Dear Friends,—If the truth make you free, then are ye free indeed [John 8:36]. So then there are none made freemen, but by truth; and all that are freemen, they are made free by the truth, they are God's freemen [1 Cor 7:22]; they are free citizens, they are freeholders of an everlasting inheritance, and free in an everlasting kingdom; and they are free heirs of salvation [Heb 1:14]; and they are free in the heavenly city Jerusalem [Heb 12:22], which is from above [Gal 4:26]; and they are free in the power of an endless life [Heb 7:16], which was before death was. So they are not captives, they are not bondmen, they are not servants, nor slaves. But (mark) free men and free women. And what hath made them free men, and free women, but truth? For if the truth hath made you free, then are you free indeed. So, free to worship God in the spirit and in truth [John 4:24], (which the devil is out of [John 8:44],) to serve the Lord God in the spirit and in the new life [Rom 6:4/7:6]. They are above the serpent, and from under his control; and from under the control of old Adam, and his beggarly rudiments [Gal 4:9/Col 2:8], and will-worships [Col 2:23], and false righteousness. Truth makes free from all these; and makes free to be partakers of Christ Jesus [Heb 3:14], and of his blood, and his spirit [Heb 6:4], and mind [1 Cor 2:16]; who is the prince of peace [Isa 9:6], and prince of life [Acts 3:15]; and makes free to be partakers of the divine nature [2 Pet 1:4] and precious faith [2 Pet 1:1]; and to be members of the true church, and gospel fellowship, and power of God, which was before the devil was. So stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free [Gal 5:1], free from the devil, dragon, and serpent, and all slavery and servitude. For free men do walk in their freedom; for it is the truth makes them free, and so to triumph in glory. And so, if the truth have made you free, then are you free indeed; free from all the will-worships [Col 2:23], and from all the windy doctrines [Eph 4:14]; from all the evil inventions, traditions, imaginations, and notions, and rudiments of Adam in the fall, who are from truth; and free from the devil, who is out of truth. So it is plain, none are free but by the truth, and all in the truth are free men. And all out of the truth, are slaves in old Adam, and slaves to sin and satan, and to his will-worship, and to their own self-righteousness, and to their rudiments, doctrines, and traditions [Col 2:8]; serving divers lusts, pleasures [Tit 3:3], and corruptions, and serving the creatures more than the Creator, who is God blessed for ever [Rom 1:25], and serving the desires of their own minds; and so as slaves are kept in bondage; all in prison all in the bonds of death and jaws of death; for who are out of truth are no free men. Though they be high priests, and readers, preachers, and expounders, as the great high priests, and the lofty Pharisees and scribes were, professing the scriptures, yet not in the truth, and so not freemen. For they are in malice and envy, like Cain; <312> oppressors, like Pharaoh; raging persecutors, like Nebuchadnezzar [Dan 3:13] and the Jews; as wild as Ishmael [Gen 16:12], as profane as Esau [Heb 12:16]; out of the truth are all those found, fasting to smite with fists of wickedness [Isa 58:4], lifting up bloody hands, mingling their sacrifices with the blood of the persecuted [Luke 13:1], praying to the magistrates for persecution. All this is out of truth, and not in the freedom; so not free men, but doing the devil's lusts and service, as the Jews did. And so, if the truth make you free, ye are free indeed; ye are free from all those things above mentioned. The truth makes free from envy, and from profaneness, and from wildness, and from wickedness, and from the bloody hands. Free from the fasts of those that hang down their heads like a bulrush [Isa 58:5], free from the persecuting spirits, free from the false prophets, deceivers, seducers, antichrists [Mat 24:11, 2 Tim 3:13, 2 Jn 1:7]; and all antichristian false prophets, deceivers, and seducers, are satan's bondslaves, vassals and bondmen; and being with his oars chained in his gallies, they carry his wares, and do his work up and down the world; which is the sea. But truth makes free from all these, free from the hypocrite's hope, which perisheth [Job 8:13]; free from Nebuchadnezzar's fury [Dan 3:13]. And it makes free from the wild heifer's nature [Hos 10:11], and from the dog, swine [2 Pet 2:22?], horse, viper, cockatrice, serpent's nature, and from the spider, and his web [Isa 59:5]; and from the oak and cedar [Isa 2:12f?], and the bramble and briar, and bear, and lion. The truth makes free from all these, and brings man and woman into the image of God [Col 3:10]. And so, if the truth makes you free, then are you free indeed. And the truth is Christ, and Christ is the truth [John 14:6], which makes you free from all falsehood, and makes you free from the world, which lies in wickedness [1 Jn 5:19] and unrighteousness; by which you come to be free men of the world which hath no end.
