Friends,—Keep your meetings in the power of the Lord God, that hath gathered you; and none quench the spirit, nor despise prophesying [1 Th 5:19f], but keep up your testimony in public and private. Let not the mouths of babes and sucklings [Psa 8:2] be stopped, nor the seed in male or female [Gal 3:28], but all be valiant for the Lord's truth upon the earth [Jer 9:3]. Concerning the women's meetings; encourage all the women of families, that are convinced, and mind virtue, and love truth, and walk in it; that they may come up into God's service, that they may be serviceable in their generation, and in the creation, and come into the practice of the pure religion, which you have received from God, from above; that every one may come to know their duty in it, and their service in the power and wisdom of God [1 Cor 1:24]. For now the practical part is called for. For people must not be always talking and hearing, but they must come into obedience to the great God of heaven and earth.
And so that none may stand idle out of the vineyard [Mat 20:3,6], and out of the service, and out of their duty; for such will talk and tattle [1 Tim 5:13], and judge with evil thoughts, of what they in the vineyard say and do. . . .
G. F. Top
Blessed are all those whose minds are stayed upon the Lord, for they shall be kept in perfect peace [Isa 26:3]; so where the mind is stayed upon the Lord, there is a perfect peace; for it is a whole peace, which cannot be broken. So here is not only a perfect peace, but a blessing; a perfect peace which comes from the God of all peace, (that bruiseth the serpent's head under your feet [Rom 16:20/Gen 3:15], the troubler,) and the blessings which come from the blessed God. So all imperfect peace may be broken, that is when the mind is stayed upon the creature, or in any creature, and not upon the Creator; or in any outward things, goods, houses, lands, or inventions of vanities, in the foolish vain fashions; which the lust of the eye and the pride of life [1 Jn 2:16] go into, which will defile and corrupt it. . . . And this is below Job, to have the mind in the creatures and visible things; for when you are tried, and creatures fail you, you are crossed and troubled; that shows an imperfect state; for God said, that Job was a perfect man [Job 1:8]. And when the Lord suffered him to be tried, and when his goods and houses were thrown down, and driven away, and servants killed, he said, ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord; for the Lord gave, and the Lord taketh [Job 1:21].’ Here his mind was stayed upon the Lord, and he retained his peace. And when that his children were destroyed, and his wife said to him, ‘What! dost thou still retain thy integrity? Curse God and die;’ he rebukes her and calls her a foolish woman; and said unto her, ‘Shall I receive good of the Lord, and not evil? [Job 2:9f] Naked I came out of my mother's womb, and naked I must return [Job 1:21].’ Here Job kept his integrity still, and did not all this while <285> offend with his lips. Now many of you, who think yourselves high, and above Job, if your goods and children should be after the same manner taken away, (whose minds are in them,) you would be found in a troubled brittle state, far below Job. And when Job's friends came to reason with him, who kept his integrity, and would no way yield to them, they counted him an hypocrite, and said, ‘he restrained prayer [Job 15:4], and filled his belly with east wind [Job 15:2];’ and said, ‘What! shall mortal man be more pure than his maker? [Job 4:17] Shall man that is born of a woman be just? [Job 4:17/15:14] God chargeth his angels with folly [Job 4:18], and the heavens are not clear in his sight [Job 15:15]. And these are the scriptures the priests use to bring against Friends, (who keep their integrity,) as Job's friends did against him. But at the last the Lord commanded Job to offer a sacrifice for his friends, because they had sinned, and spoken not right, as Job had [Job 42:7-10], who was perfect and kept his integrity. And the apostle said to the saints, ‘that he had learned in all conditions to be content [Phil 4:11].’ (Mark,) in all conditions; but this was when he was Paul, not when he was Saul, running up and down with his packet of letters, haling the saints before the rulers [Acts 9:2] like a parater; then he was not content, neither with his own condition, nor others; but when he came to learn Christ, who destroys the devil and his works [Heb 2:14, 1 Jn 3:8], who teacheth to know all things [John 14:26, 1 Jn 2:27], then in all things he learned to be content. So that you know that there is learning, and learned; as a child when he is learning, and become learned, is witness of two states. So Paul, he had learned in all conditions to be content; and who was his schoolmaster, but Christ, by whom all things were made [John 1:3], not of man, nor by man, (out of the truth,) so while he learned of men, and by men, he was not content, neither are any others.
