The Missing Cross to Purity




Volume 5, The Works of George Fox, Doctrinal Books II, Continued

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Primitive Ordination and Succession of Bishops, Deacons, Pastors and Teachers in the Church of Christ.

How Christ ordained his twelve Apostles, and seventy Disciples.

How He would be with them to the end of the World, and in them.

What was the maintenance He ordained for them.

How Christ chose and ordained Pastors, Teachers, Prophets and Evangelists in the Church.

And the primitive ordination of Bishops, and Deacons, and Elders in the Church.

Also, who they are that do succeed them in their ordination, succession, possession, doctrine and practice; in their preaching, praying, singing and maintenance, and who not.

—By George Fox

Leave off all your bustling, and come to Christ, and see how his apostles were ordained and sent forth. Christ said in Mat 28:19-20, ‘go therefore and teach all nations.’ Now here was the command of Christ after he was risen; so they were not to sit down in benefices [a revenue from a church], but they were to go and teach all nations; the nation of Esau, and the Egyptians, Hams and Tartars, Barbarians, Scythians.

These did not reason, (what shall I do with my wife and children, or how shall I do for a maintenance?) when Christ commanded them to go and teach all nations. Here was the love of God and Christ to all the world, and again in Mark16:15. Christ said to his disciples, ‘go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;’ (mark, to every creature the gospel of salvation was to be preached.) Here Christ makes no sects, nor leaves out some part of the world; but as he tasted death for every man, and was an offering for the sins of the whole world, so he sent his disciples, which he ordained to preach the gospel, into all nations; and he said, ‘lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world;’ and Christ says, ‘if you were of the world, the world would love its own, but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. So these were the chosen disciples of Christ, which he sent forth into the world, John15:19. Christ said, ‘I have given them the words which you gave me, and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from you, they have believed that you did send me, John 17:8, 22-23, and the glory you gave me, I have given them, and that they may be one, even as we are one, I in them, and they in me, that they may be made perfect in one.’

So here you may see that Christ is in his apostles, that he sends forth into all nations, and he will send them the Comforter, which shall lead them into all truth, who is the spirit of truth, and this Comforter will teach you all things, said Christ, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you, John 16:13, 14:16-18. Further Christ said, John 15:16, ‘I have chosen you and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruits should remain.’

So here you may see how Christ chose and ordained his ministers, and how he would be with them, and in them, and how he had chosen them out of the world, and they were not of the world, as he was not of the world, and therefore, the world did hate these that were chosen and ordained, and sent forth by Christ, and were not like a company of worldly ones, seeking for great fat benefices, and to agree with nations, or countries, or parishes, for so much a year, and to haul people into courts, and cast them into prison, if they would not give them maintenance, or earthly things.

When Christ sent forth his seventy disciples by two and two into every city, and town, and place, as in Luke 10:1-8, he said to them, ‘go your ways, behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves, (so here is Christ's sending and command), carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes, and salute no man by the way, and into what house you enter, first say, peace be unto this house, and in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they set before you; for the workman is worthy of his meat, and into what city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as they set before you.’ When those seventy returned again to Christ, in the same hour Jesus rejoiced in Spirit and said, ‘I thank you O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and has revealed them unto babes, even so Father,’ Luke 10:21-23,‘ and no man knows who the Son is, but the Father, and who the Father is, but the Son, and him to whom the Son will reveal him;’ and Jesus said privily to his disciples, ‘blessed are the eyes which see these things.’

So here you may see how Christ sent forth his seventy disciples, and how he thanked his Father who had revealed him and these things unto babes; and how the Son had revealed these things to his disciples; so these did Christ choose and ordain, and they went forth in the Revelation of the Son. Likewise, when Christ had sent forth his twelve disciples before, he said to them, ‘as you go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and freely you have received, freely give; provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrips for your journey, nor staffs, nor two coats, nor shoes for your journey, and into whatever city or town you shall enter, enquire who is worthy, and there abide until you go from there; and whoever will not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.’ So these were not to agree for a benefice with the heads of the town, and if they would not pay them, then cast them into prison.

Also you may see the same ordination and sending forth of Christ's ministers, in Mark 6:7-11, and [mark,] whosoever would not hear Christ's apostles' and disciples' preaching, they were to shake the dust off their feet against them; they were not to summon them to courts, and cast them into prison, because they would not hear them. For says Christ, ‘he that hears you, hears me, and he that despises you, despises me, and he that despises me, despises him that sent me.’ Luke 10:16. Christ said in Luke 22:35, to his disciples, ‘when I sent you without purse, scrip and shoes, lacked you anything? and they said, 'nothing.’

Now you may plainly see here Christ's ministers, both before he was crucified and after, when he was risen; the manner of Christ's ordaining and choosing and sending forth his ministers; and before he was crucified, he asked his ministers that he did send forth freely, whether they lacked for anything, and their answer was to Christ, they wanted nothing.

Now try yourselves you ministers in our days by Christ's words and his ministers then, who are sent forth in the wills of men, whether you can give the same answer, that you want for nothing, and that you go forth freely, as they did? Christ said, ‘I will be with you; and he that is with you shall be in you.’ Now those who follow the apostles in their succession, they must be in the same power and Holy Ghost that the apostles were in, and not to succeed them in the form, as the false prophets did the true, and antichrist does the true Christ, who got the true Christ's words. But to succeed the apostles in the same Holy Ghost and power, and life that they were in, that is the right succession, and so in their inheritance and possession; for any worldly man will tell you, it signifies nothing to have only the writings of an estate, and not to possess it: and therefore to succeed the apostles aright, is to succeed them in the same power and Holy Ghost they were in, and to have Christ with them and in them. For Christ said, Mat 21:16, ‘out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants you have ordained strength,’ and Psalm 8:2.

So you may see here how Christ ordained babes and nursing infants to preach his name freely, as they had received freely; and you know the babes and nursing infants are not fit to be sent to schools, but these were taught of Christ, and ordained of him to speak and to confess Christ Jesus freely, as they had received; and he ordained strength out of the mouths of these babes and nursing infants. Yes, such strength, as the devil, nor all his ministers, nor all the professors of the world were able to gainsay, but it convinced the gainsayers; so they need not stay at schools many years, whom Christ ordains and sends forth. Also, when they chose another disciple in the place of Judas, to be a witness with the apostles of Christ's resurrection, the Lord gave them Matthias by lot, Acts 1:21-26. The apostle Paul said in Eph 3:3,7, ‘how that by Revelation he had made known to him the mystery of which he was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given to him by the effectual working of his power.’ Again the apostle said, ‘that the gospel which was preached to every creature under heaven, whereof I, Paul, am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God, which was given unto me, which has been hidden from ages and generations, but now is manifested to his saints, which mystery is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, (namely, the apostles and ministers of Christ), warning every man, and teaching every man, in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.’

Here you may see Paul's ordination, and how he and the apostles received their ministry, and what he preached, Col. 4:3-17. Again the apostle said, ‘when Christ ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men, and he gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors, and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: so this gift of Christ made them ministers, and you that deny perfection, deny the work of Christ's ministers, as you may see, Eph 4:8, 11-13. The apostle says, ‘we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom of God, ordained before the world to our glory:’ so here you may see what he preached, 1 Cor 2:7. And in Gal 1:, ‘Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.) I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which is preached by me, is not after man; for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.’

So here you may see how the apostle was ordained, and from whom he received his gospel and what he preached, and how he was an apostle, not of man, nor by man; and the gospel which he preached was not after man: and the apostle said, in Acts 10:42, ‘he has commanded us (namely, Christ), to preach unto the people, and to testify that it was he who was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead.’ Here you may see it was Christ who commanded his ministers and his disciples to preach; and in Mark 3:14, he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, that he might send them forth to preach; mark, here is Christ's ordination and his sending forth.

So all along you may see how Christ ordained his ministers and disciples, and the seventy, and his pastors, prophets, evangelists and teachers, and he will be with them to the end of the world, and he will be in them, and they shall be in him, and they shall have his Holy Ghost to lead them into all truth.

Now here is a possession, and those who do succeed them in the possession, must be those who possess Christ in them, and his Holy Ghost, and the same power and spirit that the apostles did possess, they must possess the same wisdom (in measure), which was ordained before the world was, and the same mystery hidden from ages and generations, and the same gift from him that is ascended up on high, and the same gospel which is not after man, neither is it received of man, or by man. This they must possess, if they are the successors of the apostles; for any false prophet, or apostle, or messenger of Satan, antichrist, or wolves, may get the sheep's clothing, the outside, the form of godliness, and deny the power thereof, such are not the successors of the apostles in their inheritance and possession.

Now the apostles in this possession, those who did succeed them in it, were called elders, and they ordained decrees by the Holy Ghost, as in Acts 16:4. to the churches that were established in the faith; and they ordained elders in every church; those who were in possession of the Holy Ghost, ordained others that were in the Holy Ghost, Acts 14:22-23. Take heed, therefore, to yourselves, and unto all the flock of God, over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood; mark, here you may see the ordination of overseers or elders, and what they were to oversee with, and feed with: the Holy Ghost.

Now those who succeed them in their eldership or oversight, their succession must be in the possession of the same Holy Ghost, else they are no successors of the apostles, nor the elders, nor overseers, though they are in the form of godliness without the power of it , which are to be turned away from. In 1 Pet5:1-3, he that is an elder, writes to the elders, who was a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that should be revealed: ‘feed the flock of God, (said he), which is among you, take the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly, not for filthy lucre but of ready mind; neither as lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.’ Now here you may see further of the ordination of elders, and the counsel of an elder to those who were partakers of the glory, and witnesses of the sufferings of Christ; they should feed and take the oversight willingly, and not for filthy lucre, not being lords over God's heritage; but examples to the flock. Now those who are as lords, and are ill examples, and will be overseers for filthy lucre, are not succeeders of the apostles, neither in their possession, nor example, nor command.

So all those who say they do not have the same power and Holy Ghost the apostles had, do not succeed the apostles in their possession; and all those who deny, that any people should expect the same power and Holy Ghost the apostles had, deny their possession, and are no succeeders of them. All those who deny the light that shines in the heart, to give them the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus now days in people; and all those who deny the anointing within to teach, and the word of God in the heart and mouth to obey and do, which was the word of faith the apostle preached, they are not in the succession of the apostles, nor in the doctrine that they preached, nor in the possession and practice they lived in.

