A Touch-Stone, OR, A Perfect Tryal by the Scriptures, of all the Priests, Bishops, and Mini­sters, who have called themselves, the Mini­sters of the Gospel, whose Time and Day hath been in the last Ages past, or rather in the Night of Apostacy; they are tried and weighed by the Scriptures of Truth, and are found out of the Life and Power of the Scriptures, and out of the Spirit and Doctrine of them that gave them forth, and quite contrary to their Principle and practice, both Papists and Protestants.

Unto which is annexed, Womens Speaking Justified, &c.

Little Children, it is the last time, as you have heard, that Antichrist should come; even now there are many Antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time. These things have I written unto you, concerning those that seduce you; but the Anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you, but as the same Anointing teacheth you.

1 John 2.

And I stood upon the sand of the Sea, and saw a Beast rise out of the Sea, having seven Heads, and ten Horns, and upon his Heads the names of Blasphemy: and he opened his mouth in Blasphemy against God to blas­pheme his Name and his Tabernacle, and them that dwell in Heaven. He that leadeth into Captivity must go into captivity; he that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword; here is the faith and patience of the Saints,

Rev. 13.

London, Printed in the Year, 1667.

The Epistle to the READER.

Serious Reader,

LEt it enter into thy serious consideration, the sad and perilous dayes that this Age is fallen into, even into those last dayes that Christ and his Apostles fore-saw, and fore-told of, which are the last dayes (as the Scriptures do plentifully declare and hold forth) that were to come to pass, before the coming of the day of the Lord; and that there was to be a falling away from the Truth of the Lord God, and that then the Man of Sin was to be revealed, the Son of Perdition; 2 Thes. 2. 3, 4.

Also John in the Revelations, when he stood upon the sand of the Sea, saw the first Beast rise out of the Sea, and the second out of the Earth, which exercised the Authority of the first, and the Dra­gon gave the power to the Beast, and them that worshipped him, Rev. 13. And John saw the War he made with the Lamb, and with the Saints, and overcame them, for he was to continue 42 Months, which is by the account of the Spirit of God, according as it is recorded in the Scripture, above 1200 Years, which is fully compleated and finish­ed, with many years over, since that great City Babylon had a founda­tion, with whom the Kings of the Earth have committed fornicati­on, and the Inhabitants of the Earth have been made drunk with the Wine of her fornication.

But the Angel carried John into the Wilderness, Rev. 16, where he saw the Judgements of this great Whore, and this woman which hath been arrayed in Purple, and Scarlet colour, decked with Gold and Precious Stones, and in her hand a golden Cup full of abo­minations; and the Woman which thou sawest, saith the Angel, is that great City which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth. But af­ter this, John saw another Angel, and he cryed mightily, with a strong voyce, saying, Babylon, Babylon the great, is fallen, is fallen, and become the habitation of Devils. And John heard another voyce from Heaven, saying, Come out of her my People, that ye he not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her Plagues; for her sins have reached unto Heaven, and God hath remembred her Iniquities. Reward her even as she hath rewarded you, and [Page] double unto her double, according to her works, in the Cup that she hath filled, fill her double, Rev. 18.

Where ye may read the destruction and desolation of this great City, Mystery of Babylon the great, and Mother of Harlots and Abomi­nations of the Earth; therefore rejoyce over her thou Heaven, and ye holy Apostles and Prophets, for God hath avenged you of her; for after this John saw a mighty Angel take up a stone like a Mil-stone, and cast it into the Sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great Ci­ty Babylon be cast down; and shall be found no more at all.

Glory, Glory to the Highest for evermore, her day of destruction and calamity and desolation hastens on apace, the darkness is past, the night is over, and the true Light now shineth; the Resurrection of Jesus Christ the Righteous, the Blessed Seed, is rising in the hearts of People; the Son of Man is coming to be lifted up from the Earth, and will draw all men after him, and in his power and in his great glory is coming to reign, and to rule in the hearts and consciences of men; and the Tabernacle of the Testimony is opened in Heaven, and is with men, and the Mystery of Godliness is manifested in the hearts of People, and God is manifesting himself in them, who hath said he will dwell in Men, and walk in them; and he is making their Bodies his Temples; and he is coming to root out and race out of the hearts of Men and Women, that Man of Sin, that Son of Perdition, that hath sitten in the Temple of God, and hath been ex­alted above all that is called God, and hath shewed himself as God; and now the Lord is discovering him by the Resurrection of his Power and Spirit in the hearts of People, which he is coming to pour upon all flesh according to his word and promise: and that Mystery of Iniquity that hath wrought in a Mystery, that Wickedness that hath possest the hearts of men and women, now the Lords Power and Spirit is coming to cast him out, and take him out of the way, and throw him out.

And Christ Jesus, that everlasting Fountain, who said, If any man be a thirst, let him tome unto me and drink; for I am come a Light in­to the World, which world is in every mans heart; And whosoever believes in Christ Jesus, the Light, they shall not perish, but have the Light of Life: And this Light of the Lord Jesus Christ being ri­sen in the heart of every man and woman, turning their minds thereunto, it becomes their Teacher; and this is that by which the Lord teacheth all his People, who hath said by his Prophets, They shall be all taught of God, John 6. Every man therefore that hath heard and learned of [Page] the Father, cometh unto me, saith Christ, who is that living Bread that endureth for ever.

And this is the Son of man which God the Father hath sealed, that is come a Light and a Spirit, which every one that believes in, is sealed with; therefore it is good for all People, not to quench the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, nor to grieve it, by which they are sealed to the day of Redemption, Ephes. 4. 30. but that every one may turn to the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, that is within them, which preacheth in a Mystery, and preacheth righteousness very nigh in their hearts, and will cleanse their inward parts, and make their hearts clean from that mystery of In­iquity, that hath been long lodged in them and held them Captive, and led them into sin, and transgression, and wickedness. Oh that all hearts and secret parts might be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and that every one would walk in the Light, abide in the Light, as he is in the Light; and here is the fellowship and unity of the Saints in Light, Jesus Christ the Righteous ruling in their hearts; and who lives in the Ʋnity and Spirit of the Lord Jesus, they come to have fellowship with the Fa­ther and the Son, as John had; and these things he wrote unto them that their joy might be full, and that they might partake of the same Light, Life and Spirit, and have Unity with him whose message is, That God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all. And who­soever saith he knows God and abides in darkness, is a lyar, and the Truth is not in him, 1 John 1.

And this hath been the Condition and Doctrine that hath been holden forth for many hundred years; they have walked in darkness, and shew­ed as if they had fellowship with God, and they have loved the world, and the things of the world, which the Apostle saith, is not of the Father; And if any love the World, the love of the Father is not in him, 1 John 2.

