AN EXHORTATION To all them that Profess Themselves CHRISTIANS, AND SAY, The Scripture is their Rule for their Life, Doctrine and Practice.

By George Fox.

Christ is become of none effect unto you. Whosoever of you are justi­fied by the Law, are fallen from Grace, Gal. 5.4.

How turn you again to the Weak beggarly Elements, whereunto you desire again to be in Bondage! ye observe Dayes, and Moneths, and Times and Years; I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you Labour in vain, Gal. 4.9, 10, 11.

The Bereans were Noble, and searched the Scriptures daily, to see whether those things were so, as the Apostles preached, Acts 17.11.

Let no man judge you therefore in Meats, or Drinks, or in Respect of an Holy Day, or of New Moons, or of the Sabbath-dayes, which are a Shadow of things to come; but the Body is of Christ, Col. 2.16, 17.

Printed in the Year 1680.

Here you may see in this little Book as followeth:

  • First, THat none of the Holy Men of God in the Old Covenant did call an Outward Tabernacle, or Temple, or Sy­nagogue after the Name of any Saint.
  • 2dly, And that also in the New Covenant Christ and the Apostles did not call any of their Meeting-houses or Meeting-places after their Own Names or other Saints Names.
  • 3dly, That Christ and the Apostles did not set up Holy Dayes, and their own Birth-Dayes, and other Saints Dayes; and set up Courts, and compelled people to keep them.
  • 4thly, And likewise, How Christ and his Apostles did not call an Outward House a Church and Congregation.
  • 5thly, How that neither Christ nor the Apostles, nor the Holy Men of God, did give the many Names to the Moneths and Dayes, as them called Christians do now.
  • 6thly, And also, How that a Curse was pronounced upon them that did not bring their Tythes to the Store-house in the Old Cove­nant. And how the Priests and Teachers, that call themselves Christians, have exceeded that Curse in the Old Covenant, in casting many into Prison, and keeping some therein till Death, because they could not give them Tythes and Maintenance in the New Covenant, knowing that Christ hath changed the Priesthood, and the Law and Commandment, that gave Tythes and took Tythes; and said to his Disciples, Freely you have received, Freely give.
  • 7thly, And likewise concerning such as say, The Scripture is their Rule to walk by; but how contrary to Scripture they have walked.

An Exhortation to all them that Pro­fess themselves Christians, and say, The Scripture is their Rule for their Life, Doctrine and Practice.

First, WHERE did ever any in the old World, before the Flood, or from Noah's time to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, keep and observe the Dayes of their Birth, or the Dayes of the Death of their Progeni­tors, and call them Holy Dayes? Or where did any in the dayes of the old Covenant, or the old Testament, unto the dayes of Christ, throughout all the Fathers, and Prophets, and Holy Men of God, keep either the dayes of the Birth or Death of any of the Patri­archs, Fathers or Prophets, and call them Holy Days? or had their Courts or Paritors to trouble People for working upon the dayes of the Birth, or dayes of the Death of any of the Patriarchs or Fathers, & call them Holy dayes? But on the contrary, is it not said and com­manded by the Lord, Six Days shalt thou labour, and do all thy Work that thou hast to do? Ex. 20.9. And in Ex. 23. it is said, Six Dayes shalt thou do thy Work. And doth not the Scripture say in many other places, There are six days wherein men ought to work, &c?

And now, if you do profess the new Covenant, [Page 4]and that you are Christians, and though there was no such Practice of Observing the dayes of the Birth or Death of any of the Fathers or Prophets, either in the old World before the Flood, or after, in the days of the old Covenant, nor in the dayes of Christ and the Apostles in the new Covenant; then how can you, that profess the Scriptures to be your Rule for Life and Doctrine, prove your Practice for these things by the Scriptures? &c.