All those who deny that Christ was an offering for the sins of the whole world, and that he does enlighten every man that comes into the world, with the light which is the life in the word; and those who forbid people from believing in this light, and say, that God does not write his law in people's hearts now, nor put it into their minds now; all such, I say, do not follow the apostles in their succession of their life and power they were in, for they have denied their doctrine, and that which all good christians do possess.

All those who say, that the grace of God has not appeared to all men to teach them, and brings them salvation, and that the manifestation of the spirit is not given to every man to profit withal, and that God does not give his Holy Ghost to them that rebel against it, and that Christ has not sent his Holy Ghost to lead his ministers now into all truth, which Holy Ghost shall reprove the world of sin. Those who deny this are not the successors of the apostles, in their possession of their life and power in the Holy Ghost; but are deniers of their doctrine, though they may get a form of words, but deny the power thereof, such are to be turned away from.

So you may see how Christ has ordained his ministers, for he himself was made after the order of Melchizedek, and not after the order of Aaron, (though Aaron was made after an order) and so they were ordained to offer sacrifices, as in Heb 7:11-12. This priesthood Christ has ended, and their order, who ordained his disciples and elders, as you may see before: and all that do succeed them must be in the same grace, in the same light and Holy Ghost, and power, and the same law of life, and of the spirit, and the same anointing within, and the same word of faith in the heart and mouth, and the same gift from Christ that is ascended up on high, and Christ within according to his promise, that he would dwell in them, and as the apostle said, ‘it pleased the Father to reveal his Son in me,’ and so he preached him in others. All apostles, pastors, evangelists, teachers, elders, overseers, who do not follow the apostles in the possession of this before-mentioned, and are not inheriters of this, then they must be apostates, and do not follow the apostles in the possession and practice, though they may get the form, and not in the same power, but deny it; they are not the succeeders of the apostles, but are to be turned away from. For none succeed the apostles, evangelists, and pastors, elders, overseers, and teachers, except those who succeed them in Christ, and in the same power and Holy Ghost that they were in, who gave forth the scriptures. In Acts 19:13, 'then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits, in the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, ‘we adjure you by Jesus, whom Paul preached;’ and there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so, and the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you? and the man in whom the evil spirit was, leaped on them and overcame them, and prevailed against them so that they fled out of the house, naked and wounded, and this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus: and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.’

Now it is clear that those did not succeed in the ordination of the apostles, in the possession of their power, life and Holy Ghost, though they had the form of words, and used the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. You may clearly see, that it is not the saying the form of Christ's and the apostles' words, and those who can hold them in their memories, that brings them to succeed the apostles, and so to plead their ordination, because they can speak Christ's and the apostles' words. This does not prove their succession in the ordination of Christ nor the apostles; for it says, they fled away naked, they wanted the power and Holy Ghost the apostles were in: and so are not all naked, though they have the form of Christ's and the apostles' words, as these were? let them be priests or professors, if they be not in the same Holy Ghost, and power the apostles were in; they are naked.

May not this be an example to all Christendom to take heed how they use the form of Christ's and the apostles' words, without they be in the same fear of God, and power, and Holy Ghost the apostles were in. It is clear, none succeed the apostles in the same ordination and succession, but those who succeed them in the same power and Holy Ghost the apostles were in. For can naked men, with the form of Christ's and the apostles' words, convert any men or women to Christ or God, who are not in the same power and Holy Ghost the apostles were in, which power clothes them? Are not all naked men liable to be wounded by the evil spirit, and flee from the evil spirit wounded, like this priest's sons, who are not in the same power and Holy Ghost the apostles were in? Therefore is not this a fearful warning to all Christendom, to take heed how they take upon them, or use in any way the form of Christ's or the apostles' words, without being in the same life and power, and Holy Ghost the apostles were in, least the evil spirit get power over them, as it did over this priest and his seven sons.

Are not all vagabonds from the apostles' power and inheritance, that are not in the same power and Holy Ghost the apostles were in, though they may talk and have the form of Christ's and the apostles' words, as common vagabonds and wanderers may talk of other men's possessions. Did Simon Magus continue in the succession of the apostles, though he was convinced? Did he not go out of the succession of the apostles, when he thought the gift of God was to be purchased with money? Did Peter not tell him, he was in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity, though he was a professor of Christ, and a believer [and baptised] as many are now? So you may see, that he did not succeed the apostles in the life, and Holy Ghost, and power, and you may clearly see the succession to the apostles is in the life, and power, and Holy Ghost that they were in.

Do you not think that there are many Simon Maguses now days, in Christendom, in their gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity, that think the gift of God can be bought and sold for money? Are there not many now days, that buy and sell the gospel, as they call it, to people for money? You cannot say, that these succeed the apostles in their possession in the life and power; but Simon Magus in his gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity.

Do you think, Diotrephes, that John reproves, followed the apostle with his prating, in the possession, and in the succession of the power and Holy Ghost, as in the third epistle of John.

The apostle said, 1 Cor 4:19-20, ‘but I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and I will know not the speech of them that are puffed up, but the power; for the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.’ So here it is clear, the knowledge, ordination, and succession must be in power, and those who succeed the apostles, in their possession and ordination in the gospel, which is the power of God, must be in the same power of God, the gospel, which brings life and immortality to light; for all who have the form of godliness and deny the power of it, deny the gospel: for the gospel is the power of God. So they must succeed them in the possession of this power that brings life and immortality to light, that shines over the devil, that has darkened them. For the gospel, the power of God, is called the everlasting gospel, and therefore the succession must be in the everlasting gospel, and power of God. Therefore, to succeed them in the form without the power and Holy Ghost, is no succession to the apostles in their ordination; but a succession of the false apostles, that got the form and denied the power, ‘from such’ said the apostle, (that was in the succession of the life, and power, and ordination by Christ), ‘turn away.’ The apostle said, 1 Cor 1:18, ‘for the preaching of the cross, (namely, of Christ), is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us which are saved, (namely, the true apostles and christians), it is the power of God.’

Now those who succeed the apostles, and true christians in the cross of Christ, it is in the power of God that crucifies them from the world; it is not to succeed the apostles with wooden, stone, silver or brass crosses; for these would have been foolish things to the apostles. For you cannot say, that you succeed the apostles with your wooden, stone, brass and silver crosses, except you say, these your inventions of stone, wood, brass, and other such 'made' outward crosses, are the power of God.

The apostle said, we speak the wisdom, God in a mystery, which wisdom we speak among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, which comes to nothing. So all who succeed the apostles in their ordination and succession, it must be in this wisdom of God, which is pure and gentle from above, and easy to be entreated, it must be in the possession of this wisdom (which will abide and not come to nothing), which they spoke among those who were perfect. It is not to succeed the apostles, to get Christ's and the apostles' words to talk of them in man's wisdom, that comes to nothing; and the apostle said, ‘my speech was not with the enticing words of man's wisdom; but in the demonstration of the spirit, and of power.’

Now all preachers who succeed the apostles, it must be in the same demonstration of the spirit and power; for they do not succeed the apostles, whose speech and preaching is only with the enticing words of man's wisdom. The apostle said, ‘that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.’ So those whose faith stands in the wisdom of men, and not in the same power and wisdom of God the apostles were in, do not succeed the apostles in their ordination and succession. The apostle said, ‘God has revealed unto us by his spirit the deep things of God, and we have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God, [mark freely,] which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches,’ and, said he, ‘we have the mind of Christ.’

So now all who succeed the apostles, must be in the spirit of God, that reveals the deep things of God to them, and by which spirit they know the deep things of God, given forth freely unto them, that they may give them forth freely again to others, according to the ordination and command of Christ; and they must succeed them in the same speech, not to speak the things of God in the words which man's wisdom does teach, but in those words which the Holy Ghost does teach. Those who speak the words of Christ and the apostles in man's wisdom, and not freely, and have not the mind of Christ; whot deny the spirit of Revelation, but speak the apostles' words by the spirit of the world, that knows not the things of God. These do not follow the apostles in their succession of the spirit of God, nor in their ordination by the spirit of God. Likewise all who teach for filthy lucre, ‘and serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies,’ and are covetous teachers, and are ‘heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, and are strikers, and persecutors, and think that gain is godliness.’ These do not follow the apostles in their succession and ordination; for the apostles declared against such: freely as they had received, freey they were commanded to give, and did so. Those who do not follow the apostles in this their example, and Christ in his command, are not followers and succeeders to Christ and the apostles, in the same life, power and doctrine. Now for the trial of bishops and deacons, that pretend to follow the apostles in their succession; ‘a bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient, not a brawler, not covetous, one that can rule well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity, not a novice, for fear that he be lifted up with pride, and fall into condemnation of the devil: moreover, he must have a good report of them that are without, for fear that he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.’ 1 Tim 3:2-7; and in Titus 1:7-10, ‘A bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God, not self-willed, nor soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate, holding fast the faithful word, for there are many unruly and vain talkers.’

Now here you may see the ordination of bishops; and if they do not succeed in these steps and precepts as the apostles have laid down, they do not succeed the apostles. For if he be of ‘ill behaviour, not given to hospitality, nor apt to teach freely, (as they did), and if he be given to wine, and a striker, and greedy of filthy lucre, and not patient, but a brawler, and covetous, and not the husband of one wife, and cannot rule his own house well, and has not his children in subjection and in gravity, and is a novice, and puffed up in pride, and has an ill report from them without, and self-willed, and soon angry, not sober, just, holy and temperate, such do not follow, nor succeed the apostles in their ordination and succession, nor in their life and power of the Holy Ghost, but were reproved by them. Now likewise, concerning deacons, if they are not grave, and if they be double-tongued, or given to much wine, or if greedy of filthy lucre, if their wives be not grave and sober, but slanderous, they are such as do not follow the apostles in their ordinations and succession; therefore, the apostle says, ‘first they must be proved, and then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless;’ and likewise the apostle said, ‘they must hold the mystery of faith in a pure conscience; (mark in a pure conscience), and faith is a mystery. Therefore all who are not qualified according to the apostles doctrine to Timothy and Titus, do not follow and succeed the apostles in their spiritual succession and ordination. Moreover the apostle said, ‘follow us, as we follow Christ, and walk as you have us for an example;’ and they coveted no man's gold, nor silver, nor apparel, and said, ‘although he preached the gospel, you had nothing to glory of; and what is my reward? (says he), verily, that when I preach the gospel, that I make the gospel of Christ without charge.’ Acts 20:33-34, 1 Cor 9:17-18.