And now Reader do but consider, how these Teachers of the world live, and after what manner, and how they do oppress people for their mainte­nance, and whether there is any sort of people more covetous of the world than they are, and how they draw people from the Unction of the holy One, that the Apostle here turned people to, and desired them to take heed un­to, and to continue and abide in; that which they had heard from the beginning; and not to turn to those Antichrists that were then entering into the world: but they were to abide in the Anointing which thy had received, and it would teach them all things, and it was truth and was no lie, 1 John 2.

[Page] But these Ministers of darkness, that have been in this night of Apo­stacy, all their indeavours have been to draw people from the Light, and from the Ʋnction of the Holy One, after them, and after their Imagina­tions, dark Studies, and brain Divination, and so have deceived poor peo­ple, and have led them captive at their wills; and as the Prophet said, Have born rule by their means, and the people have been so blind, that they love to have it so: And thus the Scriptures have been ful­filled, and there hath been power given to the Beast, and people generally have said in their hearts, Who is able to make war with the Beast? But glory to the highest Lord, his time is over, and the year of our Re­deemer is come, and the Spirit of the Lord is upon him, and the Lord hath anointed him to preach good tydings to the meek, liberty to the Captives, and the opening the Prison doors to them that are bound, and to proclaime the acceptable Year of the Lord, and the day of Vengeance of our God, Isa. 61. 1, 2.

Oh Reader! The time is short, the day of the Lord will come as a Thief in the night, and all this long-suffering of the Lord that hath been past, is because he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. And seeing that all these things shall be dissolved, oh! what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for that blessed hope and com­ing of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all may be found with him in peace, without spot or blemish, which is my desire.

And so read over this following Treatise, and weigh in the seriousness of thy heart, and consider the Scriptures of Truth, by which thou mayest judge, by the Light of the Lord Jesus Christ in thee, how all the world have been befooled, and blinded, and led captive even at Satans will; and how this Antichrist hath ruled in the hearts of People, and sate in the Temple of God, and hath been decked and covered over with the Scrip­tures and Saints words, speaking them forth with unclean lips, and from unclean hearts, and so have deceived the hearts of the simple; but this fine linnen, and purple, and scarlet, that Babylon hath been decked with, in one day shall be taken from her. Amen, even so Lord Jesus, come quickly.

M. F.

A Touch-Stone, OR, A Perfect Tryal by the Scriptures, of all the Priests, Bishops, and Ministers, &c.

ME thinks I hear the Bishops mutter, murmur, and con­temn, that I should publish it out to the world, how I desired the King to beware of their Counsels; there­fore I do hereby give them my Reasons of the Cause why I did so, which Reasons may satisfie them and the whole world, except they can by as good or better overturn them.

In the first place I desired, since it pleased the Lord to bring the King to his outward Right and Propriety of the Crown of his An­cestors, that he might have done that whereby he might Prosper, according to the words of the wise King Solomon, who said, It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honour of a King to search out a matter. Take away the wicked from before the King, and his Throne shall be established, Prov. 25. And again he saith, The thoughts of the Righteous are right, but the counsel of the wicked is deceit: the words of the wicked are to lye in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them; the wicked are overthrown and are not, but the house the righteous shall stand, Prov. 12.

[Page 8] Also, it was my desire that he should follow the example of the good Kings of Israel, whose way it was to ask counsel of the Lord, or of his Prophets; as King David enquired of the Lord, whether he should go up against the Philistims? and the Lord said, Go up, 2 Sam. 5. and again King David called Nathan the Prophet, and told him that he would build a House for the Ark of God, and the Lord sent word again to David by Nathan the Prophet, 2 Sam. 7. And when there was three years of famine in the Land, David en­quired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, it was for Saul and his bloody house, 2 Sam. 21.

Also King Solomon, the Lord appeared unto him, and bid him ask what he would have, and Solomon asked of the Lord an understand­ing heart to judge his People, that he might discern between good and bad, for saith he, Who is able to judge this thy so great a People? And this speech pleased the Lord that Solomon asked such a thing, 1 Kings 3. And again the Lord spake unto Solomon the second time, concerning the House which he was building; If thou wilt walk in my Statutes, saith the Lord, and execute my Judgements, and keep all my Commandments to walk in them, then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy Father. 1 Kings 6.

And Hezekiah, that good King of Judah, when he was sent to, from Sennacherib King of Assyria, by Rabshekah and others with a great hoast, who came up against Jerusalem, who threatned the King and the whole City, as you may read 2 Kings 18. And Hezekiah King of Judah sent Eliakim, and Shebna, and the Elders of the Priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the Son of Amos; so the servants of Hezekiah came to Isaiah, and Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say unto your Master, thus saith the Lord; Be not afraid of their words, &c. Chap. 19. And accordingly the Lord sent an Angel and cut off all the men of Valour, and the Leaders, and the Captains of the King of Assyria; and the Lord saved Hezekiah, and the Inha­bitants of Jerusalem from the hands of the King of Assyria, 2 Chron. 32.

Also Josiah, that good King, when he heard the words of the Book of the Law read, he rent his Cloathes, and commanded Hil­kiah the Priest, and several of the Elders of the People, saying, Go ye and enquire of the Lord for me, and for all the People of Judah, concerning the words of this Book that is found; for great is the wrath [Page 9] of the Lord that is kindled against us because our Fathers have not hark­red to the words of this Book; and they went and enquired of the Pro­phetess, to Huldah, as you may read, 2 Kings 22. 2 Chron. 34. This you see was the practice of the four principal Kings of Israel and Judah.

Moreover I am clearly convinced, and am assured, that the Bi­shops as they are called, and those of their Order and Coat, or in­deed any that have taken upon them that Function of the Clergy, these many hundred of years, that they are not according unto Christ Jesus nor unto his Disciples, nor the Apostles, and the Saints in the Primitive times, but are gone quite contrary, according to what the Scriptures of Truth hold forth; and that in all these par­ticular heads following.

First, Their Titles.

Secondly, Their Estate, or Condition and Qualifications.

Thirdly, Their Call.

Fourthly, Their Doctrine and Worship.

Fifthly, Their Practise in matters of Controversie.

Sixthly, Their Maintenance.

Seventhly and lastly, Their Garbe and Habit.

All which we shall prove not only not according, but quite op­posite and contrary to Christ Jesus his Example, and his Apostles and disciples.

Now they being men not only professing Christianity, but also taking upon them to be Actors, Leaders, Teachers, Preachers, and Feeders of the Peoples Soules, and that in and with Christianity, there can be no sound reason to the contrary, but that they should be men principled, fitted, and furnished, yea, and filled with the same Spirit as was in the Apostles, whose words they take upon them to declare, and to make a Trade of, and to get their Living by; since they make poor people believe, that they have their souls in cure, and so by good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple, and so keep them ever learning, but they never come to the knowledge of the Truth.