Therefore all are to learn of Christ, the light, the life, and the truth, that you may come to that condition, to have learned in all conditions to be content, and not to trust in uncertain riches [1 Tim 6:17], for they have wings and will flee away [Prov 23:5]. And so he is never counted a wise man, that will put any confidence in that which will flee away from him; for those are the heirs of the earth and the world, that load themselves with thick clay [Hab 2:6], that they may set their nests on high [Hab 2:9]; but they that be heirs with Christ [Rom 8:17], and of the power of an endless life [Heb 7:16], trust in the living God [1 Tim 4:10, 6:17], and come to possess and everlasting inheritance of the power of an endless life, and come to increase in the riches of the everlasting inheritance, and there lay up riches that are everlasting, which will abide for ever. And mind every one God's word in your hearts, and in your mouths, and obey it and do it; and be not of them that are saying in their hearts, who shall ascend or descend, to fetch him from above, or from the deep? [Deut 30:12-14] Keep down that sayer under reproof, and then your ear will be open to that which the righteousness of faith saith, the <286> word is nigh thee, in thy heart, and in thy mouth; so thou needest not to say, who shall ascend or descend? And that was the word which the messengers of God preached and do preach [Rom 10:8], and rebukes the gainsayer [Tit 1:9].
And so all people, seeing the devil hath made the world like a wilderness [Isa 14:17], and there are so many ways in it that they do not know which way to come out of it, nor which to follow. Therefore this is my answer to you all, take David's lamp and light [Psa 119:105]. You may say, what is that? and where is it? I say it is with you, the word of God. You may say, people do not use to carry lamps in the day-time, but in the night. I say, you are in the night of darkness, and therefore the word is called a lamp, and a light to you; by which you may see the way of the Lord, which is perfect [2 Sam 22:31, Psa 18:30], from all men's ways, which are imperfect; by which ye may see the path of the just to be a shining light [Prov 4:18], from all the unjust paths that are in the darkness. For by this word did David come to outstrip his teachers, and was made wiser than them all; so it will you, if you obey it; for by this word he saw Christ, and called him Lord. Therefore he loved the word and hid it in his heart [Psa 119:11]; and by it he spake so many glorious expressions, which the world since hath turned into metre, and made songs of them. And this was the word that came to Abraham, which made him forsake his national religion and worship, and obey the Lord. And this was the word that came to Jacob, the shepherd, by which he saw Christ, and prophesied of him to his sons on his death-bed, when he said to Judah, the sceptre should not depart from Judah; nor a lawgiver from between his feet, till Shiloh came, (meaning Christ,) and the gathering of all nations should be to him [Gen 49:10], as it is at this day; the gathering is to Christ. And this was the word that came to Moses, the shepherd, when he was keeping sheep, which he obeyed and went to Egypt, and brought the children of Israel out of Egypt; by which word he was made a minister; and when that the children of Israel were come out of Egypt into the wilderness, he told them, ‘they need not go for the word beyond the seas, &c. for it was nigh them, in their hearts and mouths, to obey it and do it [Deut 30:12-14].’ And this was the word that made Moses a prophet, who prophesied of Christ, and said, ‘like unto him God would raise up a prophet, him should they hear in all things [Deut 18:15].’ Mark! in all things; we are to be ordered both inward and outward, through hearing Christ, by whom all things were made. And every one that would not hear this prophet (Christ) should be cut off [Num 15:31]. For how should they continue or reign that will not hear Christ?
And this was the word that came to Samuel, and made him a prophet, who spake to Eli the priest, and reproved his sons, and the children of Israel [1 Sam 3:10-13]. And this was the word that made Saul to prophesy [1 Sam 10:11], and Balaam, though they erred from it [Jude 1:11]. And this was the word that made <287> all the prophets to prophesy, and to reprove the kings of Israel, and their priests, of their superstition and idolatrous ways, in setting groves and images in high places; and reproved all their monthly prognostications [Isa 47:13], who spoke and acted from them, and not from the Lord.
And this was the word that came to Isaiah, by which he prophesied of Christ, and of his preaching, and of his sufferings [Isa 53], and by which word he reproved the shepherds, which were as greedy dumb dogs, that could never have enough, seeking their gain from their quarter [Isa 56:10f]. And by this word he saw, that all the children of God should be taught of God, and be established in righteousness [Isa 54:13f] and peace; and though many tongues should rise up in judgment against them, yet those that were taught of God should condemn them all; such power should be given to his children. And the many weapons formed against them should not prosper [Isa 54:17], God would restrain them. And also he saw them that were cast out, that trembled at God's word; to whom God would appear to their glory, and to the shame [Isa 66:5] and to the confounding of them that cast them out for his name sake, as it is at this day.