Now you who do not follow the apostle in these things, both in example and life, and to keep the gospel without charge, you do not follow the apostles in the spiritual succession and ordination, neither are you to be followed, but as you follow Christ, and the example of the apostles.

All those who forbid marriage, and command to abstain from meats, they are not the succeeders of the apostles in their ordination, and possession of the heavenly power and spirit; but such are speakers of lies, and are such as are departed from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrine of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their consciences seared as with an hot iron. 1 Tim 4:1-3. Also in Rom 8:11-16, 2, ‘if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Jesus shall quicken your mortal bodies by his spirit that dwells in you: for as many as are led by the spirit of God, are the sons of God; but you have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba Father, which spirit itself beareth witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God; for the law of the spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, has made me free from the law of sin and death,’ said the apostle.

Now here was the possession of the apostles, and all true christians; and all who follow them in their succession, and heavenly possession, must be led by the spirit of God, and to have the same spirit to bear witness with their spirits, that they are the sons of God. Yes the same spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead, to dwell in them, and to quicken their mortal bodies; so the succession must be in this same spirit, and in the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which makes free from the law of sin and death, and then there will be the fruits of the spirit to show forth their succession to the apostles, that they do succeed them in the same spirit, in the law of the spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus, that makes them free men and women from the law of sin and death. So all the succeeders of the apostles in the spirit, can cry Abba Father. The apostle said, in Rom 10:15,8, ‘how shall he preach except he be sent? . And the word is near you in the heart and mouth, and this is the word of faith which we preach,’ which were sent (namely, the apostles), to preach it.

So all who succeed the apostles, must be sent by Christ in the same power and spirit, that the apostles were sent from God and Christ, and freely give as they have received from him freely, and preach the same word of faith, which is near in men and women, even in their mouths and heart to obey it and do it . For if people do not go in the same power and spirit that the apostles were in, and preach the same, they are not succeeders of them in their possession. Now Christ said, ‘I am come in my Father's name and you do not received: if another shall come in his own name, you will receive him,’ John 5:43.

Now is it not clearly seen to this day, that the prophets and apostles, who came in the name of the Lord and of Christ, were always hated; and they would not receive them; and by sad experience we have found it in our age, who have been moved by the Lord, and gone in the name of the Lord to speak to priests and professors, many of which you have imprisoned and beat; but if any have come in their own name, such are received by you.

If Paul had been an apostle by men, or of men, or had received his gospel and ordination by men or from men, men would not have called him a ‘ringleader, and a pestilent fellow.’ The apostle said, ‘they were able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.’ So all who follow the apostles in their ordination and succession, must be ministers of the spirit, and of the New Testament, yes, of the spirit that gives life, and not of the letter that kills. Now those who are ministers, but not of the same spirit that gives life, and of the New Testament that the apostles were in, do not follow them in their ordination and succession, though they may have the letter. The apostle said, ‘we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even by the spirit of the Lord,’ 2 Cor 3:18, and ‘we having the same spirit of faith.'

Now here was the apostles' possession, and all that follow them in their possession, ordination, and succession, must behold the same glory as they all did, and know [experience] the same changing from glory to glory, even by the spirit of the Lord; and they must be in the same spirit of faith, else they do not follow the apostles, and true christians in their ordination and succession. The apostles said, 2 Cor 6:4-7, ‘in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, by pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness.’ Now all you who follow the apostles in their succession, you must approve yourselves as the ministers of Christ, by your patience, by your pureness, by your long suffering, by knowledge, by kindness, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness, and by the Holy Ghost. But now if you say, you have not the same Holy Ghost as the apostles had, then you cannot approve yourselves, neither can you follow them in the same ordination and succession as the apostles were in; and you who are the strikers, and imprisoners, and afflicters of people for religion, you do not follow the apostles in their ordination and succession, who were stripped, imprisoned, and afflicted.

The apostle said, ‘you are the temples of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people, and I will be a father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord God Almighty;’ now here was the possession of the apostles and true church. All who follow the apostles in their ordination, and succession, and possession in the true church, they must follow them in their sonship and daughtership, and must be those who God dwells in, and walks in; if not, and if they will not have him to dwell in them, and walk in them, and so to be the sons and daughters of God, then they do not succeed the apostles and true church in their possession. The apostle said, Gal 3:26-27, ‘for you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus; for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.’ So all who follow the apostles and the true church in their succession, must be in the same light and power, and faith in Jesus Christ, which Jesus Christ has been the author of, and all must look to him for it, and so all children of God in this faith, that brings them to have access to God, and victory over that which separates from God.

So all must succeed in this one faith, and those who are baptized into Christ, must put him on; not make a profession of him without them, and not put him on; if they do, they do not follow the apostle, and the true church in their succession.

The apostle said, Gal 4:6, ‘because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father:’ [mark,] into your hearts. Now all who succeed the apostle and true church here, it must be in the same power and spirit they were in, that they may cry Abba Father. The apostle, in Gal 5:16, 25, said, ‘walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh:’ and again he said, ‘if we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit;’ mark, (us the apostles and the true church, and true christians:) now if you do not walk in the same spirit as the apostles and true church were in, then you do not succeed the apostles and true church in their succession, and ordination, and possession that they were in; but fulfil the lusts of your flesh. Now the apostle said, ‘the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, meekness, long suffering, temperance, against which there is no law.’ Now if you do not walk in the spirit, you do not succeed the apostles in their ordination by the spirit, neither do you succeed them in the fruits of the spirit; but are in the fruits of the flesh, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, sedition, heresy, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revilings, and such like. The apostle tells you plainly, that those who do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God, and therefore, look all Christendom, at your fruits, and see whom you succeed. The apostle said, Gal 6:8, ‘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.’

Now no man can sow to the spirit; but those who are in the same spirit of God and Christ, that the apostles were in, and those who are not in the same spirit that they were in, are not their succeeding seedsmen in their ordination by the Holy Ghost; such sow to the flesh, and of the flesh they reap corruptions, and not everlasting life. Mark this all you seedsmen, what a crop you may reap of corruptions, that are sown to the flesh, who have not sown in the same power and holy spirit that the apostles sowed with, and to. The apostle speaking to the Ephesians of his knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets, by the spirit. Now you who do not succeed the apostles in this spirit of revelation, you do not know the mystery of Christ as the holy prophets and apostles did, though you may have the form. The apostle said, in Eph 2:18, ‘for through him both have an access by one spirit to the Father, and in whom you also are built together an habitation for God, through the spirit.’

So all you who follow the apostles and the true church in their succession, it must be in the same spirit of intercession, that gives access to the Father, and by the same spirit built together for an habitation of God.

All you who deny having the same spirit the apostles had, how can you be built together an habitation for God, or have access to the Father? The apostle said, ‘finally, my brethren be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might; put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil; for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and rulers of darkness. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.’ Now mark, those who follow the apostles in their succession and ordination in the true church, must be in the same power and might, and the same helmet of salvation, and shield of faith, and their feet must be shod with the same gospel of peace, and their loins must be girded with the same girdle of truth, and the same breastplate of righteousness, and they must have the same sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, with which they must not wrestle with flesh and blood, but spiritual wickedness.

Now you who are not in the same power of the same spirit, nor the same faith, truth, righteousness, gospel, salvation, and armor of God, you are not the successors of the apostles in their weapons, in their armor, in their wrestling, who wrestle with flesh and blood; neither are you able to stand against the wiles of Satan. The apostle said, 2 Cor 10:4, ‘we do not war after the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual, mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.'

Now all who follow the apostles in their succession, and possession, and ordination, their weapons must not be carnal, and they must not wrestle after the flesh, for if they do, they are no ministers in the succession of the apostles in their war and their weapons. The apostle said, 1 Cor12:13, ‘for by one spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one spirit;’ [mark,] here is the one baptism, and here is the one spirit, and here is drinking into one spirit through several sorts of people; these followed the apostles in their succession. Therefore, all who follow the apostles in their succession, must be baptized by the same spirit, as the apostles and true church were baptized with, and drink into the same spirit. Those who say, they have not the same spirit the apostles had, cannot be baptized into the same body they were baptized into, neither can they have the same union, in drinking in the same spirit they drank in, though they may have the letter, they cannot succeed them in their baptism in the spirit, and drinking in the spirit, if they have it not, and do not look for it, (namely, the spirit of Christ), now days. The apostle said, 1 Tim 4:12, ‘be an example to the believers, in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, and purity.’ Now all the succeeders of Timothy and the apostle, must be in the same example, in the same word, in the same conduct, love, spirit, faith and purity; and those who are not in the same spirit, they cannot be in the same faith, word, conversation, charity, and purity, and then such do not succeed the apostles, nor Timothy. In 1 Pet 2:5, ‘you also as living stones are built up a spiritual household, [mark, are built up,] and an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.’ Now all who follow the apostles and the true church in their succession and possession of the spirit, must be the spiritual household and living stones, offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. You who say, you have not the same spirit the apostles had, and the church in the primitive times, you are not the successors of the apostles, and you cannot be the living stones nor spiritual house, nor a holy priesthood, neither can you offer up spiritual sacrifices to God, acceptable through Jesus Christ, not being in the same spirit the apostles and true church were in.

Concerning the Succession in the Fellowship.

‘If we say, (said the apostle), that we have fellowship with him, (namely, Christ and God), and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.’

Now all who succeed the apostles and true church in the fellowship it must be by walking in the light, as he is in the light, and there they shall know cleansing by the blood of Christ, but all who hate the light of Christ, and call it of the devil or an idol, such do not succeed the apostles and the true church, though they may get the form of words, and say they have fellowship with him, but walking in the darkness, and hating the light, the apostle tells you, they lie and do not the truth, as you may see in 1 John 1:6; and the apostle said, ‘for your fellowship is in the gospel,’ Phill 1:5.

So all who follow the apostles and true church in their succession, it must be in the same gospel, the power of God, and not in a form of godliness, and denying the power of the gospel, that is a denying a succession in their fellowship. In another place he speaks of keeping the unity of the spirit, which is the bond of peace. So all who do not follow the apostles and true church in this unity of the spirit, they lack the bond of peace, yes, the bond of the Prince of princes' peace; and those who do follow the apostles and true church, it must be in the same spirit that they were in, and so in the same unity and bond of peace.

 

Concerning Singing and Praying in the Spirit in the Succession of the Apostles.