For where did ever Christ or the Apostles com­mand, that their Followers should observe and keep the days of their Birth, or the days of their Death, or bid to call them Holy Dayes; and set up Courts, or Paritors to summon people into their Courts, & fine them, or imprison them for working upon any of the dayes of their Birth, or of their Death? Or did Christ ever give a Command, that any should keep the day of his Birth, or Ascension, or the day of the Purification of Mary his Mother? Or did Christ give a Command, that any should observe and keep the day of John Baptist's Birth or Death? Or did the A­postles ever give a Command, that any should keep the dayes of Steven or James's Birth or Death, who were Martyred in their dayes, before their decease? Or did ever Peter, and John, and Matthew, and Luke, and Mark, and the rest of the Apostles give a Com­mand, that the Christians after their decease should observe their dayes of Birth or Death? Or did ever Paul write to Timothy or Titus, which were Elders or Bishops, and the rest of the Apostles and Elders in all their Councels, which gave out their Decrees to the Churches; in all their Decrees and Councils, did [Page 5]they give forth any such Order, Command or Decree in all their Epistles and Writings in the Bible, that any should observe and keep the dayes of the Birth or Death of any of the Apostles, or Disciples, or Evan­gelists, or Pastors and Teachers? and to call them Holy Days, and set up Courts, and cite all that should work on those dayes? and that they should be called after the Names of the Saints, or Prophets, and A­postles? and that they should be summoned to their Courts, and there fined for not observing and keeping the dayes of their Birth or Death? Nay, is not God and Christ more dishonoured upon those dayes, which you call Holy Dayes, than any other dayes of the Week, by Loosness, Drunkenness, Vain Sports, Playes, Pleasures, Wantonness, and almost all man­ner of Evil committed upon those dayes, which you call Holy Dayes?

And the Apostle saith to the Galatians, But now af­ter that ye have known God, or rather are known of God; how turn you again to the Weak and Beggarly Elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in Bondage? ye observe Dayes, and Moneths, and Times, and Years; I am afraid lest I have bestowed upon you Labour in vain, &c.

Now is not the Labour of the Apostles bestowed in vain upon you, who run into the Observation of Dayes, Times, Moneths and Years; and not only so, but set up your Courts, and Paritors to cite and summon People to them, that do not observe your Holy Dayes, as you call them, and trouble and fine peo­ple about it, rather to get Money from them, than to [...]ring them into Truth?

And you say, and set forth upon your Steeple house-Walls, [Page 6]and print, that Six dayes men must Labour, as in the Ten Commandments the Lord commands; and yet do not you in the same places (your Steeple-houses) give notice or warn all people, to keep and observe the Day of the Birth, or the Day of the Death of such a Saint? And tell people, that they must keep Christ's Nativity-Day, or St. John's Day, and Peter, and Paul, and Steven's Dayes? &c. and yet say, Six Dayes you must Labour: Is not this Contradiction, and con­trary to the Command of God, and no Command of Christ, nor his Apostles?

And this your Practice you cannot make good, nei­ther out of the old nor new Testament, &c.

And therefore be not offended with us, if we search the Scriptures, which you say is your Rule for your Life, Doctrine and Practice; for therein we cannot find, that they do maintain or hold forth either your Life, Doctrine or Practice in these things.

Therefore be not offended at us, because we cannot follow you in the Observation of those things, which you have no Warrant for in the Scriptures of the old or new Testament.

2dly, Where did ever any of the Patriarchs, Fa­thers, Prophets or Apostles, in the old Testament, either before the Flood, or before the Law, or in the time of the old Law and Covenant, call any of their Meeting-houses Synagogues, Tabernacles, Sanctua­ries, Temple, after any of the Patriarchs, Fathers, Prophets, or the Holy Men or Women's Names? You that say, the Scripture is your Rule for your Practice and Life, shew one Example for your so do­ing in all the old Testament, where ever they called [Page 7]any of their Meeting-houses, Synagogues, Taberna­cles, Temple, Sanctuaries, after any of the Patriarchs or Prophets Names, who say, the Scripture is your Rule for Life, Doctrine and Practice, as is before said?

Or in the dayes of the new Testament, where did ever Christ or any of the Apostles or Disciples call any of their Meeting-houses, or Places where Christ and his Disciples met in, whilst he was with them in the dayes of his Flesh; or after, when he was risen, as long as the Apostles and Disciples of Christ lived upon the Earth, where did they call any of the Houses they met in, by Christ's Name, or the Virgin Mary's Name, or any of the Apostles or Saints Names?