And this was the word of God that made Jeremiah a prophet [Jer 1:4,9], by which he saw the new covenant [Jer 31:31-23]; by which word he was sent to reprove the people and the princes, of the filthy and horrible thing committed in the land, that the priests preached for hire, and the prophets prophesied falsely [Jer 5:30f]. And for reproving them for their superstition and idolatry, they struck him, and put him in the stocks [Jer 20:2f] and prison, and persecuted him in the dungeon, till his persecutors were carried into captivity. And by the word Jeremiah saw the number of seventy years of his persecutors being in Babylon's captivity [Jer 25:11].
Elijah by this word was made a prophet, and by the word reproved Abab and Jezebel for their idolatry, and worshipping of images. For which word's sake they persecuted him, and the rest of the prophets; and was not he fed of the ravens by the river [1 Ki 17:4-6]? And did they not seek to take away his life? And did not he think all the Lord's prophets had been killed, and he left alone [1 Ki 19:14]; yet did not the Lord say to him, he had reserved seven thousand that had not bowed the knee to Baal [1 Ki 19:18]? And Elisha, the ploughman, by this word, was made a prophet, and forsook his plough [1 Ki 19:19-21]; and by the word reproved the idolatry in his age of priests and people.
And by this word was Ezekiel made a prophet; by which word he reproved the shepherds of Israel, that made a prey upon the people, and taught them for the fleece. And by the word he saw that God would bring the people from under them, that they should be made a prey upon no longer; and would gather them from their mouths, and set one shepherd over them [Ezek 34], even Christ, (who is witnessed.) And by the word he reproved the false prophets, that taught for handfuls of barley, <288> and pieces of bread [Ezek 13:19], and daubed with untempered mortar [Ezek 13:10f], and sewed pillows under the arm holes [Ezek 13:18]. And by the word he saw the pattern of the temple [Ezek 40-43], and the return of the Jews.
And by this word Daniel was made a prophet, and saw Christ and his kingdom, and how the saints should take his kingdom [Dan 7:18]. And by the word he saw such that should rise up against the people of God. And by the word he numbered the years of Christ to his time, four hundred ninety-nine years [Dan 9:24 Geneva Margin], and of his death, and how he should end the sacrifices [Dan 9:27]; and how that Christ should bring up everlasting righteousness, and put an end to sin, and end their prophets, and seal up their visions [Dan 9:24].
And by the word was Micah made a prophet, by which he cried against the priests that preached for hire, and the prophets that prophesied for money, and the judges that judged for rewards [Micah 3:11], and such as preached peace to the people that put in their mouths, (like the priests in these times,) and when they did not, they prepared war against them [Micah 3:5], and chopped their flesh, and broke their bones [Micah 3:3]. But Micah saw by the word that the sun was gone down upon such prophets and priests, and they should have no vision nor answer from God [Micah 3:6f]. Therefore such as are against revelations and visions, on them the sun is set, and gone down and the night comes upon them.
And by the word was Amos the herdsman made a prophet, who was a gatherer of fruits [Amos 7:14-16]; and likewise all the rest of the prophets, who spoke forth divine things, and reproved the superstition and idolatry in their time and day. And by the word did the prophets speak forth divine things; which word brought them into the divine nature and mind; which word hammered [Jer 23:29] and cut down that which corrupted their natures. And this was the word that made so many fishermen preachers [Mat 4:18f] of the gospel, which is the power of God [Rom 1:16].
And this was the word which made Matthew the toll gatherer [Mat 9:9, 10:3], Luke the physician [Col 4:14], and Paul the tent maker [Acts 18:3], ministers and preachers of the gospel, and power of God. And this was the word which made Peter to see Joel's prophecy, how that God would pour out of his spirit upon all flesh, and sons and daughters should prophesy, and young men should see visions, and old men dream dreams; and the pouring forth of the spirit upon servants and handmaids [Joel 2:28f, Acts 2:17f], that every one should have something to speak to the glory of God. And now priests, and proud prelates, and bishops, and popes, though you have made a trade of the saints' words, and apostles' and prophets' words, and gotten a great deal of money by them, (which were fishermen and shepherds' words from the word,) yet nevertheless, if a company of shepherds, herdsmen, fishermen, tent makers and toll gatherers should come amongst you to preach, you would say, Away with these mechanic fellows, they have not served seven years apprenticeship at the colleges, which were set <289> up to make ministers; therefore they are not to set up, because they have not served their apprenticeship. . . . Away with you to work, and away with your colleges; for our brother Paul the tent maker said, he that will not work must not eat [2 Th 3:10]. For, would you own Christ if he had come in your day, who was called, a carpenter's son [Mat 13:55]? You popes, with your triple crowns, and you lord bishops, with your coaches and pampered horses, and gorgeous apparel, with your black coats, and white coats, and silk girdles: are you like to entertain him who was called a carpenter's son? Or to cast him and his mother into the manger in your stables [Luke 2:7].