‘And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it [Isa 35:8].’ Mark, ‘the unclean shall not pass over it.’ This way, which is called the way of holiness, was spoken of by prophecy; and this way is Christ, who is the way of holiness, who is above the unclean, and destroys it, and the ground of it, the devil; and so the unclean cannot pass over this way of holiness. This is our way, who are in scorn called Quakers, to wit, Christ. And this way of holiness shall be for the way-faring men, though fools, yet they shall not err therein; where no lion, nor ravenous beast, nor lion's whelp shall go thereon. All the ravenous beasts are without, in the way of the world, without Christ and God. But the redeemed shall walk in this way of holiness [Isa 35:8f] , Christ Jesus; and the ransomed of the Lord shall walk in this way of holiness; and they that do return from the way of the world to Sion, shall walk in this way of holiness with singing and everlasting joy upon their heads [Isa 51:11]. And they that walk in this way of holiness, Christ Jesus, shall obtain joy and gladness; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away [Isa 35:10]. And all that walk in this way of <313> holiness, their deaf ear is unstopped, and their blind eye is opened. And the lame man here shall leap as a hart, and the dumb man's tongue shall sing [Isa 35:5f]. And here he shall see waters gush out of the rock [Num 20:7-11], and streams out of the desert [Isa 35:6], in this way of holiness. And here he shall see in this way the parched ground become a pool, and the thirsty land full of springs; and in the habitation, where dragons lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes [Isa 35:7], which begin to spring. Glory be to the Lord for ever. And this way of holiness, which the prophets prophesied of, is Christ Jesus, the way, who said of himself, I am the way [John 4:6]; and he is over all the fallen ways, and before the way of the serpent; glorified with the Father, before the world began [John 17:3]. And this is the way of the way-faring men, who have been way-faring up and down from religion to religion, from worship to worship, from one people to another, from one minister and teacher to another, and could not sit down in any of their ways, but way-fared, travelled and sought. And now, glory be to the Lord for ever, thousands of these way-faring men are come to find their way, Christ Jesus, . . . though they be called fools by all the sons of Adam, who are in their own ways and rudiments; yet those fools shall not err in the way, Christ Jesus, though counted fools for Christ's sake [1 Cor 4:10]. And they see how all the wise men in old Adam mixed with the wisdom of the serpent, how they are all in their own ways, worships, and religions; and all the sects in it, how they are like tradesmen, plucking from one church to another, and getting customers, and drawing people from one another's church to their own ways; and tearing one another to pieces, to get people from one another's church to themselves. And so are like lions, and ravenous beasts one against another, to get from one another's church to maintain themselves; and thus they seek the people's, not the people; and feed themselves, and not the flock [Ezek 34:3]; for they are out of the way Christ, and sit down in their own ways. But, for the way-faring man, the way of holiness is; for him, that is way-faring and seeking up and down for his beloved [Song 5:6]. ‘I sought my beloved by night, and the watchmen smote me [Song 5:7].’ Did not the way-faring man go to the Papists and say, ‘You watchmen of the <314> night, did you see my beloved? [Isa 21:11?/Song 3:3]’ What is thy beloved more than another's beloved [Song 5:9], said they. What is thy religion, more than another's religion? Or thy profession, more than another's profession? So the Papists smote and wounded the way-faring men. The way-faring man did not ask the Papists for their beloved; for the Papists had a beloved, a mass-book; but he asked them for his own beloved, Christ Jesus.
Well, the next watchmen were the Common-prayer-men of every parish. . . .
Well, the next watchmen of the night were the Presbyterians . . . .
The next watchmen were the Independents and Baptists. . . .
