What it was in its beginning and pu­rity, And what it now is in its Apostacy and Degeneration.

And hereby, by true testimony is de­clared to the whole World; how & wherin, in divers particulars, the Christians through all the World (so called) now, are fal­len and gone backward, and revolted from what the true Christians once were.

And this sheweth unto all the World, the woful state and condition, wherein them that are called Christians now standeth, being departed and revolted from the spi­rit of Christ, and from its teachings.

And this is given forth, that all people may understand concer­ning the times, and the changing of times, and concerning what hath been, what now is, and what suddenly com­eth to pass in the earth.

Written by a friend to the Creation: A servant of the Lord, Edward Burrough.

Printed for Thomas Simmons at the Bull and Mouth near Aldersgate, 1658.

A Table of the Contents whereby all may come [...] understand what the subject is, and the par­ticulars which in this volumn is declared.

  • FIrst, Concerning the name of Christian, and how and when the people of God were first so called; and also of the increase thereof through World.
  • Secondly, Concerning the decrease, and degene­ration of the Christians, and how and when the Apo­stacy came upon them which hath overshadowed them for many Ages.
  • Thirdly, Concerning Wherein, and in what par­ticulars they are fallen, and degenerated, from the life and practice of true Christianity.
    • First, In respect of being made Christians, and re­ceiving the name (herein they differ) and are not agree­able to what the Christians once were. And
    • Secondly, In respect of the operation of the spirit of Christ.
    • Thirdly, In respect of unity and fellowship.
    • Fourthly, In respect of holinesse, and purity of life and conversation.
    • Fifthly, In respect of the Ministry:
      • 1. In its Call.
      • 2. In its practises.
      • 3. In its Maintenance.
    • Sixthly, In respect of worship, and of that in many particulars, is shewed the degeneration of Christianity.
    • Seventhly, The present state of Christians (so cal­led) truly measured, and compared with the state of the Jews in their rebellion, and found altogether equal, and agreeable in many things.
    • Eighthly, A true Testimony against all that abomi­nation and Idolatrous Worship now practised amongst the Christians (so called) with many other things, &c.

To all people upon Earth that are called Christians, this is a faithful and true Testimony concerning you.

BEhold and hearken, give ear and listen diligent­ly all ye people through the whole world that are called Christians; all you I say, that goes un­der that name, and that bears that name, and are named Christians, from one end of the earth to the other, through all Nations and Countrys whether you are scattered, upon the face of the whole earth; behold and take notice what the Word of the Lord is unto you, and what the testimony of Christ is towards you all, for the line of true judgement is laid upon you, and the measuring Rod is put forth to reach over you, and the servant of the Lord hath viewed your state and condition, and what you were in your beginning and increase, and what you now are, in your decrease and woful Apostacy, into which you are fallen and degenerated from the life of Christianity. Oh, let your ears be open to instruction, and regard well what I through the Lord do say unto you, even all you, and every particu­lar of you under heaven, that makes a profession of Christ in words, and are known through the world by that name of Christians; hearken I say and consider, and remember from whence, and into what you are fallen, and return and repent, the Lord hath with you a controversie, and he will plead with you, because of your back-slidings and revoltings, for you are gone away backward, and you are turned aside from the life of Christ, and from his Spirit, and are now without that which was the reason and true ground of your name, Christian, and you have lost the true character of the name, and now hath onely the name without the life and power thereof, and are dead to Christ and his life, and hath a [Page 2] name to live, but are dead, and having lost that which gave you a true title to the name of Christian, you deserve no [...] that name, nor to be called by the name of Christ, because you are departed from his Spirit; and this is to be declared to you in the Name of the Lord, that you may take a view of your own estate, to the end that you may be awakened to return from whence you are degenerated.

The Lord had a people in all generations, unto whom he was a God, and they feared him, and served him, and wor­shipped him, and his name was pretious amongst them, who were his chosen people, and with whom he dwelt, and his power and presence was amongst his people that did walk with him, under what name soever they went in the world; but the first time that ever the people of the Lord were cal­led Christians, or was known by that name from other peo­ple, it was at Antioch, in the time of the Apostles, who were followers of Christ, as you may read, Acts 11. 26. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch, and before that time the people of the Lord were never called Christians, and this name was given to them by the Heathen, because they were for Christ and of his part, and did follow him, and preach him to be followed, and in all things exalted his name, and did and suffered all things for the Name of Christ, therefore were they named Christians, and that name was true unto them, for they had upon them the express image and character of Christ, and followed his Spirit, and preach­ed him unto all people for life and salvation, and that all people might come to Christ and become followers of him, and therefore they were rightly named Christians, to be known by that name from all other people upon earth, who were not followers of Christ, who could not rightly be called Christians, because they were not of his part; and from thenceforth unto this day, all people whatsoever that belie­ved in Christ, and became followers of him, and that profes­sed him, were called Christians, from that original and foun­dation of the name which then was laid, also you may read Acts 26. 28. v. And A [...]rippa said unto Paul, almost thou per­swadest me to be a Christian; here again Paul followed Christ and preached him, and was on his part altogether, and highly [Page 3] extolled his name; therefore King Agrippa called him Chri­stian, and was almost perswaded to be a Christian, to wit, a man for Christ, to take part with him, and to be on his side, and the name interpreted, this is the signification, and all that hath this character doth truly deserve the name of Chri­stians, for they are anointed people, and this was the begin­ning of the Christian name: and before that time, as I have said, were the people of God never called Christians in any generation; and ever since that time, through all ages, all that professed Christ, and believed in him, throughout the whole world were called by the name of Christians, and the Name and Religion of Christians were honourable, and greatly beloved of God, for that people were the pecu­liar people, a chosen generation, as you may read, 1 Pet. 2. 19. and whilst the life of Christ was manifest, and the Spirit of Christ did lead them and teach them in all their wayes and practices of Religion, and whilst I say they retained the power and life of that, of which they had the name, the power and presence of the Lord was amongst them, and above all the people of the earth were they blessed, and more then all people upon the earth besides had they the countenance of God shining amongst them, and upon them, and pure unity with God, and one with another, had they in his life, whereby they were made a terror and a fear to all nations while they stood in the councel of God, and were Christians in life, and power, and practice, as well as in name, and the Lord greatly increased them in number; for as you may read through the Acts of the Apostles, through all the world many believed in Christ, and became followers of him, and received the knowledge of him, and became a­nointed people, and received the name of Christians, some­times thousands at one Sermon were converted to the faith of Christ, and became subject to his spirit, and had his mark upon them, and all such were called Christians, and the A­postles went through many Nations, and of the Iews and Greeks, and of the Heathen, and all other people, some of each were converted, from that way in which they had wal­ked, to follow Christ, and they became Christians, and here [Page 4] was the increase of Christianity, and through many [...] of the world they planted Churches and assemblies of Chri­stians; and as I said, while they stood in the councel [...], the Name and Religion, was of him greatly beloved.

But now the Christians are Apostatized, and degenerated from the spirit of Christ; and from that which gave the [...] the true Name of Christian, and the name is retained onely; and the life and power lost: and now many have a name to live, but are dead; and that is departed from, which gave the true interest and title in the name. Hear this all ye Christi­ans, that life, light and power of God, which was amon [...] the Apostles and Christians once, you are departed from, and have lost the sence and knowledge of, and hath the na [...]e and not the thing, which was the reason and ground of the name: wherefore all ye through the world, that are called Christians, look back to your original, look unto the Apostle [...] who were the first that were called Christians, from who [...] you had the name, and see how you are degenerated and [...] len from the life that they were in, and though you retain the name of Christians, yet you are not followers of Christ, no [...] taught by his Spirit, and none in the dayes of the Apostle [...] were truly counted or called Christians, but who follow­ed the Spirit of Christ, and were first converted to him, and changed by his power from sin to righteousness, and from [...] death to life, and such as were so, were truly called Christi­ans. But now all such as are called by that name, and [...] not followers of the Spirit of Christ, nor converted to hi [...] ▪ neither changed by his power from death to life, and [...] sin to righteousness, such are in the degeneration, from [...] life of Christianity, and hath a name without the life [...] power thereof. And now it remains to be shewed, how and when the degeneration came upon the Christians, and wher [...] ­in they are apostatized and degenerated from that life, and spirit and practice which was amongst the Apostles th [...]t were first called Christians.