This was the word by which John the evangelist saw Christ, who doth enlighten every man that cometh into the world, and saw how he became flesh, and came to his own, and that his own did not receive him; but to as many as received Christ the light, to them he gave power to become the sons of God [John 1:9,14,11f); which all they that are ministers of the letter, made by their seven years learning in their colleges, and not by the word, (hating the light [John 3:20],) cannot know. And by this word, the minister of the word preaches Christ's word, life, death and resurrection. And therefore, as John saith in his epistle, ‘That which our eyes have seen, our hands have handled, and our ears have heard of the word of life, do we preach unto you; that which was from the beginning [1 Jn 1:1].’ In the beginning was the word [John 1:1]; though since the beginning were the words and letters; for the scriptures of truth [Dan 10:21] are the words of God, and the words of Christ; and he that adds to these words, (saith John in the revelations,) God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book [Rev 22:18], &c. So the word was in the beginning, and Christ's name is called, the word of God [Rev 19:13]; but Christ is neither called scriptures nor writings, for scriptures signify writings. So, in the beginning was the word; since the beginning were all false ways, false churches, false teachers; and in the word ye comprehend them all. The priests say, that Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, are the original; but the many languages began at Babel, which Nimrod, the hunter before the Lord [Gen 10:8f], began to build, after God had destroyed the old world with water; then would he go build a tower, which should reach to heaven; then God came down and confounded them into many languages [Gen 11:1-9]. So he hunted before the Lord, but the Lord followed him, and confounded him in all his work, as he will all the builders that run before him. And all the priests that have <290> gotten the many languages, which began at Babel, they tell simple ignorant people that they have the original, and are the orthodox men, and get into a different habit from them, and say, the Quakers are a simple people, and despise the learned orthodox men, who have the original. Give ear O people! If these languages, which came up at the confounding of Babel, are the priests' original that makes them orthodox and divine, then Pilate, that crucified Christ, was as good an orthodox divine as they; for when he crucified Christ, he wrote a paper in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and set atop of him [Luke 23:38]; he was as ignorant of scripture, and of orthodox and divine matters as you, and you as he. And the apostle saith, ‘that tongues must cease [1 Cor 13:8];’ then that which makes orthodox men and divines, as you say, must cease, according to the apostles' doctrine; and so then tongues neither are the original, nor make orthodox nor divine. And John, that gave forth the revelations, saith, ‘that the whore and beast set upon tongues [Rev 17:15],’ &c. ‘and the everlasting gospel must be preached again to all kindreds and tongues [Rev 14:6];’ which was before Babel was, where was the beginning of tongues. Now it is clear that the gospel must be preached to all nations and tongues; and that tongues are not the original, neither do they make divines, or orthodox men; but it is clear that it is the word which was in the beginning which makes a divine; yea, of tradesmen, who are base and contemptible in the eyes of the proud, and them that have gotten Babel's tongues, who are confounded by the ministers of the word which was in the beginning [John 1:1], before Babel was; for all the earth was of one language and speech before Babel [Gen 11:1]. And you that call yourselves orthodox men made by tongues, and say, that is your original, you are so blind, that you cannot see that there was an original before Babel was; for, did not Enoch the prophet, the seventh from Adam, who prophesied in the old world before it was destroyed, and long before Babel was, speak concerning the coming of Christ in ten thousand of his saints [Jude 1:14], as in Jude? And Lamech prophesied, in the old world, concerning Noah and Adam [Gen 5:29], and others might be instanced, who were before your tongues (which you call your original) were. And so we say, that the word of God is the original, which doth fulfil the scriptures; and the word is it which makes a divine, which is called a hammer , but it is a living hammer; and is called a sword and fire [Jer 23:29], but it is a living sword [Heb 4:12], and a living fire, to hammer, and cut down, and burn up that which separated and kept man from God; by which word man is reconciled again to God, which is called the word of reconciliation [2 Cor 5:19]; by this word are men and women sanctified and made clean. And this is the word that makes both men and women divine, and brings them into the divine nature, which hammers and cuts down that which corrupted their nature; and by this word are they brought into a divine <291> wisdom, understanding, knowledge [1 Cor 12:8], spirit, and power. And this is the word that lives, and abides, and endures for ever, by which the saints are born again of the immortal seed [1 Pet 1:23] and word of God, (who feed upon the milk of the word [1 Pet 2:2],) up into a divine life, wisdom, and understanding, and divine nature. And by this word they do see all flesh to be as grass, and as the flower of the field that fadeth [Isa 40:6-8]; and the word of God that lives, and abides, and endures for ever, is Christ, whose name is called the word of God.