Then the way-faring men went to the private meetings of the Manifestarians and Seekers; and these watchmen fell a mocking, and scoffing, and railing, and smiting with the tongue [Jer 18:18], and thrust them out of their meetings. . . . And now, glory for ever be to the Lord, thousands of these way-faring men have found their beloved, and have found their way, Christ Jesus, and a fool shall not err therein; for there is no error in Christ Jesus, all the error is out of Christ, who is the way, wherein the way-faring men, though counted fools, yet shall not err. And now my beloved is mine, and I am his [Song 2:16]; we are come to the banquetting house, and his banner over us is love [Song 2:4]. And the watchmen <315> of the night told the way-faring men, that there was not any way, but there was error in it; and that all the religions, and worships, and churches erred. And so the way-faring men way-fared up and down to find the way of holiness. For all the ravenous beasts [Isa 35:9], and the lions' whelps trod in the way of error [Job 28:8?]. . . .
The outward Jew worshipped in his outward temple made with hands [Acts 7:48], at outward Jerusalem, and they came up yearly to worship there; and if they did not come up to worship at outward Jerusalem, and keep the feast of tabernacles in the temple, upon them should be no rain [Zech 14:16f]; and their eyes were to rot out of their heads, and their tongues out of their mouths, that fought against Jerusalem, as in Zechariah xiv. 12. So the outward Jew had but one temple in the whole world, and and there they went to worship in it; and the priest had a chamber in the temple [Ezek 40:45f]. And when Christ came, he ended the priesthood, he ended the offerings, and the temple, and the worship therein of the outward Jews [Heb 7, etc]; and set up another worship in the spirit and in the truth [John 4:24]: for when the woman of Samaria, that came to Jacob's well, said unto Christ, how that our fathers worshipped in this mountain, where Jacob's well was, and the well was made before Jerusalem was, or the <316> temple either; for Jacob died in Egypt [Gen 49], and afterward his sons came out of Egypt, and builded a temple in Jerusalem; and so there they set up a place of worship after the well was made: so Christ said unto the woman, ‘The hour is coming, and now is, that they that worship the Father must worship him in spirit and truth;’ and not at Jerusalem, nor at this mountain is God worshipped; ‘For God is a spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in the spirit and in the truth [John 4:21-24]:’ and then did Christ set up his worship, which was before the pope's, Turks', Common-prayer, Presbyterian, Independent, and other worships were; and the worship that Christ Jesus set up, was in the spirit and in the truth. Now where is this spirit, and where is this truth? Is it not within people? So, as the Jew outward was to worship in the temple, and there was but that one temple commanded of God to be built, which Christ came to end, who set up his worship in the spirit and in the truth. So seeing the true worship is in the spirit and in the truth, and the truth is within you, in the inward parts [Psa 51:6], the spirit of God is within you, you must not grieve, vex, nor quench it [Eph 4:30, Isa 63:10, 1 Th 5:19]. . . .
. . . And so, the Jew inward can worship no where but in the temple. What temple? It is not a temple that is made with hands [Acts 7:48]. The Jews outward worshipped in the temple that was made with hands; but the Jew inward his worship is to be in the spirit, and in the truth [John 4:24], and in a temple not made with hands. So to worship in the spirit, and in the truth, is to worship in the temple, and no where else. And so, every man and woman in the whole world must worship in the temple. What temple? The temple that is not made with hands; where the spirit of truth is. ‘Know ye not, that your bodies are the temples of the holy ghost [1 Cor 6:19];’ that is to say, the holy spirit: and so, every man and woman must be brought to truth in their own hearts, and brought to the spirit of God in their own hearts. This is the standing and perfect worship, and it will stand when all the worships of old Adam are gone, and when the Jews', and Turks', and Christians' worships, that be not in the truth, are gone: for this is a standing and perfect worship; the spirit of God is perfect. And this is an universal worship, and brings every individual man and woman to the spirit of God in their own hearts [2 Cor 1:22]. This makes no sect, but <317> every one in the spirit, which is the bond of peace [Eph 4:3], is in the truth, which the enmity is out of: and this spiritual worship is in the spirit and truth, Christ Jesus, the spiritual man, the heavenly man, which the second Adam, the Lord from heaven [1 Cor 15:47] set up above sixteen hundred years since. And so, every one is to be in it, and to walk in the truth [3 Jn 1:3], and in the spirit [Gal 5:16], and to come to the truth in their own particulars. For that spirit makes sects, which persecutes people for not following them; but they are all to worship in that spiritual worship, which Christ Jesus set up; and every son and daughter of Adam is to come to the truth and spirit in their own hearts; and so in that spirit and truth to worship the God of truth, who is a spirit; for he seeketh such to worship him. And Christ persecuted none for not following his worship; but all are condemned by the spirit in their own selves, who grieve it, and vex and quench it, and all are condemned with the light and truth that hate it, who will not come to it [John 3:19f], but hate it. . . . And such lead people into sects and heaps, and lead people out of the spirit, and persecute one another about their worships, which is not the way of truth, nor the command of Christ, but on the contrary, ‘to love one another [John 15:12].’ So all that worship in the spirit and truth, come to the spirit and truth in their own hearts, and love one another, and love enemies. And so, the outward Jews' priests had chambers in the temple [Ezek 40:45f], which priests, chambers, and temple, Christ hath ended, so let Christ Jesus now have a chamber in your temple, to sanctify your temple, and cleanse your temple, that the glory of the Lord may fill your temple. The Jews' priests were to cleanse the temple, and when they had cast the rubbish out of it [2 Chr 29:16], the glory of the Lord filled their temple [Exo 40:34]: and so Christ, as I said before, hath ended the Jews' priests' chambers and temple. . . <318> . . .