The Spirit of the Lord spoke through the Apostles, and foretold of a falling away from the truth, and from the true Christian life, and Paul said, Acts 20, 29, 30. said he, Grie­vous [Page 5] [...]olves shall arise and enter in, who would not spare the flock, [...] from among themselves should men arise, speaking perverse things to draw disciples after them; and he also said, 1 Tim. 4. 1. That some should depart from the faith, and give heed to se­ducing spirits; and he also said, that it should come to pass, that people should become wicked, departing from the truth, having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; and such were led away with divers lusts, and men of corrupt minds, and reprobate concerning the faith; and the Apostle [...]eter also foretold, that there should false teachers arise among the Christians, who should bring in damnable heresies, and many Christians should follow their pernicious wayes, by reason of which, the way of truth should be evil spoken of; And the Apostle Iohn [...] that many false Prophets were gone out then, and many Anti­christs were then come in among the Christians; now all these doth shew and declare of a degeneration and falling away of Christians from the life of Christianity, and we see these Pro­phe [...]ies fulfilled, and flocks of Christians are devoured from the life of Christ, by devouring wolves which hath entred a­mong them, who hath led them into pernicious wayes, and into damnable heresies, whereby the name of Christianity is become reproachful among the Heathens, that never were cal­led Christians; and many thousands are departed from the true faith, from that faith which did purifie the hearts of the Saints, and many of the Christians have given heed to sedu­cing spirits, and hath the form of godliness, but denyes the power thereof, and they are led of divers lusts, and are be­come men of corrupt minds, and are reprobate, and without the true faith; and the Apostles prophesied of the degenera­tion which we see fulfilled in these our dayes, and even while some of the Apostles were yet living, they saw the Christians Apostatizing and falling away, and the Spirit of the Lord spoke through Iohn, Rev. 2. 3. to the Christian Churches in Asia, who were already departing from the Christian life, some of them was departed already from their first work, and some of them were given to the doctrine of B [...]laam, and to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing the Lord did hate, and others of them were seduced by Jezabel, and taught to commit [Page 6] fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto Idols, and others o [...] them had a name to live, but were dead, and others of them were neither hot nor cold, and the Lord said he would [...] them out of his mouth.

Now here the Christians were falling away you may see, and as before it had increased, so now the true Christian life began to decrease, and the glory thereof became dark­ned through all Asia: And also Rev. 13. 11. 1. 16. Iohn saw one beast arise out of the Sea, and another out of the earth, which set up a Kingdom over the whole world, and caused all people upon earth to worship the beast, & the beast hath been great in his power, and he hath ruled over the world in great dominion; and all that would not worship him, he hath had power to kill, and hath killed them, so that the true Christi­an life and Religion, as the Apostles received it and practi­sed it, hath been extinguished for many generations, and peo­ple hath had the form of godlinesse, but denied the power, and lived under the name and profession of Christianity, but hath been without the life, and this is to be considered of and diligently searched into, by all you that go under the name of Christians through all the world, for unto you onely I di­rect my words.

And now it remains to be shewed what the state of Christi­ans are at this day, and wherein particularly they are Apo­statized and degenerated from the true life and practize of the postles who were the f [...]rst Christians; for wherin the Christians now are contrary and not agreeable to the Apostles, in Faith, in practice, in Worship, in Ministry, and in the enterance in­to Christianity, and in any other thing whatsoever. I say, wherein they are contrary, and not agreeable to the true Chri­stians of old, to wit, the Apostles, therein are they degenera­ted and fallen from the true life of Christianity, and this shall be the Rule of judgement to try all you that are called Chri­stians upon the face of the earth; wherefore awake and come forth to judgement, for the measuring rod is laid upon you all, whereby you shall be truly measured and compared with them that were the first Christians upon earth; and the Hea­thens shall see your nakedness and your shame, and hiss at [Page 7] you, when they behold how wofully you are fallen from that [...] in the purity thereof, of which you do professe the words, [...] shall not they rise up in judgement against you; who ne­ver had the name of Christians, who are not fallen nor de­gressed from what they have profest in any measure, compa­rable to you, who now retaineth onely the name of Christian [...] are departed from the life of Christ.

First, concerning the entrance into Christianity, and the way and means whereby people are now made Christians, [...] receives that name; In this will your fall and degenera­tion appear.

For the Apostles and first Christians upon Earth, before they were Christians, or were called so, they were first con­verted, and changed and translated from death to life, as you [...] read, 1 Iohn 3. 14. and Col. 1. 13. and they first re­ceived Christ, and became followers of him, and received his spirit to teach them, and to guide them: For the Apostle said, If any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his, Rom. 8. 9. to wit, no Christians; and the Apostle said, as many as were the sons of God, were led by the spirit of God; and also it was promised by Christ to all that were his, the Comforter should come, the spirit of truth▪ and he should lead them into all truth; which promise, all that were Christians did receive, and they were led into all truth by the teach­ings of the spirit of Christ, which dwelt in them; for all that were sons, God sent the spirit of his Son into their hearts, which spirit sanctified them through the obedience thereof. Now these were Christians, and were truly so called; For they had the mark of Christ and his Image upon them, and he dwelt in their hearts by Faith, Ephes. 3. 17. These I say were truly called Christians; and none but such at that day of their Original were called Christians, or had Fellowship in the Christian life: nor were any looked upon by the Apo­stles to be Christians but by them that were such.

But look back all ye Christians upon earth, and see your [...]all, and wherein you are contrary, and not agreeable to the true Christians in their first and pure estate. I say look back to your Original, and see how you are Apostatized from them [Page 8] in your entrance into your profession of Christianity; fo [...] though you have the name of Christians, yet you were no [...] made so▪ nor received that name by being first converted and changed, and translated from death to life, and [...] being the children of disobedience, to be the children of God, through the work and operation of the spirit of God in you, for hereof are thousands and ten thousands of Christians now wholly ignorant, and altogether without the feeling of the spirit of God, to change them, to con­vert them, and to translate them, but are accounted Chri­stians b [...] tradition, or natural education, and because of be­ing sprinkled with a little water upon the face, being Infant [...], or by a bare confession and profession of the name of Christ in words, and professing of a bare belief in the Scriptures, by this way and means were you made (and received you the name of) Christians without any real change from darkness to light, and from Satan to God, as I have said.

Now here appeares to be a woful degeneration in the very entrance of the thing, and this is not agreeable, but rather contrary unto that way of Christianity, wherein the Christians in their beginning were so made and called, for then none were Christians, or so called, but who through the preaching of the Gospel were first converted, changed, and renewed as I have [...]aid, but now in these nations all are called Christi­ans that are sprinkled upon their faces with water by a tea­cher, when they are infants, or that doth but professe Christ in words, though they are not guided particulerly by his spi­rit; neither hath received Christ to dwell in them, and to be King over them, and here again appeares a wo [...]ul Aposta­cy: for none in the beginning of Christianity in the world were made Christians, or so called, but who received Christ, and in whom he dwelt, and was in them: as you may read, 2 Cor. 13. 5. and who were followers of him, and had his spirit in them, the comforter to teach them and to lead them into all truth, but now thousands upon thousands who hath the name of Christians, have not received Christ to dwell in [...] nor to rule them, neither is he manifest in them by his spirit to teach them, and they are not led into all truth; but lives [Page 9] in [...] and unrighteousness, and are not followers of Christ, [...] followes their own hearts desires, and their own hearts lusts: and are condemned in their own consciences, and hath not received the comforter, the holy Spirit, to be their guide and leader out of all unrighteousness; and here appears a woful degeneration: and that you Christians through all the world are revolted and gone backward from Christianity, as it was in its Original; a lamentation may be taken up because of this woful fall into which you Christians are fallen: consi­der of your own state, and return, and repent.

