be executed speedily upon him, whether unto death, or unto banishment.” Ezra 7:13-26.
Now here you may see what liberty this Artaxerxes gave to the Jews, who were of a different religion from him, that they did not obey his heathen law, and the law of God, it was death; and so he makes a distinction between the law, and the law of God, though he was a heathen; but Ezra the priest, and the Levites, and the primitive priesthood, with all their offerings, and their temple, Christ has ended that priesthood, and the law by which it was made, Heb 7.
And so, as for banishing, and putting to death, imprisoning, confiscation of goods concerning the building of the Jews' temple, and sacrificing there, with their singers and ministers, Christ has ended all these, and says, “love one another,” not banish, nor spoil one another's goods; so his command now is to be observed, and not Artaxerxes' nor Darius', to build the temple of the Jews, and offer sacrifice: now this may condemn the christians, (for a heathen to give his law, and promote the Jews, and the law of God, by which the religion stood), who makes laws to persecute one another contrary to the law and command of Jesus, who said, “love one another;” for where did you ever read of any law the persecuting christians made, that they should love one another, and that they should keep the command of Christ, who said, “love one another,” and not spoil the goods, and banish one another? if not, has not Artaxerxes condemned them, who by his heathen law promotes the law of God, and the Jews' religion? which religion and law of the Jews, Christ has ended, as offerings, sacrifices, and temple, as I said before, “for,” as the apostle said, “your bodies are the temples of God.”
And also you may read, Neh 2, the moderation and tenderness of Artaxerxes and his queen to Nehemiah, though Nehemiah's religion differed from theirs; and though he was a heathen, he gave Nehemiah an order to go and see Jerusalem's walls repaired, though he had much opposition by many bad people, and was called rebellious, because they had not observed other nation's religions; yet their persecutions came to nothing, as you may see throughout Nehemiah. So, why should christians be more unmerciful one to another, and persecute one another worse than the heathen did the Jews? So people are not to hang, banish, spoil goods, and imprison one another according to Artaxerxes, the heathen's law, but to love one another according to Christ's law, and command; and so, priests have ignorantly brought this scripture to persecute, banish, imprison, and spoil goods, who are darker than the heathen, who gave liberty to the Jews' religion, which was contrary to their own; and here the priests and professors are ignorant of the law and times of the Gospel.
And in the days of Ahasuerus, king, Haman was set above all the kings and princes, and all the king's servants bowed to Haman; and Mordecai sat in the king's gate, and the king gave command that they should bow to Haman. The king's servants which were in the gate said to Mordecai, “why do you transgress the king's command?” And they spoke daily to Mordecai, and he hearkened not unto them. Then the servants told Haman, “to see whether Mordecai's matter would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew;” and when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow, nor reverence him, Haman was full of wrath, and Haman scorned to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had showed him the people of Mordecai, who was a Jew; therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews throughout the whole kingdom. Would not many of you christians say that Mordecai was a fool, because he would not bow to Haman, and do according to the custom of the nation, but in denying to do such a small thing, to bring persecution and death upon himself and all the Jews; and so to be counted stubborn and rebellious, disobedient to the command of the king? and would you not say, let Artaxerxes' law go upon him, “whosoever will not obey the law of God and the king, let judgment be speedily executed upon him, whether it be to death, or banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment. Ezra 7:26. No, Mordecai obeyed the law of God, and was not rebellious, though he could not obey the command of the king, to bow to proud Haman. Therefore Haman said to the king, “there is certain people scattered abroad among your people, in all the provinces in your kingdom, and their laws are divers from all people, neither keep they the king's laws; therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them: if it please the king to let them be destroyed, I will pay ten thousand talents of silver.” And so Haman got a decree from the king, and sent it forth to destroy the Jews.
Now mind, here it is shown, that the Jews had liberty until this Haman got this decree, because Mordecai, the Jew, would not bow to him, nor reverence him, though the Jews' religion differed from the king's and Haman's religion; and Esther, the queen, being a Jew, spoke to the king that the Jews were to be destroyed, who procured another decree from the king that the Jews should not be destroyed, which was sent into all the provinces. And Haman saw Mordecai sit in the king's gate, and stood not up, nor moved for him, Haman was full of fury, and therefore Haman caused a gallows of fifty cubits high to be made to hang Mordecai on; and as Haman came back from the king, he came back sorrowful, for he was to clothe Mordecai, and set him on horseback, and proclaim before him, and say, “thus shall be done to the man whom the king delights to honor:” then Haman came home and told his wife what had befallen him, and his wife said, “if Mordecai is of the seed of the Jews, before whom you have began to fall, you shall not prevail, but fall;” yet before, Haman's wife and his friends would have him set up a gallows to hang Mordecai on, which he was hanged on himself afterwards.
Here you may see the end of a persecutor and destroyer, who was against liberty of conscience, and whether is there more Mordecais or Hamans in Christendom, that would kill and destroy men because they would not stand up and bow to them, and reverence them? No, would they not say Mordecai was an unmannerly ill-bred clown? Would they not say he did it on purpose to lie in the king's gate, could he not keep out of the king's gate, for his doings were in danger to destroy all the Jews? If Mordecai, the outward Jew, could not bow to proud Haman, though in so doing he did disobey the king's command, whether or no can the Jew inward in the spirit bow to Haman's nature, where it appears? and whether Haman's nature will not persecute, though it be in a christian? and should christians be worse than Jews, for christians should not persecute one another for not bowing to one another? For the angel in the Revelation reproved John for bowing to him, and told him he was his fellow-servant, and said, “see you do it not;” and told him to worship God, Rev 19:10. So let Mordecai's nature reign among you, and not Haman's, for mark Haman's end. For the true christians are Jews in the spirit, and are brethren; Christ says, “you are all brethren.” Do you, calling yourselves christians, not call them impudent clowns, and unmannerly, who will not bow; and have you not fined many, and persecuted many? Is this not like Haman's nature, not Mordecai's?
Christ, who has all power in heaven and earth given unto him, and to whom all judgment is committed, has said, “that for every idle word men shall speak, they shall give account at the day of judgment; so by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.” Mat 12:20,36-37.
Does not Christ say in Mat 5:23-25, “be you reconciled to your brother before you offer your gift.” Now if all christians observed this, who would be able to make an offering to God among them? For all, who envied their brother christian and persecuted him, were not to offer their gift until they were reconciled to the brethren; and if they do, God has no respect to their sacrifice, no more than he has to Cain's that envies his brother. Christ, who has all power in heaven and earth, said, “judge not, for fear that you are judged; for with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Now all you that are so rash in measuring, judging, and persecuting others, you do not obey this law of Christ Jesus. Now it is clear that none are to judge until the beam is cast out of their own eye, then they may see clearly how to remove a moat from their brother’s eye, Mat 7:3-5. Does not the apostle say, that you must “do good unto all men,” and if you do good, and do not do evil. “And every man must bear his burden; and every man is to prove his own work; and everyone shall give an account to God for the things done in his body, and shall have a reward according to his works, whether they be good or whether they be evil; and every man's own words shall be his burden. For God respects no man's person; for he that sows to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting;” so every seedman reaps his own crop, according to what he sows. Gal 6:7-8.
The persecuting priests and professors use Gal 5:12, to excuse their persecution; viz. “I would they were cut off that trouble you;” now this cutting off the apostles' troublers, it was with spiritual weapons, for the apostles' warfare was not with carnal, but with spiritual weapons; neither did he wrestle with flesh and blood, so that he could not cut them off with carnal weapons.
And as the apostle said in Gals 4:29-30, “he that is born after the flesh, persecuted him that was born after the spirit; so it is now.” So the bondwoman and her son must be cast out, and not be heir with the freewoman. Now it is clear it is the bondwoman and her son that are cast out, that are the persecutors; so the persecuting christian may know his mother, for as it was in the days of Isaac, and in the days of the apostles, so it is now in these days, that the birth born after the flesh, will persecute him that is born after the spirit, and these be the children of the bondwoman which genders to bondage, which is Hagar; but the children of the freewoman are of Isaac, in whom the seed is called, and Jerusalem which is above is the mother of all these children which is free, and genders not to bondage, and are not persecutors.
The apostle's command to the Colossians was, “if you are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why as living in the world are you subject to ordinances; touch not, taste not, handle not, which all are to perish with the using, after the commandments and doctrines of men.”
Now, [mark,] is there any ordinances, doctrines, and commandments of men, those held up by men's power? and will not those who are not dead with Christ, taste, handle, and touch, and be subject to them, and rage, and be envious, and persecute them that be dead with Christ, and cannot touch, taste, nor handle, neither be subject to them? So, is it not the birth of the flesh that is subject to men's doctrines, ordinances and commandment, which perish in the using of them, but those who are dead with Christ, and risen, seek that which came down from above, from Christ, who sits at the right hand of God; and so their affections are on things which are above, and after that which does not perish. Col 2:20-22, 3:1-3.
Though the apostles said to the Corinthians, “if any man love not Jesus Christ, let him be an Anathema and Maranatha,” yet the apostle plainly tells you, “that they did not wrestle with flesh and blood, and the weapons were spiritual and not carnal.” He tells you, “that he that is born after the flesh, persecutes him that is born after the spirit,” and the spiritual birth has his spiritual weapons, but the carnal man has his carnal weapons; and so each birth has his weapons.
Zechariah 13:2-4, is a place which the persecuting priests and professors used to bring for their persecuting; which is as follows, “I will cut off,” said the Lord, “the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall be remembered no more; I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirits to go out of the land; and it shall come to pass, when any shall yet prophecy, then his father and mother which begat him shall say unto him, you shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the Lord; and his father and mother shall thrust him through when he prophecies. In that day the prophets shall be ashamed everyone of his vision when he has prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive.”
