And, dear friends, my love to you all in the seed of life and peace, which floweth as a river [Isa 66:12], and bruiseth the head of the serpent [Gen 3:15], that hath brought death and darkness, wo, misery, and imperfection upon and in man; and in this seed Christ is all nations blessed [Gal 3:8] and elected; and out of it is the curse and reprobation. And out of this seed are all the false religions, false ways, false worships, and false churches, or bodies without heads, like so many monsters, which the seed of the serpent hath brought forth since the apostles' days, and then they have made them heads, out of their bodies, or churches, and when one head is fallen off, then another they make, and set it upon their body or church, having lost and gone from the true head, Christ [Col 1:18].
And sometimes the members do fall out about making a head for their body, so that the members do destroy one another about it. Now this monstrous body is brought in by this evil seed in such as are gone from the light, grace, truth, power, and spirit, that cometh from Christ, the heavenly head, in whom dwelleth the fulness of divinity [Col 2:9f]. And they are never like to come to the true head, Christ, but by coming to the light, grace, truth, power, faith, and spirit of Jesus, which cometh from him, and turneth to him again, (the head,) and so to hold him their head, by which all the members are coupled together by joints and bands, which do receive their nourishment from him their head [Col 2:19], who doth supply every member with life everlasting from him that is alive, and liveth for evermore [Rev 1:18]. . . .
And my desires are, that all may be in their services for Christ, men and women, in his grace, truth, light, power, and spirit, that from him <157> they may all have their penny [Mat 20:9], who doth reward every man and woman according to their works [Mat 16:27], and not stand idle chaffering in the market-place [Mat 20:3].
So with my love in the Lord, the Creator of all, and in the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom was all, who is over all, the first and last, a living rock and foundation for all the living to build upon, that are quickened by him, and do believe in his light, which is the life in Christ, the word, by whom all things were made [John 1:3]; and so are grafted into Christ, the living tree [Rom 11:24], that never withereth [Psa 1:3]; and so from him the green tree [Luke 23:31] every graft doth receive its nourishment, that is grafted into him; and so the living root doth bear every living branch, and nourishes it, that it may bring forth fruit to the praise of God over all, blessed for ever.
And this is the tree whose leaf never fadeth, nor fruit faileth [Ezek 47:12]; but its fruit feedeth all the living, and the leaves thereof heal the nations [Rev 22:2]. And this tree stands in the midst of God's garden, who saith, in the midst of thy church will I sing praise [Heb 2:12], which are living stones, a spiritual household of faith [1 Pet 2:5/Gal 6:10], elect and precious, the church of the living God, written in heaven [1 Tim 3:15/Heb 2:22f]; so holiness becomes the house of the Lord [Psa 93:5]. And therefore the Lord doth require more from Friends than all other people, because he hath given more to them [Luke 12:48]; and so all people do expect more from Friends than all other people, in answering that of God in them all in truth and in righteousness, and holiness and godliness; for ye are the lights of the world, and the salt of the earth to season it [Mat 5:13f]. So all must glorify the Lord God in their lives and conversations, with their bodies, spirits, and souls, which are Christ's, who has bought them and cleansed them with his blood and the pure water of his word [1 Jn 1:7/Eph 5:36], who makes them sanctified vessels of his mercy for his glory [Rom 9:23]; therefore none must dishonour the Lord [Rom 2:23]. . . .
The apostle saith, ‘If any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new [2 Cor 5:17].’ 2 Cor. v. 17.