But to proceed to the First, viz. Their Titles,

This is clear contrary to the Doctrine of Christ; for when the Mother of Zebedees Children came unto him concerning her two Sons, that one might sit on his right hand, and the other on his left. [Page 10] Jesus answered and said, ye know not what ye ask; and when the other ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two Brethren; but Jesus called them unto him, and said, ye know that the Princes of the Gentiles exercise Dominion over them, and they that are great exercise Authority upon them, but it shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your Minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministred unto, but to minister; and to give his Life a ransome for many, Matth. 20.

Likewise again, when he told them, That one of them should be­tray him; they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was. And there was also a strife among them which of them should be accounted the greatest (mark that, you great Lords) And he said unto them, the Kings of the Gentiles exercise Lordship over them; and those that exercise Authority on them are called Benefactors, but ye shall not be First, Theit Titles, which are your Holiness, Lord-Bi­shop, your Lordship, and your Gra [...]e; contrary to Christ and his Apostles. so; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he that is chief as he that doth serve, &c.

And again, when he said unto them, Let these things sink into your eares; the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of men. And again they began to reason among themselves who should be the greatest. And when he said unto them, Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man shall be delivered unto the chief Priests, and unto the Scribes, and they shall condemn him to death. Even then did James and John come to desire to sit, one on his right hand, and the other on his left: But Jesus again reproved them for it, and said unto them, Ye know that they that are accounted to rule over the Gentiles, exercise Lordship over them, and their great ones ex­ercise Authority upon them; but it shall not be so with you, &c. Mar. 10. Nay, he said unto his Disciples, Be not ye called Rabbi, for one is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are Brethren. Neither be ye cal­led Masters, but he that is greatest among you, let him be your servant: and whosoever shall exalt himself, shall be abased; and he that humbles himself, shall be exalted, Mat. 23.

And I do not find that the Apostles, either Timothy or Titus, who were Bishops indeed, were ever called Lord-Bishops; but the Apostle, when he writes to the Thessalonians, saith, Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; [Page 11] and sent Timotheus our Brother and Minister of God, and Fellow-La­bourers in the Gospel of Christ, to establish you and to comfort you con­cerning your Faith. This was the Title that the Apostle gave them, which was not, Our Reverend Father in God, Lord Bishop, &c.

And the Apostle when he writes unto Timothy, calls him, His Son in the Faith, 1 Tim. 1. And when he exhorts him, he saith, If thou put the Brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the word of Faith, and to good Doctrine whereunto thou hast attained, Chap. 4. And in his se­cond Epistle that he writes to Timothy he calleth him, His dearly beloved Son; and that he greatly desires to see him: and he saith, Thou my Son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus: And he bids him endure hardness as a good Souldier of Jesus Christ, 2 Tim. 2.

And when he writes to Titus, he saith, To Titus mine own Son af­ter the common Faith; for this cause left I thee at Creet, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, Tit. 1. And again he saith to Timothy, Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an Ex­ample of the Believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, and to exhor­tation. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by pro­phesie, with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. 1 Tim. 4. I would know which of the Bishops hath received such a Gift as this? and whether by making proof of this Gift of Prophesie that is in them, they have attained to these Titles of Lord-Bishops, and Reverend Fathers in God? But since we find the Scriptures so much contrary to these Titles, it must needs follow that they have re­ceived their Titles from men. But Timothy and Titus were made Overseers of the Church of God by the Holy Ghost (but no Lord-Bishops) and so was the Apostle Paul, and the other Apostles.

And James the Apostle speaks expresly, My Brethren, have not the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of Persons: For if there come into your assembly a man with a gold Ring or goodly Apparrel, and there come also a poor man in vile Rayment, and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay Cloathing, and not to him that is Poor; Are ye not partial in your selves, &c. But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the Law as transgressours, Jam. 2.

Here the Apostle gives perfect judgement against the respecting [Page 12] of mens persons, which most men do, because of advantage; but with Christ Jesus and his holy Apostles, you see it was not so, and therefore those that take upon them the name of the Ministers of the Gospel of Christ, should follow their examples, and not go quite contrary. And this I look upon to be sufficient for the proof of the first head, which is their Titles.

The Second is their Qualifications, State and Condition.

First, Christ Jesus said to those he preached unto, Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest: take my yoak upon you, learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, Mat. 11. This is contrary to highness and haughtiness. And when he preach­ed his first Sermon in the Mountain, and his Disciples came unto him, He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in Spirit: Blessed are they that Mourn: Blessed are the Meek; as you may read, Mat. 5.

And likewise when he sent forth his Disciples, he said, Behold I send you as Lambs in the middest of Wolves; be ye therefore wise as Serpents, but harmless as Doves, Mat. 10. And when he had sent out the seventy, by two and by two, he said unto them, Go your wayes, behold I send you forth as Lambs among Wolves, Luke 10. This was one Quality of those that Christ sent forth, they were Meek, they were Harmless.

Secondly, They were such as were to go into Sufferings, as he said unto them in the next verse; Beware of men, for they will deliver you up to the Counsels, and they will scourge you in their Synagogues; and ye shall be brought before Governours and Kings, for my Names sake, for a Testimony against them and the Gentiles, and ye shall be hated of all men for my Names sake, Mat. 10. Mark 13. 9.

And when Peter rebuked his Master, when he told them that he was to go to Jerusalem to suffer; He turned, and said unto Peter, Secondly, Their Qua­lifications, contrary to Christ and his Apostles, who were, 1st. Meek, Lowly, and Humble, 2. Suffering and taking up the Cross. 3 Love and Charity to all men. Get thee behind me Satan, &c. Then said Je­sus unto his Disciples, If any man will come af­ter me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross, and follow me, Mat. 16. And when he told them, that tho Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the Elders, and Chief Priests, and Scribes, and be slain, and raised again the third day; [Page 13] and he said unto them all; If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross daily and follow me, Luke 9. Mark. 8.

And according to this the Apostles of Christ went through many hardships and sufferings, as may be read at large throughout the Book of the Acts.

And the Apostle Paul saith to the Corinthians, And I brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech, or wisdome, de­claring unto you the Mystery of God; for I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him Crucified: and I was with you in weakness and fear, and in much trembling; For Christ sent me not to Baptize but to Preach the Gospel; not with wisdom of words, least the Cross of Christ should be made of none effect; for the preaching of the Cross is, to them that perish, foolishness, 1 Cor. 1. and Chap. 2.

It is many ages since those that took upon them the Preaching that which they have called the Gospel, were in this state and con­dition; for the Cross of Christ which is the Power of God, which makes to tremble, as the Apostles did, hath been an offence unto them, and is mocked and scoffed at by them, to this day.