Now these prophets with the rough garment, who speak lies in the name of the Lord, with their unclean spirits and idols, were not to be suffered in the land among the children of Israel, but their father and mother were to run them through which begat them; but what must the christians weapons be now, that say they are not Jews outward, but they are ministers of the gospel, and believers in Christ? their weapons must be all spiritual, not carnal, by which they run through the false prophet, that false spirit, and lying spirit, and so their weapons are spiritual, they do not wrestle with flesh and blood. Are not these persecuting priests and professors in Christendom like these rough prophets, that will serve for pay under anyone, Presbyterian, papists, or Episcopal, as the soldiers used to serve under any one for pay, who wrestles with flesh and blood? Is it not their work to call to the magistrate to help them to wrestle with flesh and blood, and them that are contrary-minded to them? Are not these like the prophets, that one while they would be for the Jews, and another while for Jezebel and Ahab? You may see how subject they were to turn, as you may read through the scriptures. But the true prophets and apostles were not persecutors, but persecuted. Was not Moses persecuted by Pharaoh? But what became of Pharaoh, and others that did persecute him? and was it not for religion sake? Was not Abel murdered by Cain, the persecutor, about religion? and though Cain could build cities, yet was a vagabond; and does not all persecutors go in Cain's way? (read Jude 1:3-13.)
The children of Israel, were oppressed under Pharaoh; mind the end of that oppressor. Elijah was persecuted by Jezebel; mind that persecutor's end. The prophet was threatened by Jeroboam; Zachary was stoned to death for his religion. Was not Micah for his religion thrown down, and his neck broken? Was not Amos smitten with a club on the temples of his head, and so brained for his religion sake? Was not Isaiah sawed asunder in two parts for his religion? Was not Jeremiah persecuted for his religion often, imprisoned, and put in a deep dungeon, and after stoned to death in Egypt? Was not Ezekiel slain in Babylon, by the duke of the people, for his religion? Was not Daniel thrown into the den of hungry lions, where he was preserved? Was not the three children thrown into the fiery furnace for their religion? Was not Baruch willing to flee, to save his life from king Joash's hand, for his religion, and testimony? Was not the prophet Urias slain with the sword by king Joiachim? Was not John Baptist beheaded by Herod the Tetrach? was not Stephen stoned to death by the great professing Jews, for his religion? Was not James beheaded by Herod Agrippa? Was not Peter crucified at Rome, under Nero, his head downward? Was not Andrew crucified by Aegas, king of Edissa, at Pataras, a city in Achaia? Was not James Alpheus, of Jerusalem, thrown down from high, and brained with a fuller's club? Was not Thomas slain at Calamina, a city in India, where the Panims ran him through with a dart? Was not Philip crucified at Hierapolis, in Asia, for his religion? Was not Bartholomew flayed alive in Judea, and his skin plucked over his ears, and after beheaded? Was not Martha run through with a naked sword in Ethiopia? Was not Simon crucified? Was not Jude slain, and John scourged, and often times persecuted, and put in scalding hot oil? Was not Matthias knocked on the head with an axe, and beheaded? Was not Mark, the evangelist, with a rope put about his neck, drawn through the city of Alexandria, until his flesh was rent in pieces, and the stones colored with his blood, and at last was burnt to ashes? Did not Barnabas have a rope tied about his neck, and there plucked to the stake and burned? Did not all these suffer for religion, and that which persecuted them, was it not the birth that is born after the flesh; and is not this birth now to be seen in Christendom, which does persecute him that is born of the spirit, wrestling with flesh and blood; and so what is become of all these persecutors; does not the memorial of the wicked rot, and the memorial of the just live?
Was not Jacob persecuted by Esau because of his blessing? Gen 27:41. Was not Joseph persecuted by his brethren, who after banished him, and sold him? Was it not for that which God had showed unto Joseph, which after came to pass; and had his brethren any praise for this work? Were they not afterwards troubled, and judged in themselves for the same? Was not Lot persecuted and mocked in Sodom? Read what became of those temporal blind Sodomites persecuting the just, then you may say what will become of these spiritual blind persecuting Sodomites? If outward Sodom was consumed to ashes, what will become of the spiritual Sodom? Was not persecution always blind?
Did not Christ say that the persecuting priests and Pharisees were “blind guides, and led the blind into the ditch?” Are not all the persecuting priests and teachers now in Christendom blind guides? Will any be led by them but the blind, is not the place they lead into, the ditch, and is not the persecution against them that can see? So all the guides in Christendom that persecute, are they not the blind ones, and doing the works of the night, not of the day, wherein people can see. Is not the birth which persecutes, that which was born from Hagar's womb, and not born of the womb of the true woman which Isaac came of; for Hagar was an Egyptian woman that bore wild Ishmael, whose hand is against every man: so now is not the spirit of Cain, and the spirit of Core, and the spirit of Sodom to be seen, and of Pharaoh, and of the Egyptians, and of the persecuting Jews. Does not the spirit of all these reign in him that is born after the flesh?
Had not Abraham, that came out of his own country, liberty to serve God among the Canaanites? and when Abraham went down into Egypt, had he not liberty there to serve God, as you may read in Gen 12:19-20, though the Egyptians and Canaanites were bad people. And had not Abraham liberty to serve God in Abimelech's country? Abimelech said, “my land is before you, dwell where it pleases you.” In what country was there a law made, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob should not worship and serve the God of heaven, though they differed from the countries' religion; and though the children of Israel were oppressed in Egypt, where do you ever read that Pharaoh made a law that Joseph, or the people of Israel should not serve the Lord their God while they were among them, though when they multiplied, another king oppressed them with hard labor, and gave a command to hinder their growth, to kill all the male children, but the midwives fearing God, did not as the king of Egypt had commanded them, to kill all the men-children. Now would not many in Christendom say, that these midwives were rebellious to the king's command, and that Artaxerxes' law should be executed upon them, of death and banishment, for disobeying the king's law; for if the pope, or others should make a law, that they should burn, kill, banish and imprison, would not you be willing, though it be contrary to your consciences to obey it, contrary to the command of Christ Jesus, that you should love one another, and not destroy one another, and you doing so, viz. obeying the papists' or other's commands to destroy people that fear God; do not the midwives that feared God judge you, (who disobeyed the command of Pharaoh, king of Egypt), in not destroying the children's lives? Exodus 1:8-21.
In Sam 1:14, When Saul, the king, gave command that Jonathan his son should die, for tasting of the honey when Saul had forbidden that any man should eat any food that day, and therefore his son who had tasted a little honey might die; and the people disobeyed the command of Saul, and said, “Jonathan should not die, for he had wrought salvation in Israel;” so rash oaths and commands, those who feared God, you may see, could not obey.
Another scripture which the priests and papists used to bring to put men to death about religion, is Deut 17:12, “The man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken to the priest that stands to minister before the Lord, or unto the judge, that man shall die.”
Now people, this is one of the scriptures that papists used to bring, because they would not hear their priests; so mark their ignorance, for do not you know that these were the Jews' Levitical priests; and then must not all papists, protestants, and others be put to death if they will not hear the Jews' priests that was to minister the law. But I say Christ is come, that saves men's lives, and came not to destroy them, which ends the Jews' priests, and the law by which they were made, Heb 7, and their carnal weapons; and so Christ, who is the priest made higher than the heavens, is to be heard in all things, and not the Jewish priests, as you may read in Heb 7:26 and Acts 7:37. And another scripture they bring, “the prophet that shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”
Now, [mark,] did ever you papists, or others called priests or prophets, ever hear the voice of God, which you have denied to us, called Quakers, that ever you did; then is not this sentence fallen upon yourselves, as dead men, according to your own judgment; but this is your ignorance, Christ is come, the great prophet, which fulfils the true prophets, who is to be heard, and is the stone which falls upon the false spiritual prophets, that have not heard the voice of God, and yet saves the men's lives: and Christ ends the Jews' carnal weapons, and sets up the spiritual, by which they do not wrestle with flesh and blood, Deut 18:20.
Also in Deut 13, another scripture the papists and protestants used to bring for persecution, “if there rise up any prophet or dreamer, or give you a sign and wonder, and the sign and wonder come to pass, whereof he speaks to you saying, let us go after other gods and serve them, and so to forsake the Lord God, and his commandments, that prophet or dreamer shall be put to death; if your brother the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend which is as your own soul, shall in secret entice you to serve other gods you shall not consent to them, neither pity them, nor spare them, nor conceal them, you shall kill him, and your hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and shall stone him with stones that he die, because he sought to turn you from the Lord God.”
Now [mark,] people, these were those who by their dreams and prophesies would bring people from the living God, to serve other gods, which were by the Jews' law to be stoned to death, though they were their relations, as before mentioned; but Christ is come, who has ended the Jews' law, and their weapons, and their religion and worship, and has set up the gospel, the worship in spirit and truth; and Christ did not give forth any law, nor did his disciples after him give forth any law to put men to death, though they were false worshippers; for you may see that many did forsake Christ that had followed him, and many did forsake the apostles which had been convinced, and drew others after them; yet neither Christ nor the apostles did make a law that such should be put to death; for Christ rebuked his disciples who would have had men's lives destroyed, and said, “he came to save them, not to destroy them;” and his commandment was, that they should “love one another, and love enemies;” and Christ is the top and cornerstone which falls upon the false dreamers, and false prophets, yet saves the men.
And you may read in Jude 1:8, and in Peter, there were filthy dreamers in their days, 2 Pet 2, yet the apostles did not make a law to put them to death, though they drew people from the power of Christ; for the apostle tells you, his weapons are spiritual, and not carnal, they do not wrestle with flesh and blood, nor war with it, but with spiritual wickednesses, and it was the spiritual wickednesses in them that made them false prophets, and false dreamers to draw people from God, and that the apostles warred against with spiritual weapons, and did not war with flesh and blood, and stone the creatures to death; that law of the Jews is changed by Christ that puts men to death about religion, and Christ has set up his law of love, to love one another, and love enemies, and though Christ was called a blasphemer, a seducer, a devil, and a madman, yet he did not make a law to put them to death, and did not he pray to his Father to forgive them that persecuted him; but you papists and others, if it should be granted to you, that prophets and dreamers that draw people from the living God and his commands, to serve other gods; and you that would have the Jews' law, which you bring out of Ezra passed upon them christians; then does not the Jews' law come upon yourselves? For after you have consecrated bread and wine do you not say it is God, and so by the Jews' law are not you to be put to death, who set up another god, and draw people to it, and so are condemned out of your own scriptures? though I say Christ has ended the law and their weapons, and the Jews' religion, “and he is not a Jew that is one outward, but he is a Jew that is one inward in the spirit,” as in Romans:28-29.