And so keep the word of patience [1 Cor 3:10], which is over all the impatient spirits, and then you will know that the word of life [1 Jn 1:1], the word of patience, and word of wisdom, is everlasting, and abides and endures forever. All they that are in the letter, out of the life and word, have neither patience to themselves nor others; for the word of patience, and the word of life, which is to be kept in all tribulations, was before death and impatient spirits were. Top
1. There was a worship at Jerusalem.
2. There was a worship at the mountain, where Jacob's well [John 4:6] was. Jacob went down into Egypt with his family, and he died in Egypt, and his sons carried him out of Egypt, and buried him in the land of Canaan, in his grandfather Abraham's burying-place [Gen 50:13]; and after several hundred years the children of Israel came out of Egypt into the land of Canaan, and there they built Jerusalem and the temple; and there was but one temple in the whole world commanded of God, and that was at Jerusalem. And before, in the days of Jacob, there was a worship set up at the mountain, near unto Samaria, where Jacob digged a well. Therefore when the woman of Samaria came out to fetch water at Jacob's well, the woman reasoned with Christ about worship, and she said, ‘Our fathers worshipped at this mountain, but others at Jerusalem;’ and Christ answered her again, ‘The time cometh that neither at Jerusalem, nor at this mountain shall God be worshipped. [John 4:20f]’ There he denies the continuance of these two public places of worship; and when he had done that, he sets up another worship, for he said, ‘God was a spirit, and they that worshipped him must worship him in the spirit and in the truth; for the hour cometh, and now is, that such God seeks to worship him [John 4:23f].’ And this worship he set up, and preached up above sixteen hundred years since; which worship he set up many hundred years before mass-book, common-prayer-book, directory, or church-faith was. And this was the public worship that Christ set up in the spirit and in the truth; ‘for God is a spirit, and such he sought to worship <292> him;’ that worshipped him in spirit and truth. So all are to mind the worship that God seeks, and not the worship that men seek. And Christ said, ‘that the temple should be thrown down [Mat 24:2], and the city of Jerusalem, and the Jews scattered over all nations. ’ And the apostle saith, ‘He is not a Jew that is one outward, but he is a Jew that is one inward in the spirit, and not of the letter [Rom 2:28f]; for that killeth, but the spirit makes alive [2 Cor 3:6].’ What! cries the world, do you deny temple-worship? Nay, we say every man and woman must come into the temple, if he worship God in the spirit and truth. And is not the spirit within, and the truth in the inward parts [Psa 50:6]? For, ‘do not you know that your bodies are the temples of the holy ghost, which is the holy spirit? [1 Cor 6:19]’ . . . But the temple, since the apostles' days, has been so filled with smoke out of the bottomless pit [Rev 9:2], and so filled with darkness, that no man could enter into the temple to worship God; and there the spirit of God hath been vexed and grieved [Isa 63:10, Eph 4:30]. And so their prophecy, revelation, and vision have been denied by the author of this smoke; but the seventh angel has poured out his vial [Rev 16:17], that men begin to enter into the temple to worship God in the spirit and truth; and the glory of the Lord shall fill the temple. . . .
But, cries the world, did not they pray in the temple, the Jew outward, and must not you pray in the temple? Yes, the Jews in the spirit pray in his temple, and sing, and rejoice in his temple; for, what! <293> ‘Do you not know, that your bodies are the temples of the holy ghost?’ And so, if you pray, you must pray in the holy ghost, and rejoice in the holy ghost, and sing in the spirit [1 Cor 14:15]: and how can you sing, and rejoice [Zech 2:10], and pray in the spirit, but you must go into the temple, your bodies being the temples of the holy ghost? For the outward Jew's temple was thrown down: and he is not a Jew that is one outward, but he is a Jew that is one inward in the spirit. Stephen was stoned to death [Acts 7:57-59], for denying the Jews' outward temple, and witnessing Christ; and Stephen was full of the holy ghost;[Acts 7:55] so he was the temple of the holy ghost: and so they whose bodies are the temples of the holy ghost, are the temples made without hands, which are set above all temples made with men's hands [Acts 7:48].