For it is said, Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired House, and received all that came unto him, teaching those things that concerned the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now here Paul made his own hired House a Meet­ing-house to preach in; he doth not call his Meet­ing-house by the Name of St. Peter or St. Paul's House, or St. John's, or St. James, or St. Bartholomew, or St. Thomas, or the like.

And the Apostle Paul in Rom. 16. greeteth his Fol­low-helpers in Christ Jesus, Priscilla and Aquila, and the Church that was in their House.

Now the Apostle doth not call their House the Church; but the People, that were in it, he calls the Church: neither doth he call their House St. Pe­ter or St. Paul's Church, or St. Priscilla or Aquila's Church.

Likewise in the 1 Cor. 16. the Apostle salutes the Church which is in their House: he doth not call it St. Andrew's, or St. Margaret's, or St. Katherines, or St. Mary's, or the like.

And Paul writes to the Colossians, and saith, Luke the beloved Physician greeteth you; salute the Brethren in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the Church which is in his House. Here he gives it not the Title of St. Mat­thew's, or St. Mark's, or St. Luke's, or St. Andrew's, or the like.

And the Apostle writes to Philemon, & to Aphia, and to Archippus, and to the Church in his House. Here he doth not call the House the Church; but the Church was the People, which were in their House. And the Apostle doth not give the Title of St. Thomas, or St. Peter, or St. Paul to the House.

And John writes to the seven Churches in Asia; and he doth not name them by St. Peter, or St. Andrew, or St. Paul, or St. Mary, or St. Margrets; but to the Seven Churches, or Seven Congregations of the Saints.

And now you say, the Scripture is your Rule for your Life, Practice and Doctrine; and have been offended at us the People of God in Scorn called Quakers, be­cause we cannot give those Titles to Houses which you have builded, as you and your Fore-Fathers have done. For we, like the Noble Bereans, have search­ed the Scriptures, and cannot find neither in the old nor new Testament, that ever the Patriarchs, Pro­phets, Christ, the Apostles or Disciples did ever give such Titles to their Meeting-houses, as before­mentioned, as you have done to yours. And there­fore be not angry with us, because we cannot follow you in your Practices, which you cannot make good by the Scripture of the old and new Testament.

And you that call your selves Christians, had you [Page 9]not better mind the Lives of the Saints, and the Life of Christ Jesus in his Grace and Truth, Light, Pow­er and Spirit in your Hearts, and teach all your Peo­ple to do the same, rather than to observe the Dayes of their Birth or Death; and to give such Titles to Houses, which Christ nor his Apostles never did. So that they and you may come to Christ's Eternal Day, and in him to know the Rest and Sabbath, and to keep that Holy Eternal Day in his Eternal Light and Spirit, to the Glory of the Eternal God, and his Son Christ Jesus, Amen.

3dly, And in Malachy 3. he saith, Will a Man Rob God? yet ye have robbed me, saith the Lord. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In Tythes and Offerings; ye are cursed with a Curse: For ye have robbed me, even this whole Nation. Bring ye therefore all the Tythes into the Store-House, that there may be Meat in my House; and prove me now therewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open to you the Windows of Heaven, and pour you out a Blessing, &c.

Now mark; this was in the old Covenant, and old Testament, when Tythes and Offerings were commanded; for here they were both joyned toge­ther: These Tythes and Offerings were to be carryed into the Store-house, that there might be Meat in the House for the Priests, and Levites, and Widows, and Fatherless: For the Priests and Levites had no Lot of the Land; but the Tythes and part of the Offerings, was their Portion: for the Tythes were the Lord's, and the Levites were the Lord's; and he gave the Tythes or Tenths of the other Tribes to them; and the Tenths of the Tenths were to be offered up to [Page 10]the High Priest. So it was reckoned a Robbing of God, by such as did not bring in their Tythes, which were the Lord's, which he gave unto the Levites and Priests; yea, the whole Nation of the Jews robbed God, because they did not bring in their Tythes and Offerings into the Store-house; and therefore they were cursed with a Curse, and that was their Punish­ment, and Punishment it was enough in the time of the Law and old Covenant.