But if you papists should say that they must be put to death that draw from Christ and his command, then I say, as I said before, you have given sentence upon yourselves by your own law, which you had not from Christ, for Christ's law is “love one another, and love enemies;” and so from this law and command have you erred, and by it you are judged, who instead of loving one another, you have envied, persecuted and killed one another, like Cain, and so are of him that is of the flesh, that persecutes him that is born of the spirit, who are neither according to the law of Jesus among the true christians, nor the law among the Jews. For that birth of the flesh in you, is that which always did persecute them that gave forth the scriptures; and Christ the substance of them, and them that live the life of them; and so that birth of the flesh is that which does not give forth the scriptures, neither does know them, nor can interpret them; and so a command from God is, “that flesh must be silent,” and so the birth of the flesh must be silent, that will persecute him that is born after the spirit; and so he that is born of the spirit he must speak, whose weapons are not carnal, neither does wrestle with flesh and blood, nor war with it; Christendom mind this.
Josh 9, Joshua let the Gibeonites have liberty, who got it by craft, though his command from God was to destroy all the wicked people of the land; and though they were wicked people, and they got it by subtlety, yet he let them have liberty; and surely christians should be beyond Joshua, not to restrain those from liberty who desired nothing but liberty to worship God; for the Gibeonites did not seek for their liberty to worship God, and therefore there should be a difference between christians that seek for no liberty but to worship God, and the Gibeonites; for the christians all profess Christ Jesus and God, so did not the Gibeonites, and they are not to make one another slaves, as you may see in Revelation 18, “which made merchandize of the souls of men, and slaves of them,” this you will say was the whore of Babylon that made merchandize; and you know it is judged by all the protestants that the whore of Babylon is such as profess christianity, and to be the papists, and such [the Protestants] as are in the same nature; and you know this is contrary to the primitive christian law, which is, “to love one another, and enemies.”
Boniface the third, universal pope, was set up by Phocas, who murdered Mauritius, his master, who was the first universal pope to rise up, six hundred and two years after Christ, and about twenty years after the Turk rose up. Do not the christians have liberty under the Turk, paying their tribute, and are they not meddled with for their religion? Does the Turk not keep his Sabbath day upon the sixth day, and then his shops are shut up, and all the shops of the Jews and christians are open? Do not the Jews keep their Sabbath upon the seventh day in Turkey, and then all the christians' and Turks' shops are open? The christians keep their Sabbath upon the first day of the week, and shut up their shops, and all Turks' and Jews' shops are open. In this, does the Turk not give liberty of conscience, though he is a heathen; and should not christians out-strip the Turk, and give liberty to one another to worship God? Did not the Corinthians have liberty in Turkey, and the Greek churches liberty to worship God, and follow their own religion? Is not this doing of the Turks beyond christians that cannot give liberty to one another? Do you not know that the christians have their liberty in Egypt, and Jerusalem, though it is in the Turk's country, and though they differ from his religion? When the Turk conquers any country, does he not let the people alone to their religion, so he can have his tribute and custom? Also, when Alexander conquered the world, did he not let the Jews have their liberty? And when the Romans conquered Jerusalem, did the Jews not have liberty? Read the scriptures. In the days of Christ and the apostles, there were many sects, as of Pharisees and Sadducees among the Jews at that day, as you may read in the scriptures; and did not they have liberty among the Jews, though they differed from one another in circumstances? Are there not many sorts of religion in the Mogul's country? Yes, and do not some christians have liberty there to serve God. One that traveled there reports that sixty religions there that have their liberty without disturbance, paying their customs? Should christians not be of a more noble spirit than he [the Mogul]? Do not the christians have liberty in Persia? Among the Turks, are there not many kinds of religion among them, that differ in some things, seeing they all own God and Christ Jesus? Therefore should they not be of a more noble spirit than the Turk, Mogul, and the Persians? Was it not the Arians and the pope, who were the first two that raised persecution, one christian against another, contrary to the law of Christ: to “love enemies,” “and love one another?” So has not Christ's law of love been laid aside?
After that Adam and Eve transgressed the law of God, God let Adam have liberty in the earth, though he had not of the paradise of God. So though christians cannot conform to your church in tenderness of conscience towards God, you may let them have liberty of the earth; and though Ishmael, the wild man, had not liberty in Abraham's family, he had liberty in the wilderness.
Concerning the act that is made against the Quakers, and others; as for us that are called Quakers, this we say, we do not meet to plot nor contrive against the king, neither do we hold dangerous principles, but the truth; neither do we meet to terrify the king's subjects, but seek the good and eternal welfare of the king, and all people; and we do abhor and detest all plots and plotters, and workers of darkness; and whereas the same act prohibits above five to meet together, had you been in the days of Christ and the apostles, this act would have taken hold upon him; for you know he had twelve apostles, and seventy disciples, who often met together.
And also it would have taken hold upon the Ephesians, Philippians, and Corinthians, and all the other churches that met together; and do you think that they would not have suffered either by heathen or christians, before they would have broken up their meetings, or Christ have denied his disciples? If some christians, or heathen, who differed from them should have made a law that those christians who differed from them should not meet above five at a time; and is not, and would not, that have been contrary to Jesus, who said, “love one another, and enemies,” who has all power in heaven and earth given unto him; for do you ever read that Christ and the apostles made a law to punish, or to make any one suffer that did not hear them, or differed from them in religion and worship? Did you ever read that the Jews made any law that not passing five might meet of the christians, though the christian religion was contrary to theirs? So seeing that God will judge the world in righteousness, signifying that there is something in man and woman which answers the righteousness which they do transgress; and he will judge the world by the man, Christ Jesus, according to the gospel, that is according to the power, showing, that there is something in man that answers the power which is the gospel, and is invisible; and those who walk in the power which is the gospel, they ought to have the liberty of the gospel, which is the power of God, before the devil was, where all bondage is; and so all christians that own God and Christ Jesus, and his gospel which is the power of God before the devil was, they ought to have the liberty of the gospel, for the liberty is in the power of God, and those who be in the power of God, the gospel, cannot but give liberty to them that be in the power of God, for the bondage is in that spirit that is out of the power of God; and the liberty is in Christ Jesus who has all power in heaven and earth given unto him, and there to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has set them free from the bondage of the world; showing, that it is the world that brings into bondage, and not Christ.
Those who wrestle with flesh and blood about religion, are neither in the apostles' spirit, nor power, nor doctrine; and if the law reach but upon the outward man for his action, then it will follow, and is clear, that the inward man after God must have his liberty, which inward man brings the outward man conformably to the righteousness, and to a righteous man's state, which the outward law was not made for; so then it is not to be executed upon the righteous man. So all magistrates must make a distinction, and put a difference in this case; for though kings' powers, and magistrates with their laws take hold upon the outward evil actions, and the outward man, the evil spirit leading of him to do evil; but Christ, who is the King of kings, and has all power in heaven and earth, he must have the rule in the heart of the spiritual man, and God will dwell in man, and walk in man, which is his temple, and therefore he must have the rule in the conscience, and in the heart in matters of his religion, and worship, and faith, seeing God is the giver of it, and Christ is the author and finisher of it; and the apostles themselves said, “they had not power over men's faith,” which God was the giver of, and Christ the finisher of; and a man coming to subdue that evil spirit in him by the power of God, and to have it mortified, and the actions that flowed from it, then the man led by the spirit of God, he is not under the law which is made for sinners and disobedient, and not for the righteous; and Christ said, “christians should not exercise lordship one over another as the Gentiles had done;” and the apostle says, “be not many masters, for you have one master, even Christ, and they were not lords over God's heritage, but they were helpers of their joy, and they should not lord it over their brethren, for they were all brethren;” and this he spoke in matters of religion, “for they had one Lord, even Christ Jesus, by whom all things were made, and one God who is over all, and in you all blessed forever.” And so if Christ be in you, and God be in you, he must have the rule in matters of religion; for his religion is pure from above, from himself, he must have the rule of the faith, who is the author of it, and Christ must have the rule of his worship, who is set up above sixteen hundred years since, in spirit and truth. For could the Caldeans find anything against Daniel, except in the matters of his God; and could you ever find anything against the Quakers, but concerning their God, and the worship of him? Could Cain find anything against Abel, except in the matters of his God; or Jacob's sons against Joseph, except concerning his God? Or could any fault be found with Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Elisha in their days, except what concerned their God? Or could they find any fault with Christ or the apostles, for which they persecuted them, except in only things concerning God and Christ? Ever since the apostles' days the beast, the whore, the false prophet, and antichrist, which has drunk the blood of the martyrs, prophets, and saints who have kept the testimony of Jesus; was not all this persecution upon them concerning their God and Christ Jesus? for what fault could they find in them more than they did in Daniel concerning his God? So you may read through all the scriptures of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the rest of the prophets, Moses, and Aaron, and Noah, and Lot, that their sufferings come upon them concerning their God? For what fault could they find with them? Or what fault could Pharaoh find with Moses and Aaron, except of things concerning their God? Or Sodom with Lot, or the old world with Noah, except in things concerning their God? So it is clear all along, the birth of the flesh has always persecuted the birth of the spirit, as it is written, “he that is born of the flesh, persecutes him that is born of the spirit.”
And Christ Jesus who set up his worship above sixteen hundred years since, who said, “the hour is come, and now is, that those who worship the Father, must worship him in spirit and truth, such God seeks to worship him;” and Christ and the apostles never altered this worship to this day, which worship was set up before the many worships among christians were set up, and will stand when they are gone; and Christ is the judge in this worship set up by himself, and not by man; and Christ gave no law, nor command, or order to the apostles to persecute any that did not worship according to his worship; but you may see all the worship set up by men, one time or other, most of them have forced people to their worship, and persecuted for not conforming, and that forcing makes but hypocrites from one worship to another; and mark the end of all those worships and worshippers in the world, where there has been force and persecution, that which men make and set up they are judge of, and judge in; and is not this to bring people to worship the works of men's hands? The worship that Christ set up, he is the judge of it and it is in the spirit and truth.