But if you say, ‘Did not the Jews' priests dwell in the temple, and there they were to offer in the temple?’
In answer, yes; there was but one temple in the whole world commanded of God, and it was set up at Jerusalem, and never commanded to be set up in England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, and Rome; but the Jews were to go either to worship at Jerusalem, and there to keep the feast of tabernacles, or else their eyes were to rot in their heads, and their tongues in their mouths, and their camels were to die of such and such plagues [Zech 14:12-16]; as in Zechariah you may read. And they were to come out of all nations under heaven, to worship and keep the feast of tabernacles at Jerusalem; and the apostles did there wait, at the time of Pentecost, to be endued with power from on high [Luke 24:49]. . . . And they that offered in the Jews' temple, were to wear the holy garments; so are you to do that are the true christians, and are called a royal priesthood [1 Pet 2:9]. What! are all true christians priests? Yes. What! are women priests? Yes, women priests. And can men and women offer sacrifices without they wear the holy garments? No. What are the holy garments men and women must wear? The fine linen; and they must go in white. What! <294> is this the priest's surplice? Nay; the surplice got up when the fine linen, the righteousness of saints, and going in white [Rev 19:8], was lost. . . . And when the Jews' temple was cleansed, and the rubbish cast out of it [2 Chr 29:16, Mat 21:12, John 2:14-16], the glory of the Lord filled the temple [Exo 40:32-34]: and when your temples are cleansed, and the rubbish cast out of your temples by your high priest, Jesus Christ, in the male and the female [Gal 3:28], who destroys the devil and his works [Heb 2:14, 1 Jn 3:8], you will witness renewing up into the image of God, into righteousness and holiness, as man was in before the serpent got the rubbish into him. So Christ, who destroys the devil and his works, brings them to the state that man and woman were in before he got into them that is, into righteousness and holiness, and up into himself, to the measure of the fulness of Christ [Eph 4:13], who was glorified with the Father before the world began [John 17:5]. Here the glory of the Lord will fill every one of your temples, through which you will come to praise the Lord in your temple, and to offer an offering in righteousness in your temple by the spirit, a spiritual sacrifice to God, who is a spirit. So here you are a royal priesthood, offering up the spiritual sacrifices. And was not the Jew outward, to have fire and lamps burn always in his temple [Lev 24:2,4]? And are not the Jews in spirit always to have the word, which is a fire, in their temple, and the light of Christ? For doth not Christ say, ‘Have oil in your lamps [Mat 25:4]?’ And were not their bodies that lamp? And was there not to be salt in the Jews' temple, to season their sacrifices [Lev 2:13]? And so, are not you to have always salt in yourselves [Mark 9:50], (doth not Christ say so?) by which you may savour and be seasoned, that all your sacrifices may be seasoned with salt? And you know that the Jews outward were not to offer the blind, the lame, the unclean, and the halt in their temple [Lev 22:19-24]; neither are you, that are the Jews in the spirit, to offer the halt, the lame, the unclean, nor the swine, nor the blind; but the spiritual sacrifice [1 Pet 2:5] with the spirit to God who is a spirit; by which spirit you see, and by which spirit you are made clean and sanctified [1 Cor 6:11], and are enabled to mortify that swinish nature; by which spirit you come to walk upright, not to halt; as you walk in the spirit [Gal 5:16,25], by the spirit you come to offer to God the spiritual sacrifices. And this is the standing offering in the temple, which Christ your priest dwells in, who ends the Jews' priests that dwelt <295> in their outward temple, and ends their temple; and ends their offerings and sacrifices, and the blood of bulls and goats [Heb 9:11-14]. Christ the offering, once for all their offerings; and Christ the everlasting covenant [Heb 13:20], ends the first covenant; and Christ the temple, ends the Jews' outward temple, where their offerings and sacrifices were, and the priesthood, and sets up the royal priesthood, with his royal garment, his righteousness, that offers to God the spiritual sacrifices in the temple. And so Christ ends all the types, figures, and shadows, and variable things that were given to man since the fall, and held up by the law, which they were not to add to the law of God, nor take from it [Deut 4:2]; which stood very nigh two thousand years: which law served till Christ came, and was good in its place, and was added because of transgression [Gal 3:19]. When many transgressed the image of God, his righteousness and holiness, and were fallen from it, then the righteous law, which is good, holy, and just, came atop of man; and this served with all its shadows till the seed Christ came [Gal 3:16,19]; but Christ is come, who was the end of the law for righteousness sake, to every one that believes [Rom 10:4]; and in Christ is no shadow, variableness, nor turning [James 1:17], for he was before shadows were, glorified with the Father before the world began [John 17:5]; who