So they that are in Christ are new creatures; and they that are in old Adam are old creatures; and are in their old things, old ways, <158> old worships, and old religions, and have the old garments [Mat 9:16], and the old bottles, that hold the old wine, and cannot endure the new [Mat 9:17]; and have the old, rusty, moth-eaten treasure [Mat 6:19]. And they that are in Christ, the heavenly and spiritual second Adam [1 Cor 15:45/47], who maketh all things new [Rev 21:5], are new creatures, and spiritual men, and are heavenly-minded [Rom 8:6?], and are new bottles, that hold the new wine and the new heavenly treasure, and have the new clothing, the fine linen, the righteousness of Christ [Rev 19:8], and are the new and living way [Heb 10:20], over all the dead ways. And they are in the new worship, which Christ set up above six hundred years ago, which is in the spirit and in the truth [John 4:24]; in which holy spirit and holy truth the holy God is worshipped: and this was new to both Jews and Gentiles, and is new to all the apostate Christians, who are not in the holy spirit and truth that the apostles were in. And this new creature in Christ hath a new religion, which pure and undefiled, and keepeth from the spots of the world [James 1:27]: and this religion is new to the Jews and Gentiles, and all the apostatized Christians that plead for a body of death and sin [Rom 7:24, 6:6] to the grave, and a purgatory when they are dead. And they that be in Christ are new creatures, and they have a new head, who is the head of all things, the first-born of every creature [Col 1:15], and the first-begotten from the dead [Rev 1:5], who is alive, and liveth for evermore [Rev 1:18], who bruiseth the serpent's head [Gen 3:15], who hath made things old, but Christ maketh all things new; and they that be in him, are new creatures; and they that be out of Christ, are the old creatures in old Adam; and these old creatures are doting about their old things, and their old bottles, old wine, old garments, and are doting about their old ways, old religions, and old worships, and persecuting one another with their old carnal weapons [2 Cor 10:4], these old creatures, which dote about their old worships, religions, and ways; so that one old creature falleth out with another old creature, so that these old doting creatures in old Adam, out of Christ the second Adam, do wrestle with flesh and blood [Eph 6:12] about their old ways, religions, and worships: and these old doting creatures (which be out of Christ the saviour) do destroy one another about their old ways, worships, religions, and churches. . . <159> . . . And they that are in Christ are new creatures, their weapons and armour are spiritual, and they do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but spiritual wickedness and rulers of darkness in high places [Eph 6:11f], and bring down imaginations and high thoughts [2 Cor 10:5], as Christ (whom those new creatures are in) teacheth them, who saith, that ‘he came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them [Luke 9:56];’ and rebuked such as would have had men's lives destroyed, and told them, that ‘they did not know what spirit they were of [Luke 9:54f].’ So it is clear, that the old creatures, that are out of Christ, (who destroy men's lives about their old ways, churches, religions, and their old worships,) do not know what spirit they are of; . . . And therefore, were not those doctrines, ordinances, traditions, and rudiments of the world [Col 2:20,22] the old creatures (who are in old Adam) which they did and do dote after, which the new creatures in Christ Jesus, the second Adam, were not to taste, touch, nor handle, for they did perish with the using [Col 2:21f]? And are not all the will-worships [Col 2:23], and the beast's and the dragon's worships [Rev 13:4], of the old creatures, that are out of Christ, bearing the mark of the beast in their hand or forehead [Rev 14:9]? And they that are in Christ, who are new creatures, have their Father's mark or name in their foreheads [Rev 14:1], and worship the holy, pure and living God in spirit and in truth. And it was the old creatures that made images and idols; and such make them now, and worship them: but they that are in Christ, are new creatures, and are renewed up into the image of God [Col 3:10], and worship him in his holy spirit and truth, that liveth for ever. Amen.
And these cannot touch, taste, nor handle the old creature's images, idols, doctrines, ordinances, traditions or rudiments of the world, which are the old creature's, in old Adam, which doth touch, taste, and handle them: but the new creature cannot, who is in Christ, the express image of the Father [Heb 1:3]; and he maketh his new creatures like himself. Moses appointed servants for God in the law [Num 4] or Old Testament; but Christ made sons in the New Testament; for ‘as many as received Christ, he gave them power to become the sons of God [John 1:12].’
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Swarthmore in Lancashire, the 30th of the 11th month, 1678.