And so it is plain it is Cain in the first birth that has persecuted Abel the second birth in all ages; and this Cain, the first birth, and persecutor of Abel, God has not, nor never had respect unto his sacrifice who is Cain's offspring, the first birth, and not of Abel's: and so Cain may read his birth and antiquity, and suffering Abel may read his birth and antiquity, whom God had and has respect unto, and his sacrifice. Yet had not Paul liberty at Rome, among the heathen Romans that were of a different religion from Paul, to preach the gospel two years together, in his own hired house, as you may see in the Acts 28:30-31.
The law was added because of transgression, and not made for the righteous, but for sinners and disobedient: [mark,] because of transgression and disobedience was the law added; man and woman in the beginning disobeyed and transgressed the command of God, and so lost the image of God and his righteousness, and the paradise of God; and so the law which is just, holy, and good, came upon disobedient and transgressing man and woman, which law served until the seed came, and Christ is the end of law for righteousness sake, to everyone that believes.
And seeing that because of transgression the law was added, then those who do not transgress, the law does not take hold on, neither are they under it.
And seeing the law was made for the disobedient and sinners, then he that does not disobey God's command, but is led by the spirit of God, is not under the law.
Those, who keep God's commandments, and do not transgress, are not under the law; and therefore must not magistrates make a distinction, and put a difference between the transgressors and disobedient, and the obedient and them that does not transgress?
Now christians, papists, and others, what say you to the apostles that disobeyed the command of the council of the Jews, in preaching again in the name of Jesus after they had commanded they should not preach, Acts 4:1-4,16-21, would not you say that Artaxerxes' law was to be executed upon them, and they to be imprisoned, banished, and put to death, or their goods confiscated? and also would not you have said, that this law of Artaxerxes was justly to have been executed upon Daniel and the three children, for disobeying the king's command? would not you say that it should be executed upon the midwives for not executing Pharaoh's command in killing the men-children, who brought this law to be executed upon christians?
Now Artaxerxes, his heathen law, and God's law, was for the Jews to build the temple, you that call yourselves christians, are you Jews? Are you going to build the Jews' temple, which law was before Christ came in the flesh? For except you go to fulfill Artaxerxes' law, and to build the temple, Artaxerxes' law is against you; for no one's goods are to be spoiled, or any to be banished, imprisoned, or put to death for not going to build the temple of the Jews at outward Jerusalem now. “For he is not a Jew that is one outward;” for the Jews' temple was ended by Christ, as well as the law, which held up the Jews' religion, temple and priest. By the Jews' law you never read that any were to be put to death, or banished, and goods spoiled, for not repairing or building the temple, at outward Jerusalem.
But Jerusalem that is now, that is below, is in bondage with her children by the Turk, as she was under the Roman's power in the apostles' days. But Jerusalem that is above is free, and is to be free in her religion, faith, worship and gospel, who is the mother of us all the true worshippers, which has a new command from Christ, which is not to banish, kill, put to death, spoil goods, but, “to love one another,” and this is the law of Jesus who has all power in heaven given unto him, who is King of kings, and Lord of lords; and so his command is to be observed, and he is to be heard in all things, and not Artaxerxes' law, Ezra 7, nor the Jews, nor Ezra, the priest, with his law to build the Jews' temple.
The apostles, in Rom 1, speaks of those who are without natural affections, as those who are without natural affections, who have not affections to nature, but will destroy, prison and persecute the workmanship of God's hands, and God's creatures he has created, about their worships and their religion; and such as are without natural affections are such as can never be appeased, nor be merciful, but merciless. Those destroy the good nature in themselves, by which they have not natural affections to their natural brethren; for Cain destroyed the natural affections in himself, before he destroyed his natural brother. For nature is one, and would not destroy itself, and it has affections to itself; but the serpent going out of truth, leading man and woman from the truth, so corrupting and destroying nature in themselves, by which they are led by an evil spirit to destroy nature without them, and have not affections to it, and this has been the work of the enemy, and all the killers and persecutors about religion and worship in the whole world to this day. For those who destroy nature about such things, cannot have affection to nature, but are without natural affections, and those who are without natural affections, cannot know the divine things given forth by the holy men of God, Christ, and the apostles, from the beginning to the ending of the scriptures; and those who are without natural affections cannot love the brotherhood, nor love one another, nor enemies; therefore, such do not keep the command of Christ. Therefore, those who do love one another, and love enemies, have affections to nature, and would not have one another destroyed which are God's creatures, and so love all things which God made, whose works praise him; and such have not only natural affections to nature, but the divine nature, and the affections set upon things which are above, so they have affections to things of nature, and affections to things above; so as the apostle says, “he that says he loves God and hates his brother, is a liar;” so all that say they love God, (in Christendom), what follows, what are they? what says the apostle, “he is a liar that hates his brethren; for how can he love God which he has not seen, and hate his brother which he has seen;” so mark this sound reason, “whosoever hates his brother is a man-slayer, and you know that no man-slayer has eternal life abiding in him;” so take notice of this great apostle's words, all Christendom, you that hate your brethren, and persecute them, the great apostle says, and tells you, “you are man-slayers, and have not eternal life abiding in you,” 1 John 3:10-16. “And he that hates his brother is in darkness until this time, and he that loves his brother abides in the light;” and mark Christendom, “he that hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and knows not where he goes, because that darkness has blinded his eyes:” so now consider this all you that do hate your brethren, what the apostle says; your path is not in light, but in darkness, and you do not know where you go, but darkness has blinded your eyes; and therefore lay away hatred, that your eyes may be opened, that you may come out of darkness, and walk in the light, that you may keep the command of Christ, which is, “to love one another, and enemies,” and that you may come out of darkness, and know where you go.
And so, is it not clear, that they whose eyes are blinded, who walk in darkness, hating their brethren, is not this hatred come from the serpent, who was the first hater, who hated Adam and Eve's prosperity, and dominion over all things God made? Is this not the darkness they walk in, who hate their brethren, from the prince of darkness, the serpent? Is it not he that has blinded their eyes, who are hoodwinked with the serpent's hatred and darkness, that they do not know where they go; but those who walk in the light, and love the brethren, know where they go, and in them there is no occasion of stumbling? and how can they which hate their brethren, and walk in the darkness which has blinded their eyes know the scriptures, which holy men spoke, as moved of the Holy Ghost? and has it not been the work of them that walk in darkness to hate and persecute such? Has not the original been from the serpent, and not from God and Christ, which says, “love one another, and enemies?” This is in love to you all, for your eternal good.
To break down all invented images, image-makers, and image-worshippers. Showing how contrary they are both to the law and gospel.
By this, therefore, shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged, and this is all the fruit to take away his sin: when he makes all the stones of the altar like chalk-stones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up. Isa 27:9.
You shall defile the covering of your graven images of silver, and the ornament of your molten images of gold: you shall cast them away as a menstrual cloth, you shall say unto it, “get away from here.” Isa 30:22.
— By G. F.
The Lord God made man and woman in his own image, and in his own likeness, and set them above all the works of his hand. But when man and woman lost the image of God, and his likeness within them, by transgressing his command, in eating of that which God had forbidden; then by transgressing of his command, the serpent that was under them, got over them, and in them, so that the body of death and sin then entered into man and woman, for sin brings death, and then it came to be a body in man and woman; and so from that, all transgression arose, and the original sin in man and woman. So the devil was the beginning of it, in man and woman, and not God; and so this death reigned in man and woman from Adam, the entering of it by transgression until the law came, which restrained man and woman from sin, and so from that that brought death, so that death should not reign; but the law of God, which was added because of transgression: and so the law came on the top of man, though it answered the witness of God in him, which he had transgressed.
And though the law made nothing perfect, not taking away the root of sin, but taking hold upon the actions; yet Christ, who destroyed death with his works, takes away the root of sin, and destroys the beginning of it, namely, the original, the devil, that abode not in the truth himself, who led man and woman out of truth: and so to be like him in his image, and not like God in his image; and therefore, Christ who destroyed the devil, renews man again in the image of God.
And now all men that are in the image of the devil, out of truth, out of the image of God, they are those who make images, likenesses, representations of things in heaven, of things in the earth, and of things in the waters, above and below.
So these would all be imitators of the Creator, and of the maker of all things in the heaven, in the earth, in the sea, and in the waters, above and below, though they do not worship them; and this is forbidden both to worship and to make them.
And therefore, all friends and people, pluck down your images, your likenesses, your pictures, and your representation of things in heaven, things in the earth, and things in the waters; I say, pluck them out of your houses, walls, and signs, or other places, that none of you be found imitators of his Creator, whom you should serve and worship; and not observe the idle lazy mind, that would go invent and make things like a Creator and Maker, anything (I say) that is in heaven, the earth, or in the waters above or below. (For mind), while man was in the image of God, and his likeness, and the woman, they did not make any likenesses, or images of things in heaven, or earth, or water. But when man lost this image of God, then they did begin to make such things, as the stock of Nimrod. In Ninos' time they began to make images of their children, and indulge them that would worship them; and so afterwards set them up by a law, their images and likenesses to be worshipped, and at last they worshipped four-footed beasts, as you may see in the Romans, and creeping things, Rom 1:23.
So, when Moses came, images were forbidden, the maker and the worshipper, and when Christ came, he brings people into the image of God and his likeness, as man was in the beginning. And the Jews that did forsake the law of God, see how they did run after images, stargazers, and monthly prognosticators, which was forbidden by the prophets of God; and the apostles brought up people into the image of God, above the Jews' true figures and shadows, and types of Christ the substance; as the Jews in their time, with their types and shadows, and figures of Christ, were to stand over all the heathen images, likenesses, and gods that they had made. But Christ ends the true figures and shadows, and the apostle preached them down, not only the Gentiles' images, and likenesses, but the true types and figures of Christ Jesus; for they preached up the substance, Christ Jesus.