Thirdly, They were also such as were to live in Love; and of this Christ himself gave them an example, when he took a Towel, and girded himself, and poured water into a Bason, and began to wash the Disciples feet, and said, Ye call me Lord and Master, and ye say well, for so I am: If I then your Lord and Master have washed your feet, ye ought also to wash one anothers feet. And a new Command­ment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you; for I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you: By this shall all men know that ye are my Disciples, if ye love one another, John 13. and Chap. 15.

And the Apostle saith, when he wrote to the Thessalonians; but as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you; for ye your selves are taught of God to love one another; and indeed ye do it towards all the Brethren. But we beseech you, that ye increase more and more, 1 Thes. 4.

And the Apostle John saith, He that saith he is in the Light and hateth his Brother, is in darkness: He that loveth his brother abideth in the Light, 1 John 2. And again he saith, This is the Message that ye have heard from the beginning, that we love one another: not as Cain that slew his brother, and wherefore slew he him? because his own [Page 14] works were evil, and his brothers righteous. But we know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother, abideth in death: whosoever hateth his brother is a mur­derer; and ye know that no murtherer hath eternal Life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he hath laid down his Life for us: We ought also to lay down our lives for the Brethren, Chap. 3.

And so this is contrary to what hath been the practise of those that have taken upon them the function of the Ministers of Christ, for many hundreds of years; for though they have professed Christ and Christianity, yet they have been killing, and slaying, and mur­dering one another, as many examples might be instanced in ages past. Those that call themselves Papists, and those that call them­selves Protestants, one killing, and slaying, and murdering another, and yet all professing and confessing themselves to be Christians, and would profess the Scriptures, Christ and the Apostles words; and in doing thus one to another, they have thought they have done God good service; and so have fulfilled Christ's words, who saith, Yea the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth God good service: and these things will they do, because they have not known the Father and me, John 16. And this may suffice for the second head, which is their Quallifications.

The third is their Call.

For Jesus when he came and spake unto his Disciples, he said unto them, All power is given unto me in Heaven and in Earth; go ye therefore and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Fa­ther, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you, and loe I am with you alwayes, even to the end of the world, Mat. 28. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preaceh unto every creature, he that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned. And again he saith, Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the City of Jerusalem, till ye be endued with Power from on high; and he blessed them, Thirdly, Their Call con­trary to Christ and his A­postles, which was by spe­cial command and revelati­on in Christ Jesus. Theirs of men and from men. and they worshipped him, and they returned to Jerusalem, Luke 26. Which is rehear­sed again in the first of the Acts, and fulfilled in the second Chapter, and the Spirit was poured upon them plentifully; [Page 15] and there were some then that mocked and said, These men are full of new Wine; but Peter stood up with the eleven, and said, These men are not drunken as ye suppose; but this is that which was spoken of by the Prophet Joel, It shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your Sons and Daughters shall prophesie: and whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord in that day, shall be saved.

This holy Spirit the Apostles received, when they were met to­gether; also Paul the Apostle, who was made an Apostle after them, he also was separated for that work by the holy Ghost; for as the Apostles were met together with the Church at Antioch, as they ministred to the Lord and fasted; the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them: So they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed, &c. Act. 13.

And so the Apostle writes himself, when he wrote to the Romans. Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God. And again, when he wrote to the Galatians, he wrote thus; Paul an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead, and all the Brethren which are with me, unto the Churches of Galatia. And he saith fur­ther; I certifie you brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me, is not after man; for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the Revelation of Jesus Christ: But when it pleased God who separated me from my mothers womb, and called me by his grace, to re­veal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Heathen; im­mediately, I conferred not with flesh and blood, Gal. 1. And again, when he wrote to the Ephesians, when he was a Prisoner of Jesus Christ, he wrote thus to the Gentiles; Ye have heard of the dispensa­tion of the grace of the Gospel of God, which is given me to you ward; how that by Revelation he made known unto me the Mystery, as I wrote unto you in a few words; which in other Ages was not made known unto the Sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy Apostles and Prophets by the Spirit, Ephes. 3.

I do not know, neither have I heard, that the Ministers, and such as take upon them to teach People, neither those that are their Lords, Bishops, and Arch-Bishops, that they have had their Calls after this Order; for there have been other wayes and meanes used for many hundred of years together; as Schooles, and Col­ledges, [Page 16] and Universities, and Nurseries of Learning, which they call their Mothers with a heap of Stuffe, which are better known by them that exercise themselves in them, than the Revelation of Jesus Christ is: and the Ministers they make are by men, and of men, and they will have them Fitted and Ordained according to their Wayes and Orders. But if any one have received the Reve­lation of Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit, if any such have a Word to speak from the Lord, they must not be received nor admitted; this is not according to their Order; this they call an Heresie, and a Sect; any that speak, and meet together, and worship the Lord God in his Spirit, and in his Truth, such are taken notice of, and are brought under the Whip, and the Scourge, and are apprehended and cast into Prision, if they do but pretend the Teachings and Leadings of the Spirit of God; and if they have not freedom in their spirits to pay them Tythes, or to maintain their Steeple-houses, presently they are brought into the Bishops Court, and if they cannot for Conscience-sake swear, and take an Oath, then presently they are cast into Prison; But of this more hereafter. And thus it is truly manifested, that the order of their Calling is not according unto Christ, nor his Apostles; for Christ saith expresly, All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son revealeth him, Mat. 11.

And again Christ saith, It is written in the Prophets, They shall be all taught of God; every man therefore that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh unto me: not that any man hath seen the Father, save he that is of God, he hath seen the Father, John 6. This may be sufficient to prove the Third head, which is their Call, which is contrary to the Apostles.

The fourth their Worship and the manner of it,

And first for the Worship it self, Christ when he spake to the wo­man of Samaria, and she told him, That their Fathers worshipped in that Mountain of Samaria: Jesus saith unto her, Woman believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this Mountain, nor yet at Je­rusalem worship the Father; but the hour cometh and now is, when the true Worshippers shall wor­ship The true Worship it self discovered. the Father in Spirit and in Truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spi­rit, [Page 17] and they that worship him, must worship him in Spirit and in Truth, John 4. And to this purpose did Jesus speak to Nichodemus, when he came unto him by night, when he said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God. At which words, Nichodemus wondred; but Jesus answered, Except a man be born of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the Flesh, is Fesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit: Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again; the wind bloweth where it listeth, &c. John 3.

And to this purpose was the man whose name was John, sent of God, to bear witness of Christ Jesus the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light, which is the true Light that lighteth every man that com­eth into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him: which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John bare witness of him and cryed, saying, This is he of whom I spake; he that cometh after me is preferred be­fore me; and of his fullness we have all received grace for grace: as may be read at large, John 1.