Again, the Christians were begotten of God, and born of him, 1 Joh. 5. 18. and they were born of the word of God▪ and of the in­coruptible seed; 1 Pet. 1. 23. and they were created in Christ Iesus unto good works, Eph. 2. 10. and they were new Creatures, [...] things were done away, 2 Cor. 5. 17. they had put off the body of sin and death, [...]oll. 1 18. and were the servants of right­ [...] and free from sin, Rom. 6 22. as you may read;

But now also, woful are you Christians degenerated from this; for thousands upon thousands of you are not born nor begotten of God, though you have the name of Christi­ans, neither are you born of the word of God which lives for ever, nor of the incoruptible seed, neither are created again: nor become new creatures; nor have put off the body of sin and death, neither are the servants of righteousness, nor free from sin.

But on the contrary, are the servants of sin, and free from righteousness, and are in the corruptible state, and are old creatures, and are not washed, nor purified, as the Saints were, as you may read, 1 Cor. 6. 11. and here is a woful degenera­tion of the Christians now, from what the Christians were in the beginning: the Christians then were new creatures; and put off the body of sin, and were washed, and sanctified; but the Christians now, are not so, but the contrary, to wit, unwashed and unsanctified, remaining in the pollutions of the world, and are of the birth which is born of the flesh, and are in the old nature, serving sin and the lusts of their own hearts, and thus are you fallen from that which the true Christians possessed; for being compared to them, you are [Page 10] not agreeable but rather contrary to them in all these things; and the Lord is now come to search you and to try you; and to all people shall you be discovered, for the Lord is now risen to bring all to tryal and to judgement;

And again, herein will the Apostacy of the Christians ap­pear, in respect of unity and fellowship, for the Christians in their beginning while yet the life of God was not darke­ned amongst them, they were of one heart, and one mind, and one soul as you may read, Acts the 4. 32. and the Lord promi­sed that he would give unto his people one heart and one way: and Ezek the 11. 19. the Lord promised to give his people one heart and a new spirit: which promise the Christians received, and they that believed were of one beart and there was no lack amongst them, but some sold their possessions, and distributed to them that had need: and they were members of Christ▪ and he was head amongst them, and over them: and they were flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones, Eph. 5. 23. 30. and all the Christians were of one faith, Eph. 45. and had unity and fellowship in the life which was made manifest in them; for they had tasted and handled, and seen, and heard, the word of life, and they had fellowship with the father, and with his son Jesus Christ.

But all ye Christians upon earth, how are you degenera­ted, and how great is your fall in this, for you are not of one heart and mind, nor in unity and fellowship one with another, but are of divers sorts & sects, and are run into many opinions, and devisions, and are of many ways, and minds, and hearts; divers sorts there are of Papists, and divers sorts of [...] so called, which are all divided in opinions, and striving, and contending about faith and Religion, and the worship of God, and are opposing one another, and putting one an­other to death, because of a difference in those things; how great is the difference through many nations amongst Chri­stians about those things? which sheweth that the Christians are wofully fallen in respect of unity, and it is manifest such Christians have not received the promise of God, as the A­postles had; for now the Christians can suffer one another to lack, and to perish, and die and starve for hunger and want: [Page 11] [...] in this all ye Christians generally how you are fallen; then in the beginning of Christianity, no lack nor want was a­mongst them; they that had much, sold it, and gave to them that had none; but now thousands are oppressed through want, while others have too much; some are feeding and cloathing excessively with their multitude of dishes, and changes of rayment, while others hath scarce whereon to feed, or to cover their nakedness; and this manifesteth that you are not members of the body of Christ, neither is he head in you, nor amongst you, but you are members of an harlot, and joyned to a h [...]rlot, and one with a harlot, for you profess many faiths; some say they believe Christ is gi­ven to all, others believes not so; some say they believe he died for all, others they say, they believe contrary to that; and thus the one faith which the Apostles had, the Christi­ans of this generation have lost, and they have lost the one head Christ, and hath many heads, every Sect hath their head, many heads among the Protestants, many heads among the Papists, but thus it was not in the beginning of Christia­nity; therefore you Christians are subverted from the true life of Christ; the Christians then were of one faith, but now of many; the Christians then had one head Christ, but now the Christians (so called) hath many heads; the Christians then could lay down their life one for another, and were written in the hearts of one another by the spirit of the living God; but the Christians now, are in envy one towards ano­ther, and in strife one with another; the great men doth op­press the poor, and they go to Law one with another for earthly things, and one stealing from another, and one hang­ing another, and murdering one another, and making slaves one of another, and robbing one another, and seeking ut­terly to destroy one another, and yet such hath the name of Christians, amongst whom all this is acted; but consider how woful is your fall, and how wicked is your degeneration from the life of God, and from the true Christian life and unity, which was amongst them in their beginning, then they were of one heart, and of one way, but now divided, and in strife and contention about Religion, and the worship of God, and [Page 12] also about earthly things, for which they destroy one [...] ▪ and seek so to do; then they could lay down their life one for another, but now they are taking the life one from ano­ther, through wickedness, a woful Apostacy, and great night of darkness is upon you; then none amongst them had lack of any thing, nor none destroyed through wasting any thing upon their lusts, but now thousands perisheth for want, while others hath too much, and are destroying it upon their lusts; then had the Christians one head Christ, but now the b [...]ast reigns that hath many heads; then they were of one faith▪ but now the Christians profess many faiths; then the Christians handled, saw, heard and felt, of the Word of life in the [...], and they had fellowship with the Father and with the Son, but now thousands of thousands of Christians are without the sence, and feeling, and knowledge of the Word of life in them, and walks in darkness and in ignorance, and hath no fellowship with the Father nor with the Son. Behold, behold ye Christians, how ye are fallen, and how great is your fall! a mourning and lamentation may be taken up for you, the garment of righteousness is rent from you, and the beauty of the Son of God appears not upon you: [...], alas, what doth it advantage you, to have the name of Chri­stians, seeing you are thus wofully degenerate from that love, unity and life, in the fellowship of God, which was among the Apostles, who were the first Christians, and from whom ye derived the name, but are without the life, as hereby i [...] manifest to all the world.

Again, herein doth the Apostacy of Christians appear, in respect of holiness and purity of life; for the Christians were of a holy life and conversation, the Apostle said, 1 Thes. 47. God hath not called them unto uncleanness, but unto holiness; and as you may read, Tit▪ 2. The aged men were to be sober, grave, temperate, sound in the faith, in charity, in patience; and the aged women likewise, their behaviour was to be as became holi­ness, and the young women were to be discreet, and Chaste, and young men were to be sober minded, and servants were to be obe­dient to their Masters, and to shew good fidelity; for saith the Apostle unto the Christians, The grace of God had appeared, teaching them to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present [Page 13] [...] for that end was Christ given, that he might redeem them from all iniquity, and purifie unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Now here in short is a description of the true Christian life and conversation, which was exhorted to, and no doubt but practiced by the Christians, in the dayes when Christ was manifest amongst them; but from this practice are the Chri­stians degenerated: for, how are the aged men and women now given to covetousness, and earthly-mindedness, and are pi [...]vish, and perverse, and immoderate, and in the works that are evil, shewing that they are not in the Apostles do­ctrine, and not in the Christian life, but to it are become dead, bringing forth fruits contrary to the fruits that the aged men and women brought forth in the beginning of Christia­nity, shewing they are not of a holy life and conversation as the Christians were, and ought to be; and also how are the young men, and the young women degenerated from the true Christian life, and now are given to wantonness and plea­sures of the world, and the lusts which are evil; following vanity, and pride, and vain glory, and Masters, and ser­vants being corrupt in their places, serving themselves one of another, and making a prey one upon another; and thus all sorts of Christians are fallen from the Christian life, and holy conversation, and sheweth that they own not the grace of God, which hath appeared to all men to be their teacher, [...] the true Christians once did, for it is manifest that the Christians now (so called) hath not denied all ungodliness and worldly lusts, neither doth live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, as the Christians did; but on the contrary, how, are ye Christians fallen from the pure and holy life, abounding in wickedness, and in all ungodli­ness▪ how doth pride abound among Christians? how doth lying, swearing, drunkenness and whoredom, and all the works of the flesh abound; dissimulation, back-biting, envy, wrath, and all that ever c [...]n be called evil is abounding amongst ye Christians so called? this shews that your Apostacy is great, from that life & conversation which the Apostles and Churches of Christians were in, who had denied all ungodlin [...]s [Page 14] and worldly lusts, but generally ye live in all ungodlin [...]h and worldly lusts; judge ye of this back▪sliding into which you are fallen; they were taught to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, but ye live unrighteously and un­godly, and out of the fear of God, and the grace of God is not your teacher as it was theirs; also you may read how much the Apostles exhorted the Christians to a holy life and conver­sation; the Apostle said, 1 Cor. 3. 17. The Temple of God is holy, which Temple ye are, speaking to the Christians, and he said, Eph. 1. 4. They were chosen in Christ, that they should be holy and without blame before him, in love; and Col. 1. 22. they that had been sometimes enemies to God in their minds, were recon­ciled to present them holy and unblameable in his sight.