But now, since the apostles' days, are you like christians that go under the name? See what images, likenesses, representations, what an host, or a multitude they have made, by which they have almost filled Christendom; yes, many adore them. They made images of God, they made images of Christ, of the apostles, and prophets, and them they call their saints; yes, and set them in their books, their bibles, their signposts, and in their houses, since they have lost the image of God, as was in the apostles' days among the primitive christians; and therefore, see what dark spirit has set up here among christians such things as was forbidden by the law and gospel, so that there was no image before the fall, nor likeness, nor representation; but in the fall there has been, and is, and was among the Jews when they went from the law of God. So among the christians, there is who have gone from the power of God, the gospel.
So in the restoration of Christ Jesus there is no image, no likeness, no representation, who are brought by Christ into the image of God, as was Adam and Eve, before the fall. So there was no image or likeness before man's fall, in the fall there was; which by the law was forbidden, and by the gospel; and since they have lost the gospel, they have set them up again, which are now forbidden by the gospel, the power of God, which was before the devil was; and therefore, down and away with all your images, likenesses, representations, you imitators of God, your Maker and Creator, who has made things, likenesses of things in heaven, and in earth, and in the waters. I say, down with them out of your houses, and off your signposts, with the power of God; for as that arises in your hearts, the nature that does appertain to them, or adore them, or worship them, and the makers of them, by the power of God are thrown down, it and them both; which power of God brings you up into the image of God, and his likeness. “Thus said the Lord God, I am the Lord which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and the house of bondage: you shall have no other gods before me,” Exod 20:2-4.
Now here you may see God's people were brought out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage: “The Lord said, you shall make you no graven images, nor any similitude of things that are in heaven above, neither in the earth beneath, nor in the waters under the earth: and you shall not bow down to them, nor serve them.”
Now those who are brought out of spiritual Egypt, that house of bondage, can neither make images or likenesses, nor worship them; but the spiritual Egypt as the outward Egypt does. Neither shall you make gods of silver, nor gods of gold.
Now, you that make gods and christs of bread and wine, and make your pictures of Christ of gold and silver, you are the spiritual Egyptians, and in the house of bondage, which those who come out of your house of bondage, and your spiritual Egypt, utterly deny.
So, hear no gods, but the living God, to be heard out of the mouth of his people, nor to be made mention of; and they are such as bear his image. “You shall overthrow their altars, and break their images to pieces, and cut down their groves.” So all that live in the power of God, that be the true christians in the image of God, break down that nature in them that appertained to images and outward altars. For the Jews were to break down the heathens, but the true christians break down both Jews and heathens by the power of God, and that nature appertains to either of them. “You shall make you no god of metals.” Here the Lord forbids it among the Jews, in Exo 34:17. Therefore, is it not forbid among the christians? So why do you make your pictures of silver and of gold, of God, and crucifixes of Christ? Do not you adore them, and reverence them, and bow down to them? yes to the images of the apostles which you made, who do not bow down to the image of God; and do bow to the image, and do not bow to the image of Christ Jesus, which the prophets and the apostles were in, but bow to your own images, the works of your own hands. “You shall not turn unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten Gods; I am the Lord” Lev. 19:4. Here the Lord forbade idols and molten Gods, for he is the Lord that made all things; “You shall make you no idols, nor graven images, nor rear up any pillars, neither shall you set up an image of stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God; for I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcasses upon the bodies of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.” Lev 26:1,30. And what, do christians set up images in the land, or idols, or representations, and bow down to them which God forbade among the Jews? For, do not you set up images of crosses, images of stone in your land, which are forbidden by the law of God, and much more by the gospel.
In Numbers 33:51-52, “Thus said the Lord to the children of Israel. When they came into the land of Canaan, they should destroy all their pictures, and break in sunder all their images of metals, and pluck down their high places.” And now the Jews that were disobedient to God, they worship the pictures, and images of metals, like such christians, that are disobedient to the gospel of Christ Jesus, who kneel before the images of metals and pictures, which is forbidden.
So in Deut 4:12-19, when the Lord spoke unto the children of Israel by Moses, saying, “Take good heed to yourselves, (for you saw no image in the day of the Lord speaking to you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire), that you corrupt not yourselves, and make graven images, or representations of any figure, whether it be the likeness of male or female, the likeness of beasts on the earth, the likeness of feathered fowls, the likeness of anything that creeps upon the earth, the likeness of anything that is in the waters, for fear that you lift up your eye to heaven, and see the sun, moon, and stars, with all the host of heaven, and shall be driven to worship them, which the Lord your God has distributed to all people under the whole heaven.” So here it is clear, God's hand is full against all images and likenesses of anything in heaven, in the earth, and in the waters, for fear that they should be driven to worship them, and adore them. But all such things are to be broken down by the Jews; and what, must they now be set up by the christians, and adored and worshipped? Yes, the image of the apostles, angels, and Christ, and God, which all by the power of God and the gospel is judged down among the true christians, as the law of God did among the Jews, for to convince the Jews, Moses said, “They saw no image when the Lord spoke to them out of the fire.”
In Deut 5:6-9, you may see how it is contrary to the law and covenant of God to make images; graven images, or likenesses, or other Gods of anything in heaven, in the earth, and in the waters. And none shall bow down themselves, nor worship them, nor serve them. And does not Christendom serve images, likenesses, and representations, and bow down to them, which they made with their own hands.
God forbade the Jews to marry with those who made images, and served other gods, Deut 7:3-5. For God's wrath was hot against them that served images and other gods; and therefore, to stop his wrath, they were neither to make other gods or images, but cut them down and burn them with fire. So the nature of all christians that invent images, likenesses, and representations of God, or Christ, or the prophets, or apostles, must be burnt with fire, and cut down with the sword of the spirit for the fire.
In Deut 9:7-16, you may see the Jews had transgressed the law of God, and made a calf which they had molten of the treasures which the Jews brought out of Egypt, and therefore, take heed all you christians that are come out of spiritual Egypt, that the treasures you bring out of spiritual Egypt with you, you do not make a God of it at last. But see what Moses did, the Lord sent him, and bid him “go quickly unto the children of Israel, for they have corrupted their ways with making a molten image.” And therefore said the Lord, “they were a stiff-necked people, let me alone that I may destroy them, and put their name out from under heaven.”
And so consider all you christians, have you not corrupted your ways that has made images and likenesses, and your molten images, do you think your name will always stand under heaven? and do you think the Lord will not bring destruction upon that nature and wisdom which has invented them. And as Moses stamped to powder that molten image that the outward Jews had made to worship; will not Christ Jesus stamp to powder your images with his power and seed, which you have made and worshipped, and adored. And not only your images but the nature in you which have invented them, and holds them up?
“You shall set you up no pillar, which thing the Lord your God hates,” Deut 16:21-22. Do you regard the Lord, that set up such things, and love such things? do not you love that which God hates? and how can you but grieve the Lord, and so bring his wrath upon you?
Look upon your pillars; “cursed be the man that makes any graven or molten image, which is an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hand of the craftsman, and putsh it into a secret place: and let all the people say, amen,” Deut 27:15. So you that do make any molten or graven image, or cause any workman to make them; you cause them to make that which is an abomination to God. But do not you here make your graven images, and do this abomination, and put them in your pockets, and hang them about your necks? So are you not here under a curse, in that which is an abomination to the Lord.
So in Deut 29:16-18, “You know how you have dwelled in the land of Egypt, and how you came through the nations which you passed by; and you have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them; and that there should not be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, which should turn his heart away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations.” So here the Jews might see those idols of wood and stone, silver and gold, among other nations, which the Lord let them see forbidden; yet that these Jews would go afterwards and set up images of wood, and of stone, of gold, and of silver, like other nations; and that christians should now do the same, which is all abomination and forbidden.
In Judges 17:5, “Micah had an house of gods,” which was contrary to the law of God. So look among many christians, see if they have not many houses full of images, and pictures, and representations contrary to the law of God and the gospel; and how zealous these were for images, as zealous as many christians are: see what a great deal of money they give to make images, such things as God forbade, Judges 17:1-5. And in Psalm 58:55-59, where you may see the images among the Philistines and their gods. So those who make images, christians, heathens, and Jews, are in one nature, and spirit, and out of the image of God, and they need not find fault with the heathens, nor the Jews, nor christians, that be image-makers, for they be natural born children of one ill-nature, both rebellious to the commands of God. For did not the Philistines think that their images and idols helped them, and the Jews that transgressed the law of God? and do not you think, that are called christians, that your images, idols, and representations help you, and put you in remembrance? So you have forsaken the spirit of God, and got up a visible to put you in remembrance of the invisible God. For did not the Philistines carry Saul's head, and publish throughout their idol's temple, and so thought their images and their idols got them victory. And do not you place much upon your images, and say that you have done miracles by your images and pictures, and yet are called christians. But David and his men burnt the images of the Philistines. How can you profess David, and sing his Psalms, who set up makers of images, and would have others to do the like. For David said, “The idols of the heathens are silver and gold, the work of men's hands: and they have ears and hear not, they have mouths and speak not, eyes and see not, and there is no breath in them, and those who make them are like unto them, so are all that trust in them.” Now all you image-makers in Christendom, how can you escape David's judgments here, or get from under them?
Psalm 135:6, and 115:3-8, “Our God is in heaven, and he does whatsoever he will; but their idols are silver and gold, the works of men's hands; they have hands and handle not, feet and walk not, neither make they any sound with their throat; those who make them are like unto them, and so are all that trust in them.”
Now all you in Christendom that are makers of images, pictures, idols, and representations, are you better image-makers than were in the days of David? can either your gods, or pictures, or images speak, or handle, or sound with their throats? but you are as the heathen that David reproves, that make such things now in our days, who serve their idols which was their ruin in David's days, and so it will be yours.