The apostle said, Eph 6:18, ‘praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit;’ now they must be in the same spirit the apostles and true church were in, if they succeed them in the spirit of prayer, or else is it not like the Pharisees' babbling, and such as ask, and receive not? The apostle said, Rom 8:, ‘likewise the spirit helps our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the spirit itself makes intercession for us.' So all who succeed the apostles in their prayer, it is not using a company of words, and making prayers, but it must be in the same spirit which helps the infirmity, and makes intercession; for without this spirit the apostles were in, we know not what we should pray for as we ought. So therefore, the spirit is the helper, and makes intercession; and therefore, those who have not the same spirit the apostles had, lack the helper that should make intercession, and are not in the succession of the apostles and the true church. Again the apostle said, 1 Cor 14:15-16, ‘I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also, when you bless with the spirit.’

Therefore all who pray, and sing, and bless, and not in the same spirit the apostles were in, and the true church, they are not the succeeders of the apostles in their spiritual praying, singing, and blessing, neither can they pray with the understanding, nor sing, nor bless with the understanding, as the apostles and the true church did, if they be not in the same spirit they were in, that gave forth the scriptures. The apostle said, ‘let the word of Christ dwell in you in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord,’ Col 3:16.

Now those who do succeed the apostles in this teaching and admonishing in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, they must succeed them in the word of Christ dwelling in their hearts, and in the same spirit, and same grace in the heart that the apostle and true church were in; for they cannot succeed them in the letter, in the form without the power in their possession. The apostle tells them pray without ceasing, and quench not the spirit, and despise not prophesying. Those who do despise prophecy, and quench the spirit, do not follow the apostles in their succession and ordination, and comfort, and edification, who said, ‘they may all prophesy one by one.’

So all who grieve, and quench, and vex the spirit of God, and rebell against his spirit, and resist the Holy Ghost, and hate the light of Christ, do not follow the apostles in their succession and possession. The apostle said, ‘but you beloved, build up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.’ S o all who succeed the apostles and the true church in their praying, it must be in the Holy Ghost, and succeed them in their building, it must be in the holy faith, which Christ is the author of; and those who are not in the same Holy Ghost and faith, do not succeed the apostles in their building, and in their praying. The apostle said, in 1 Thes 2:10, ‘you are witnesses and God also, how holily, and justly, and unblameable we behaved ourselves among you that believe;’ so those who do succeed the apostles, must succeed them in that holy, and just, and unblameable life. Christ said, in John4:, ‘those who worship the Father must worship him in spirit and truth.’ Now none can succeed the apostles in this worship that Christ set up above sixteen hundred years since; but who are in the same spirit and truth the devil is out of, that the apostles were in. So it is clear; all who succeed the apostles in their succession, and ordination, and possession, it must be in the same power and spirit. The Lord said, ‘I have ordained you a prophet to the nations, before I formed you in the belly I knew you,’ Jer 1:5. A multitude of the like things concerning the succession of the apostles, and the true church, of sanctification, justification, and perfection, and the like, might be declared; and the apostle said, ‘he that has an ear let him hear what the spirit says to the churches:’ John speaks this seven times in the Revelation; but if people have not the same power and spirit now days as the apostles had, then they cannot hear what the spirit says.

Now the apostle said, 1 Cor 14:30-32, ‘if anything is revealed to another that sits by, let the first hold his peace; for you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted; for the spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets.’ N ow all who deny prophecy, and speaking one by one, deny the way by which the church may learn and be comforted, and deny the subjection of the spirit of the prophets, and such are not the succeeders in the same power and spirit the apostles were in. The apostle said, 1 Cor 14:9-11, ‘except you utter by the tongue, words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken; for you will be speaking into the air, therefore, if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaks as a barbarian, and he shall be a barbarian unto me.’ Therefore all you that speak, and preach, and pray in an unknown tongue, or bless, the apostle tells you, you are as barbarians, and speak to the air, and so you do not follow him in his succession. Therefore, all who follow the apostles and the true church, in their succession, ordination, and possession; either in preaching, praying, or singing, fellowship, or worship, they must succeed them in the same power and spirit the apostles were in.

The apostle said, Gal 6:, ‘as many desire to make fair show in the flesh,’ and in Rom 15:18, ‘for I will not dare to speak of those things, which Christ has not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word or deed.’ Now consider, do you follow the apostles in this succession, dare you speak of things which Christ has not wrought by you, and bring people to be obedient by word or deed? Is not this to make a fair show in the flesh of that which Christ has not wrought by you? Then you are not succeeders to the apostles and true church. The apostle said, in 2 Cor 10:15, ‘not boasting of things without our measure,’ that is, of other men's labors, ‘but according to the measure of the rule, which God has distributed unto us.’ Now consider, do any follow the apostles in their succession; but those who follow them in the rule, namely, of the spirit? And do such follow the apostles in their rule, that boast of men's labors, namely, the prophets', Christ's and the apostles' words, and deny their rule of the spirit? Did not the Corinthians make a great profession of Christ, and looked upon themselves to be great gifted men; and did not the apostle tell them, they were reprobates if they knew not Christ in them, for all they might make a profession of Christ without them?So, is it not needful for all christians to try themselves, whether they be in the faith, and prove, and know their own selves, that Christ is in them, except they be reprobates; and so reprobates may make a profession of Christ without them, who do not follow the apostles in the succession, who preached Christ within, the hope of glory, who said, ‘the life that I now live in the flesh, is by the faith of the Son of God, and I live, yet not I, but Christ that lives in me,’ Col 1:27, Gal 2:20.

So now, those who follow the apostles in this their possession, succession, and ordination, must follow them in the possession of this faith of the Son of God, and in this life in him. The apostle said, in Gal 4:9-10, ‘but now after that you have known God, or rather, are known of God, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto you desire again to be in bondage, you observe days, and months, and times, and years, I am afraid of you, least I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.’

Now consider this, you who observe days, months, times, and years, which he calls beggarly elements, and bondage upon such that went into such things: he was afraid he had bestowed his labor in vain. Now you twho do observe these things, and follow these things, which the apostle reproves, do you not succeed them that went in bondage, and are not succeeders to the apostles nor true church? In 1 John 5:12,20. ‘he that has the Son has life, and he that has not the Son has not life, and we know that the Son of God is come, and has given to us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ, this is the true God and eternal life.’

Now here you may see their possession, and what the apostles and the saints did possess, and they did confess Christ was come without them and within them, and they were in him. So all who follow the apostles and true church in their possession, and succession, must have this confession, that Christ is come, and has given them an understanding, and to be in them, and to have the Son if they have life, signifying that all the professors of the Son of God, if they have not the Son of God, they have not life, then they cannot succeed the apostles and the true church in the same life, possession, and confession from the same faith, and so are no true witnesses.

Now those who follow the apostles in the succession and ordination, are faithful witnesses; and in Luke 24:48, Christ says to his disciples, ‘you are witnesses of these things;’ and Acts 1:8, ‘but you shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in all Judea, and Jerusalem, and Samaria, and to the utmost parts of the earth.’

Now mark, these were the faithful and true witnesses in the power and Holy Ghost, that witnessed in Judea, Jerusalem, and Samaria, and to the utmost parts of the earth, to Christ; nor can any succeed the apostles and be true witnesses, but in the same power and Holy Ghost. In Acts 2:32-33, ‘this Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses; therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this which we now see and hear.’ In Acts 3:15, ‘you have killed the Prince of life, whom God has raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses.’ Now all these were faithful witnesses; and Acts 5:32, ‘we are his witnesses of these things, (namely, Christ), and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him:’ mark then, those that do disobey God and Christ, receive not this Holy Ghost, and then they cannot succeed the apostles in the same Holy Ghost, as faithful witnesses of Christ. Acts 10:39, ‘we are witnesses of these things which he did, (namely, Christ), both in the land of the Jews, and at Jerusalem, whom they slew and hanged on a tree;’ and Acts 13:30,‘ but God has raised him from the dead, and he was seen many days of them who came up with him from Galilee unto Jerusalem, and we are his witnesses unto the people, and we declare unto you glad tidings;’ and Acts 20:23, ‘save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions abide me,’ (namely, him that preached Christ;) and Acts 26:22-23, ‘having therefore obtained help from God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both unto small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come, that Christ should suffer and rise from the dead, and should show light unto the Gentiles.’

Now here you may see his faithful witnesses in the Holy Ghost, witnessed to all, small or great, freely; and you who deny having the Holy Ghost the apostles were in, and the light of Christ, which he enlightens everyone that comes into the world with, which he shows to the people and to the Gentiles, you are no true witnesses nor succeeders to the apostles, that call his light (that he has showed to us Gentiles, which shines in our hearts, to give us the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ) of the devil, and the Quakers' new Christ, and natural; you are no succeeders of the apostles in the power, light, and spirit, nor true witnesses, but their opposers. The apostle said, 1 Thes 2:10, ‘you are witnesses and God also, how holily, justly, and unblamable we behaved ourselves among you that believed.’

Now we who are the true believers cannot witness that you walk so holy, justly, and unblamably in Christ; and can you say, that God is your witness of your holy, just, and unblamable life, as the apostles did? If you cannot, you do not succeed them in their possession and succession; and the apostle saying before, ‘that the Holy Ghost witnessed in every city, saying, bonds and afflictions abide me.’ Now you who persecute, and afflict, and bring into your bonds and prisons, and say, you have not the same Holy Ghost the apostles had, and yet afflict them that are in the Holy Ghost, you are not the succeeders of the apostles in their ordination and succession. The apostle said, 1 Tim 4:14, ‘neglect not the gift that is in you,’ and he was to hold the faith in a pure conscience, 1 Tim 1:19, and he calls him ‘his son in the faith, 1 Tim 1:2. In 1 Tim 6:11-12, ‘but you, O man of God, follow righteousness, godliness, and faith, love, patience, meekness; fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called, and has professed a good profession before many witnesses; and hold fast the form of sound words, which you have heard of me in faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus,' [mark,] in faith he had heard, and in love, which is in Christ Jesus; this form of sound words he was to hold fast, which he had heard in faith, which Christ is the author of, 2 Tim 1:13. So those who are not in the same sound words, which is heard in faith and love in Christ Jesus, do not succeed the apostles in their possession nor ordination. In 2 Tim 1:14, ‘that good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Ghost, which dwells in us,’ [mark,] keep by the Holy Ghost that dwells in us; and in 2 Tim 2:2, ‘and all the things you have heard of me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.’