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Friends,—To call men ‘masters’ or ‘gracious lord,’ and putting off the hat to them, and the man's scraping with his foot, and the woman's making a courtesy. These titles and fashions not giving and observing, doth not break the law of Christ, nor of God, which respects no man's person [Acts 10:34], but they are the customs of nations which are vain [Jer 10:3]; and the great manners and civilities that lie among Christians, are in saying you to one man, and the man's putting off his hat, and scraping with his foot, and the woman's bending her knees; and in these and such like things <319> lie their civilities, their honour, and manners, and well-breeding, as they call it. But the right manners are to keep people from evil words, which corrupt good manners [1 Cor 15:33], and God's law; and Christ respects no man's person. And man and woman in their not doing, nor scraping, and bowing, are not unmannerly, nor uncivil; for man was forbidden by the angel to bow to him, but to bow to God [Rev 22:8f], and to worship him, and to bow at the name of Jesus [Phil 2:10], who is called, the power of God [1 Cor 1:24], and the word of God [Rev 19:13]; for the angel said to John, he was his fellow-servant [Rev 22:9]. So servants were not to bow one to another; and if they do, is it not reproved by the angel, and reproved by Christ, the seeking honour one of another? For ‘how can you believe, saith Christ, that receive honour one of another? [John 5:44]’ John v. So it is a mark, that they are unbelievers, who receive honour one of another; and they are like the Pharisees, that love the praise of men [John 12:43], and are called of men master [Mat 23:7], and like the heathen, that will be called ‘gracious lords.’ For, saith he, you are all brethren, and have one master and Lord, Christ Jesus [Mat 23:10], and one Lord, who is the creator of all. For all things were made subject to man, and man subject to God; all creatures were to fear and dread man [Gen 9:2] and woman, but men and women were to fear and dread God. So all christians are to have one heavenly spiritual head, Christ Jesus Eph 4:15], and heavenly spiritual master, and they all as brethren are to serve and worship him. And the prophets and apostles thoued God and Christ, kings and princes, and great men and women, as you may see in the scriptures, and they were never offended at it. And you never read in all the scriptures of any that feared God, that were offended at any for saying thou to a single person, and standing with their hats on, (unless it were the Pharisees, that loved the praise of men,) as it is said in the book of Job, ‘If I give flattering titles to men, my maker would soon take me away [Job 32:21f].’ And so all their flattering titles, and loving the praise of men, and seeking honour one of another, comes from that ground that is out of truth, in the image of the beast and the dragon, who will be worshipped; but the angel would not be bowed down to by the servant of the Lord; he says, God must be worshipped. So they that worship the beast and the dragon, receive the mark from the dragon [Rev 13:4,14:9]; he brands them and marks them with his spirit, (out of truth,) and then he receives honour from them, and the vain glory they give to him; but they who are sealed with the spirit of promise [Eph 1:13], have their Father's mark in their foreheads; these worship the living God, and are in his image and his likeness, that he made them in in the beginning, and in the spirit of Christ Jesus, and those are Christ's [Rom 8:9].