Psalm 106:18-21, “When they made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image, they turned their glory into the similitude of a ox which eats grass, and so forgot God,” and so have you turned your glory into the similitudes, and pictures, and images of things, and forgot your Creator and your Saviour. “And therefore a fire from the Lord was kindled against the Jews, in their assemblies, and the flame burnt up the wicked.” And now can you escape? you cannot, but are guilty of the same thing.
In Psalm 97:7, “Confounded be all those who serve images or trust in them, and that glory in idols.” So you must not think to stand, that glory in your idols, and serve your graven images, together with your pictures, for you are in the nature that is to be confounded.
In 1 Kings 14:22-23, “How Judah wrought wickedness in the sight of the Lord, and provoked him more with their sins which they had committed, than all that which their forefathers had done, for they made them high places and images.” And so you that make images, and set them up in your high places, do not you provoke God more than your first fathers, the primitive christians? now Asa, the king, he takes away the Sodomites out of the land, and puts away all the idols that his forefathers had made, and this man did uprightly in the eye of the Lord, as did David his father. Now if he did right in the eyes of the Lord that put away images and idols, do not you do evil in the eye of the Lord, that set up images and pictures in Christendom, and compel people to worship them; that people go in danger of their lives if they will not pull off their hats as they go by your images and crucifixes?
1 Kings 21:25-26, “There was none like Ahab, who did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord: he did exceeding abominable in following idols, according to the Amorites, who the lords cast out before the children of Israel.” Now this Ahab humbled himself, but have you humbled yourselves for your bloodshed, your wickedness and your abominations, in making images and setting them up in the land and nation, which was a wicked and an abominable thing in Ahab? and what, is it become a good thing now for you that call yourselves christians, and look upon yourselves to be above the Jews? what, will you say that Christ has redeemed you to do all these abominations, and to make all those images, and pictures and representations? do you not abuse both Christ, and the law of God in so doing?
In 2 Kings 3:1-2, “Now Jeroboam did work evil in the sight of the Lord, but not like his father Ahab, nor his mother Jezebel, yet he took away the images of Baal that his father had made.” So it shows that you are not come so far as wicked Jeroboam, that are setting up images, for you are not to make an image of God, or of Christ, you are forbidden: for “you shall not make an image of anything in heaven or in earth.”
2 Kings 10:23-27, see how Jehu destroyed the images and idols of Baal, and brought them out of the temple and burnt them; and what a zeal he had against the priests. And in 2 Kings 11. How the Jews destroyed the house of Baal, their altars and images; and yet your priests, and pope, and others are setting them up, that look upon yourselves beyond Jehu, and a state beyond the law, whose works are judged by the law. In 2 Kings 17:16,10, you may see how they left all the commands of God, and made molten images, and two calves, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal, and used witchcraft. And so, you called christians, have you not left all the commands of God, who have made molten images, pictures, and likenesses, and adore them, and worship them: yes, and have you not made images of the very host of heaven, of things in heaven, things in earth, and things in the waters? and persecute others because they would not worship things that you have set up, and so are neither true Jews, nor true christians, but breakers both of law and gospel.
Now Hezekiah takes away their high places, and breaks down their images, and cuts down their groves, and breaks in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses made for the children of Israel, when they burnt incense to it. For this man did that which was right in the sight of God; but you have not done right that set up images, for you do wickedly in God's sight, as Ahab did, for it was time to break down that brazen serpent, when they did once offer incense to it.
In 2 Kings 20:1-12, There you may see how Manasseh, the king of Israel, led the people out of the way, to do wickedly, yes more wickedly than the heathen people, whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel; for he set up the images of the groves in the temple. And is not this like many of the christians that set up images in their steeple-houses? and if Manasseh led the people out of the way, and made them do wickedly in following images and worshipping them, have not you done the same, like Manasseh, that have set up images, and caused people to follow them and worship them?
In 2 Kings 23:14-15, see how Josiah, the king, put down their idols, and broke their images in pieces, and cut down their groves. Here you may see how this man fulfilled the law of God; and those who break the law of God set up images, and those who keep it, break them down; so now you that put them up are breakers of the law.
And see how the fierce wrath of the Lord was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations wherewith Manasseh had provoked him; so that the Lord said, “I will put Judah out of my sight as I have put away Israel: and I will cast off the city of Jerusalem.” Therefore, what will become of all you christians that follow Manasseh's steps?
So in, 1 Chron 16:26, David said, “all the gods of the people are idols, but the Lord made the heaven.” So whosoever makes a god, or a christ for people, and images, and representations, keep their minds from the Lord that made heaven; and in the transgression of the law of God and themselves, rebels.
So Jehosaphat in 2 Chron 17:6,9, “abolished idolatry, and caused the people to be taught the law of God against it.” Now these that did keep the law of God, whose hearts were upright before the Lord, and did see the perfect law of God fulfilled, judge you that call yourselves christians, and have founded those things that are judged by the law of God; therefore your hearts are not right and imperfect before him.
In 2 Chron 23:17, there you may see how the people went to the house of Baal, and broke and destroyed both their altars and their images and yet these were called the Lord's people. Therefore, you that set them up, whose people are you?
In 2 Chron 24:18, where you may see, “those who left the house of God, and the law of God, and served groves and idols, wrath came upon Judah.” And God sent a prophet among them to bring them again unto the Lord, and they stoned him, Zachariah by name; and thus did Joash, the king. And so consider you that do set up images to lead people from the Lord, have you not stoned and killed them that came and declared against you and them both? for you have gone yourselves from the way of the Lord, and have drawn away others; and so you persecute them that endeavour to draw you again to the way of God, that his wrath may not come upon you.
In 2 Chron 28, King Ahaz was an idolater, “and he did not that which was upright in the sight of God, he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made molten images to Balaam, and burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom:” and at last “burnt his son.” Here you may see when people go off from the law of God, what wickedness they run into at the last; and therefore, have not you that are called christians burnt them which you have called the sons of the church? yes, such which you have baptized into your faith; and then because they will not follow your ways and religion, have you not burnt them, and stoned them? but consider the end of you, and them that have broke the law of God.
In 2 Chron 31:1, here you may see how the people in Hezekiah's days destroyed idolatry, and therefore, they were commended by God, and good men.
Likewise Manasses, in 2 Chron 33, “And the Lord spoke unto Manasseh, who had set up graven images in the house of God,” as you do in your steeple-houses, your pictures and your images, but Manasses would not regard, nor the people. So, will you regard, or do you regard the Lord and his law, you that be image and picture-makers, or setters of them up, adorers, and worshippers of them. But when Manasseh was in tribulation, in his fetters and chains and carried into Babylon, then he considered how he had transgressed the law of God; and so may some of you when you are brought into troubles. But while you are full and fat, you will kick against the Lord and his law. And then Manasseh comes to abolish idolatry, and to take away images out of the Lord's house; but when God brings trouble upon you, it may be some of you will consider of it.
In the 34th chapter, “Josiah purged Jerusalem and Judah from the high places, and the groves, graven images, and molten images, and broke them down and stamped them to powder, and strewed them upon the graves of them that had sacrificed to them.” Now here was a man of God, which you are unlike unto, that are now setting up such things as he threw down. “For the eyes of the Lord are upon all the ways of man, and he sees all his goings: there is no darkness, nor shadow of death, that the works of darkness, and the workers of iniquity might be hidden therein, but he searches them out all.” Job 34:21-22.
And all you image-makers, and picture-makers, that set them up, which lead people with them, and sink them to the earth to bow to your handwork, that none can say, “where is God that made me, which gave me songs in the night?”
Isa 2:8, 17-19, he said, “the land is full of idolatry, and they worship the works of their own hands: but when the haughtiness of man is brought low, the Lord shall be exalted: then the idols will be destroyed, and they shall cast away their idols of silver and of gold, which they made themselves to worship, and shall go into the holes of the rocks, from the fear of the Lord, and the glory of his majesty, when he shall arise to shake terribly the earth.” And therefore look to it, you christians, your earth is not shaken; yes, your idols are not cast away, your loftiness and haughtiness is not brought low, your land is full of images, that you are not creeping into the holes of the rocks, to hide yourselves from the fear of the Lord, and the glory of his majesty.
In Isa 10:10, the Lord has said, “like as my hand has found out the kingdom of the idols, seeing their idols were above Jerusalem, and above Samaria: shall not I, as I have done to Samaria, and to the idols thereof, so do unto Jerusalem, and to the idols thereof?” and so will not the Lord do unto the christian idols, and idolaters, and image-makers? For, are not your actions open to his eye? For you that are image-makers, and idol-makers, have forgotten the Lord of your salvation, and have not remembered the God of your strength.
Isa 17, and 19, “The burden of Egypt: behold the Lord rode upon swift clouds, and shall come upon Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of her.” Now consider, you spiritual Egyptians with your idols and images, think you not that the Lord will come upon you that are spiritual Egypt? and do you not think that your Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of your Egypt shall melt in the midst of you.
Isa 27:9-10, “For God will purge away the iniquity of Jacob, and his fruits of sin shall be taken away, when he shall make all the stones of the altar as chalk-stones, broken in pieces, that the groves and images may not stand up: his fortified cities shall be desolate, and his habitation shall be forsaken, and left like a wilderness.” Now consider this, christians, you have not been purged, and have images, you are in your iniquities, where your images yet stand up, your fortified cities are not yet desolate yet, and your habitations are not yet forsaken, nor made like a wilderness: but look for all this to come to pass.
Isa 30:22-23, “You shall pollute the cover of the images of silver, and the rich ornament of your images of gold, and cast them away as a menstrual cloth; and you shall say unto it, get you here: then shall the Lord give rain unto your seed, when you shall sow the ground, and the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat, and as oil: in that day shall your cattle be fed in large pastures.” But you called christians, would you not be ready to kill and burn such as shall be ready to pollute your cover and rich ornaments of the images of gold, and cast them away as a menstrual cloth; and say, get you here: but this is not come to you yet, there is adoring of them, you have not cast them away, your sin is still upon you, you do not esteem them as a menstrual cloth, you are afraid they should be polluted, who regard neither God, nor his law, nor his prophets. “O, you children of Israel, turn again in as much as you are forsaken, you are sunk deep in rebellion: in that day that you turn again, you shall cast away your idols of silver, and of gold, which your hands have made, even as sin.” So you may not make images now in Christendom, and pictures, and representations, your hands make a sin, and you wont cast it away until you return to the way of the Lord, for out of the way of God, you must look for nothing but wrath and judgment.