Now mark, these followed the apostles in the succession in the Holy Ghost, in the faith in the good things, which they dwelled in and committed to faithful men, which mystery of the faith is held in a pure conscience; so none can succeed the apostles nor Timothy, nor these faithful men, but in the same faith, and in the same gift of prophecy, and in the good thing, kept by the Holy Ghost dwelling in them. Now those who are not in the same faith and Holy Ghost, and in the same good thing the apostle Timothy and those faithful men were in, do not succeed the apostles and them, though they get the form of godliness; and the apostle and Timothy did not commit those things to faithful men, to teach them, and make a trade of them. For those who make a trade of them are unfaithful men, and do not succeed the apostles and Timothy, but are succeeders of such as resist the Holy Ghost and disobeyers of God; for the apostle said, ‘he gives the Holy Ghost to them that obey him;’ and the apostle said, 2 Tim 3:5, ‘having a form of godliness but denying the power of it, from such turn away.’ Now to have a form of Christ's words, the apostles' words, or Timothy's words, or these faithful men's words, and deny the power and the Holy Ghost that led them to speak them forth, they are to be turned away from, and are no succeeders of the apostles. The apostle said, Heb 12:1-2, ‘therefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that does so easily ensares us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.'

So you may see it is not any man, nor writings, nor words, that is the author of people's faith, but Jesus Christ, and all must look to him, the author and finisher of their faith for it, if they succeed, this cloud of witnesses; which faith is the gift of God, and brings us to have access to God, in which God is pleased: and the apostle said, 1 John 1:1-4, ‘that which was from the beginning, [mark, the beginning, namely, Christ,] which we have heard, [mark, they have heard that which was from the beginning,] which we have seen with our eyes, [mark, they had seen with their eyes that which was from the beginning,] which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life, which was from the beginning; for the life was manifest, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show it unto you, that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifest unto us, that which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that you, (namely, the church), also may have fellowship with us, who had seen, heard, looked upon and handled the word of life, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son Jesus Christ; and these things I write unto you, that your joy may be full.’

Now mark, he that has not the Son has not life, and he that has the Son has life. Therefore, consider all you teachers and churches in Christendom, where is your fellowship, have you heard that which was from the beginning? Have you seen, looked upon, and handled, and so bear witness to what you have seen, heard and handled? Do you declare that to your churches which you have heard, seen and handled, as the apostles did? If not, you do not succeed the apostles in their hearing, in their handling, in their looking, and seeing, and witnessing, and declaring to others. For will not the worldly reason teach you in your common courts, that if a company of witnesses come to bear witness before a judge, the judge asks them whether they have seen, heard, or looked upon the man; if they say, no, they have never heard, nor looked upon him, nor do not expect ever to see him while on this side the grave; what do you think the judge will say to these witnesses, that will come to witness for, or against a man they have never seen, nor heard, nor looked upon, nor ever expect to see. But you may say, the witnesses heard others say so of him; and will this please the judge? Let worldly reason judge. So consider, if you have never heard God's voice, nor seen his form, as you may see in John 5:37. Christ the judge did not accept such from the Jews, who were sayers of what the prophets and Moses said and did; for said he, ‘the Father himself, which has sent me, bears witness of me, but you have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form;’ then these were not, nor are the true or faithful witnesses of God nor Christ.

In Jer 23:21, ‘I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran, I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesy.’ Also, verses 30-31, ‘therefore behold I am against the prophets, said the Lord, that steal my words everyone from his neighbor: behold I am against the prophets, said the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, he said it;’ and verse 16. ‘thus said the Lord of hosts, hearken not unto the prophets, nor unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you, they make you vain, they speak a vision of their own heart, and not from the mouth of the Lord.’ In Ezek 13:3, 7, 22-23,‘woe unto the prophets that follow their own spirit, and that see nothing, I have not sent them, said the Lord, and they say, the Lord said it, albeit I have not spoken to them; I am against you, said the Lord, because with lies you make the hearts of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad, &c. I will deliver my people out of your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.'

Now consider these were not the succeeders of the true prophets, though they used their tongues, and spoke and ran with a divination of their own brains and studies; the Lord was against such, though they might say, thus said the Lord, and get the words of their neighbor prophets. So though you may say, thus said Christ, and thus say the apostles, and be such as run and God never sends, nor Christ, and have neither heard God's voice, nor seen his form, and the Lord nor Christ have not spoken to you, and say, you have not the Holy Ghost as the apostles had, and so follow your own spirits, and see nothing. Do not all, who say they have not the same spirit the apostles had, follow their own spirits, and see nothing, and so are succeeders of these false prophets which God reproved, and not the true prophets nor apostles? ‘And how can you preach, except you are sent?’ said the apostle; for whom Christ sends they are in the Holy Ghost, and none can call him Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Christ said, ‘that he may abide with you forever, namely, the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, John 14:16-18, even the spirit of truth, that shall lead you into all truth,’ and he should dwell in them, and should be with them; and also Christ said, ‘he would be with them and in them to the end of the world.

Now, therefore, how can you be faithful witnesses to God and Christ the judge, by using your tongues, and saying, he said it, or by getting the form of godliness, and denying the power and the Holy Ghost, namely, the witness; and by your running, and God never sent you; and though you say, he said it, and has never spoken to you. Yes even though you may be ministers of the letter from Genesis to Revelation, and say, he or they say it, and yet never hear his voice, or see his form at any time; then how at any time can you be true witnesses, except you were in the same power and Holy Ghost the prophets and the apostles were in?

‘He that has the Son of God, has life, and he that has not the Son of God, has not life;’ then how can he be a witness of the life that he has not seen, heard, nor handled? If Christ is not in him, he is a reprobate, and then how can reprobates be faithful witnesses of him, though they may talk of him by the letter he is come, as the Jews by the letter talked he was to come?

Therefore, those who have the Son of God they have life, they see it, they hear it, they handle it, they look upon it, that life that was in the beginning, and can say, ‘the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, and we know him that is true, and are in him that is true, and so are faithful witnesses, succeeders of the apostles and the true church, and can declare what their eyes have seen, and their hands have handled, and what they have heard, and what they have looked upon, and bear witness and show to others that eternal life, which was with the Father, and manifest to us and in us, and can both witness and declare this to others freely, as they have received freely from God, that others may have fellowship with them, and can say truly, ‘our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son,’ and this we declare and witness to. I say, all who succeed the apostles and the true church, it must be in this hearing, sight, handling, witnessing and declaring of this possession, of this life, Christ that was in the apostles and the true church, else they are no succeeders to them, nor in their possession. For all the false witnesses against the prophets, Christ and the apostles, they might profess the scriptures; and the beast, whore, antichrist, Satan's messengers and false apostles, they might profess Christ in words; but those who have him not, have not life, and so are no true hearers, seers, witnesses nor succeeders. Neither can they call Jesus Lord, except they are in the Holy Ghost the apostles were in, neither can they witness as they did without the Holy Ghost, neither can they build up one another, except they are in the same Holy Ghost the apostles and true church were in, praying in the Holy Ghost, building up one another in the most holy faith.

So all true succession is in this building in the Holy Ghost and holy faith that they were in; and if they are not in this, they are pluckers down, and scatterers from the head; lo here, lo there, Christ without them, and not within them, and so no succeeders to the apostles, nor true Church; but succeed those, against whom the cry is, lo here, lo there, which Christ commands not to follow.

In 2 Cor 2:17, ‘for we are not as many which corrupt the word of God, but as of sincerity, but as of God in the sight of God speak we in Christ;’ and in 2 Pet 2:3, ‘and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.'

Now consider, such as these did not follow the apostles in their succession nor ordination, nor any that are in feigned words, who through covetousness make merchandise of God's, Christ's, the prophets' and apostles' words, and of people.

None follow the apostles in their succession and ordination, but those who are of God, and in the sight of God speak the truth in sincerity in Christ Jesus.

So all those who teach ‘for filthy lucre, and serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple,’ Titus 1:11, Rom 16:18, all such follow not the apostles, and true church in their succession, but are reproved by them.

In Numb 28, you may see how God ordained his law in Mount Sinai, and that his people should walk in it, which law commanded their offerings and the priests to offer and attend upon their service.

But Christ Jesus, who ends the law and the offerings, and the priests, by offering up himself once for all, he ordained his disciples to preach, and commands them, freely as they had received of him, so freely to give.

Therefore, those who follow the apostles in their ordination and in their succession, must give freely, as they have received freely.

Christ commands his disciples not to swear at all, but keep to yes and no in their communication, and to bless, and do not curse.

The apostle that kept in the ordination of Christ and his command, forbad swearing and cursing, and set up yes and no, as Christ commanded.

Now all those who swear and curse, do not follow the apostles in their succession, nor ordination, nor qualification.

Christ forbids his ministers from being called gracious lords, as the Gentiles were, or for being called of men master, as the Pharisees were.

Therefore, those who follow the apostles in Christ's ordination, and the succession of the apostles, must keep his commands; for such ministers that do plead for such titles, and to be called of men masters, and gracious lords, succeed the Pharisees and the Gentiles, and not Christ nor the apostles.

Therefore none can succeed the apostles, but in the same power of God and Holy Ghost that they were in, who gave forth the scriptures; and they must receive Christ, and live in him, who is the rock of ages, and so to know him, to be with them and in them to the end of their age, and so to the end of the world, who is the rock and foundation of all the righteous in their ages; and those who do succeed the apostles, must succeed them in their work and foundation.

So in the light, in the life, and in the power of Christ Jesus, and in him, and he in them, who is the first and last; here is all the true succession and succeeders, who walk and live in Christ Jesus, and he in them, who is first and last.

George Fox

Swarthmore, the 10 th of the 9 th month, 1675.

 

POSSESSION ABOVE PROFESSION

Being a Discourse, in which it may be clearly seen that many that make a Profession of Christ in the Flesh, and deny him in his Light, with which he enlightens every man that comes into the world, (which Light is the Life in the Word), and speak evil against it, are such as possess him not, but persecute his Light and Life as the Jews, that persecuted him in the days of his Flesh.

And how that many Turks and Heathens will own his Divine Light more than many of them that make a Profession of Christ in the Flesh.

Likewise, how that all such as profess Christ Jesus has bought them, are to be governed and ordered by him, their owner; for the worldling's reason will say, ‘that which he has bought and paid for, is his own to order and govern.’ —By G. F.

Now all christians who confess Christ come in the flesh, in words, and yet do not obey him, they have not the comfort of him.