And to bring People to this Light and Spirit of the Lord within them, did Christ Jesus, and all his holy Apostles endeavour, by their Preaching: Therefore saith Jesus Christ unto Nichodemus, we speak what we know, and testifie what we have seen, and ye receive [...]ot our witness. This is the condemnation, that Light is come into the world, and men love Darkness rather than Light, because their deeds are evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the Light, lest his deeds should be reproved: But he that doth truth, cometh to the Light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. This is Christ's Doctrine and Worship. And when he was preaching among his Disciples, and also the Scribes and Pharisees heard him, and many believed among the chief Rulers, [...]t they did not confess him because of the Fourthly, Their Wor­ship, contrary to Christs example, and all his A­postles. 1. In Preaching. 2. In Praying. 3. In Sing­ing. Pharisees, lest they should be put out of the Synagogue. And Jesus cryed out among them, [...]nd said; He that believeth on me, believeth [...]ot on me, but on him that sent me. I am come [...] Light into the World, that whosoever belie­veth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, [Page 18] and believe not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him, the Word that I have spoken shall judge him at the last day: and so on, John 12.

And Christ told the Pharisees, that the Kingdom of God came not by observation; but the Kingdom of God was within them. And when he sent forth his Disciples, he saith, As ye go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of God is at hand, Mat. 10. Also when he sent out the seventy, he said, Heal the sick that are therein: and say, The Kingdom of God is nigh unto you, Luke 10. 9. And we also see by the Epistles of the Apostles, which are left upon record, after what manner of Doctrine, and exhortation they spake unto the People; as the Apo­stle John, which was the beloved Disciple, what he hath written in that, which hath been already mentioned in the 1st. 2d. 3d. and 4th. Chapters of John.

Also the Apostle Peter, in his first Epistle, saith; For we have not followed cunning devised Fables, when we made known unto you the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; but we are Eye-witnesses of his Ma­jesty: For he received from God the Father, honour, and glory, when there came such a voice to him, from the excellent glory, saying; This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy Mount. We have also a more sure Word of Prophesie, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a Light that shineth in a dark place; until the Day dawn, and the Day-star arise in your hearts. Here the Apostle directs them to a more sure Word, than that which was heard in the Mount, which came from the Excellent Glory, which they taking heed un­to, might have the day to dawn, and the day-star to arise in their hearts. This was a true and a right Minister; also he saith, Know­ing this first, that no Prophesie of the Scriptures is of any private Inter­pretation, 2 Pet. 1. How is it then that it is kept so private, that none must interpret it but Learned men, such as have been at Ox­ford or Cambridge. But the Apostle saith, That the Prophesie came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were mo­ved by the holy Ghost. But those that have had learning at Cambridge and Oxford will hardly give a right Interpretation of that which the holy Ghost hath spoken forth.

But when the Apostle wrote to Timothy, who was a Bishop, and [Page 19] an Overseer made by the holy Ghost, to him he saith, Continue thou [...] the things which thou hast learned, and hast been assured of, knowing [...]f whom thou hast learned them; and that from a Child thou hast known [...] holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto Salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. Here Timothy did not go to Cambridge nor Oxford, nor no such place, to learn what he had done from a Child. All Scripture (saith he) is given by inspiration of God; and i [...] profitable for Doctrine, for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction, that the man of God may be perfected, throughly furnished unto all good works, 2. Tim. 3.

And when Peter speaketh of his beloved Brother Paul, and of his Epistles which he had written, and what he spake; Some things, he saith, are hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and un­stable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destructi­on, 2 Pet. 3. So they that have not the Inspiration of the Almighty, and motion of the Spirit of the Lord God, the same that gave forth the Scriptures, when they come to Interpret them, and give mean­ings to them, being unlearned therein, they just wrest them to their [...] destruction, and therefore they do not profit the People at all: These be they who separate themselves; men that are sensual, not having the Spirit, Judge 19.

Also the Apostle Paul, when he was sent forth to Preach the Gospel of Christ, the voice that spake unto him, when he was struck down unto the earth with the sight of a Vision, said unto him, A­rise, stand upon thy feet, for I have appointed thee for this purpose; to make thee a Minister and a Witness; both of these things thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I shall appear unto thee; delivering thee from the People and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee; to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, Acts 26.

And according to this, the Apostle confessed himself, when he mote to the Romans; I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Bar­barians, both to the wise and the unwise; so much as in me is I am rea­dy to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also: For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the Power of God unto Salvation, to eve­ry one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there­in is the Righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; and the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of [Page 20] men; because that which may be known of God, is manifested in them, for God hath shewed it unto them. And thus the Apostle goes on ex­horting and teaching the Romans, in the 1st, and 2d. Chapters, and telleth them, That God will render to every man according to his deeds; to them who by patience continue in well doing, seek for glory, and ho­nour, and immortality, and eternal life; but unto them that are conten­tious, and do not obey the Truth, but obey unrighteousness; indignation and wrath. For, saith he, there is no respect of persons with God, for as many as have sinned without the Law, shall perish without the Law: and as many as have sinned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law, for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law shall be justified, &c.

And in the 10th of the Romans, where he is speaking of his hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel, he tells them, That Christ is the end of the Law to every one that believeth. For (saith he) the righ­teousness of Faith speaketh on this wise; Say not in thy heart, who shall ascend into heaven, that is to bring Christ down from above, or who shall descend into the deep, that is to bring Christ up again from the dead? but what saith it? The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart, that is, the Word of Faith which we preach.

And when he wrote to the Hebrews, he rehearseth the New Co­venant, that the Prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah had prophesied of, and saith, This is the Covenant that I will make with them, after those dayes, saith the Lord; I will put my Laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them, Heb. 10. These with many more pla­ces of Scripture might be instanced of the Apostles, how they mi­nistred both in Preaching and Writing.

And in the first Epistle of John, he saith, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, and our hands have handled the word of Life; This we declare unto you, that ye may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Here was a right Minister of God, that would have had those he wrote to, to have been in fellow­ship with him; who was in fellowship with the Father and with the Son: and therefore he saith unto them, These things I write unto you, that your joy may be full: This then is the message which we have heard from him, and declared unto you; that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him, and [Page 21] walk in darkness, we lye, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the Light as he is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin. And again the same Apostle saith, A new Commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you; because the darkness is past and the true Light now shineth. Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning: If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall abide in you, ye shall also continue in the Son, and in the Father. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you; but the Anointing which ye have received of him, abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you, but as the same Anointing teacheth you of all things; and is the truth, and is no lye; even as he hath taught you ye shall abide in him: for ye have an unction from the holy one, and ye know all things, 1 John 2.