All Friends, every where, that have Indians or blacks, you are to preach the gospel to them, and other servants, if you be true christians; for the gospel of salvation was to be preached to every creature under heaven; Christ commands it to his disciples, ‘Go and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, son, and holy ghost [Mat 28:19].’ And this is the one baptism [Eph 4:5] with the spirit into one body [1 Cor 12:1], which plunges down sin and corruption, which hath gotten up by disobedience and transgression. For all have been plunged into sin and death from the life, for all died in Adam [1 Cor 15:22], then they have been all subjected by the evil spirit, which hath led them out of the truth into the evil; and therefore they must all be baptized into the death of Christ [Rom 6:3], and put on Christ [Gal 3:27], if they have life.
And also, you must preach the grace of God to all blacks and Indians, which grace brings salvation, that hath appeared unto all men, to teach and instruct them to live godly, righteously, and soberly [Tit 2:11f]: which grace of God is sufficient [2 Cor 2:9] to teach and establish all true christians, that they may appear before the throne of grace [Heb 4:16].
And also, you must teach and instruct blacks and Indians, and others, how that God doth pour out his spirit upon all flesh [Joel 2:28] in these days of the new covenant, and new testament; and that none of them must quench the motions of his spirit [1 Th 5:19], nor grieve it [Eph 4:30], nor vex it; nor rebel against it [Isa 63:10], nor err from it [Isa 29:24?], nor resist it [Acts 7:51]; but be led by his good spirit to instruct them [Neh 9:20]; and with which they may profit [1 Cor 12:7] in the things of God; neither must they turn from his grace into wantonness [Jude 1:4], nor walk despitefully against the spirit of grace [Heb 10:29], for it will teach them to live soberly, godly, and righteously, and season their words [Col 4:6].
And also, you must instruct and teach your Indians and negroes, and all others, how that Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man [Heb 2:9], and gave himself a ransom for all men [1 Tim 2:6], to be testified in due time, and is the propitiation not for the sins of christians only, but for the sins of the whole world [1 Jn 2:2]: and how, that he doth enlighten every man that cometh into the world, with his true light [John 1:9], which is the life in Christ, by whom the world was made [John 1:3].
And Christ, who is the light of the world [John 8:12], saith, ‘Believe in the light, that ye may become children of the light [John 12:36].’ And they that do evil, and hate the light (which is the life in Christ) and will not come to the light, because it will reprove them, and love the darkness more than the light; this light is their condemnation [John 3:19f]. And so, all must be turned from darkness to light, to believe in the light; and from the power of <161> satan to God [Acts 26:18]; and, if they do not believe, they will be reproved, condemned, and judged by Christ, who hath all power in heaven and in earth, given unto him [Mat 28:18], who will judge both the quick and the dead [1 Pet 4:5], and reward every man according to his works [Mat 16:27], whether they be good or evil.
And therefore you are to open the promises of God to the ignorant, and how God would give Christ a covenant, a light to the Gentiles [Isa 42:6], the heathen, and a new covenant to the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, and that he is God's salvation to the ends of the earth [Isa 49:6]; and how that the earth shall be covered with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea [Isa 11:9]; so that the glorious knowledge of the Lord should cover the earth.
And the Lord said, ‘He knew that Abraham would teach and instruct his family, that they should learn to keep his laws and statutes after he was gone [Gen 18:19];’ and Abraham did circumcise all his males, yea, them that he had bought with his money of any stranger [Gen 17:9-14]. Now who are of faith, and walks in the steps of faithful Abraham [Gal 3:9], do preach up and instruct all their families in the circumcision of the spirit, that they might be circumcised with the spirit [Rom 2:29], which puts off the body of death, and the sins of the flesh [Col 2:11/Rom 7:24], that is come up in man and woman by transgression; so that in the spirit they may serve and worship the true and living God [Jer 10:10]; and so that ye all may come to enjoy the presence of the Lord in your families, and improve your talents [Mat 25:14-30] that Christ hath given unto you; for David saith, that saw Christ in his new covenant, ‘Let all nations praise the Lord [Psa 117:1];’ and again, ‘All that have breath praise the Lord [Psa 150:6];’ again, ‘Let the poor and needy praise thy name [Psa 74:21]. And let all people praise thee, O God. And O ye servants of the Lord, praise the Lord [Psa 113:1, 135:1]; for the Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. And all thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee, they shall speak of thy glory and of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power. [Psa 145:9-11]’ For the Lord saith, ‘From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles. And in every place incense shall be offered unto my name; and a pure offering; for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts [Mal 1:11].’ And this heavenly incense, and offering in every place, is the spiritual offering in the new covenant; for the Jews were to offer but in one place, in the temple, in the old covenant, but in the new covenant their offering is in the holy temple of their hearts, in the spirit, with which they offer the pure, and holy, and acceptable sacrifice to God [Rom 12:1/1 Pet 2:5]; with that spirit which God hath given them, they have a living sense of God their creator, and Father of all their mercies [2 Cor 1:3], who hath made them, and hath made all things for them, and redeems <162> them by his son Christ Jesus, to whom be praise, and glory, and honour, and thanks for evermore.