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All Friends and people, that is to be condemned in yourselves, which hath led you from Christ, from God, and from unity in the light; I say, that is condemned by the light [John 3:19], and must be executed and killed, and stoned with the living stone, and run through with the living sword [Heb 4:12], and hammered down with the living hammer to pieces, and burnt up with the living fire [Jer 23:29], and so made an end of. . . .<321>
So Christ is manifest in the flesh, to condemn the sin that is in the flesh [Rom 8:3]; every one that witnesses Christ condemning sin in the flesh, that they through Christ, that condemns sin in the flesh, might become God's righteousness [2 Cor 5:21]; so they become another's. But the sin being uncondemned in the flesh, they are of the serpent, of the unrighteous one, of the ungodly one, who adulterated from truth, they are his. But the sin being condemned in the flesh, Christ is manifest in the flesh, so that they become Christ's; they are God's, and are in Christ, who destroys the devil and his works [Heb 2:14/1 Jn 3:8], that are out of truth [John 8:44]. And these know the new life, which God is served in [Rom 6:4/7:6]; and these know the new earth, wherein dwells righteousness [2 Pet 3:13]; and these know the old earth, wherein dwell unrighteousness. And these can bring forth things new and old.
For they that are led by the spirit of God, are the sons of God [Rom 8:14]; they that are led by the spirit of the devil, are the children of the devil, and his works they do [John 8:44], the works of their father; as they that are led by the spirit of God, his works they do, the works of their father; and all they that quench the spirit of God [1 Th 5:19], and vex the spirit of God [Isa 63:10], and grieve the spirit of God [Eph 4:30], and hate the light [John 3:19] of Christ, and walk despitefully against the spirit of grace [Heb 10:29], and turn it into wantonness [Jude 1:4], and disobey the word of God in their hearts and mouths [Deut 30:14]; sure you all may see such are not the sons of God, and do not the works of God; though they may profess the scriptures from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelations. Neither doth that birth know the scriptures, for they are known by the spirit of God, the holy ghost, which led the holy men of God to speak them forth [2 Pet 1:21]; by the same spirit are they known again. And Christ, who was conceived by the holy ghost [Mat 1:20], born of the Virgin [Isa 7:14, Mat 1:23], he is known by the holy ghost again, which led the holy men of God to give forth scriptures; which now leads into all truth [John 16:13]. And all them now, who despise revelations, inspirations, prophecies [1 Th 5:20], gifts, and talents, they despise the spirit of God and his gifts. Such are neither ministers of God, or Christ, nor his sons; but are the sons of him that is out of the true spirit that is of God, in the darkness, Babel, and confusion; who think they can do great matters with their languages [Gen 11:1-9], and with them make a trade of the scriptures; who cannot endure any people should come to the spirit that gave them forth; for none can walk in the spirit that quench it, and vex and grieve it. And none come into the church fellowship that grieve, and vex, and quench the spirit of God. For the fellowship is in the spirit, that is <322> the bond of peace [Eph 4:3]; and none are led into all truth [John 16:13], but by the same holy ghost that was in the holy men of God, that gave forth the scriptures of truth. And all that are led by this spirit of truth, are led from the spirit of the devil, that is out of truth. And all that are led by the spirit that is out of truth, are the first birth of the flesh, and of that murderer, who will persecute him that is born of the holy spirit of God [Gal 4:29], which leads into all truth. But they that are led by the spirit that is out of truth, are out of both the Father and the son. And they that are led by the spirit of truth, are the sons of God; and here are both in the Father, and in the son, and in the truth, which abides for ever. And here the heir, the son, inherits his possession, his inheritance in the kingdom that never hath an end.
The true hope, the true cross, the true faith, the true worship, the true religion, the true way, true image, and true fellowship have been lost since the apostles' days, amongst those called christians, who are out of the life. And they that have lost the cross of Christ, which is the power of God [1 Cor 1:18], in which is the true fellowship, they have set up a wooden or a stone cross, &c. so false crosses, false christians. They that have lost the true hope, which purifies, as he is pure [1 Jn 3:3], they have set up a purgatory to cleanse them when they are dead. And others cry up a body of sin and death [Rom 6:6/7:25] on this side of the grave, with their hypocrite's hope [Job 8:13]; and they have lost the true ministry, and set up a false one, to preach up imperfection. And people were imperfect in old Adam before Christ came; for the law made nothing perfect [Heb 7:19]; but the true minister, Christ in you the hope of glory, doth make perfect, both in the apostles' days and now. ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory,’ said the apostle, ‘whom we preach, warning every man, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus [Col 1:27f]’. . . .