is the first and last, the beginning and ending [Rev 1:8.11], the top and corner-stone, the chief master builder [1 Cor 3:10?], the elect and precious one, whom all the builders in all ages rejected [1 Pet 2:6f; Psa 118:22], that were of men, and by men, and from men; whom the heirs of the world cast out, and could not abide that he should reign, whose right it is [Ezek 21:27]. Though he be the foundation of many generations, all the heirs of the world know not his generation; they that are in the first birth, whose building is not on Christ the rock, but on the sand [Mat 7:24-7]. And therefore have their houses of religion and worship so often been beaten down with the storms of the sea, not being upon the rock Christ Jesus, which is above all the storms and tempests in the world, and before the sea was; who is the lion of the tribe of Judah, and the root of David [Rev 5:5], and the lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world [John 1:29]. And the lamb must have the victory [Rev 17:14] over all that are in the nature of wild beasts, wild heifers, dogs, wolves, and horses. And is not this a mystery to you all, that the lamb should take away your sins, that the lamb should have the victory over the doggish, wolfish, heiferish, and swinish nature in you, like horses or serpents? The clean and holy lamb must have the victory over all this in you; and therefore join to him that hath the victory, who is the captain of your salvation [Heb 2:10], who bruiseth the serpent's head [Gen 3:15]; Christ the seed (that is he) that breaks the serpent's power, and crusheth him to pieces, destroying him and his works. Here Christ is King of kings, and Lord of lords [Rev 19:16], above all principalities, powers, and thrones, is he ascended; ‘who opens and no man shuts, and shuts and no man opens [Rev 3:7].’ So he that opens to you by his light, none <296> can shut from you, who filleth your lamps with oil of gladness [Psa 45:7]; and Christ shuts to all them that deny his light, for they deny him; no man among them then can open; and that makes them go together by the ears about their worships, and churches, and scriptures, and to persecute one another. Though they do profess Christ, yet denying his light, they deny him: these are antichrists [1 Jn 2:22], that are against him, though they do profess him; and such are by the light condemned, that are against the power of God and the gospel; the power of God is the savour of death to them, but a savour of life to them that be in the life [2 Cor 2:16]. And, ‘in me you have peace,’ says Christ; and he gives peace to them that are in him, that no man can take away: ‘but in the world you have trouble [John 16:33],’ saith Christ: that is, in Adam, in the fall from righteousness and holiness; for in righteousness there is peace, and in holiness people see God; and out of this holiness they do not see God [Heb 12:14] Top
. . . . <297> . . . The kingdom of God stands in righteousness, and faith, and joy in the holy ghost [Rom 14:17; and where there is righteousness there is peace; and where there is true faith there is victory [1 Jn 5:4], and building one another up in the holy faith [Jude 1:20]; but out of this faith there is no building, no victory; but Cain, the sacrificer, persecuting Abel [Gen 4:3-8]. And therefore they are not counted wise men and wise women that persecute one another about such things that the kingdom of God stands not in. Therefore love one another [John 15:12], instead of persecuting one another; and be meek, and not high; and entreat, and not threaten; and bless, and not curse [Rom 12:14]; and love, and not hate; and do good, and not evil; [Mat 5:44] and live in the will of God, and be not self-willed; and mind the religion of Christ, and not your own; for you persecute one another about your own things that you invent, and not Christ's; for Christ's religion doth not admit of any persecution or violence, nor to hate friends or enemies; but self-religion will hate and persecute both; such deny Christ, manifesting they are not of God. And so biting and devouring one another, hath been the way of consuming one another [Gal 5:15]. For, were there not more true christians before, than there were after the pope got up? For when they began to bite one another, then they consumed one another. And you read in the scriptures of two bottles, the old bottle, that holds the old wine; and the new bottle, that holds the new wine; and he that drinks the new will not desire to drink the old; and he that drinks the old, will not desire to drink the new [Luke 5:37-39]. And Christ is the vine [John 15:1] that affords this new wine, which is put in the new bottle; and, they that believe in his light, and become children of his light [John 12:36], sit under his vine, and drink of his wine. And Adam in the fall is the old bottle, that holds the old wine of transgression, where all the sour grapes are, and they that sit in transgression drink of the sour grapes, of which their bottle is full, full of the wine of the wrath of fornication [Rev 14:8]. So they will not drink of the new. So this old wine, that comes from the sour grapes, sets all their teeth on edge [Jer 31:30], by which they bite and devour one another, and so are consumed one of another, and devoured one of another, by their biting with their