Isa 40:18-20, “To whom will you liken God? What similarity will you set up to him? the workman melts an image, and the goldsmith beats it out into gold, and the goldsmith makes silver plates. The poor chooses out a tree that will not rot, he seeks unto him a cunning workman, to prepare an image that shall not be moved.” And is not this spirit also among you that are called christians, image-makers, of wood, of silver, of gold and of stone? to whom will you liken God or Christ? to a piece of bread, and to a cup of wine? you are grown wiser in the spiritual Egypt than they were in the old time, that will set up the image of God in your bibles, and in your houses, when no image ought or can be made of him, “who is a spirit, and to be worshipped in spirit and in truth.”
Isa 44:9-15, “All those who make images are vanity, and they are deceivable things, and shall nothing profit, and they are their own witnesses, that they see not nor know: therefore they shall be confounded who have made a god or a molten image that is profitable for nothing. Behold, all those who are of the fellowship thereof shall be confounded, for the workmen themselves are men; let them all be gathered together; they shall fear and be confounded together. With part of the tree they warm themselves, and with part they bake their bread, and kindle the fire, and of part they make a god and worship it, and bow to it.” Read the chapter throughout and see, is not this like many called christians? and must not all you be confounded that be in the fellowship, in the images, and pictures, and idols, together with the setters up and makers of them? and do not you eat part of your bread that you make your god of, and drink part of your wine that you make a god and christ, and refresh your bodies with the one part, and the other part you make your god and christ of, which when you have made, you worship him? and here must you not all be confounded in these works? expect it.
Isa 46:5-8, “Said the Lord, to whom will you liken me,” make me like or make me equal, or compare me, “that I should be like him? they draw gold out of a bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire the goldsmith to make a god of it, and they bow down and worship it: they bear it upon their shoulders, and carry it, and set it in his place: and when they cry to him, he cannot deliver them out of tribulation. Remember this and be ashamed, and bring it again to mind, O you transgressors.” Consider, you that are called papists, do not you carry your host upon your shoulders, and put your host you make in a place, which you make of bread and wine? and do not you and your people worship the bread and wine which you make your god and christ of? and do not you make pictures of gold like an old man? and does not the Lord reprove you, saying, “who will you make me like, or to whom will you make me equal?” what, will you make him equal with an image? “or to whom will you compare me?” what, will you compare him to man, and liken him to him who is a “spirit, and is to be worshipped in spirit?” and, have you not now your goldsmiths like the heathens, to make you gods and images of gold and silver? O remember this and be ashamed, O you transgressors.
Isa 48:4-5, “You that are obstinate, and your neck is as iron, and your brow as brass, I have even from the beginning declared it unto you; before it come to pass, I showed it you, for fear that you should say, my idols have done them, my graven images, and my molten images have commanded them.” And therefore consider, you stiff-necked, whose brows are as brass, and who are obstinate, who trust so much in representations, images and pictures, and make your people believe that great things are done by them, which are lies; for nothing can you do to glorify God, being in the transgression of his holy law.
Isa 57:3-5, “But you sons of the sorceress, come here, the seed of the adulterer, and of the whore. On whom have you jested? Upon whom have you gaped and thrust out your tongue? are not you rebellious children, and a false seed, inflamed with idols under every green tree,” &c. Now consider, you that profess christianity, whose children you are, of what seed you are, who are found inflamed with idols, pictures, and images, and jest and gape with your mouths, and thrust out your tongues at his people, therefore you cannot be called a people of God, for you have rebelled, and vexed God's holy spirit, therefore is he turned your enemy, and will fight against you.
Isa 66:3-4, you may see your sacrifices are like the Jews, who transgressed the law of God, that your sacrifice is like unto blessing your idols, “and cutting off a dog's neck, because you have chosen your own ways, and your souls have delighted in your abominations: therefore God will choose your delusion, and bring a fear upon you, and none shall answer.”
Jer 10, “Every man is brutish in his own knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image, for his melting is but falsehood, and there is no breath therein, and they are vanity, and the work of errors, in the time of their visitation they shall perish.” So consider, you makers of images, who are beasts in your knowledge, who be imitators of the Creator, and make images of things in heaven and in the earth, and so are imitators of your Creator; but you are too short, you cannot make them to speak; you cannot put breath in them, nor make them go, nor handle, nor see, nor hear; so that your works are vanity.
Jer 16:20-21, “Shall a man make gods unto himself, that are no Gods? behold said the Lord, I will this once teach them, I will show them my hand and my power, and they shall know that my name is the Lord.” You must feel the weight of this all you god-makers, and christ-makers, when the Lord's hand is upon you, and his power.
Jer 43:12, “I will kindle a fire, said the Lord, in the house of the gods of Egypt, and they shall burn and carry them away captive, and he shall array himself in the land of Egypt.” Now consider, you that are called christians, which are spiritual Egypt, do not you think that the Lord will kindle a fire in the house of your gods, pictures, and images which you adore and worship, the God and Christ you made of the bread and wine. He will make you know that he is the Lord, and you cannot make him, but he made all to his glory.
Jer 50:2, “Declare this among the nations, publish it, and set up a standard, proclaim it, and conceal it not. Say Babel is taken, Bell is confounded, Merodach is broken down, her idols confounded, and her images are burnt in pieces." And now, you that are called christians, what think you of this? have you heard of this proclamation? is it set up among the heathen, and not among you? is not the standard yet set up? is this concealed yet to you? your images are not yet burnt, nor your idols yet confounded.
And in the same chapter, “Drought is upon her waters, and they shall be dried up, for it is a land of graven images." What do you see? Were these the Jews and heathens, and yet are not you, called christians, in fellowship with them, is not your land full of images? and do not you dote upon your idols, pictures, and representations? there is a drought of the waters of life among you, and therefore are you not trusting in your images, and bowing and praying before them.
In Ezek 6:3-6, what brought the sword, and famine, and the pestilence upon Israel? was it not because of idolatry, and their images which should have been broken down, and cast down? No, were not there men slain upon their idols who had imitated the heathens' ways, like some that are called christians? and did not God bring the carcasses of the children of Israel before their idols, and scatter their brains before their altars, and make them to know that he was the Lord, and by reason of these things, did he not bring famine and pestilence upon them? So, that how can you think to escape?
Ezek 7:18, they made images of their abominations, and of their idols: and therefore, did not this bring shame upon their faces, and baldness upon their heads, and brought their land into the hands of strangers? but you papists are not yet fully come to this.
See what the ancients of the house of Israel did in the dark, in Ezek 8:12. Everyone in the chamber of his imagery. And so you called christians, see what you have done in the dark, in the chambers of your imagery, for you have been workers out of the light, and so your works are for condemnation.
In Ezek 14, “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts, and put a stumbling block of iniquity before their faces, I the Lord will answer him that comes according to the multitude of his idols.” Therefore you that think to come to God by your pictures, crosses, crucifixes, representations, gods and christs you have made, the Lord will answer you with his wrath; and therefore turn your faces from your abominations, for you are all departed from God through your idolatry.
Ezek 18:12-13, you may see such were reproved that lifted up their eyes to idols; and therefore christians look at home, see what you lift up your eyes to, to the multitude of your idols, images and pictures. In Ezek 20:5-8,27-33, see how the Lord brought his people out of the land of Egypt, into a land that flowed with milk and honey; and yet after that how they rebelled against God, and followed the idols of Egypt, and therefore wrath came upon them, as it did upon the Egyptians; which you will not escape that follow such things now in the spiritual Egypt, and defile not yourselves in observing the manner of other nations, with their idols. And so, away with all image-makers, and image-worshippers, for both the maker and they must be confounded.
Ezek 21:21, “The king of Babel stood up at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, consulting by divination, and made his arrows bright. He consulted with idols, and looked into the liver.” So consider you that now pray before images, and to images and idols, and to your pictures; you are in Nebuchadnezzar's spirit, who will persecute others, because they will not bow down to your pictures, and images.
Ezek 22:3-4 and 23, you have offended in the blood that you have shed, and has polluted your feet with the idols that you have made; and so you have caused your days to draw nigh, therefore I have made you a reproach to the heathen, and a mocking to all countries: and therefore, thus said the Lord God, the city sheds blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and makes idols against herself. And thus she committed whoredom with them, even with all them that were chosen men of Ashur, and defiled themselves with all her idols.
So consider this, have you not offended in blood, and shed blood in your cities? yes, and polluted yourselves with your idols? yes, all you idol-makers in Christendom, and followed the ways of the heathen, and like the old Romans, who made images. And Simon Magus, was not he an image-maker, and introducer of Simony at Rome? and how do you think to escape the wrath of God, who are so unlike his saints, and his people? and you forefathers, what can you expect but nakedness and shame, who have gone a-whoring after the heathen, and polluted yourselves with idols, pictures, and images? For when Israel of old, forsook God, they grew cruel and hardened, with their idols and images, and at last they slew their children to their idols, and for sacrifices: and so you have sacrificed others that would not bow down to your idols, and images, and your host, which you made.
Ezek 30:11-13, “Thus said the Lord God, I will also destroy the idols, I will cause their idols to cease; I will make their land waste; I will bring a terrible people, a terrible nation upon them.” So when the children of Israel followed images, pictures, and idols, he brought the Egyptians and Nebuchadnezzar upon them; and so then they had images and idols enough; for the Lord brought that upon them, that were in and of the nature that they were in themselves, when they had forsaken God. And so, do not you expect (called christians), that delight in pictures, images, and idols, that the Lord in his time will bring them that you call heathen upon you, for you are gone from God, and Christ, into the nature of the heathens; and then you may cry to your pictures, idols, and images; for when your people called out in Ireland to Patrick, and to your images, and pictures, you see there was none able to deliver them. And thus you have deluded the people, and kept them in bondage unto your pictures, images, and idols, whom the Lord will reward. So to make images and idols is an abomination, it is that which defiles people, it is a transgression of God's law, he is as a beast that invents them, or commands them to be made, or to worship them.