And the true faith hath been lost since the apostles' days; the true faith which purifies the heart [Acts 15:19], which is the faith of God's elect [Tit 1:1], which faith gives victory [1 Jn 5:4] over that which separates from God; in which faith ye all please God [Heb 11:6]; which faith is the gift of God [Eph 2:8], and Christ is the author of it: every one look unto him for it, for the finishing of it [Heb 12:2], who is the author of it. In this faith have all the saints unity [Eph 4:13] in that which gives victory over the devil; for by the faith, which is the shield, do they resist him and quench his fiery darts [Eph 6:16]; and they resist him that would <323> defile them and make them imperfect, and lead them into those things which would displease God. And all that are out of this faith, they cry, no victory while we are upon the earth; but they must have a body of sin unto the grave, and a purgatory to cleanse them in; these are all in the error concerning the faith; these have made shipwreck of faith and and a good conscience [1 Tim 1:19]; these are all in the dead faith, and so cannot preach the true and living faith of God's elect. These are all out of unity; for the unity is in the faith, which gives victory over the devil. These are out of the just life; which just lives by his faith [Hab 2:4, Rom 1:17]. ‘The life that I now live, is by the faith of the son of God; yet it is not I, but Christ that lives in me [Gal 2:20],’ said the apostle. And all that walk in the faith of God's elect, which is the victory over the devil, walk in unity over the enmity.
And the true worship hath been lost since the apostles' days; yea, the worship that Christ set up above sixteen hundred years since, in the spirit and in the truth; yea, in the spirit of God, which was before the spirit of the devil was, who is out of truth; and in the truth, which the the devil is out of. In this spirit, and in this truth, God, who is a spirit, and the God of truth [Psa 31:5], seeks that men should worship him in the truth; and so every man and woman must come to truth in the inward parts [Psa 50:6], and to the spirit of God within themselves, if they be worshippers of God in the spirit and truth [John 4:24], which the devil abode not in [John 8:44]. And this is the standing and perfect worship, in which there is unity in the truth; for the enmity is out of it, and he cannot get into it. Glory be to God for ever! And men that have erred from the worship that Christ set up, above sixteen hundred years since, they are from the truth within, and the spirit of God. And by that unclean spirit they have worshipped images; they have worshipped the works of their own hands [Jer 1:16]; they have worshipped the dragon; they have worshipped the beast [Rev 13:4]; they have worshipped the creature [Rom 1:25]; they have worshipped angels [Col 2:18], persecuted one another about their worships, and they have persecuted the true worshippers. These are in the blind zeal [Phil 3:6], who have hated the light [John 3:19f]. . . .
And the true way is lost since the apostles' days, which Christ set up above sixteen hundred years since; who said, ‘I am the way to the Father; and no man cometh to the Father, but by me [John 14:6].’ So no one comes out <324> of old Adam, but by Christ, the second Adam. No one comes out of darkness, but by Christ, the light; no one comes out of death, and from under the prince of death, the power of it, but by Christ, the life. So he is the way to God. No one comes out of unrighteousness, but by Christ, the righteousness; no one comes out of the wisdom below [James 3:15], but by Christ, who is the wisdom of God [1 Cor 1:24], which is from above [James 3:17]. And no one comes out of error and evil, but by Christ, the truth. So is he the door [John 10:9] and the way to God Almighty. And no man comes to the Father, but by him. No one comes out of captivity or prison, but by Christ the heavenly man. And so, they having erred from Christ, the way, they have set up so many ways in Christendom among them; and fall out about their ways one with another, enmity being among them. Now Christ is the way, which the unclean cannot walk in [Isa 35:8], who was before the unclean way was; for he is over all the unclean; and he is over all the perverse and crooked ways, and mountainous ways, and evil and unrighteous, and ungodly ways; he is over them all. And none come to this new and living way [Heb 10:20], Christ Jesus, but who come to the grace of God in their hearts; the spirit of God in their hearts. So he is the new and the living way, who is the first and the last, the beginning and the ending [Rev 1:8,11], set up from everlasting to everlasting. And all that be out of this new and living way, though they have all the scriptures, from the beginning of Genesis to the Revelations, yet they are dead, and under the power of death; which Christ the way destroys, through death, yea the power of death, the devil [Heb 2:14]; and was before death and his power was. Here is the new and the living way.
And the true religion hath been lost, and erred from, since the apostles' days. The religion that is pure from above, and undefiled before God, which keeps from the spots of the world, which is to visit the widows and the fatherless [James 1:27] . . . . <325> . . .