And 1 Pet. 1. 15. the Apostle exhorted the Christians to be holy in all manner of conversation; and Phil. 3. 20. the Christians witnessed that their conversations were in heaven. Now herein doth the fall of Christians appear, in respect of their life, and conversation, and walking; for the Christians in the Apostles dayes were of a holy life, and exhorted all thereunto, but the Christians now, Teachers and people, are degenerate in their conversation, and lives in all unrighte­ousness as I have said; and the conversation of Christians now, being compared with what the Christians conversation was then, it is altogether contrary, and sheweth, that though you have the name of Christians, ye are not followers of Christ, nor led by his Spirit, but by the Spirit of Antichrist. Oh, how wofully are you fallen you Christians from the life of Christ▪ having a name to live, but are dead; the Lord God is coming against you, to break you to pieces, for you have po­luted his name in that you profess to be his people in words, but in works doth deny him. Oh remember, remember, from whence you are fallen, and return, least the anger of God consume you from off the earth, for your conversations greatly dishonour the true God; oh what gluttony and drunkenness is amongst Christians? what pride and vain glory? what cruelty, envy and murder one against another? what whore­doms and fornication? what cozening? what cheating? how doth all wickedness abound amongst you, in your lives and [Page 15] [...]; let the Lord be witness, and your own con­sciences be witnesses against you for your abominations; they that were true Christians, who followed Christ, lived not in, but were redeemed from such transgressions, but you live in them, and acts them, wherefore be ye witnesses against your selves, that ye are fallen and digressed from the true Christi­an estate.

Again, herein will you Christians appear to be degene­rated from true Christianity in respect of your Ministery; for the Ministers of Christ in the [...] of Christianity they were made Ministers by the gift of the Holy Spirit, which was given to them; for they were commanded to wait at Ieru­salem for the promise of the Father, and they were not to go forth till they had received power from God by the gift of his holy spi­rit, and when that was come, they should be witnesses and Ministers of Christ, Acts 1. 48 and as they were waiting with one accord in one place, the Holy Ghost fell among them and fil­led them, and then they began to speak as the spirit gave them ut­terance, and they went up and down, and testified to the World of what they had heard and seen, Acts 2. 4. now this was the call of Christian Ministers, and this was the authori­ty by which they went forth into the World, to wit, the spi­rit of God poured upon them, and by authority of this onely they went up and down the World, and declared what they had handled, seen and tasted of the Word of of life, 1 Iohn [...] and as every man had received the gift, so they might mini­ster the same one to another, 1 Pet. 4. 10. and this was the practise of the Christian Ministers in the beginning of Chri­stianity, concerning their call to the Minist [...]ry.

But how is the Christians here d [...]generated from what the Apostles were in, for by another way then this are your Mi­nisters made, not by the gift of the holy Ghost received from God, neither do the Christians now wait for such a thing, to go forth by authority and power thereof, but they are made Ministers by natural learning, and education at School, ha­ving authority by man, and are [...]pproved of man and not of God, and a man knows who of his children he will make Ministers, when they are Infants, and thereupon pu [...]s him to [Page 16] Schools to learn Arts and knowledge of earthly things, [...] so long time, till he have gained so much knowledge and craft to be approved of such and such men (and as is [...] knowledge, and opportunity serves; withal, having a grea [...] place provided, where there is great store of maintenance) such a man becomes a Minister and a Preacher to others, ha­ving never received, nor thought to receive the gi [...]t of the Holy Ghost, neither having heard, se [...]n, tasted, nor handled any thing of the Word of life from G [...]d in his own parti­cular; neither hath he received the gift of Christ to be made a Minister by: this sheweth greatly your degen [...]ration from the true Christian spirit; none then Ministers among Christian [...] ▪ but them who had received the gift by the Holy Ghost, and power from on high; but now Ministers are made and ap­proved, and sent forth amongst Christians, because of na­tural learning and education, without receiving the gift [...] the holy Spirit; and the Ministers of Christ then spoke [...] the spirit gave them utterance, but now Ministers studies fo [...] what they speak, and reads old Authors to gather forth matte [...] to preach to the people; then the Christian Ministers heard, and tasted, and handled of the Word of life in themselves; but now the Ministers hath their knowledge from book [...], and what they have heard and read without them. Oh how great is your Apostacy ye Christians! and in respect of your Ministry, how greatly are you degenerated from the Ministry which the Christians once had? be hold & consider this all ye Christians upon earth, your Ministry is proved not to agree, but rather to be contrary to that Ministry which was amongst Christians in the purity of Christianity, as hereby is manifest; and you are fallen from the Ministry made by the gift of the holy Ghost, to a ministry made by natural learning; consider all ye Christians how great is this fall.

Again, in respect of the maintenance of your Ministry, your degeneration doth appear, for the Ministers of Christ amongst Christians, as they were called by the spirit, so they were maintained in the work of their Ministry by the free gift of the people, who received their Ministry, and they were to give freely, and minister freely, as they had received freely, [Page 17] [...]. 10. 8. 2 Cor. 11▪ 7. The Apostle preached the Gospel of God [...], and would not make it chargeable to any▪. 1 Cor. 9. 18. and the Ministers of Christ among Christians at that day, went through the world and preached freely the things that they had received from God, and they sought no mans money, nor g [...]d, nor apparel, Acts 20. 33. and saith the Apostle, 2 Cor. 12 14. I seek not yours, but you, and that was their end altogether to bring people to God by their Ministry, onely Christ did al­low, Luke 9. 4. Into whatsoever house they entred that was worthy, they might there abide, eating and drinking such things as were set before them; and it was the Apostles practice sometimes to reap carnal things, where they had sown spiritual things, and it was a small matter that they did so; yet by a free gift they de­sired to reap it, and not by force and violence, did they ever obtain any thing.

But concerning this; great is the degeneration of Christi­ans in this generation, for now the Ministers amongst you Christians are maintained by an outward power, through com­pelling maintenance of Tithes and other set wages, from the people, even from them that doth not receive their Ministry, and they do not preach freely, but makes their preaching chargeable to whole nations, and the maintaining of Chri­stian Ministers is become a burthen to whole nations, and great oppressions upon the poor; and now the Ministers seeks mens mony; and gold; and it doth not appear that they only seek a people to God, but on the contrary they seek peoples mony to themselves; and it doth not sa­ [...] the Ministers now to eat & drink such things that is set be­fore them in a house that is worthy, but they must have so much a year, and so much a sermon, and so much from every par­ticular man of his parish be they worthy or unworthy; to the value, of 100. or 200 l. by the year; whereby poor people are greatly oppressed; and they will reap carnal things by force and violence; from them to whom they sow no spiri­tual things; for they are suing at Law, and putting in prison, and distraining peoples goods by force and cruelty, to main­tain them and their familes in pride and idleness, which things the Christian Ministers formerly in the dayes of the Apostles [Page 18] never did; but were often under great sufferings, in [...] often, and in cold and nakedness often: Labouring with their hands; 2. Cor. 11. 27.