So let all bow at the name of Jesus [Phil 2:10], to his power, and light, and spirit, for they have bowed to the power of darkness, that foul and unclean spirit [Rev 18:2?], who is out of truth, and in whom there is no truth [John 8:44]. And therefore now all are to bow at the name of Jesus; for there is no salvation in any other name under heaven, but in the name of Jesus [Acts 4:12], whose name is above every name [Phil 2:9] under the whole heaven, who is the first born of every creature [Col 1:15], and the first begotten from the dead [Rev 1:5], whom God now speaks to his people by, his son [Heb 1:2]; and all are to hear him, the great prophet [Acts 3:22]; and every tongue is to confess to Christ Jesus [Phil 2:11], to the glory of God the Father, who is the first and last [Rev 22:13], who bruises the serpent's head [Gen 3:15]. And so through Christ Jesus man and woman comes again to God. All blessings and praises be to the Lord God, through Jesus Christ, for ever and evermore. Amen.
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Swarthmore, the 10 th month, 1679.
Dear Friends every where, that have received the truth as it is in Jesus [Eph 4:21], which is holy and pure, and brings to live in him that is pure and holy. The truth is peaceable, and a peaceable habitation; and the truth is sufficient and able to make you free [John 8:32] from him that abode not in the truth, and in whom there is no truth [John 8:44]. And all that do not live and walk in the peaceable truth, follow him that is out of the truth, into strifes, and vain janglings [1 Tim 1:6] and disputings, like men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth [1 Tim 6:5]. And now the grace and truth that comes by Jesus Christ [John 1:17], is that which all people should be under in this new covenant of light, and life, and grace, and truth; as the law came by Moses in the old covenant, and the Jews were to be under the law. But the true christians who have received the grace and truth come to be under this grace's teaching, leading, and establishing; by which grace and truth they are united and joined to Jesus Christ, from whence it comes. And this grace and truth is able and sufficient to make you free from him that is out of the truth, and to come to have a peaceable habitation [Isa 32:18] in Christ Jesus, their eternal rest and sabbath. For Christ Jesus saith to his believers and followers, ‘In me ye have peace, but in the world ye have trouble [John 16:33];’ and the trouble is in the world of wickedness. And therefore God's people are not to love the world, nor the things of the world [1 Jn 2:15]; for the love of the world is enmity to God [James 4:4].
And therefore, feel God's love shed abroad in all your hearts [Rom 5:5], through Christ Jesus, to carry all your hearts and your minds above the love <163> of the world; and this love is that which will preserve you in the excellent way of bearing all things [1 Cor 13:7]; and the love of God fulfils the law [Rom 13:10].
And the fruits of the pure holy spirit [Gal 5:22] of the God of truth [Psa 31:5] is love, which is a peaceable spirit: but the foul, unclean spirit [Rev 18:2], that is out of the truth, is a ravenous, unquiet, unpeaceable spirit. And the faith that Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of [Heb 12:2], works by love [Gal 5:6]; and the spirit of faith [2 Cor 4:13] is a peaceable spirit; which faith gives the victory [1 Jn 5:4] over the unpeaceable, unruly, ravenous spirit; and by which faith you have the inheritance [Heb 6:12].