Here is sound, firm, and wholsome Teaching, that these holy men of God taught those that they taught, but contrary to their teaching, have Inventions and Teachings of men, been for many Ages and Generations in this dark Night of Apostacy; in which the pure, and holy, and glorious Church of Christ, hath been gone into the Wilderness, where she hath had a place appointed her of God, until the One thousand two hundred and threescore dayes were accomplished, which John saw, Rev. 12. But now she is com­ing forth again, glory to the Highest for ever: And the Man-child, which hath been caught up to God, and to his Throne, is coming to Rule all Nations; and now are these Ministers of darkness, which have ministred in the night, coming to be seen, now that the day ap­pears. For God that hath commanded Light to shine out of dark­ness, hath shined in our hearts, and hath given us the Light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ, which is the Son of Righteousness, by which we see and comprehend them all. So to proceed to the particulars.

The first thing that I except against in matter and form of their Worship: Viz. All sorts of Preachers and Teachers that are out of Christ and his Apostles Spirit, Doctrine and Rule, is the taking a part or portion of Scripture for a Text, and adding thereto their own Inventions, which they study out of their own brain, and also bringing other Authors, who have done the like; many of them not Christians but Heathens: and thus make an Image and set up, [Page 22] and deceive poor peoples souls, and keep them everlearning, but never come to the knowledge of the Truth; and are more igno­rant of God than many Heathens that never professed Christ, nor the Scriptures; and so it is ordinary with them to bring the Hea­thens words in that which they prepare for them, and stir them up; and this is quite contrary to Christ and the Apostles practice.

It is true, Christ took the Book when it was delivered unto him, and he opened and lookt upon it, and found a place where it was written in Isaiah 61. 1. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the Captives, and re­covering of sight to the blind, and set at liberty them that are bruised to preach the acceptable year of the Lord: and he closed the Book, and gave it again to the Minister, and sate down; and he began to say un­to them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears: And all bear him witness, and wondred at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Josephs Son? Luke 4.

Now this was he that the Prophet Isaiah prophesied of, and therefore when he began to preach, he turned to this Scripture, to let them see that this Prophesie was fulfilled, and so closed the Book. But when he preached among them, and taught, as ye may read through all the Evangelists; as first, in Mat. 5. and in Luke 6. He opened unto them the Law, and also told them, That whoso­ever did break one of the least Commandments, should be called least in the Kingdom. And taught the Disciples, saying, Let your Light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorifie your Fa­ther which is in heaven. Think not that I come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets; I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle, shall in no wise pass from the Law till all be fulfilled. For I say unto you, except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of God. This was the man­ner of his preaching and teaching: And so he goes on, and opens unto them the Law; and tells them it had been said so in the old time; Ye have heard it hath been said in the old time, thou shalt not for­swear thy self: But I say unto you, swear not at all. And it hath been said unto you in the old time, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, resist not evil. He that smites thee on the one [Page 23] cheek, turn the other. And thus he goes on in opening of the Law, of which he was to fulfill every jot and tittle; and also opening un­to them the Mysteries of the Gospel, which is Love even to Ene­mies; and which the Apostle saith, is the fulfilling of the whole Law. And he told them, that so they might be the Children of their Father which is in heaven; for he maketh his Sun to rise on the evil and on the good; and sends Rain on the just, and on the unjust. Be ye there­fore perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Here is the perfect Ministry indeed, of the true Circumcision, which makes the true Jew indeed inward, which circumciseth the heart with his holy Spirit. The Apostle saith, Now I say unto you, that Jesus Christ was a Minister of the Circumcision, for the truth of God; to confirm the Promises unto Abraham: and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy, and so the blessing of Abraham may be upon all, Jews and Gentiles: All that are in the Faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham. And this is he of whom the Apostle to the He­brews saith, We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the Throne of the Majesty in Heaven: a Minister of the Sanctuary, and of the true Tabernacle, which the Lord hath pitched, and not man, Heb. 8.

And as he was a Minister of the same Sanctuary which God hath pitched, so also were his Apostles, they preached by his holy Spirit. For as God is true (saith Paul the Apostle) so our word to you-wards was not yea, and nay; for the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preach­ed among you by us, even by me, and Sylvanus, and Timotheus, was not yea, and nay; but in him was yea: for all the Promises of God, are in him Yea, and in him, Amen; 2 Cor. 1.

And by this Spirit and Power of the Lord Jesus, did Steven, who was full of Faith and Power, do great wonders and miracles among the People; and when the false witnesses came to accuse him before the high Priest, and those that sate in Council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an Angel: Then said the high Priest, Are these things so? And he said, Men, Brethren, and Fathers, hearken: And he began at Abraham, and he opened unto them the Royal and Holy Seed, throughout the Scriptures, until he came to Christ Jesus, whom he said they had crucified and slain. And he said, Ye stiff-necked, and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do alwayes resist the holy Ghost; as your Fathers did, so do ye: Which of the Prophets have not your Fathers Persecuted? and they have slain [Page 24] them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and gnashed on him with their teeth: but he being full of the holy Ghost, looked stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God; and he said, Behold, I see heaven open, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. And they cryed with a loud voice, and stopt their ears, and ran upon him, and cast him out of the City, and stoned him: and they stoned Steven, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus receive my spirit, Acts 7.

Also Paul, when he came to Antioch, and went into the Syna­gogue on the Sabbath day; after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the Rulers of the Synagogue sent to him and his compa­ny, and said, Men and Brethren, if ye have any exhortation to the People, say on. Then Paul stood up, and beckoned with his hand, and said; Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. And he began to declare, how God brought their Fathers out of Egypt, with a high hand; and how they were in the Wilderness; and how he destroy­ed the Nations of the Land of Canaan; and how they were govern­ed, from that time unto Christ; and how that Christ care of the Seed of David; and likewise how the Rulers of Jerusalem dealt with Christ, and though they found no cause of death in him; yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had ful­filled all that was written of him, they took him down from the Tree, and laid him in a Sepulchre; but God raised him from the dead, and afterwards he preached unto them his Resurrection; as may be read at large throughout Acts 13. and how the Gentiles also should partake of his-Resurrection; but the Jews contradict­ed and blasphemed against their Doctrine. Then Paul and Barna­bas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been preached to you Jews; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge your selves unworthy of everlasting life, loe we turn unto the Gen­tiles, for so hath the Lord commanded us: I have set thee to be a light to the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation to the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, Acts 13.

Thus ye see how the Apostles opened unto them the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ, as also Christ himself, when he met with the Disciples, after his Resurrection; and they not knowing [Page 25] him, told him what things had happened concerning Christ. He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart; ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory. And beginning at Mo­ses and all the Prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself, Luke 24.