Now the Priests did not go, and take this whole Nation, the Eleaven Tribes, and cast them into Pri­son, and spoil their Goods, and take Treble Damage of them; you do not read they did so in the old Te­stament, that any of the Patriarchs, or any of the Prophets, Kings, Magistrates or Priests, did cast any into Prison, and there keep them until Death, because they would not bring in their Tythes in the time of the Law, & according to the Law into the Store-house; which if they did not do it, they were cursed with a Curse, as Malachy saith. And if they did bring their Tythes into the Store house, that there might be Meat enough for the Priests, and Levites, and Widows, and Fatherless; then the Lord opened the Windows of Heaven, and poured out a Blessing upon them.

And did not this Law serve till the Seed Christ came? who hath changed this Priesthood, that was made by the Law, and had a Commandment to take Tythes, according to the Law, which Commandment Christ hath disannulled, and by the one offering up of himself, once for all the Offerings, hath put down the Priests that offered, and their Offerings and Main­tenance, and hath taken away the first Covenant, and [Page 11]established the second, who became a Curse, to take away the Curse; and made under the Law, to redeem us from under the Law of Works: And were not Tythes and Offerings under the Law of Works, Do this, and Live? if not, they were Robbers, and Curst. And doth not Christ in his Gospel and new Covenant say, Believe, and be saved?

And Christ, when he sent forth his Twelve and Seventy Disciples without a Bag or Staff, said, Free­ly you have Received, Freely Give: And therefore Christ putting down the Priesthood, with his Offer­ings, and other Ceremonies, which the Law com­manded, and Tythes and Offerings, which were his Maintenance or Salary, and commanded under the old Covenant by the Law, under the Penalty of a Curse, where did ever Christ alter his Command? or the Apostles go about to alter his Command, which was, Freely you have Received, Freely Give, in his new Covenant? And where did ever Christ to his Apo­stles, or his Apostles to others, command or direct, that they should take or demand Tythes, or the peo­ples Tenths for preaching the Gospel? as you called Christians have done, since the Apostles dayes, which say, The Seripture is your Rule for your Life, Doctrine and Practice.

Therefore shew us out of the Scripture of the new Testament, where ever they did cast any into Prison, for not giving them Tythes and Offerings, as you have done; and hale them into Courts, Assizes and Sessi­ons: shew one Example in all the Scripture, & be not Angry at us, because we search the Scriptures, as those Noble Bereans did, to see whether these things be so in [Page 12]the Scriptures of Truth, which you preach up for Doctrine and Practice. And because we cannot find them in the Scripture, and follow you, and uphold you in these things, which you cannot prove by Scrip­ture for your Doctrine and Practice, therefore are you Angry, and persecute us, because we do not fol­low you in your Doctrine and Practice, which we cannot find in Scripture, that you have said is your Rule.

And why cannot the Curse of the old Covenant serve your turns? but you must exceed the old Law, to hale people before your Courts, and cast them in to Prison, and there keep some unto Death, and spoil their Goods, that cannot give you Tythes according to the old Law, such who are the true Christians, and Children of the new Covenant, and are the faithful Witnesses of Jesus Christ, who hath redeemed them from under the Law, and hath taken away the Curse of the Law, and now do not seek to be justified by the Works of the Law, but by Faith in Christ Jesus. I say, why is not the Curse in the old Law sufficient for all the Priests and Bishops in Christendom, if they will be Priests of the old Law, and Teachers of the old Law, and do the Works of the old Law of Moses, which he that thinks to be justified by the Law, is ju­stified by that, by which no Flesh shall be saved, as the Apostle saith, and is fallen from Grace. And there­fore, if ye will have the Law of Commandments, that commands Tythes to the Priests, and their Offer­ings, I say again, Why is not the Curse sufficient for you, to pour out your Curses upon the People, which do not bring in their Tythes and Offerings (not into the [Page 13]Priests Barn, but) into the Store-house, as God com­mands, and not for the Priests only, but for the Wi­dows and Fatherless also? Surely your Curse should be sufficient, and not to spoil their Goods, and im­prison them to Death too: this is more than the Law commands in the old Covenant.