And the glorious gospel of Christ Jesus, which is the power of God [Rom 1:16], the gospel of peace, which is over the power of darkness, and was before it was, and it will be when it is gone; and in this gospel all the heirs of it have an everlasting unity, and an everlasting glorious fellowship in the glorious gospel of peace, yea, a glorious, peaceable fellowship and an access to God [Rom 5:2].
And the wisdom of God from above is gentle and peaceable [Jas 3:17], and justifies and preserves all her children [Mat 11:19?] above the unpeaceable wisdom that is below; and this peaceable wisdom preserves above all the unruly spirits, and vain talkers [Tit 1:10] and janglers, such as talk of the wisdom of God, but live not in it, but in the wisdom of the world.
And such as talk of the gospel of Christ, the power of God, but live not in it, but do live in the power of satan [Acts 26:18], the enemy and adversary, and the devil, the destroying power and spirit; and such have no comfort of the scriptures [Rom 15:4], nor of the things of God, nor of the grace, nor of the truth, nor of the wisdom of God, nor of faith, nor light, though they may talk of all these things, while they follow that unruly, foul, unpeaceable spirit, that abode not in the truth, (in whom there is no truth,) and where there is no truth there is confusion and disorder. Now the God of truth is a God of order [1 Cor 14:33], from whom you have grace, truth, and faith, which is his gift [Eph 2:8], and his spirit, and gospel, and wisdom, that you may all live in the order of it, and as it orders you. For God is a God of order, and his order is known in his light, grace, and truth, and spirit, and his gospel, the power of God, and in his wisdom. And all his children and people should live in the order of his light, spirit, and gospel, and wisdom, and delight in the order of it.
And all you that know God, and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life [John 17:3]; then in this eternal life you do know, that the God of truth is a God of order, and you love his order, in his light, and life, and grace, and truth, in his gospel, and in his spirit, and in his heavenly pure wisdom, by which all his children are justified.
And in his truth, that makes free from him that abode not in the truth, (in whom there is no truth,) that all his children should walk in the order of truth, which hath made them free, who are born again of the incorruptible seed by the word of God, that lives, and abides, <164> and endures for ever [1 Pet 1:23]. And so feeds of the milk of this immortal word [1 Pet 2:2], and so are of an incorruptible generation, which is above the corruptible; and here is the hidden man of the heart, that is incorruptible [1 Pet 3:4], known, that hath an everlasting fellowship, and hath an incorruptible crown [1 Cor 9:25], and is an heir of an incorruptible kingdom [1 Pet 1:4].
And now the God of this world, (and his followers,) that abode not in the truth, in whom there is no truth, cannot endure to hear talk of the order of truth, which is in the light, and life, and in the gospel, and in the wisdom of the God of truth. For the world is full of disorder and confusion; but the living, eternal, immortal God of truth is a God of order, and not of confusion, who hath sent his son to destroy the devil and his works [Heb 2:14/1 Jn 3:8]. Blessings and praises, with all glory and thanks, be unto him, who hath all power, might, majesty, and dominion, now, henceforth, and for ever. Amen.