And this is the matter, and manner, and method of all Christ's Ministers, to preach the Resurrection of Christ Jesus, in his Light and Spirit, which is a mystery to all carnal men and carnal minds: and this is not a deal of Imaginations, and divinations of the brain, and studyings of men, who take one Verse of Scripture, and add un­to it what they please, out of other old Authors Writings, Heathen Philosophers, or any thing that will make up an hours talk, till their Glass be run, which is quite contrary to the Apostles practice, and that which they witnessed, and exhorted against. For he saith unto the Colossians, As ye have received Christ Jesus, so walk ye in him; rooted and built in him, established in the Faith, as ye have been taught. Beware lest any man spoil you through Philosophy, and vain deceit, after the Traditions of men, after the Rudiments of the world, and not after Christ, Col. 2. Here is an express command laid upon them, that they should not be deceived by the teachings of men, who taught not after Christ.

And the Apostle saith also, that Christ sent him, not to preach the Gospel with wisdom of words; For, saith he, It is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understand­ing of the prudent. Where is the Wise? Where is the Scribe? Where is the Disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God; it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek af­ter wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God: Because the foolishness of God is wiser then men, and the weakness of God stronger then men: For ye see your calling, Brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things which are mighty; and base-things of the world, and things which are [Page 26] despised, hath God chosen, yea and things which are not, to bring to nought things which are; that no flesh should glory in his presence; but those that glory, should glory in the Lord, 1 Cor. 1.

And the Apostle saith further, And my speech and preaching was not with enticing words of mans wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit, and of Power; that your Faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit, we speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the Princes of this world, that come to nought, but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery; even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world. For we have not received the Spirit of the world, but that Spirit that is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given us of God; which things we speak not in the words which mans wisdom teacheth, but which the holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiri­tual.

Here the Apostle testifies clearly against the wisdom of mens teaching, which is a clear testimony against the teachings that have been in these last Ages; for that is all that hath been taught for many generations of Teachers, since the Apostles dayes; the wis­dom of men, and traditions of men, and inventions, and imagina­tions of men, one quoting and rehearsing what another saith, quite contrary to the Apostles practice. We do not make our selves of the number, or compare our selves with some that commend them­selves, and measuring themselves by themselves are not wise. But we will not boast our selves, above our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us; for we come as far as you also, in preaching the Gospel of Christ, not boasting of things without our measure, of other mens labours, nor to boast of another mans line made ready to our hands, 2 Cor. 10. Not that we are sufficient of our selves, to think any thing as of our selves, but our sufficiency is of God; who hath also made us able Mini­sters of the New Testament, not of the Letter but of the Spirit; for the Letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth Life, 2 Cor. 3. 6. In this Chap­ter the Apostle gives his Testimony, that the Life of the Ministry is in the ministration of the Spirit. As also in Rom. 7. But now we are delivered from the Law; that being dead wherein we were held, that we should serve in newness of Spirit, and not in the oldness of the Let­er; which he calls, the Ministration of Death, in the afore-mention­ed Chapter.

[Page 27] And when he writes to his Son Timothy, who was a Bishop, he saith thus; I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead, at his appearing, and his kingdom; Preach the Word, be instant in season, and out of season; re­prove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine: for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own hearts lusts, shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the Truth, and shall be turned unto Fables, 2 Tim. 4.

Here the Apostle was a true Prophet, and saw the Apostacy com­ing on, and therefore he laid a hard charge upon Timothy: For, saith he, watch thou in all things; endure afflictions; do the work of an Evangelist; make full proof of thy Ministry; for I am ready to be offer­ed, and the time of my departure draweth nigh, 2 Tim. 4.

As also when he writes to the Thessalonians, of the Day of the Lord, and of the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, and thanks God for them, who had chosen them to Salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the Truth, whereunto he called you, (saith he) by our Gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ; Therefore brethren, stand fast, and hold the Traditions which ye have been taught, whether by Word, or our Epistle, 2 Thes. 2.

This Scripture the Papists, and many others, make a Cloak and a Covering for teaching their Traditions; because the Apostle bids them hold fast the Traditions that they had taught them, by their Gospel; which in the words before, he saith, was to the ob­taining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ; the which they had good reason to hold fast; for if they let that go, they were not like to attain to such another. But there is no comparison between these, and the Traditions of the Priests in the Apostacy, either Pa­pists or others; for through their teaching of their Traditions, they have done nothing but brought people into a body of darkness, and into a heap of ignorance, keeping them ignorant both of the Scrip­tures, and all that is good. For if people had but liberty to look in­to the Scriptures, they would soon be wiser then their Teachers, and see their gross darkness: But they tell them, they cannot un­derstand them, they must be expounded by learned men; and so will not let the Light of Christ arise in Peoples hearts, nor never direct their minds to it, but keep them in darkness, and make a [Page 28] Trade of the Scriptures for their own advantage, and so deceive poor peoples souls. And these Scriptures may serve to prove this Particular of the fourth Head, which is concerning their Worship, which is, their matter and manner of Preaching.

The second particular of that head is their Prayer, which is also contrary to Scripture-example, they having Prayars formed and made by men as all their other Worship is, and so read their Pray­ers in Books; and set any fellow or school-boy to read it, if he have but the name of Curate or Clark, if he read but that in the Book, they account it Praying: And if any of the greater sort, as Bishops, Deans, Vicars, or Parsons, if they pray, they either pray in a Book, or else they have a Prayer formed up, and made and pre­pared before hand, that they pray: And many times they set wild and wanton Boyes, with Priest, and Clark, and all the People to sing their Prayers: and this they account and call Praying.

When Christ Jesus was in his Sermon in the Mount, that he was teaching the People several things, (as was said before) as con­cerning Alms, and many other particulars, in which he bad them not to do as the Pharisees did; he also spake to them that they should not pray as they did, for they prayed standing in the Syna­gogues: And saith he, When ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathens do; Be not ye therefore like unto them, for your Father know­eth what things ye have need of, before ye ask. After this manner there­fore pray ye: Our Father, which art in Heaven, &c. And so he gi­veth them several particular heads, what they should pray for, and after he had done that, he rehearseth these words again; If ye for­give men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses, Mat. 6. And again he saith unto one of his Disciples, who desired him to teach them to pray, He said un­to them, When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any, that your Father also which is in heaven, may forgive you your trespasses: but if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses, Mark 11. 25.

Now how the Bishops, and all their Officers which they imploy under them, forgive those that trespass against them, is manifested by their Courts they keep; as also all the Papists, Bishops, Priests and Jesuites, that make this Prayer be said over so often by their [Page 29] People, how they forgive those that trespass against them, is also manifested by their Inquisitions, Wracks and Tortures; and yet this Prayer they make their ground for all their Forms, and form­ing up of prayers, which is quite contrary to the Apostle's practice and doctrine; for he saith, We are saved by hope; but hope that is seen, that is not hope, but if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit it self maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered; and he that searcheth the heart, knoweth the mind of the Spirit, be­cause he maketh intercession for the Saints, according to the Will of God, Rom. 8.