And is it not contrary to the Law of the old Cove­nant, that the Priests and Levites, that were to receive the Tythes, for them to have any Lot of the Land? And do not they that pay Tythes and Offerings to the Priests, come under the Law, and so under the Curse; and so come from under the Blessing of the Gospel, to under the Curse of the Law? For is it not written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that is written in the Book of the Law, to do them? Gal. 3. But no man is justified by the Works of the Law in the sight of God, it is evident: For the Just shall live by his Faith: And the Law is not of Faith. And Christ hath redeemed us from under the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for us, that the Blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, and that we might receive the Promise of the Spirit through Faith. So in these your Practices, though you say, The Scripture is your Rule for your Life, Doctrine and Practice; but in this the Scripture of the new Testament is not your Rule for these things: Let all the Children of the new Covenant, and true Christians, search the Scriptures, according to the Practice of the noble Bereans, and see whether the Scripture hath been your Rule in these your Practices and Doctrine in the new Covenant? But if you did not cast any into Prison, or spoil the Goods of such as did not pay you Tythes & Offerings, [Page 14]nor hale them before your Courts; but only stood up, and poured out your Curses upon such, according to the Law, that did not bring in your Tythes and Offer­ings into the Store-house, according to the Law, and that you had no other Portion in the Land but Tythes and Offerings, &c? We do tell you, that Christ hath ended the Law, and hath redeemed us from under the Law, and became a Curse, and hath redeemed us out of the Curse of the Law, and has ended that Priest­hood with all his Ceremonies. And Christ Jesus saith in his new Covenant, Bless, and Curse not; and the A­postle saith the same. So we do preach the free Go­spel & free Grace to you, and turn you from the Dark­ness to the Light, and from the Power of Satan unto God, that you may see the new Covenant of Light, Life and Grace, and practise it.

And Christ in his new Covenant saith, and com­mandeth his Ministers, Freely you have received, freely give. And the Apostle's Glory was, To keep the Gospel without Charge, who coveted no man's Silver, nor Gold, nor Apparel, &c. And he said, He had declared unto the Church the whole Counsel of God. And yet he never declared to any in all his Writings, Decrees or Epistles, or any other of the Apostles, That the Ministers of the Gospel should take Tythes and Offerings, and hale them into Courts, and spoil their Goods, and cast them into Prison until Death, if they would not give them Tythes and Offerings, or Curse them them that did not bring in their Tythes into the Store­house, according to the old Law of Moses in the old Co­venant; for they were redeemed from under the Law and the Curse.

And likewise, he never declared in his whole Coun­sel [Page 15]of God, That they should keep the Dayes of the Birth or Death of any of the Saints, and call them Holy Days.

And he never declar'd in all his Counsel of God, That they should name their Meeting-houses after the Saints Names.

Also, he never declared in his whole Counsel of God, That Children should have God-fathers and God-mo­thers; and that Priests should sprinkle them with outward Water, and sign them with the Sign of the Gross: But said, There was one Faith, and one Baptism; and that they were baptised into one Body with one Spirit, and so made to drink into one Spiris; and they that were baptized into Christ, had put him on.

Likewise, the Apostle never declared in his whole Counsel of God, That the Saints should observe a Time of Lent, and abstain from Flesh, and eat Fish; or that the Saints should observe the Time of Easter, which was the time of the Jews Passover; or that they should observe the Time of Whitsuntide, called Pen­tecost; or that they should observe and keep Christ's Birth Day, and call it Christmass-day, &c.

Now if you say, The Apostles in their Decrees or Epi­stles did command the Church to do and observe such things; then, I pray you, tell us where it is written, that we, like the noble Bereans, may search for it; And be not Angry nor Offended with us, because we do not fol­low you in these things, who say, The Scripture is your Rule for Life, Doctrine and Practice, and yet cannot make these your Practices and Doctrine good by Scripture.