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Dear friends,—All live the life of the true christians, and not the life of old Adam, that went from God's command and voice; nor like the Jews, and such as have got the name of christians, that say, there is no hearing of God and Christ's voice now, which are out of the life, power, and spirit, grace, and truth, and image of God, that the true christians were in, and Adam and Eve before they fell [Gen 1:27]; so that none can live the life of the true christians, and the holy prophets and apostles, except they are in the same power and spirit, grace and truth, and faith and image that they were in, which is a life above the world and its God, in whom there is no truth, no life, light, nor power of the living God abiding in them. And therefore, before any can live the life of the saints, they must bow to the name of Jesus [Phil 2:10], their saviour, in his light, grace, and truth, and power, and spirit, which cometh from him, who submitted himself to the shameful death of the cross [Phil 2:8], and destroyed death and his power [Heb 2:14], who had no sin, nor guile in his mouth [1Pet 2:22], and is risen again for our justification [Rom 4:25], and so hath tasted death for every man [Heb 2:9], and given himself a ransom for all [1 Tim 2:6], that all should now bow at his name, Jesus, a saviour; and so to his power and authority bow, who hath all power in heaven and earth given to him [Mat 28:18]. So all men have bowed under death and sin by transgression. And Christ hath submitted to the cross and death for them, and hath borne their stripes for sin and iniquity [Isa 53:5], who had no sin, neither knew any, to bring us out of death and sin. Therefore, every one must bow at the name of Jesus, (as before,) whatsoever they do in word or deed, it must be done in the name of Jesus; and before that they can confess to Jesus Christ [Phil 2:11], to the glory of God the Father, they must all bow at the name of Jesus, and bow <165> to his grace, and truth, light, spirit, and power that cometh by Jesus, which they know; him the fountain, the rock and foundation to build upon, who brings out of death and darkness into light and life, and a kingdom and a world that is everlasting; and there to have food and clothing that is everlasting.
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Dear friends,—With my love to you in the holy peaceable truth that never changes [Heb 13:8], nor admits of evil, but makes all free [John 8:32] that receive it, and that walk in it [3 Jn 1:4], and is over all the clouds without rain, and wells without water, and trees without fruit [Jude 1:12/2 Pet 1:17]. And from the truth floweth justice, equity, righteousness [1 Esd 4:39f], and godliness, mercy, and tenderness, that brings a man's heart, mind, soul, and spirit to the infinite and incomprehensible God, and from it a love flows to all the universal creation, and would have all to come to the knowledge of the truth [1 Tim 2:4]; and it bends every one to their utmost ability to serve God and his truth, and to spread it abroad, and it brings their minds out of the earth, which makes them brittle, and changeable, and uncertain; for it doth not change, neither doth it touch with that which does change. As to unity, it makes all like itself, that do obey it. Universal, to live out of narrowness and self, and deny it. So it brings all into oneness, and answereth the good principle of God in all people, and brings into humility, and the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of his wisdom [Psa 111:10]; and it brings all to have a care of God's glory and his honour; and watches over all the professors of it for their good, to keep within its bounds, and walk within its order; which he that is out of truth, leads into all disorder, in whom there is no truth [John 8:44]; and the truth makes all its children free from him, and in it to reign over him. Thanks, glory, and honour to the Lord God of truth over all for ever. Amen.
The Lord, who is the God of all peace and order [1 Cor 14:33], alone protects and preserves his people with his eternal power; for the devil's power is not eternal, it had a beginning, and must have an ending; for the eternal power limits that devourer and destroyer. And therefore, friends, patience must be exercised in the truth; and keep to the word of patience [Rev 3:10], which word was before the world was [John 1:1], and abides and endures for ever [1 Pet 1:23]; and it will keep Friends over and out of all the snares of the world, and its temptations.
So with my love in the seed of life, that reigns over all, and in it the Lord God Almighty preserve and keep you all to his glory. Amen.