And the image of God in them hath been lost since the apostles' days, that man and woman were renewed into by Christ; and therefore they have set up so many inventions of their own brain, and outward images, and likenesses, and worship them; for man and woman was in the image of God [Gen 1:27], before they fell. And when they fell from the image of God, they set up many images of God, and man, and other creatures, of things in heaven and things in earth. And when Christ came, he renewed man into the image of God again [Col 3:10], and into his likeness. . . .
And the true praying hath been lost since the apostles' days; for none can pray truly, but by the spirit of God, unto God, who is a spirit [John 4:24], or unto Christ, who is a quickening spirit [1 Cor 15:45]. And all they that have erred from the spirit [Isa 29:24], cannot abide to hear talk of it; and yet may have the scripture from Genesis to the Revelations, and make prayers, and say them over, and give them to others to say over; and so pray by the book, and that must help his infirmity; and so have ed from the spirit, and from the true doctrine of the apostles, who said, the spirit must help their infirmities [Rom 8:26]; and they must pray in the spirit [Eph 6:18]. So all that grieve, and vex, and quench the spirit of God, cannot pray in it to God, who is a spirit. But they think to be heard by their much babbling, and ask and pray, but do not receive [James 4:3]. And every one must come to the spirit of God in themselves, and to the light, and to the faith that purifies his heart [Acts 15:9], and to the spirit of grace and supplication [Zech 12:10]; and by this his mind is to be turned towards Christ, who prays to God, and asks in the name of Jesus, and in the power, and light, and spirit of Christ. <326>
And the true fellowship hath been lost, and sanctification, and belief, and the righteousness since the apostles' days. . . . the world's fellowship is no mystery, the fellowship of bread, water, and wine is no mystery; but the gospel fellowship is a mystery [Phil 1:5/Eph 3:9], and none see it, but who come to the light of Christ, and to the truth in the inward parts [Psa 50:6]. For this is a standing fellowship, the gospel, the power of God [Rom 1:16]; and all fellowships out of it are imperfect and corrupt, where the body of death, and sin, and their purgatory are pleaded for, which fellowships below, men make, and are of men, and from men; but the gospel is not of men, nor by men, but of God [John 1:13?], and from Christ. So this fellowship is the church fellowship that is in God, and it is a pure fellowship, the gospel fellowship is, which gospel brings life and immortality to light, and expels away all that which darkens, and burdens, and loads the soul, mind, spirit, and heart. So this is glad tidings to the immortal soul, which comes by the immortal power up to the immortal God, where life and immortality comes to light [2 Tim 1:10], and to shine over him that hath darkened it. . . . <327> . . . And they that say revelations are ceased, they may as well say, there is no gospel; and so have no Christ to preach, and are only ministers of the letter [2 Cor 3:6]; neither have they the secrets of God to preach, which are revealed to them that fear him. . . .
And the sanctifying belief hath been lost since the apostles' days; for he that believes is born of God [1 Jn 5:1]; and he that believes in the light, may become a child of the light [John 12:36]; every one that cometh into the world are enlightened by Christ [John 1:9], that they should believe in the light, as he commands them, and so become children of the light; and he that believes, overcomes the world [1 Jn 5:5]. And if there be no overcoming on this side of the grave, as the world's preachers, made of men, say, then there is no true believing on this side of the grave; and therefore the world is not overcome in them; and he that is their God, is of the world also. For ‘he that believes, overcomes the world; for greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world [1 Jn 4:4].’ So this greater overcomes the less, and he that believes passes from death, and sin, that brings death, and the devil the power of death: so becomes a child of light and of the day [1 Th 5:5]; and of the light which was before darkness was, or the prince of it; for this is the belief that overcomes the world, that sanctifies the unbelieving husband, and the unbelieving wife, else their children were unholy, but now they are clean [1 Cor 7:14]. 1 Cor. vii. 14.
For this belief is greater than he that is of the world, which overcomes him that would defile; for this belief is Christ, which passes from death to life [1 Jn 3:14], it takes away the root of sin and iniquity, which is complained of in the scriptures, which they were born in, though they had the law which made nothing perfect [Heb 7:19], which took hold of their outward actions or branches; but this belief makes the root holy, and if the root be holy, the branches that spring from the root will be holy also [Rom 11:16]. . . .