For you christians who confess Christ to be come in the flesh, and yet will not acknowledge his light, that he enlightens every man that comes into the world with, to be a heavenly, divine, and saving light for every one to believe in, it is only a fleshly profession of Christ come in the flesh, and not a spiritual. (‘For none can call him Lord, but by the Holy Ghost,’) nor is it a knowing of him who is the mystery; for Christ is a mystery; and this mystery is known and seen only by his light; and those know Christ no more by the letter of the apostles, than the Jews knew him by the letter of the prophets, and Moses, or as Saul; for when he was Paul, he knew him by revelation; and Peter knew him by revelation; and so the heavenly spiritual man is known by the ‘revelation of his light and spirit,’ and the revelation of the faith (that is the gift of God), which Christ is the author of. Mary knew him by revelation, and Simeon knew him by revelation, and the shepherds knew Christ by revelation through the angel of the Lord, as in Luke 2:8-16, and Joseph knew him by revelation. So, that which reveals the Son of God, is the light and spirit of God; to know him to be the Christ, as he was man, and as he was God. I say, to know Christ, the spiritual and heavenly man, and his heavenly flesh and blood, that is meat indeed and drink indeed to the saints, which who eats of, lives for ever, and lives by the Son as he lives by the Father, who was promised and prophesied to come, who came according to God's promise, and the prophets, ‘who suffered, and was crucified and buried, and the third day rose again, and remains in the heavens, until all things are restored; who is ascended far above all principalities, powers, thrones, and dominions, that he might fill all things, who is the head of his church,’ that neither powers, thrones, principalities, nor dominions, can pluck out of his throne, and crucify him again, though they may crucify him to themselves afresh, and persecute him in his members.

So his heavenly flesh is the saints' daily food and bread from heaven; and those who deny the heavenly man, Christ Jesus, (who died and suffered outside the gates of Jerusalem, more than sixteen hundred years ago,) his sufferings, death and resurrection, ‘deny their own food, and their own heavenly bread, and him that offered up himself for their sin, and had power to lay down his life, and to take it up again.

For it was Christ who died, and is risen, and is at the right hand of God, the heavenly and spiritual man; and it is Christ Jesus, who makes intercession for the saints.

So there is one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, the heavenly and spiritual man, the heavenly and spiritual bishop, the heavenly and spiritual counselor, and the heavenly and spiritual ‘shepherd, priest, teacher, and leader.’

Now all you who profess Christ in words, and have a profession of him in the flesh, and deny him in his light, in his divinity, ‘which enlightens every man that comes into the world,’ hear what Christ said, ‘believe in the light.’ John, speaking of Christ, said, ‘in him was life, and this life was the light of men; and the light shined in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not;’ and ‘that was the true light which lights every man that comes into the world; and he was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not; he came to his own, and his own received him not; but as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on his name.’

So it is clear the world was made by him, and yet the world did not know him, neither can the world know, but by revelation in the light. His own, the Jews, that he came to, they received him not; for they stopped their ears and eyes to the light; but as many as received him, ‘to them he gave power;’ so that here is a distinction between the world, and ‘his own, and them that received him;’ for he gave them such power as to become the sons of God, ‘them which believed in his name:’ and what is his name? The ‘Light, the word Jesus, the Saviour, Christ, the anointed of God, conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Now, all you who make a profession of Christ in the flesh, and do not believe in him as the heavenly light, that enlightens man that comes into the world; how can you believe in the man Christ Jesus, who is a mystery, except (as I said), you believe in the light (as Christ commands), that does enlighten, (which light manifests him), and so become children of the light. It is clear by Christ's words, that none are children of the light, except by believing in the light.

So the rest are children of darkness, though they may make a profession of Christ in the flesh, and after the flesh.

Not to believe in the light (which is the life in Christ, the word, which was in the beginning) what does this differ from the ‘demon's believing and trembling?’ I say, those who do not believe in the divine light of Christ, as he is God, which light is the life in the word, which is God, (that is called life in him, and the light as it is in people that are in darkness.)

You say, this divine, spiritual, heavenly light of Christ is not saving: then why does Christ say, ‘believe in the light, that you may become children of the light; and he that believes, is saved, and he that does not, is condemned already; and I will give him for a covenant of light, and he shall be my salvation to the ends of the earth, said God?’ So then this covenant of light is saving.

Now the Jews, and the Turk, and heathen, and Indians, who do not nor will not profess and acknowledge Christ in the flesh, to be the Saviour; if one come to speak to them of their evil deeds and words, and ask them, if there is not something in them that tells them, they should not speak and do so and so wickedly? (for the light of Christ troubles and condemns them if they do evil), here they will confess to the light of Christ, though they know not what it is which is the life in the word, and light in them, that shines in their darkness, and their darkness comprehends it not, and so do not obey it, nor believe in it, but hate it (many of them), because it will reprove them, and because their deeds are evil. This is according to Christ's words, ‘this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.’

For, everyone that does evil, [mark,] it is not some, but everyone that does, (that is, acts evil), hates the light, neither comes to the light, least his deeds should be reproved. Now he cannot say, ‘it is not there, nor within him, nor that he does not have it,’ when he will not come to it. But men will not come to this divine and spiritual light, least that they should be reproved by it.

Now, Christ makes a distinction between him that loves, and him that hates it; ‘for he that does truth,’ said he, ‘comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifest that they are wrought in God.’

Now, those who hate the light, and will not come to it, they are those who do not the truth; then they do the evil, yet make a profession of Christ in the flesh, that he is come, as the Jews did that he was to come. So with your darkness, you cannot comprehend the light, though it shines there, yes, in your darkness.

But the darkness (you say) is within you; yet you will not have this divine, heavenly light of Christ to be within you. Oh! can such gross darkness comprehend this divine, heavenly light, which is the ‘life in the word, and the true light, that enlightens every man that comes into the world.’ The prophet said, ‘whom God has given for a covenant of light, and to be his salvation to the ends of the earth;’ believe in the light.

Now, the children of darkness, that cannot comprehend the light, (which is the life, in Christ the word), but hate the light, whose deeds are evil, and will not come to the light, because it will reprove them; this is their condemnation, (Turks, Jews, heathen and apostate christians), that believe not in the light (which is the life in the word), as Christ commands.

Now mind this, you professors that are in darkness, and in it cannot comprehend this divine, spiritual, saving, heavenly light, which is the life in the spiritual word, but with your darkness are wrangling and jangling, and are raging like the waves of the sea, foaming out your shame against it. Consider that some of you call this divine, spiritual light, (which is the life in the word), natural, carnal, and of the devil, the light of nature, the Quakers' idol, a ‘will o' the wisp,’ and a new Christ; and many such blasphemous speeches you have published against the true light, ‘which enlightens every man that comes into the world,’ which light is the life in the word Christ; ‘for in him was life,’ speaking of the word which was in the beginning, ‘and the life was the light of men.’

Now, by this true light, all false lights, false christs, and you, are comprehended, and seen, and judged, even by this divine, heavenly light, which is the life in the word, which Christ, the Saviour, and heavenly, spiritual man, enlightens every man that comes into the world withal, and says, ‘believe in the light.’ And so now, you that cannot comprehend this light, which is the life, and make a profession of Christ in the flesh, and yet deny his divine light, and blaspheme against it, and will not own it, but hate it, and spit at it, and call it the ‘light of the devil;’ you are like the Pharisees and chief priests, and the Jews, that cried out, ‘the temple of the Lord,’ and yet persecuted Christ's spiritual worship. You make a profession of Christ in his flesh, and will not own his light, which enlightens every man, which is the life in him, you are as bad or worse than the Jews, Turks, or Indians; for they will confess to that light which does condemn evil in them, but you make a profession of Christ in the flesh, yet deny his light, which is life in him; and the Jews, Turks, and Indians, will confess to the light that reproves them, though they will not obey it; yet this divine, heavenly light will make every tongue to confess, though you that do make a profession of Christ in the flesh, will not confess to this divine light of Christ, so far as Jew, Turk, and heathens; and they will not give this heavenly light, which is life in Christ, such blasphemous names as you do.

So you, in your profession of Christ in the flesh, are darker to his light than the Jews, Turks, Indians or heathens, yes, such as do not profess him come in the flesh; but you and they all must be made to confess to this heavenly, divine light (which is life in him), to your condemnation that hate it, and blaspheme against it, and will not come to it, because you do not practice truth, and so will not turn at the reproofs of it, and believe in it, that you might become children of the light. And now, those who are turned at the reproofs of it, and are turned from the evil, and come to practice truth, they believe in the light, as Christ commands, and love the light, and bring their deeds to the light, that with the light they may see their deeds wrought in God; and so, believing in the light, become children of the light; but all you that hate the light, ‘you hate the life in Christ, and you do not see how your works are wrought.’

And all you, that be the haters of this light and life, and have given so many blasphemous names to it; though you make ‘a profession of Christ in the flesh, and call him Lord, and say, you have preached him in the streets;’ I must tell you, ‘you are not grafted into Christ; for none are grafted into Christ, but by believing in the light;’ for you do hate the light which Christ commands you to believe in, which is the life in himself.

And I tell you, those who believe in the light, (which is the life in him), as Christ commands, are grafted into Christ, their way, their truth, their life, their rock and foundation, their shepherd, their bishop, and their priest, who is made higher than the heavens, who is first and last.

And all you that are the haters of this divine, spiritual light, which is the life in Christ, and will not come to it, are the doers of evil, and not practicers of truth; and calling this light, which is the life in Christ, the Quakers' new christ, and their idol, and a natural created light, and of the devil, you do wickedly.

I tell you, you are persecuting the life of Christ Jesus, though you are the professors of him in the flesh; for you are the persecutors of him in his light, and life, and spirit now in our age; you will not behold his glory.

Like as the Jews were blind, and stopped their eyes and ears against the light of Christ, and persecuted him in their day in the flesh, and put him to death in the flesh, and crucified him without the gates of Jerusalem, yet he arose again the third day, and is ascended above all principalities, thrones and dominions, and remains in the heavens until the restitution of all things; him, I say, you cannot crucify any more, nor put to death in the flesh any more; but you may and do crucify him to yourselves afresh, and persecute him in his members, yet death has no more dominion over him; for he is ascended far above the reach of all the powers of the earth, who was dead, and is alive, and lives for evermore.

But as the Jews persecuted him, and cried, ‘crucify him, crucify him,’ in the flesh; so you professors of Christ in the flesh, persecute Christ in the spirit, in his light, and in his life, who cannot reach to crucify him in his flesh any more, but to yourselves and in his members.