Ezek 44, “The Levites that were gone back from me, said the Lord, when Israel went astray from me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity.” Now consider, you that call yourselves christians, you are gone back, all you priests, popes, cardinals, Jesuits, as well as Israel of old, and the Levites, you are gone back from the Lord, you are gone astray after idols, images, and pictures, and you must bear your iniquity.
Dan 3:3,11-29, where Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image, and caused all both small and great to worship it, at the sound of the pipe, and the instruments of music, all were to fall down and worship the image that he had set up; but the three children, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednigo, that feared the Lord, and kept their religion clear, could not follow Nebuchadnezzar's religion, but transgressed and obeyed not his commands, in not falling down to worship that which he had set up.” So now you papists have you not made images, pictures, and hosts, and do not you command the people to fall down, yes, to put off their hats at the sound of the Ava Maria bell, or else be in danger of coming under your law, and so here you are found in Nebuchadnezzar's spirit, not in Christ's, nor the prophets', nor apostles'.
Hos 4:17,19, “Thus said the Lord, Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone: and they shall be ashamed of their sacrifices.” Now consider, have you, called christians, that have worshipped images, and idols, have you been let alone many hundreds of years, and yet you are not ashamed of your sacrifices? but those who are come from you are.
And when Israel forgot God, his Maker, he built temples. Israel cast off the thing that is good; of the silver, and of the gold they have made idols. Now therefore, shall they be destroyed, and the enemy shall pursue him. And therefore, consider you called christians, these things, who have made idols of your silver, and of your gold, think you not that the enemy will pursue you, who cast off things that are good, who have forgotten your Maker, and built many temples, and not mind that your bodies are the temples of the living God.
Hos 10:1-2, “Israel is an empty vine, they have made fair images, their hearts are divided, now shall they be found faulty, he shall break down their altars, he shall destroy their images.” So, consider all you called christians, what an empty vine you are, and wild, who have made you fair images, O how do you delight in them, and their pictures; you are found faulty before God, who will break them down.
Hos 13:1-2, “When Ephraim spoke trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but he sinned in Baal, and is dead: and they sinned more and more, and made molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, and they are all the work of the craftsmen.” So consider, you that call yourselves christians, are not you dead that make these molten images, and idols of silver, and gold, and of stone, and wood, &c. And do not you kiss your pictures, and images? and so, if Ephraim be dead, are you living that do so, and follow your craftsmen whom you set at work, and worship their works, which is an abomination to God, who is, and will be worshipped in spirit and in truth.
Hos 14:8, “Ephraim shall say, what have I to do more with idols?” But you that call yourselves christians, have not said so yet; and therefore you are worse than Ephraim.
Amos 5, where is a lamentation for the captivity of Israel, who followed images which the heathens followed, who made gods to themselves like them; which practice has been followed by those that call themselves christians who have made gods and christs, makers for the people, which is an abomination, who have kept people by such doings from the true Christ, who is the way to the true God.
Mich 1:7, “All the graven images shall be broken, and all the gifts thereof shall be burnt with fire, and all the idols shall be destroyed: for she gathered it of the hire of a harlot.” Now how can you own this prophet, and keep your images and idols not burnt and destroyed? For it is the work of the whorish spirit from God to make such things, and not of the spouse of Christ.
Mich 5:13, “Your idols shall be cut off, and your images out of the midst of you, and you shall no more worship the work of your hands.” This prophet will take hold upon you that are called christians, who are found in such practices, and then you will be separate from your lovers.
Nahum 1, “The Lord has given a command concerning you, I will cut off the graven images, and the molten images, and I will make it your grave for you, for you are vile.” So, consider you christians, with all your images and pictures, which are become your grave, for you are vile: therefore, mind the Lord's command, that you may come out of your vileness; and cut down your pictures, and images, and obey the Lord's command.
Hab 2:18-20, “What profits the image? For the maker thereof has made an image, and a teacher of lies; though he who made it, trusts in it when he makes a dumb idol. Woe unto him that said unto the wood awake, and to the dumb stone arise up, it shall teach you: for behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath in it. The Lord is in his holy temple, let the earth keep silence before him.” And now you papists and christians, you say, your pictures, and images, which you make, and your representations, they profit the people, and are laymen's calendars, and thus your teachers are liars, contrary to the command of God, who said, “they do not profit.” Your stones, and your wood, which you paint with gold, there is no breath in them, away with all such fopperies.
Zech 10:2, “Surely, said the Lord, their idols have spoken vanity, and the soothsayers have seen a lie, and the dreamers have told a vain thing.” Now consider this, you that call yourselves christians, all you soothsayers that have set up idols, which are vanity, which have seen a lie, and the dream you have told is but a vain thing, and do not you tell to people, that your representations and images will profit them.
Zech 13:1-2, “The Lord said, he will open a fountain to the house of David, and inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness: and in that day, said the Lord of hosts, I will cut off the name of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered, and I will cause the unclean to depart out of the land.” Now consider this, you papists and others, this fountain is not opened to you yet for sin, and for uncleanness, for your images, and idols are yet standing in your land, held up by your unclean spirit; for when this fountain is opened, your unclean spirit that held up your idols, must depart out of the land, and then you will acknowledge the prophesy.
Hab 2:8,18-20, you have spoiled the nations with your images, and false gods and christs. This may well be applied unto you that call yourselves christians, that follow your pictures, and images, the gods you have made; for Israel went from the ordinances of the Lord when he turned to images, idols, and other gods, as you christians have gone from the ordinances of God.
See in Acts 7:38-41,57-58, how Stephen reproved the Jews for making a calf, and offering sacrifice to the idols, the work of their own hands; and how God turned himself away from them, and how they served the host of heaven. For, what is there in heaven or earth, but you have made pictures, and images of, and so you are here judged by Stephen, whom the Jews stoned to death, the same would you do to them that should cry against you. The pictures, images, and representations that you have made, being found in the same transgressing spirit like the Jews.
The apostle commands, in Acts 15:20, “That the Gentiles who were converted should abstain from idols, and from fornication.” And therefore consider, you that are called christians, you are here judged by the apostle, who sets up houses for fornication, and follow idols, and images, and do not abstain from them, you are transgressors of the apostles' ordinance.
Acts 19, There you may see your own brethren, what rage they were in at the city Ephesus, that worshipped Diana; and what a noise made those image-makers against the apostle. And so look among yourselves, what a noise you craftsmen make now, against the ministers of the spirit, that preach, and cry down your images and idols. So the Gentiles were to abstain from idols and fornication, as before, which shows that you are in the Gentiles' nature, not converted, that do observe them, and follow such things as they did in their unconverted state.
Rom 1:21, you may see your old brethren, “when they knew God, they did not glorify him as God; who turned the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is God blessed forever. And so, now this is your condition, who profess yourselves to be wise, but are fools; for what, do not you and your people serve images, and pictures, and representations, more than you do the Creator; for you have not come so far as to abhor idols; and though you say in words, you do, yet you, professing christianity doing the same as the heathen, are worse than they.
1 Cor 8, some make conscience of an idol: an idol is nothing. And the Corinthians were not to eat meat sacrificed to idols. And so what are all your sacrifices but to idols, images, and your christ you make? So, if an idol is nothing, then nothing can do you no good, and that which you sacrifice and offer to it, is offered to nothing, and so all comes to be confounded. Therefore, as in 1 Cor 10:14,19-20, 28, both the sacrificer and the idol is not good for anything but for judgment. And “what agreement has the temple of God with the idol,” 2 Cor 6:16. So, if you were the temple of God, that are called christians, there would be no agreement with your pictures, images, and idols, but showing that you have agreement with them. Therefore you are no temples of God.
1 Thes 1:9, there it is manifested, “how they were turned from idols to serve the living God:” but now it is manifest how they are turned from the living God to serve images, pictures, idols and representations, whereby it denotes you are in an unconverted estate.
1 John 5:21, the apostle said, “Little children keep yourselves from idols,” in his general epistle to the church; but you that call yourselves christians have forgot this command, or at least laid it aside, and command your people to keep to your images, pictures, idols, and representations, and call them your laymen's books, and therefore you are quite degenerated from John's doctrine and command here, who command your people to keep idols, whereas John commands to keep from them.
Rev 2:14, there you may see, “there were some that laid stumbling-blocks, that taught the doctrine of Balaam; and to eat meats sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication,” and therefore consider, is not this the condition of you papists? Are not you in Balaam's reward? Are not you in your idols, and fornication, else what do you do with all those brothel-houses?
Rev 9:20-21, you see such as were so hardened that did not repent of the works of their hands, that worshipped the devil, idols of gold, silver, brass, stone and wood, which neither could hear, see, nor go, and these God brought his plagues upon, and such repented not of their sorcery, murder, fornication, and theft. And so look into your own nest, and there you may find all these fruits, and it is well if this does not fall out that many will perish in these fruits, and not repent.
And so for you that have followed the beast, as in Rev 13:16, “and his image, and made all, small and great, poor and rich, bond and free to receive his mark,” &c. and so keep them from God's mark and image, to follow your images, and therefore, consider what will be the end, whether the beast, the dragon, the whore, and the false prophet, must be cast into the fire that burns with brimstone, which has been the ground of all these images, idols, pictures and representations which be out of the image of God, you that made them, that set them up, that command them to be made, and worship them; you have gone out, I say, of the image of God, into the image of the devil, that is out of the truth.
Solomon, by taking strange women of the heathen to be his wives, transgressed the law of marriage which was instituted by Moses; in which law God forbade to marry with foreign nations. And before all this he chanced to sin and default in the observation of the law, at such time as he made the similitudes of beasts to under prop the vessels called the great sea, and those of lions, which he caused to be set unto his throne.
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