G. F. Top
Friends,—You that are believers in the light, which is the life in Christ, and are grafted into him [Rom 11:17] who is ascended far above all principalities, powers, thrones, and dominions [Eph 4:10/Col 1:16], by whom all things were made and created [John 1:3], all the children in the new covenant do gather together in the name of Christ Jesus, whose name is above every name [Phil 2:9] under the whole heaven, and in whose name they have salvation, and not by any other name under the whole heaven [Acts 4:12]. And at this name must every knee bow, and every tongue confess Christ Jesus [Phil 2:10f], to the glory of God the Father. . . . And being gathered in the name of Jesus, he is in the midst of them [Mat 18:20], the Prince of life and peace [Acts 3:15, Isa 9:6], and captain of salvation [Heb 2:10], and a prophet to open the book of conscience, and the book of the law, and prophets, and gospel, and his book of life to them, and a bishop to oversee them, and a heavenly shepherd to feed them in his heavenly pasture of life, and a heavenly King to rule in their hearts, and in his glorious kingdom, amongst them that are born again; and that seeth and entereth into his everlasting kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy ghost [Rom 14:17]. And all these children in the kingdom, and in the new covenant of grace, light, and life, cannot feed of any bread for their immortal souls that is made by man, which he hath leavened with the sour leaven; for that sour leavened bread will make their hearts to burn, and the Jews were not to keep their feasts with leavened bread in the old covenant [Exo 13:3-7]; then much more the Jews in the spirit [Rom 2:29], in the new covenant, who have their bread from heaven [John 6:32], their unleavened bread, who in the new covenant do keep their feast with unleavened bread from heaven, and cannot feed their souls with any bread, but that which cometh down from heaven. And this bread from heaven giveth life [John 6:33-58] to the soul, and is the staff of their heavenly life; this heavenly bread, as the outward bread is the staff of the natural life, in this world that must have an end, but the bread from heaven is the heavenly staff of life, that doth nourish up into a heavenly life, and a world, and a kingdom that is without end [Luke 1:33]. And such as feed on this heavenly bread cannot feed their souls with any bread below that which comes from heaven, for it doth not give them life. So that they can neither touch, <167> taste, nor handle that which is below, which perisheth [Col 2:21f]; for the bread of life from heaven doth not perish, but giveth life eternal; and this bread is sure [Isa 33:16?], and they that feed upon it shall hunger no more [John 6:35]. So all eyes are to look up to heaven for this bread of life, which giveth them life; and not below heaven; for neither are they to follow them that cry, ‘Lo, it is here,’ and ‘lo, there [Mat 24:23;’ or to drink of their cup that are whored from the spirit of God [Rev 17:2,4], nor to eat of their leavened bread; for they that do believe in the light [John 12:36], which is the life in Christ [John 1:4], are grafted into him the true vine [John 15:1]. So the believers do feel a living spring springing up in them to eternal life [John 4:14], from the fountain from whence it cometh. And so here all the true believers have the upper and the nether springs [Josh 15:19] in themselves; and such may drink freely and eat freely of the bread and water of life [Rev 21:6], and do hunger and thirst no more, but eat and drink that which is eternal, which nourisheth them up to eternal life, and so bear heavenly spiritual fruits, to the praise of the eternal God [Phil 1:11]; which plants he hath watered by his upper and nether springs, which trees or plants, their fruits are unto holiness [Rom 6:22], and their end is everlasting life. So none of the children of the new covenant need go to the world for bread or water, to give them life everlasting, to keep them from the world's storms; or weapons to defend their church or worship, for they have them from heaven, and heavenly bread and water, and spiritual weapons and armour [Eph 6:11-17], and the righteousness of Christ, the fine linen [Rev 19:8], their clothing. Glory to the Lord for ever, who makes all his spiritually rich, and to be lenders and not borrowers [Deut 15:6], and givers and not receivers, who is more blessed than the receiver [Acts 20:35].
And the Jews in the old covenant were to wash their clothes, and to sanctify themselves when they did appear before the Lord [Exo 19:10], and so the children of God in the new covenant of life, light, and grace, who do appear before the Lord, are to be washed and cleansed, and sanctified, and to put on the righteousness of Christ, their fine linen that never will wax old [Deut 8:4]; and so to put off all the old Adam's garments, that he hath covered himself and his sons and daughters with in the fall and transgression, which will wax old and rot; but that which God and Christ doth put on and clothe his saints withal, is everlasting [Psa 102:26, Heb 1:11]. So man's righteousness and his filthy rags [Isa 64:6] must be put off, and they must come into the righteousness of Christ, and put it on, which doth exceed the righteousness of the law [Mat 5:20], if they do enter into the kingdom of God, which doth stand in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the holy ghost [Rom 14:17].