And now, as the Jews cried, ‘crucify him, away with him,’ in the flesh; so you who profess him in the flesh, do not you cry, ‘away with the light which enlightens every man that comes into the world,’ which is the life of Christ? And you spit at the life and light of Christ, as the Jews spit at him in the flesh, and cry, ‘away with this light, away with this life,’ which is ‘in the word.’ So you professors of Christ in the flesh, do fight against Christ in his light and life, as the Jews fought against him in his flesh.

Again, as the Jews hated Christ in the flesh, you who profess him in the flesh hate this divine light, which is the life in him; and cry, ‘away with this light; and call it natural, and of the devil, and the Quakers’ idol, and new christ, which is the life in Christ, and this you cry ‘away withal;’ and some of you have cursed it, and in your darkness have called it a ‘dark light,’ and ‘dim light,’ and ‘beggarly scrap,’ and you make a profession of him in the flesh.

And Christ Jesus is not known as he is God in his divinity, nor in his flesh, as he was manifest, but by this his ‘divine heavenly light, which we own and believe in, as he commands, who are children of the light; which name or title Christ bestowed upon us before you professors nick-named us with the name of Quakers, in the year 1650, which name one Bennet, at Darby, gave us, when he cast us into prison; and as it is said, ‘young men, you are strong, you have overcome the wicked one; fathers, you have known him from the beginning;’ that is, you have known him in his divinity, you have known him in the promise, and in the prophets, you have known him in his birth and ‘conception by the Holy Ghost,’ you have known him in his ‘life, preaching, and miracles,’ and the ‘contradiction and blasphemies of sinners against him;’ so you have known him in his sufferings, and have fellowship with him. You have known him in his death and passion, as he was crucified without the gates at Jerusalem, and buried, (‘who saw the travail of his soul, and was satisfied;’) you have known him in his death, burial, and suffering, who lay three days and nights in the sepulchre, (or heart of the earth. Mat 12:40.) You have known him again in his resurrection, who is ascended above all principalities, powers, thrones, and dominions, and remains in the heavens until all things be restored; and restoring, by his light, power, spirit, grace, and faith, who is before all, and above all, first and last, and has made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, where our bread is sure, and our water is sure, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed. And we who believe in the light of Christ, which is the life in him, cannot deny the flesh of Christ, our heavenly bread, who remains in the heavens. I say, that Jesus Christ who died without the gates of Jerusalem above sixteen hundred years since, who has enlightened us with his heavenly divine light, which is the life in himself, through which light we are grafted into Christ, the heavenly spiritual man, who has saved, redeemed, and purchased and bought us with his precious blood, the blood of the heavenly man, the second Adam, who does cleanse and sanctify us with his blood, the blood of the new covenant, Christ Jesus. So I say, he who bought us, and purchased us, and has given a price for us, namely, his heavenly and precious blood, we believing in the light, as he has commanded, which is the life in him, and he has sealed us; Christ, the heavenly man has set his heavenly seal upon us. So here is his heavenly mark upon us, his sheep, and we are his who has purchased us, and given a price for us, namely, his heavenly blood. We are not our own, and are not to live to ourselves, nor to order ourselves, but to live unto him, and be ordered, ruled, and governed by him, of the increase of whose government there is no end; and so to be counselled by him, and led by him, and taught by him, as he is our heavenly prophet, and to be fed by him, our ‘heavenly shepherd,’ in his heavenly pasture and fold; and to be overseen by him, as he is our ‘heavenly bishop,’ that we his sheep do not go astray out of his heavenly pasture, that are come in by him, the ‘heavenly door;’ who is our ‘heavenly priest,’ who offered up himself for us, and ends all the outward typical offerings, that were offered up for sin, as well as the other; and ‘he offered himself up to God once for all, for our sins, a sweet-smelling sacrifice;’ therefore ‘the offerings of bulls and goats you desired not, but a body have you prepared me to do your will, O God.’ So God prepared him a body to do his will, and with his body he fulfilled his will, according to all his prophets and promises, whose flesh saw no corruption, which is the heavenly bread, and his blood, which purchases, which is not corruptible. For the blood of bulls and goats was corruptible, but this precious blood of Christ is incorruptible, that cleanses from corruption: so, by his precious blood are we cleansed from all sin; he is a priest, made higher than the heavens, a ‘heavenly priest,’ and a ‘heavenly spiritual man,’ offered up himself first for us, and offers us, and cleanses, and washes, and sanctifies us with his blood, he who is without spot or wrinkle, to make us without spot or wrinkle, that he may present us pure and clean, without spot or wrinkle, up to the eternal, pure, holy, uncorruptible, infinite God, who is a consuming fire to the wicked, who dwells in glory, and inhabits eternity.

Now, all of you who profess Christ has come in the flesh, and say, ‘he has purchased you, and paid a price for you;’ what! for you to live to yourselves, and serve yourselves, and do your own wills, and to hate his light, which is the ‘life in him,’ and blaspheme against it with many blasphemous words, as ‘natural,’ and ‘of the devil,’ etc.?

Now, if you were in the sense of Christ's purchasing of you, and paying a price for you, namely, his blood; and everyone as in a sense of that, you the earthly, that have pierced the heavenly man, would not then hate his light, which is his life, but believe in it, that you might be sealed with his heavenly seal, as we are, and have his heavenly mark, that he sets upon his sheep.

But see if you don't have the beast's mark in your forehead, and outward profession, who are without the light and life of Christ, and the spirit and power the apostles were in; and if that you will not maintain with your right hand, in which the beast's mark is, with all your strength and power, in obedience to the beast, the dragon's power, (the devil), to persecute the light and life of the Lamb, and such as have his mark and seal.

Site Editor's Comments: The mark of the beast is seen by what spiritual things a man puts his hand (right hand) and mind (forehead) to. Those with the mark of the beast put their spirit, soul, and body to the upholding of the religion of man, as invented by man; seeking justification by fleshly action, ceremony, and ritual; they are looking for cover, to remain in their fallen, unredeemed, unpurified, unregenerated, imperfect, unholy, carnal, prideful, lusting, fleshly, lying, selfish, beastly nature. Between 900 AD and 1400 AD, anyone who tried to increase their measure of Christ by any way that differed from the doctrine of the Roman church (to buy or sell spiritual oil differently for their lamps), was not only stopped from buying and selling; they were killed - which really made them unable to buy or sell. 9,000,000 were killed.

For the beast, the dragon's power, and his mark in your forehead and right hand, is easily seen, both in the notion and strength, and in your obedience and conformity to the dark power, and in your blind zeal, without knowledge, by them who are in that power, and spirit, and light, which is the life in Christ, which the apostles were in, who had the true knowledge and true zeal, that wrestled not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual weapons against the rulers of darkness and spiritual wickednesses; but the blind zeal wrestles with carnal weapons, against flesh and blood, with the beast's mark in their forehead and right hand, and with the dark power's strength in a notion and outside profession, without the power and spirit of the prophets, Christ and the apostles, and such do not know what spirit they are of, neither have they rule over their own spirits; but are like unto a city whose walls are broken down, that is on heaps; and pray, you Christendom, see whether your walls are not broken down? And if you lie not all on heaps? And the cause and reason is because you do not have rule over your own spirits, and are all in heaps about your professions and religions. But as I said before, if you were in the sense that Christ has purchased you, you would all live to him, not to yourselves, and you would serve him, and not yourselves, and the world, and your lusts and pleasures; but serve him who is heavenly, and not this world, in whom you might have peace as we have. For common reason teaches this, ‘that if a man buys a horse, or sheep, or other cattle, and gives or pays a price for them, the horse and cattle are at his own use, and service, and command that has bought them, and to be ordered and fed by him; and his oxen shall know his crib who has bought them, and his ass will know him as owner, who has bought him, and paid a price for him; and he that has bought his sheep, and sets his own mark upon them, and orders his pastures for them, would not lose them after he has bought them;’ this the common reason of every selfish man understands. But Christ our spiritual heavenly man has purchased us with his blood, and paid a price for us his sheep, and has sealed us, and set his mark upon us, so that we are his, and not our own, and are at his ordering and disposing by his heavenly power; and he orders us heavenly milk; and wine and honey, and heavenly bread and water, and the heavenly clothing, the fine linen that he clothes us with, and feeds us in his heavenly pastures of life, his lambs and his sheep; and so we are to live to Christ, the heavenly man, and to serve him, and to do his will, and so know his doctrine; and so here we know our master's crib, and know our owner, and his heavenly voice who has purchased us, and paid a price for us, our heavenly owner, who has paid the heavenly price for us; and not like such that are worse than the common ox and ass, that do not know their owner, nor their master's crib.

So, the Lord give all people understanding, that they may believe in his light, and in his light see their owner, and his crib, and him that has purchased them, namely, the heavenly man, Christ Jesus, the light of the world. And is it not fit, you earthly men, don't you think, that the heavenly man should have them whom he purchases, and has paid a price for, at his service, and to be at his ordering and rule, and to live to him, and to do his will, and to have them at his heavenly command and order, seeing what you purchase with your money, as goods, and cattle, and such like, you will have at your command and ordering, or you will give judgment, ‘whose else are they? for we have purchased them with our money,’ say you; so whatever you buy, you will say it is ours, and they are our own; for we bought them. And if they are at your service and at your own ordering, and shall not decide for themselves, then consider, has Christ purchased you with his blood? Has he bought you, and paid a price for you? Then are not you to be ordered by him, and his power, and spirit, and light in your hearts, and grace there? Whose are you? Are you not his, if he has bought you and paid a price for you? Must you walk by your own mind, or serve yourselves, or him? Must you live to yourselves or him? Must you go do what you will yourselves, or by his power and command? Shall your ox, or ass, or sheep go when and where they will, or be at the master's power? But if you make a profession of Christ, who has purchased you, and hate his light, and do evil, and will not come to truth, and quench the spirit, and vex it, and grieve it, and rebel against it, and walk despitefully against the spirit of grace, and turn it into wantonness, and despise prophecy and revelation, by which Christ is known, who has purchased you. Poor people! You remain in the dark; and to such Christ will say, ‘I know you not;’ and how should you know him, who hate the light that gives the knowledge of him? For those who Christ knows, believe in his light, and are grafted into him, the life, and become children of the light, and turn from darkness, and practice the truth, and walk in the spirit, and neither grieve nor rebel against it, and in it is their fellowship and in the spirit of revelation, which reveals the things of God to them, and Christ to them, who is the spiritual man, through which they keep the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy, and so of Christ's, the heavenly man's sheep, who by his spirit know his spiritual and heavenly voice, and walking in the spirit, follow the spiritual and heavenly man Christ Jesus, who has purchased them with his heavenly blood, and feeds them with his heavenly flesh, the bread from heaven; and this I and they witness, who are within his heavenly fold, and have his heavenly seal and mark from the heavenly Father, and wish all you knew the same.