edged teeth. Let all the places called Christendom witness to this since there hath been a pope, and since there hath come up a Turk; and how it was before their was a pope or a Turk either; what grinning and biting with their edged teeth, and consuming one another there hath been and is, to this day, about religions which they made themselves, and are the works of their own hands, (contrary to Christ and the apostles' religion,) and have fed of the works of their own hands [Isa 2:8], and bitten others with their edged teeth, that would not. But they that drink of the new wine, and desire not to drink of the old, bite <298> not, but love one another, and love enemies; and so they are not consumed one of another, but live in love, peace, and unity, and mind that which the kingdom of God stands in, righteousness, and faith, and joy in the holy ghost. And there is the pure religion from above, that keeps itself from the spots of the world; which is, to visit the fatherless, and relieve the widows [James 1:27], and live in the unity and fellowship of the spirit, which is the bond of peace [Eph 4:3]; and live in the law of the spirit of life, which makes free from the law of sin and death [Rom 8:2], which life was before sin was or death either. And such sit under their own vine Christ, in the fellowship of the gospel, the power of God [Rom 1:16], which power of God was before the devil was, and are the church in God, and Christ is their head [Col 1:18]. But they that have the old bottle full of the old wine, that comes from the grapes of transgression, (by which their teeth are set on edge,) obey the law of sin and death, and are under the authority of the prince of the air [Eph 2:2] and darkness, and are under the power of death, and his lusts and works they do, who was a liar from the beginning [John 8:44], whose religion lies in a lie, and not in the truth that makes free [John 8:32]; but that is it which the devil is out of, and all his servants, and therefore they fight against the truth with their edged teeth, who are drunk with the old wine; and such cannot abide to hear talk of truth, and the spirit to guide people, who first hate it in themselves and quench it, and grieve it [1 Th 5:19, Eph 4:30]; but such the God of truth will quench their fierceness, and will grieve them that grieve his spirit, which is given to them; who will judge the world in righteousness [Psa 96:13], and the secrets of every ones heart, according to the gospel [Rom 2:16], and every one shall have a reward according to his doing [Mat 16:27]. And all you that profess Jesus, and live out of the law of Jesus, the law of love and faith, and the spirit of life that is in him, you are all on heaps about his and the apostles' words, like unto the scribes, Pharisees, Jews, and Saducees, that professed the law of God and his prophets, and lived out of the law of God, and the life of his prophets; such were on heaps, as the christians are now, that live not in the law of Jesus; which cannot build up one another, but are the old bottles, full of old wine, whose teeth are on edge with it, tearing and biting at the righteous, and one at another; but the righteous shall reign, and his seed shall have the victory, and God will break the teeth of the wicked [Psa 58:6]. Top
Christ Jesus the second Adam, who came amongst the sons of fallen Adam, you may see the beginning of his setting up his meetings, when he saith, ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am in the midst of them [Mat 18;20].’ So you see here Christ begins with a few, two or three; for there was the gathering of the Jews, scribes, and Pharisees, <299> to their temples and synagogues. And likewise there was the gathering of the heathen to Diana's temple. And all they that gathered in the name of Jesus came from the Jews' synagogue and temple, and likewise the Gentiles, into the name of Jesus, whose name is above every name [Phil 2:9], and there is no salvation by any other name under the whole heaven, but by the name of Jesus [Acts 4:12], into which the true gathering is, where all know their salvation. And . . . this fulfils Jacob's prophecy, who said, ‘The lawgiver shall not depart from between Judah's feet until Shiloh come, and the gathering of all nations shall be unto him [Gen 49:10].’ So then it is clear, if the gathering of all nations be unto Christ, they must forsake all that into which they were gathered before. And therefore, that makes all the heads of the national ways to be angry that hold them up; and with such, the lamb makes war in righteousness, going on conquering and to conquer [Rev 6:2], that he may rule whose right it is [Ezek 21:27], that he might subdue all things to himself [Phil 3:21]; in whose name all things are to be done, and to whom all people are to be gathered, whom God hath given for salvation to the ends of the earth [Acts 13:47]. And likewise, this doth fulfil Moses' prophecy, who said, ‘Like unto me will God raise up a prophet, whom in all things the people shall hear [Deut 18:15],’ who is the salvation to the ends of the earth, to whom the gathering of all nations must be; and they who are gathered in his name do and must hear him in all things, by whom all things were made [John 1:3] and created, who was glorified with the Father before the world began [John 17:5].