Wherefore ye Christians, behold how you are fallen and how your Ministry is degenerated both in its call & in its main­tenance, being diverted [...] contrary to what the Christian Ministry was once; behold I say how you are fallen: and your Ministry quite subverted, from what the Ministry was in the dayes of the Apostles; then the maintenance of Mini­sters was by a free gift from them that received their Mini­stry, and they would not make their Ministry chargeable to any, but now the maintenance of Ministers is by force and cruelty, and great oppression of many people, and their preaching is chargeable to many Nations; then they sought no man gold nor mony, nor sought [...]ot riches from the peo­ple, but onely sought the people to God; but now mens m [...] ­ney and riches are sought and taken [...]rom them by violence, without regard of seēking people, or bringing people to God▪ then to eat and drink (in a house that was worthy) such thing [...] as were set before them, and to reap carnal things, as meat, and drink, and necessaries, by a free gift, from them that re­ceived their Ministry, thi [...] was a sufficient maintenance for the Christian Ministers, but now so many hundred pounds by the year, to maintain themselves and their families in pride and i­dleness, and to reap it by compulsion and injustice from poor people; in this manner are the Christian Ministers now main­tained, which i [...] mani [...]est to be quite contrary to the practice of Christian Ministers in the Apostles dayes. Behold your fall ye Christians, and how you are degenerated; the Lord is come to try you, and to search you, y [...]u are weighed and are found too light, you are measured and are found wanting; what the Christians were once in their purity, you are no [...] in many things, but the contrary, which sheweth that you have the name of Christians [...] [...]y tradition, but are without the life, and being paralel [...]'d with the Christians who truly followed Christ, you are no whit equal to them in any thing, but wholly contrary in all things, shewing you follow another spirit, then they who were followers of the spirit of Christ, [Page 19] so [...] to the whole world, that you are degenerate out of Christ the true Vine, and are branches in a degenerate stock, which brings fr [...]it forth through you, which honours not God, but grieves his pure spirit, and be ye witnesses against your selves, that you are fallen and degenerate from that life and practice which was amongst the Apostles and Christians, Again, as concerning your worship, which is now practi­ced amongst you Christians through the world; herein also will your Apostacy greatly appear, for the worship of the Christians was one, and guided by one spirit, and was in the spirit and in the truth, saith Christ, Iohn 4▪ concerning the worship of Christians, God is a spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth, and s [...]ith the Apo­stle, We are the circumcision that worship God in spirit, and re­joyces in Christ Iesus, and hath no confidence in the flesh, Phil. 3. 3. And these were Christians, and also, Rom▪ 6 7. They worshipped God not in the oldness of the Letter, but in the newness of the Spirit, and the spirit guided them in all thing [...], and was their teacher in all their worship; for the Spirit taught them to pray, and they prayed in the spirit, and they knew not [...] they should pray for as they ought, but the spirit made inter­c [...]ssion for them, Rom. 8. 26. and the Christians were exhorted to pray in the Holy Ghost, Jud▪ 20. and the preaching of Chri­stians, it was in the spirit, and by the teachings of the Spirit; for they preached as the spirit gave them utterance, Acts 2. And Philip was led by the spirit, and the Spirit of the Lord moved Philip to go and preach to the Eunuch, Acts 8. And the Apostles went up and down, as they were moved and led by the Spirit, and preached and prayed in what place, and at what time and season as the spirit moved them, and gave them utte­rance; sometime in the fields, and sometime in houses, this was the practice of the Christians in their preaching and praying; and also the Apostle said, I will pray with the spirit, and with understanding, and I will sing with the spirit, and with un­derstanding; and he exhorted the Christians to [...] in psalms and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord, and making melody in their hearts to him, Eph. 5. 19. N [...]w this is the [...] ­mony concerning what the worship of Christians was, its [Page 20] manifest that it was in the spirit, and by the teaching [...] of [...] spirit, their preaching, praying and singing, were in the [...] ▪ taught and exercised therein by the spirit which they had received from God.

But now the worship of Christians at this day, is not agree­able to this, but being laid to the line of judgement, is pro­proved contrary; for first the Christians now are divided in their worship, and hath many forms of worship, some wor­shipping after one manner, and others after another, so that amongst the Christians there are divers forms of worshipping, and they are striving and contending about their worship, eve­ry one praising their own form, and striving one against ano­thers form of worship; and this sheweth that the Christians now are not guided nor exercised by the own spirit of God, in their worship; and this shews that the Christians now are degenerated from the true worship of God in spirit, which once the Christians worship stood in; for then the worship of Christians was one, and in one spirit, but now the worship of Christians are many and divers, and divided one from ano­ther, and they are not in unity in their worship, but in stri [...]e and division; and herein you are Apostatized from the [...] of Christianity, and its manifest that the worship of Christi­ans now, is not in the spirit and in the truth, but in vain tra­ditions, learned in natural knowledge by people that are no [...] converted unto God, and any part of the worship which is now practised amongst Christians, whether amongst Papists of any [...]ort, or amongst Protestants of any sort; I say every part of the worship now practised amongst Christians through the world, may be taught unto, and learned of, and exerci­sed in, by a man that knows not God, neither is in the truth, nor converted to the truth; neither hath the Spirit of God guiding nor leading of him; and I say, that which may be done or practised by a man that is not in the spirit, nor in the truth, nor is yet converted to the knowledge of God, nor is not in any measure guided by the Spirit of God, is no [...] the worship of the true God which is in the spirit and truth; but as I have said, any part of the worship now practised a­mongst Christians, may be done and practised by a man that [Page 21] is [...] of the spirit, and out of the truth, and unconverted to the knowledge of God; and therefore the worship now practised amongst Christians, is not the true worship of the true God, which is in the spirit and in the truth, and which cannot be practised without it. Many more things might be said, as to prove the worship of Christians n [...]w, as practised by them, is not the true worship of the true God; but this is true which I have said, that which is practised without the spirit of God, is not the true worship of God, which must be in the spirit, and cannot be practised without it; but such is the worship of Christians, for the Christians now general­ly prayeth, some after one form, and some after another, in their own wills and times, and knoweth not the movings of the spirit of the Father thereunto, nor guiding them therein, but in such a manner as they set unto themselves, or as the custom of the Country instructs therein, and knows not the [...] of the Spirit of the Father in them, nor knows [...]ot the praying in the Holy Ghost; and as for the preaching of Christians, it is not now practised as the Christians of old practised it, nor by the same Spirit▪ now they study for what they speak, and gathers out of the Scriptures, some having it written in a book what they will preach to the people, and this is not to preach as the spirit gives them utterance, neither [...] from the teaching or moving of the Spirit of God, but by humane Art, and humane [...], knowing before hand, [...], and how much to speak, so much as they have collec­ted in their thoughts from such a verse, and how long to preach, til a glass be run, & knows what to have for preaching; a [...]d this, and such like is the manner of the preaching now [...] Christians, which hath no savour in it of Gods Spi­ri [...] ▪ o [...] of the teachings or leadings of Gods Spirit in it, but al­together contrary, to wit, this practise savours of idolatry, and of vain traditions and superstitions.

And in short, this practice of preaching amongst the Chri­stians now is not in the same manner, neither by the same spi­rit, nor for the same end as the preaching of the Christians was in the dayes of the Apostles, which sheweth that the Christians now, are Apostatized and greatly degenerated [Page 22] from what the Christians were then: For again the Christi­an Ministers now doth not go as they were moved of the Lord up and down from countrey to countrey to convert people to God, as the Christian Ministers did then: but in­quires for places of great maintenance, where there is great store of Tithes and set wages; and if they can, there they settle themselves, and preaches in manner as I have said; and this practice savours nothing of the teachings of the spirit of God, nor of the movings of that spirit, whereby the Chri­stian Ministers of old were guided, which sheweth that the Christiam Ministers now are in the Apostacy, and in the de­generation from God, and from what the Christian Mini­sters were then. And as concerning the practice of singing now amongst Christians, it is not in the spirit, nor with a good understanding, but in a vain form, and tradition, and not in the spirit of the Lord; for now the Christians many of them in a form sings the conditions of others; as Davids prayers, and praises, and troubles, and afflictions; when as themselves are in a condition quite contrary to what David was, and so singeth that which unto themselves is false, as being out of that condition of which they sing, and this is not singing with the spirit, neither is it to sing spiritual songs▪ and others of Christians have another manner of singing; [...] which singing of Christians now hath no [...]avour of the teachings of Gods spirit in it, neither is it according, [...] by [...] [...]e spirit, as the singing of the Christians once [...] A woful Apostacy is fallen among you, ye Christians through the world, and you are fallen, you are fallen from the life of Christ, and from the true practice of Christianity. [...] the first Christians were in, then their praying was in the spirit, and in the Holy Ghost, but now without the spirit, in forms and traditions; their preaching then was as the spirit led them, and as it gave them utterance, but now by humane learning and policy, a [...] such a place for so much a y [...]ar, an hour by a [...] ▪ what they have gathered by [...] upon [...] m [...]ns wolks; [...] the singing of Christians was in the spirit▪ and their whole worship was spiritual, in the spirit and in the truth, but the singing of Christians now, and all their wor­ship, [Page 23] is in vain traditions, exercised without the leadings and movings of the spirit of God; then the worship of Christians was one, and by one spirit, now it is divers, and in division, & in many contrary spirits. Alas, oh ye Christians, consider how [...] is your fall, and how woful your degeneration, in re­spect of your worship, fallen greatly from the teaching of the Spirit of God, in your praying, in your preaching, and in your singing, to follow humane learning, and worldly poli­cy, and vain traditions, the customs of the Country, and your own imaginations, in your praying, preaching, and singing, as I have proved unto you: Oh consider how great is your Apostacy from the true life of true Christianity, greatly do you erre from the pure way, wherein the true Chri­stians walked, and being truly paralel'd with them, and measured with the spirit of true judgement; you are sound not equall to them in any measure, but rather contrary al­together, shewing you are guided by another spirit then once the Christians were, & that you follow another teacher then once they did, your practices doth make it manifest, which are contrary, and not according to what the practice of the Christians once were, is not my judgement just upon you? have you not lost that, and are departed from it which gave the name of Christian, and so hath the name without the thing? a profession of Christianity, but no true title therein; but having lost that which gave the true title to the name: so [...] this is your state, and this is your condition generally ye Christians through the world; a name you have of Christiani­ty, but to the true life therof, in every particular, are you dead.