Now in the Old Testament it is said, ‘The priests' lips are to preserve the people's knowledge [Mal 2:7]:’ but the New Testament saith, ‘that Christ is the treasure of wisdom and knowledge [Col 2:2f].’ The Old Testament saith, ‘that you must offer your sheep, goats, bulls, and heifers, and other creatures, which God commanded by the law in the Old Testament, <168> for your sins and cleansing:’ but the New Testament saith, that ‘Christ is offered up once for all [Heb 10:10]:’ and the Old Testament saith, that ‘the blood of bulls and other creatures cleanseth from sin [Heb 9:13]:’ but the New Testament saith, that ‘Christ's blood cleanseth from all sin [1 Jn 1:7].’ And in the Old Testament it is said, ‘You must carry your offerings, and first-fruits, and tithe, to the store-house [Neh 10:37/Mal 3:10]:’ but the New Testament saith, ‘Freely you have received, freely give [Mat 10:8];’ and forbiddeth bag or staff [Mat 10:10]. And in the Old Testament the priest was to light the candles and lamps in the tabernacle and temple [Lev 24:2,4], and to circumcise the men children: but the New Testament saith, ‘Christ doth enlighten every man that cometh into the world [John 1:9] with his heavenly light:’ which is the life in Christ the word; and the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord [Prov 20:27]: so he doth enlighten the candle and lamp in the tabernacle, and saith, ‘Believe in the light, that ye may become children of the light [John 12:36];’ and Christ doth minister the circumcision in the spirit [Rom 15:8?], that putteth off the body of the sins of the flesh [Col 2:11], that came upon man and woman by transgression. So that the children are the circumcision of the spirit in the new testament, and not of the flesh and letter, as they were in the old testament. And in the Old Testament it is said, that ‘the priests put the Testament [Exo 25:16], and the law [Deut 31:26], and the pot of manna [Heb 9:4] into the ark, in the tabernacle and temple:’ but in the New Testament, God poureth out of his spirit upon all flesh [Joel 2:28], and the holy ghost proceedeth from the Father [John 15:26] and the son into the hearts of his people [Gal 4:6?], to lead them into all truth [John 16:13], and reproveth the world of sin [John 16:8]; and the bread of life that they have from Christ, is in their arks and hearts, or in their temples; and God doth write his law in the hearts [Jer 31:33] and minds of his people. So in the new testament they have the law written in the heart and mind, and the old they had in the letter and tables of stone; and in the new they have the testament and testimony, the spirit of Christ in their hearts, and the heavenly, unleavened bread in their hearts, which they do keep the everlasting feast with [1 Cor 5:8?]. And in the old testament, the clean and circumcised outwardly did eat of the passover, the lamb without blemish [Exo 12:5]: but in the new testament, the clean and circumcised in heart [Deut 30:6] do eat of the passover, Christ [1 Cor 5:7], the heavenly bread and flesh [John 6:35-58], and so do keep the feast of their passover in the new testament. And the old testament had the outward temple and tabernacle, and outward lights: but in the new testament, the saints' bodies are the temples and tabernacles of God [1 Cor 6:19], and his light doth shine in their hearts, to give them the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ [2 Cor 4:6]. And in the old testament it is said, ‘Do this and live [Lev 18:5];’ and the new saith, ‘Believe in the light (Christ) and be saved.’ And the old testament saith, ‘Thou shalt swear, and perform thy oaths to the Lord:’ but Christ saith in the new, ‘Swear not at all [Mat 5:33f].’ And the old testament <169> saith, ‘Thou shalt not kill, nor commit adultery [Exo 20:13f]:’ but Christ in the new saith, ‘Thou shalt not be angry without a cause [Mat 5:21f], and thou shalt not lust after a woman [Mat 5:27f].’ And the old testament saith, ‘Thou shalt stand up and curse [Deut 27:13]:’ but the new saith, ‘Bless, and curse not [Rom 12:14] .’ The old testament saith, ‘Thou shalt hate thine enemy:’ but the new saith, ‘Thou shalt love thy enemies, and do good to them that hate thee and despitefully use thee [Mat 5:43f].’ So the new covenant and testament is not according to the old. And in many things besides these, it might be shown how one doth exceed the other in glory [2 Cor 3:9].