Some queries to you that make a boast of your profession of Christ in the flesh, and yet deny him in his light, which is the life in the word.

Seeing Christ that was crucified, the same is risen, and remains in the heavens, and is ascended far above all principalities, powers, thrones and dominions, etc., and since John said in the Revelation, ‘that the beast with his horns should make war with the Lamb, but the Lamb should overcome him; for he is King of kings, and Lord of lords,’ ... Rev 13:7,17:14,19:13-16 . And again, in Rev 17, ‘the beast and the kings of the earth, and their armies shall gather together to make war against him that sat on the white horse,’ &c.

Now I query this of you: how do those make war against Christ, the Lamb of God, seeing that he has risen into the heavens? Did they make war against him in his flesh, as the Jews did, or against him in his light and life, and in his spirit, as he was in his people, seeing that he was ascended far above all principalities and powers, after he was risen? Therefore, I ask you, how the beast and his followers make war with the Lamb, if it is not against his light, and against his life, and against his spirit in his people, by calling him in his light, and life, and spirit, natural, and of the devil, and a false christ, etc? If they cannot war against Christ in the flesh, and if you confess that he is ascended far above all principalities and powers, then do not such war against him in his life, and spirit, and light, which Christ commands all to believe in? And if they are not warriors against him in his flesh, then are not they warriors against him in his light, life and spirit? And then are not you the warriors against him, who hate his light, which is the life in the word, and call it of the devil, and a false christ, and an idol, etc.? And don't you think that the heavenly warrior, the Lamb, will overcome you, who is King of kings, and Lord of lords, and will take the beast and false prophet, and cast him into the lake of fire and brimstone [along with yourselves]?

Again it is said, ‘the dragon was wroth with the woman, and made war with her seed, that kept the commands of God, that have the testimony of Jesus.’ [mark, have it,] Rev 12. And also, it is said, in Rev 13, ‘the beast that opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven, and power was given unto him to make war with the saints.’ Now was not this war against them, the saints, the sanctified ones, who lived in the light, and believed in the light, and were children of the light, and were grafted into Christ by belief in the light, which was the life in the word, who have the testimony of Jesus, the spirit of prophecy. Was not this war against them, because Christ was in them by his light and life, spirit and power? and so do not such war against him now, that have but the form and outward profession of Christ's and the apostles' words, against the believers in the light, which is the life in Christ the word, and blaspheme against it? And is not that from the spirit of the beast, but not from the spirit of Christ, to say they don't have the same spirit and power Christ and the apostles had? But indeed, how should you, who will not believe in his light, with which he enlightens every man that comes into the world? I this not the cause of so many heaps and heads among people in the whole world, because they do not believe in Christ the true light, that lights every man that comes into the world, by which they might become the children of light, and grafted into Christ their life, and so see him, and hold to him their head, and keep the testimony of Jesus? And did not Christ say to that great professor Saul, and does he not say to such, ‘'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the pricks [of your conscience].'’ And further, does not Christ say, I was in prison, and hungry, and sick, and naked, etc. Was this a persecuting Christ who died at Jerusalem in his flesh? Or was it a persecuting Christ as he was manifest in his members by his light, and life, and power, and spirit, who were the possessors of Christ? And if their persecution was against Christ in his light and life, which they persecuted the believers [James, Stephen, Peter, John] in, and such as were the possessors of Christ in his spirit; then I say again, are not you the same persecutors, who blaspheme against his light, and persecute his members who confess to it, and believe in it? So consider Christ's words to Saul, while he was persecuting him, he ‘kicked against that which pricked him,’ he was kicking against that which pricked him, while he persecuted Christ in his members. So see if you can tell, what it was he kicked against? And what was that which made Judas confess he had sinned in betraying the innocent blood? Was it not that which condemned him, that will make every tongue to confess? And do not all they crucify Christ to themselves afresh and put him to open shame, who do not live in the life, and the same power and spirit that the apostles lived in, and do not believe in the light, which is the life in Christ the word, and so not grafted into him, because of unbelief in Christ the light and life? And are not all the believers in the light, which is the life in Christ grafted into him, members of his body, and of his flesh, and of his bones; yes or no? And so those who persecute Christ's members, do not they persecute him? And are not all such unbelievers, who persecute the believers in the light, which Christ commanded people to believe in? For, where did any believers in the light, who were children of the light, and grafted into Christ, persecute one another? Or where did ever the prophets or apostles, or any christians in the apostles' days, call the light of Christ, which enlightens everyone that comes into the world, (which is the life in the word), and which Christ commands to believe in, of the devil, an idol, and natural, and a new christ, etc. Let us see where it is written in the scriptures, you who call and say, ‘the scripture is your rule, for what you do, and preach, and speak?’ Are not all those who do not believe in the light of Christ condemned by the light of Christ, though they make a profession of him in the flesh? Or are any saved except those who believe in the light? And do not they come out of condemnation who believe in the light, and so become children of the light, and grafted into Christ, where there is no condemnation? Consider these things.

George Fox

Swarthmore, this 18 th of the 8 th month, 1675.

Something by way of Query to, and Expostulation
with you that love and expect Earthly Honor

Site Editor's Comment: The early Quakers were forbidden to honor men, particularly in respect to class, position, or office; this refusal was not only in principle, but in obedience to commands received from the Lord Jesus Christ to their leaders. They would not take their hats off in court. As the grammar books of the day required, the early Quakers would refer to any singular persons in all classes as thee and thou instead of the demanded you. Neither would they bow or curtsey to anyone. This refusal to give honor to man drove the English population to beat, imprison, and kill the early Quakers.

Does not Christ say, ‘I receive not honor from men?’

Now, if the King of kings, and Lord of lords, the great Prophet, and the great and heavenly bishop and shepherd, who sent out all his ambassadors and disciples, and told them, ‘go into all nations and preach the King of king's and Lord of lord's glorious gospel;’ if he did not receive honor from men, then were his ambassadors or apostles to receive honor from men in all, or any of those nations that they went into with his message? For does not Christ say to the great professing Jews, and scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests, and the like, ‘How can you believe, who seek honor one of another, and seek not the honor which comes from God only?’ Mark Christ's question, and see how you can answer him in it; for Jesus Christ said to the Jews, who were great professors of Moses and the prophets, ‘I honor my Father, and you dishonor me.’ John 8:49.

And now, do not all who speak evil of his light, which is the life in him, dishonor him in his light and life, as the Jews dishonored him in the days of his flesh, though they may be as high-professors in the letter [Bible], that Christ is come, as the scribes, (the writers), and the Pharisees, and chief priests (the readers and expounders of the law and prophets), were, that he was to come?

And did not the Jews have the scriptures of Moses and the prophets, the scribes, (the writers), Pharisees, and chief priests and other priests, (these readers and expounders of the law and prophets), did these not have the scriptures that testified that Christ was to come, and yet they knew not Christ, the word of God, when he came?’

Did not Christ say to the Jews, "He who is of God, hears God's words. You cannot hear his words because you are not of God."* John 8:47. Now, might not the Jews say to Christ, as the professors will now say to us, do not we read the law and the prophets every Sabbath-day in our synagogues and temple? and are not they the words of God? But may not Christ answer you again, and say unto you, that you have not the same spiritual ear as his prophets and apostles had, to hear God's words; but those ears of yours are stopped like the Pharisees; scribes', and high priests', and Jews', who had outward ears and eyes, but heard not, nor saw they Christ wanting the spiritual? and is it not said, ‘he that has an ear, let him hear what the spirit said unto the churches?’

*You cannot hear his words because you are not of God. Many people think that this applies to the Jews only, thinking them to be some kind of special evil persons. But this applies to all men of all nations; because, until a man has been taught by the Spirit of God, he cannot recognize someone speaking the words and ideas as coming from the Spirit. The Spirit of God has to slowly teach a man spiritual things, changing his outlook on life, discovering the truth about life. But the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:14. Until the Spirit of God shows him his sins, the natural man is even unaware of the depth of his slavery to sin; this is the basic function of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter: when he comes, he will convict and convince the world of sin,1 and about righteousness, and judgment. John 16:8. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13.

And did not Christ say to Pilate in his examination, ‘for this cause I came into the world, to bear witness unto the truth; everyone that is of the truth, heareth my voice?’ So then, it is not everyone that speaks the words of truth, of Moses and the prophets, Christ and the apostles; but everyone that is of the truth; he must be of the truth if he hears Christ's voice; for, does he not tell you plainly, ‘it is not everyone that says Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom; but he that does his will’ shall know his doctrine? Likewise, does not Christ say, ‘everyone that does truth comes to the light that with its deeds may be manifest that they are wrought in God?’ And therefore those who do not the truth, though they may talk of it from Genesis to the Revelation, if they come not to the light, their works cannot be manifest to them that they are wrought in God, neither can they see how their works are wrought. For does not the apostle say, ‘that which makes manifest is light?’ And does not Christ say, ‘everyone who does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, least his deeds should be reproved?’ And if everyone who does evil hates the light, do not such hate Christ, the life and the salvation, the covenant of light? And are not these the haters of light, and the doers of evil, that say, ‘the light which is the life in Christ, is natural, and of the devil, and the Quakers' idol, and a new christ,’ etc.? And so, neither come to the light themselves, nor allow others to come to the light, least their deeds should be reproved. Therefore it was the Jews, scribes, Pharisees, sadducees, and high-priests, who did the evil, and hated the light, and would not come to the light, least their deeds should be reproved? And may not this be also truly said of many in Christendom, of the great professors of the letter of Christ and the apostles, ‘that he is come,’ as of the great professors of the letter, the Jews, ‘that he was to come?’

Now, such as hate the light, and will not come to the light, who do evil, because it will reprove them, and let them see their evil deeds; how should such do the truth, and be of the truth, and hear Christ's voice, as he said, ‘My sheep hear my voice?’

George Fox

Swarthmore, this 20 th of the 8 th month, 1675

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