And now all ye Christians upon earth, behold, behold, how you are fallen and degenerated in all these things and many more, which might be named, fallen I say from the true Christian life and practice, wherein the Christians once were, shewing fully to all the world, that the spirit of Christ doth not now guide ye Christians, but another spirit, which brings forth through you other works and fruits, and of another nature then what the Christians once brought forth and being compared with them, you are no whit equal, in the very way and means whereby you are made Christians, [Page 24] you differ from them, and in all your practices, and in life and conversation you are contrary to them, and in respect of your worship and Ministry, in every part thereof, are you altogether contrary unto what the Christians once were▪ yea, in your very apparel you shew a degeneration from the true life and practice in Christianity; for the Apostle exhorted the Christians to adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefac'dness and sobriety, not with broidred hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, 1 Tim. 2. 9. And the Christi­ans were there exhorted, that their adorning should not be the outward plaiting of the hair▪ or of wearing of gold, or put­ting on of apparel.

But now amongst ye Christians, is a practice found quite contrary; what vanity and excess is in your apparel, striving to excel one another in pride and vain glory, in your gold, and silver and costly array, spending the creation of God to satisfie their lust [...]ul minds; shewing another spirit then was amongst the Christians of old, whose words and name ye profess, but are degenerated from the life, in things of grea­ter and less moment.

Alas, alas, Oh wo is me for you! how is my spirit [...] oppressed in the remembrance of your woful fall? what shall [...] say unto you but this? you are revolted and gone away backward from the way of life, and you have altogether for­gotten God, and are degenerated from Christ the living Vine, & the anger of the Lord is now greatly kindled [...] you, to consume you, and to confound you, because you are revolted and turned aside from the pure and perfect way of God, which once was manifest amongst Christians, and your back sliding and Apostacy is truly compared to that of the Iews, who did retain the name of the people of God, [...] they were turned aside from his commandements, even [...] you do retain the name of Christians, though you are depar­ted from Christ; for the Iews had seen and known much of the power and presence, and hand of the Lord, in many [...] victories and deliverances, and the Lord had chosen them a­bove any other people at that day, to place his name [...] them, and amongst them; and yet after all that, they forgot [Page 25] [...] wondrous works, and rebelled against him, and became [...] and hard-hearted people, much more then any other besides them, and they would not be instructed, nor re­claimed by the voice of the Prophets, but smote them, and slew them, and when Christ their Saviour came, they would not receive him, nor walk in his wayes, but crucified him, saying, they would not have that man to reign over them.

And to this in every particular, are the Christians now found equal, and agreeing with back-sliding Israel, for much of the hand and power of the Lord was the Christians made partakers of, and the Lord wrought great deliverances for them, when they were few in number, and under heavie yokes and bondage, through persecution and cruel dealing▪ [...] then the Lord was with them, and increased them great­lie in number, and gave them victorie in a great measure o­ver all their enemies; but now are they revolted even as the Iews, and have forgotten God, and greatly rebelled a­ [...] him, and have turned his love to their lusts, abusing his loving kindness, and are become a [...], and a hard-hearted people as ever were the Iews, and now you will not be instructed nor reclaimed from the error of your wayes, but abounds in all manner of unrighteousness, and will not [...] to the voice of the Lord, nor return to him, but are [...] people, and will not return unto him from whom you are fallen, but hates the light which Christ hath lighten­ed you withal, neither will have Christ to raign over you, [...] the life as the Iews did.

And as the sacrifices and oblations, the Sabboth-keeping of the Iews, and all the works of righteousness, were abomina­tion to the Lord after they were departed from him, even their very practice of those things which God had once com­manded them to perform, became a burden to the Lord, and [...] soul could not away with them, even their new Moons and Sabboths, his soul hated, Isa. 1. and all their sacrifices were as if they cut off a dogs neck, and their oblations as if they offered swines blood, and their burning incense, as if they blessed an Idol, Isa. 66. I say, the very practice of the Iews, after they were revolted, and become disobedient [Page 26] children, in those very things, which God had commanded them to do and practice, and which once the Lord accepted the doing of by his people, yet after they were turned aside from the leading of his spirit, the practice of the very same works were hateful in the sight of the Lord, when they per­formed works of righteousness to him, and yet their hearts went after their covetousness, and then, their practicing of that which God had once commanded to be done, their do­ing of it was Idolatry, and was a burden to the Lords soul, and their righteousness, and all their practices therein, were as filthy rags, even loathsom in his presence, when their fear towards him was taught by the precepts of men, and they had lost that pure fear which once was taught them of God, but they were gone from his fear, which should have kept their hearts clean; and their hearts were defiled and polluted, and therefore not any of their performances to him could be ac­cepted, but were altogether become an abomination.

And even thus is it at this day, as concerning the sacrifices and performances of Christians, being as I have said, and made manifest, departed from the Lord, and from the spirit of Christ; all their prayings, and preachings, and singings, their Baptisms, and breakings of bread, and even all that which you perform as unto God, as the worship of him; is not accepted, but abomination unto him; and his soul is [...] ­thened with all these things, you not being led with the spi­rit of Christ; and even your practicing of these things, which the Saints and Christians once practised, and were accepted of the Lord in so doing, while they were led by the spirit of Christ▪ I say the very practice of those things now, by the Christians being degenerated, is become idolatry and abomination to the Lord; and this I declare in the fear and presence of the Lord, even all your praying, and preachings, and profession, all your Sabboth▪ keeping, and set dayes of humiliation, and even all your practices of Religion, which you do and perform is idolatry, and a burden to the Lords soul, in the state that now you stand, not being led with the spirit of Christ, but being from it departed, and your works not brought forth by it, but by another spirit. And [Page 27] now saith the Lord unto you Christians, (who are degenera­ted from the spirit of Christ) to what purpose is your preaching, praying and singing, they are a vexation and a burden to the righteous soul, and the Lord hath no delight therein; away with it, away with it, your profession & practices stinks in the nostrils of the Lord; all your Baptisms, & your Sacraments, which ye perform in a vain tradition, and not by the Spirit of the Lord, they are hateful in his sight, away with them, away with them, they shall crumble to the dust, and immediate desolation in one day; the Lord will break them down, and never build them up again; your preaching by a glass for so much a Sermon, or so much a year, what you have gathered out of books, and studied for from other mens words, down with it, down with it, it is an abomination to the Lord; and your Ministrie which is made and sent forth at Schools, and by natural learning, through the attainment of such Arts and Sciences, and being approved of such and such men, and sent forth to such and such a Parish, to have so much money by the year for preaching what hath been studied for, and not by the gift of the Holie Ghost; away with this Ministrie, away with it, its a mocking of God, and a deceiving of souls, the Lord will confound it, and bring it to destruction, and your singing of the Saints words in Rime and Meeter, and their conditions, which your selves never knew; this is abomination to the Lord, & a practice which his soul hates, away with it, the Lord is risen to confound it; away with al your worship, which is not in the spirit nor in the truth, but in vain traditions of men, practised by you in a vain form, and not in the power of God, the Lord will bring it down to the ground, and re­ [...], and establish his own worship, which is in spirit and in truth; and he will give, and hath given his Ministrie a­gain by the gift of the Holy Ghost, which hath been lost for many ages, while this night of Apostacie hath overspread the world, and the Lord shall no longer be worshipped in vain traditions of men, but his people shall be restored and re­newed, to worship him in spirit and truth; and the Christian life shall again be brought forth, and the spirit of Christ shall be the leader and teacher of his people; and now the day of the Lords visitation is again revived, for to gather his people, [Page 28] and to restore them again to his perfect way and worship.