And now if Christ and the Apostle and Apostles, who declar'd the whole Counsel of God to the Church in their dayes; if they declared none of these things [Page 16]before-mentioned, which you practise, to be the Coun­sel of God: then have not you set them up in that spirit, that is apostatized from the Power and Spirit the Apostles were in? and have compelled others to follow your Practices, which you have commanded and taught for Doctrine, which Christ and the Apo­stles did not; which Practices you cannot make good by Christ and the Apostles Doctrine, in the Scriptures of Truth of the new Testament. And therefore, how can you expect, that we should follow you: For the Apostle saith, Follow us as we follow Christ. So accor­ding to the Apostle's teaching, we are to follow you no farther than you follow Christ; you cannot expect it, if you own Christ and the Apostles, and their Do­ctrine; for Christ saith, Freely you have received, freely give; and this is his Command, which is to be obey'd; and it is obeyed by all them, that receive their Gifts for the Work of their Ministry, which is for the perfect­ing of the Saints, from him that is ascended up on high.

But they that have received their Natural Gifts be­low, cannot endure to hear of Christ's Doctrine, who ascended up on high, who gave Gifts unto men for the Work of the Ministry, and commanded them, Freely they had received, freely they should give it again.

And where did the Apostle, who said, He had decla­red unto the Church the whole Counsel of God, declare, That the Saints and Christians should call the Dayes of the Week by the Names of Munday, Tuesday, Wednes­day, Thursday, Fryday, Saturday and Sunday, and the like? which were the Names of the Heathens Gods, after whom the Heathens called the Dayes.

Or where did the Apostle declare, that the Christi­ans should call the Moneths by the Names of January, May, June, July and August, &c? which were Names given by the Heathens and Emperors.

And where did the Apostle, that said, He had decla­red unto the Church the whole Counsel of God, declare or direct, that they should call any of the days Candle­mass, Michaelmass-day, Martinmass-day, Christmass-day, and Lammas [...]day, and the like?

You that say, The Scripture is your Rule for your Life, Doctrine and Practice, bring it forth, and be not Angry with us, who cannot follow you in these things, who never yet produced any Scripture for these your Pra­ctices.

From him who loveth the Ancient Primitive Truth, and True Christianity, that Christ taught, and the Apo­stles and Primitive Church lived in; and desires that all may come into it, and live and walk in it. G. Fox.

Postscript.

THE Apostle saith in Rom. 16. Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my Fellow-Helpers in Christ-Jesus, which have for my Life laid down their own Necks; unto whom not I only give Thanks, but also all the Congregati­ons of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the Congregation, that is in their House. Here the old Translation calls the Church a Congregation, that was in their House; and not the outward House a Church or Congregati­on; for it is not proper to call an outward House a Congregation.

And in 1 Cor. 16. The Congregation in their House.

And Phebe was a Minister of the Congregation at Cenchrea. So she was a Minister of a People, and not of an outward House, which Paul commends, and sent his Epistle by Phebe, a Minister, from Corinth to Rome; see Rom. 16.

And the Apostle Paul, when he writes to Philemon, and to the Congregation that was in his House: So the outward House was not the Congregation; see Phi­lemon.

And John writes to the Seven Congregations in Asta. Now he doth not write to the Seven Houses that were in Asia, and call them Churches; but he writes to the People, that were the Congregations or Churches. [Page 19]And John saith seven times over, He that hath an Ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the Congregations; that is, the Congregations or Churches of People ga­thered together: For outward Houses have no Ears to hear, which you call Churches: And therefore he doth not write to Houses, and call them Congre­gations or Churches, as you may see in Rev. 1, 2. & 3. Chapters, in the Old Tranflation.

And again, the Apostle Paul saith in Ephes. 5. For the Husband is the Wife's Head, even as Christ is the Head of the Congregation; and the same is he that ministreth Salvation unto the Body; therefore as the Congregation is in subjection to Christ, &c. Here the Apostle doth not say, an outward House is in Subjection to Christ.

And Paul saith in Col. 1. He (to wit, Christ) is the Head of the Body, even of the Congregation, &c. So the Apostle doth not say, Christ is the Head of an outward House, but of the Congregation or Church, his People.

And therefore people, read the Scriptures, and search and try; and blessed is he that reads and understands.

G. F.
THE END.

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