Therefore hearken and behold ye Christians, this is the te­stimony of the Lord concerning you; you have been fallen and degenerated from the life of righteousnesse, and from the true way and worship of the true God; and you have long been slumberi [...]g and sleeping in this long night of darkness▪ which overshadowed you, and darkened that glorious ap­pearance of the Son of God, which once shined upon the Christians, and in blindenesse and darknesse have you wal­ked for many ages, and your worship hath been superscribed to the unknown God; and wofully have you been wallow­ing in unclean paths, and you have erred, you have erred from the life of Christ, and from his spirit, and you have gone from your husband, and followed other lovers, and you have been drenched in iniquity, & altogether polluted by transgression, and the state in which you now stand, is a state separated from God; a state of great ignorance and darkness, and a state of hainous rebellion against God, whose soul and spirit is great­ly oppressed & grieved because of your degeneration; who is become more ignorant of God then the Ox is of his owner, or the Asse of his masters crib, and even the very same vision [...] seen concerning you, as the Prophet saw concerning Israel; Therefore here oh heavens, and give ear oh earth, for the Lord doth speak unto you Christians; I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me; and the Ox knows his owners, and the Asse his masters crib, but the Chri­stians doth not know, the people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evel doers, chil­dren that are corrupted, that have forsaken the right way, and provoketh the living God to anger, and ye are gone away backward, the whole head is sick, the whole heart is [...], and from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundnesse, but your conditions are wounds and bruis [...] ▪ and putrifying sores; you are not closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment, and your country is desolate and your cities is burnt with fire; your land strangers devo [...] it in your presence, and it is desolate and overthrown by strangers; and but that the Lord of Hosts hath left us a small [Page 29] [...], even a seed, ye Christians would have been as So­ [...]; if any man have an ear to hear, let him hear; this visi­on is as true unto you Christians throughout all the World, [...] ever it was unto the seed of the Jews; this is your state, and this is your condition; and thus ye stand in the sight of the Lord, though in your beginning (in the beginning of Christianity I mean) the Lord brought up the Christians and nourished them by his living word, and with his word hee cherished them, and they grew unto a goodly state, and were [...] in Christ▪ Col. 2. 10. and they were come to the spirits [...] men made perfect, and unto mount Sion the City of the living God, the heavenly Ierusalem, and to an innumer able com­pany of Angels, to the general Assembly and Church of the first­born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Iudge of all, Heb. 12. 22, 23. 24.

TO this state were the Christians nourished and brought up, in the dayes when they were first brought forth, when they were begotten and born again of the Immortal Word that abides for [...]ever, and they were sanctified, and purified, and made clean; unto this were they nourished and brought up out of darknesse, and from under the shaddow of death; but notwithstanding this, the Christians now have rebelled against the Lord, and doth rebel against him; and though he hath been unto them as an owner to the Ox, and as a crib to the Asse, even as thus hath the Lord been unto the Christians, yet they know it not, neither doth the Chri­stians consider, but is indeed grown sinful, and laden with iniquity, and the seed of evil doers brings forth its fruit through Christians, being become children that are corrup­ters, having forsaken the Lord and his way, which was made manifest in the dayes of the Apostles, and the Lord is greatly provoked, for the Christians are gone backward from what they were in their beginning, as I have fully made manifest, and this vision of the Lord is unto you, all ye Christians, even as a Tree that is of the most precious seed, and the most no­ble Vine that is planted in a good soil, that is digged and dressed, and grown to a goodly stature; and bringing forth [Page 30] some acceptable fruit unto the good husbandman for a sea­son; yet this Tree becomes blasted by an unwholesom air, and becomes degenerate from its vertue and property, and nature, and becomes a wilde vine, and a plant of great disgrace, ceasing to bring forth any good fruit, and becomes fruitful in all evil, and the labour of the good husbandman is [...]ost; for while he looks for good fruit, nothing appears, but fruit of an evil taste, which is altogether loathsome unto the good husbandman. This parable is unto you Christians, and this is your state, and your condition; Therefore behold what shall the Lord do unto this Tree; shall he not cut it down to the ground and cast it into the purging fire, shall he not lay his Ax to the root, and cause all its branches utterly to wither, and cause it to cease in being, even as it hath ceased in bringing forth fruit? shall not the good husband­man destroy this Tree with all its corrupt fruit, and shall not his own hand accomplish the purpose of his own heart? this Tree shall be fuel for this fire of his anger, he will pluck it up and not plant it again, because it is degenerated. G [...]e car all ye Christians to the Testimony which is concerning you, you are fallen, you are fallen, and being compared to what the Christians were, you are no whit equal; but a [...] diverted in all your practices, from that spirit which led the Apostles and Christian Churches; and your works shew another spirit then the spirit of Jesus: Wherefore great i [...] your fall, and to be lamented, and though you have the name of Christians, yet you want the life.



BUt whereas it may be objected by some and said, seeing the state of Christianity is thus discovered what it was i [...] its beginning and purity, and what it now is in its dege­neration; and seeing the present state of Christians is thus condemned, what do I believe concerning the state of Chri­stianity to come? what shall succeed this present degenerati­on? And may it be expected that ever Christianity shall be re­stored to that state of purity as it was in its beginning? And whether may people expect to come into the same life again, and to know the same power, and worship, and unity, which was amongst the Apostles and first Christians Churches? And whether do I judge that ever the Ministry can be again recei­ved by the gift of the holy spirit onely, without natural lear­ning and languages? And whether the same spirit is to be waited for and received? And whether the same anointing can be known in this age, or any age to come, as it was in and among the Apostles and Christians, before the Apostacy and degeneration.


To all this I answer, and do say, that the present state of Christianity is woful, and to be condemned of the Lord, as being degenerated from his life, power and spirit, whereby all hearts are darkened, and all minds estranged from the Covenant of life and peace, and from the sence and feeling of the life of God: and now in all the wayes, and worships, and practices of Christians they are fallen and degenera­ted from that life in which the Christians once were; and the beast hath raigned over all for many ages, and because of his power, and greatness, and dominion, who hath been able [Page 32] to make war with him; he hath killed the Saints, and hath subjected all Nations under his power, and every Nation hath received the mark of the beast, and born his Image for generations, and all flesh hath s [...]ggered, and hath been made drunk with the [...]up of fornication, that hath been i [...] the hand of the whore who hath set upon this beast, who hath caused both small and great to worship him, and all that would not, he hath had power to kill them; and this Govern­ment hath ruled over the whole Christendom, and the wor­ship practised hath been but the worship of the beast, while people have been erred from the spirit of Christ, and not guided by it onely; and people hath been compelled to wor­ship by Laws of men, they have been compelled to sprinkle their Infants, and they have been compelled to go to Stee­ple houses, and compelled to keep a Sabboth, and compelled to hire Priests, and to pay them wages against their wills, and all this compelling by an outward power, hath not been the worship of God, but savoured altogether of the worship of the beast; for you may read, Rev. 13. 12, 15, 16, 17. how the beast caused all, both small and great to worship him, and all that would not worship him by his power, he hath had power to kill them; and all compelling and causing to worship by an outward power, is the worship of the beast, for Christ nor his Apostles never caused any to worship God by an outward power; for while Christianity kept its purity and authority, they begot people to God, and to worship him, by the word of God, and by the power of the spirit; and they did not bring any into their Sect, nor to worship with them by an outward Law and authority; for that is in the Government of the beast, it was he that first caused both small and great to conform to his worship, and it is his power that upholds it, and maintains it unto this day.

But now the seed of God is arising, which is able to make war with the Beast, and his kingdome, and his worship shall be thrown down to the ground, and all this causing and com­pelling to worship, causing to keep a day, and causing to hire Teachers to maintain them; and this causing to go to Stee­ple-houses, and to maintain them, and all this causing to pay [Page 33] tythes, it shall all fall to the ground, and be beat down by the [...] of God, which is a rising, and it shall be no more found among true Christians, nor the Beast shall not be worshipped, [...] his authority any more of force; for the day of the Lord hath now appeared, and the light is sprung forth which hath made all things manifest, and now the difference is known between the worship of the beast, and the worship of the true God: And concerning the state of Christianity to come, this I [...]new & believe, a glorious restauration thereof shall appear throughout the whole christendom, & christianity shall again be restored to its former purity, and Christians shall, and may receive the same spirit, from which the Christians hath been degenerated; and the same life, the same power, and the same worship and Unity shall be revived amongst Christians in the restoration; even the same that was in the beginning before the Apostacy, and the glory of God shall again appeare a­mong his people, and they shall again worship him in spirit and in truth onely, as they did before the Apostacy, and all this traditionall worship, and false imitations which hath been set up since the Apostles dayes, shall be overthrown and confounded; the Lord is risen and will dash down and over­throw all this idolatry now practised amongst Christians. And a great shaking and counfounding shall suddenly come among Christians; for the Lord will break down that which hath been builded because it is polluted; and he will pluck [...]p that which hath been planted, because it is defiled; and a mighty work will the Lord work in the Earth, the kingdoms of this world will he change into the kingdoms of Christ, and Christ shall reigne in and among his people, and his spirit shall be the teacher and leader of his people, and all false [...]chers will the Lord confound and consume; all these hire­lings, who go for gifts and rewards, and all this manner of preaching and teaching, which are come up since the Apo­stles dayes; all this preaching which they study for, and by a [...], and for so much money a year, all this shall be tum­bled down into the pit; Gods vengeance shall come upon it all, and the annoynting shall be received, and it shall dwell in people, as it did in the Apostles; and the people shall need [Page 34] no other teacher but as that annointing teacheth all things, and for this spirit and annointing, all that feare God may wa [...] to receive it in this present age; which Spirit brings into the same unity and life, into the same worship and fellowship that was amongst Christians in the beginning before the Apo­stacy; and this state may Christians be restored to, and for this state all that fear God and love him are to wait, for this shall come to passe in the world.

And as concerning the Ministry, I know and do believe it may be, and is received again as the Apostles and Christian Ministers first received it, to wit, by the eternall spirit and gift thereof, through the revelation of Christ Jesus in them▪ and such may and doth preach the Gospel freely, as they doe receive it freely, and without naturall learning and lan­guages.

For by that can none be made Ministers of Christ, nor by any thing without the gift of the holy Spirit, and Christs Mi­nistry shall again be received thereby; this I believe: and all this Ministry made and sent forth by naturall learning, and without the gift of the holy Spirit, the Lord will confound it in this Age; for this is come up since the Apostles dayes, to make Ministers by naturall learning, and it stands in the a­postacy from the life, and spirit of Christ, and its call, and work, and maintenance, savours not of the kingdome of Christ, and the Lord will bring it downe, and the gift of his Ministry will he restore by his Spirit; and this is, and shall come to passe, and it may be waited for in this present age; and the Lord will restore his Ministry as in the beginning, and his work shall be glorious; for many there are, is, and shall be converted to God, and brought out of the degene­ration, and to that shall people come which all Christendom hath been apostatized from, and shall receive the same spirit, and the same annointing which was amongst the Christian Churches; and life and immortality shall again be brought to light through the Gospel, which hath been hid for ages while darkness hath been over the minds of people; and I say and testifie before all the world, that Christianity shall be re­stored to its former state; Life shall spring forth, and Truth [Page 35] shall be increased, and faith shall waxe strong, even the same [...] that the Apostles had, which gave them victory over all the world which shall again give people the same victory; and this shall be known in the earth: For the marriage of the Lamb shall come, and all his people shall be joyned unto him, and they shall be one way, and one worship, and one teacher, and every man shall fit under Christs Vine, and none shall make afraid: Yea, and more then a Vine shall he be known [...]d more then a door, and more then a Shepheard shall he be known to be to his people, and greater then a rock shall he be witnessed to be, and more then a Teacher in the wildernesse. If any man have eares to hear, let him hear: more and greater is he becoming to his people, then is lawfull yet to utter: Eye hath not seen, nor it hath not entred into the heart of man, but it is revealed to us by his Spirit; The joyfull day is approach­ing, the Lambs wife is making her selfe ready, the wedding Garment is putting on; and all that which is polluted is to be done away; and blessed is he that cometh to the marriage of the Lamb, that he may become one spirit with the Creator; here is glory and rejoycing for ever, when this is known, That the wife hath not power over her owne body, but the husband, nor the husband hath power over his owne body, but the wife. Where this is known, Death is swallowed up of Life, and [...] is overcome of righteousnesse, and the inheritance of life eternall comes to be possessed, and Death and Hell is cast in­to the lake, and he which hath deceived, can deceive no more; and blessed is the eye that seeth this, and the heart that understands.

Wherefore all ye Christians upon earth, awake, awake, and put away your whoredoms, cast off your idolatries, and strip you, and make you clean of all your adultries; drink no longer of the cup of fornications, nor eat no longer of the abominable flesh; nor wear no longer your garments of un­righteousness, but strip ye, strip ye, make ye bare, all your old garments must be put off before you can appear before the Lord.

A great work will the Lord work amongst you, he will [...]ake and overthrow all your Altars, Images, and Idols which [Page 36] you have set up and worshipped; the Lord hath uttered [...] voice, the beast that hath many heads, and many horns, [...] tremble, [...] one head and one horn onely shall be exalted, and the Government shall be set up, of whose increase there shall be no end; and people shall be brought into that, and they shall go forth no more, for who comes to this, time is no longer, and the Kingdom and Government is delivered to the Father, and he is become all in all.

And all that ever comes to know these things, must first come to the light of the Lamb in them, with which every man is lightned that cometh into the world, and all that e­ver knows these things, must first be brought to the princi­ple of God in them, which they have trangressed against▪ and all that owns the light of Christ, and walks in it, shall come to know these things, which to know and be in them, is eternal life.

Therefore all ye Christians, come to the light which Christ hath lightned you withal, and that will let you see the Go­vernment of Satan, and of sin and death, which hath been ruling in you, and the light will teach you to war against it, till it be subdued, the light will discover unto you that na­ture, in which the kingdom of Satan bears rule, it will [...] you see the Devil, who is the Prince of darkness, who is the adversary of God; who is out of the truth, and he has dra [...] all people out of the truth; but if you love the light of Christ in you, it will teach you to war against him, and against all that, thats out of the truth; for all that is of Satans king­dom, that is out of the truth, and must be destroyed by the coming of the kingdom of Christ; whose coming is in the light, which Christ hath lightned every man withal, who comes to destroy the Devil, and his kingdom, and all his works; So to the light must all minds be turned, which will re­veal the kingdom of the man of sin, and consume [...] the appearance of Christ is light, and Christ is the light of Isra­el, which is as a fire, to consume all fruitless trees, which cumbers the ground, which the Lord will consume by the brightness of his coming: And now is the man of sin reveal­ed, even in the heart of Christians so called, and he hath [Page 37] long shewed himself to be God, but now the Lord will bring him down; for Antichrist has ruled for many ages, and the Lord of life has been crucified in spiritual Sodom; but Sodom shall be consumed by fire, and the Lord will avenge himself of all his enemies, and all people and Nations shall know there is a God, who executes justice and true judgement, who is a God near at hand to reward his people with everlasting life, and to give unto his enemies judgement and con­demnation.


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