And this Spirit is he that knows the minde of Christ, and the will of God, and therefore the Apostle saith, I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with understanding also, 1 Cor. 14. For the Spirit, saith he, searcheth all things, even the deep things of God; for what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man that is in him; even so the things of God knoweth no man, save the Spirit of God: for the natural man knoweth not the things of the Spi­rit of God, for they are foolishness to him, because they are spiritually discerned. So how can these natural men, that read a Prayer in a Book, pray unto God, that know not the things of God? and what effect can such Prayers have? Indeed David saith, That the Pray­ers of the Righteous avail much, if they be fervent: But can their Prayers avail that are unrighteous, and know not the things of God, neither have any fervency in them?

But the Apostle saith, We know the mind of Christ: and therefore he saith, Be kindly affectioned one towards another, with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another, not slothful in business, fervent in Spi­rit, serving the Lord: Rejoycing in hope, patient in tribulation, con­tinuing instant in Prayer, Rom. 12. 12. And again, Peter saith, As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to ano­ther, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God: if any man speak, let him speak as the Oracles of God: if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified, 1 Pet. 4.

So here is a great difference between this sort of praying that the Apostle here mentions, and that which is called the Common-Prayer; [Page 30] which indeed is common, and may be common to any that have eyes and can read it; as also all the Paternosters, and Ave-Maries of the Papists, though they call that which Christ taught his Disciples the Paternoster, but he did not call it so; though they patter it over, and teach all People to patter it over, but he did not so with those he taught it, but he told them they should not use vain Repetitions, nor vain bablings; and he taught them in the holy Spirit of the Lord, and so directed them that they might learn it in that Spirit, or else he would not have learned them to have prayed, That the Will of God might be done on Earth, as it was in Heaven. Vain-bablers and Patterers over of ma­ny words, do not the Will of God on Earth as it is in Heaven, but this Prayer is abused by them all, as many other places of Scripture are. And this may serve for the second particular of their Worship which is Prayer.

The third is their Singing, which indeed is more like may-game­ing then worshipping of God, playing and piping of Organs, and setting a company of wilde, ungodly, light boyes to sing tunes to to them, which is such a kind of Worship, as no Christians in the Primitive times exercised.

Its true, there was in Davids and Solomons dayes, such as were appointed to minister in way of singing and giving thanks, as Da­vid when he had brought the Ark of God and set it in the midst of his Tent, which he had made for it, he offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings before God; and he appointed certain of the Le­vites to minister before the Ark of the Lord, and to record, thank and praise the Lord God of Israel. Asaph the chief, and next to him Zachariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattathiah, Eliah, Benaiah, and Obed-Edom, 1 Chron. 15. 16, and 27. and Jehiel, with Psalteries and with Harps; but Asaph made a sound with Cimbals, Benaiah and also Eliezer the Priests with Trumpets, continually be­fore the Ark of the Covenant of God. Then on that day David de­livered first this Psalm, to thank the Lord, into the hands of Asaph and his brethren, who were the Singers. Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his Name, &c. Psal. 105. This was upon a special occa­sion, when the Ark of God was brought up among them: And these that David committed this Psalm unto, were such as were appoint­ed of God for that Place and Office, as Asaph, and those that were called to that office.

[Page 31] Also Solomen had Singing-men, and Singing-women, Eccles. 2. 8. and them of this order came with them again out of the Cap­tivity in Babylon, Ezra 2. 41. Neh. 7. 67.

But these were all before Christ; and why may not Christians as well imitate Circumcision, Burnt-offerings and Sacrifices, which were in the time of the Law, as well as imitate Singing-Boyes? And we do not find that any of the Apostles and Saints in the Pri­mitive times did Sing David Psalms in Meeter and Rhime, and turn his Lamentations, and Groanings, and Sufferings, and Tears, and Anguish of his Bones, being burned like a Hearth, and that he was as a Pelican in the Wilderness, and like an Owl in the Desart; when he cryed out, that his heart was smitten and withered, and his Prayers and Cries, Psal. 102.

We do not find that the Apostles turned this state of weeping and lamentation of his into Rhime and Meeter, and sang it: But Christ and his Apostles, and Christians and Saints, when they sung, they sang with the Spirit in prayses to the Lord, and in the joy and rejoycing of the Spirit. This was not to take another mans Sighs, and Groanings, and Lamentations, and Tears, and Cryes to turn this into a Song and sing it: This is not the Truth, neither is it the practice of the Spirit of Truth. But when the Soul and the Spirit is joyful in the Lord, and enjoyes his Presence, and feels his Life; then there is joy, and honour, and praises given to the Lord God in the Truth and in the Reality, in his own Spirit, and this glory and praises are acceptable to the Lord God: And therefore doth the Apostle say, I will Pray with the Spirit, and with the Ʋn­derstanding also: I will Sing with the Spirit, and with the Understanding also, 2 Cor. 14. Yet the Apostle did not turn his praying into sing­ing, nor none that have the Spirit of the Lord Jesus to pray and sing with; but when they pray they pray unto the Lord, and when they sing they sing unto the Lord, yet both by his own holy Spirit.

When Christ Jesus and his Disciples were at the Passover, and that he had broken the Bread, and given them the Cup of the New Testament, he said unto them, I will drink no more of the fruit of the Vine, until the day that I drink it new in the Kingdom of God. And when they had sung an Hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives, Mar. 14. 26.

And according to this, the Apostle in his Exhortation to the [Page 32] Ephesians, among many other particulars, he saith, Be not drunk with Wine wherein is excess: but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to your selves in Psalms and Hymns and spiritual Songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord; giving thanks alwayes for all things unto God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Ephes. 5. 19, 20.

And again in his Epistle to the Colossians, he saith, Let the Word of Christ dwell richly in you in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another, in Psalms, and Hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Likwise the Apostle James saith, Is any among you afflicted? let him pray; is any merry? let him sing Psalms, Jam. 5.

But he saith not sing those Psalms which David sung, but the A­postles sung in the Spirit, with grace in their hearts, as before; and said, those that do glory and rejoyce, let them do it in the Lord; and in so doing, they may worship and give thanks unto the Lord in rejoycing and singing, as well as in other parts of worship, in the Spirit of the Lord God: But these are not wild, wicked, un­godly people and boyes, who are imployed in this service in our dayes; but the Lords holy Spirit, where it dwels, and rules, and lives, is the same as ever it was, and can worshrp the Father in Spi­rit and in Truth; who is a Spirit, and his Worship is in his own Spirit; and this Spirit speaking, or praying, or singing, worships him.

More might be said concerning their Altars, and bowing, and cringing to Stocks and Stones, and calling Wood and Stones set together by mens hands, and adorned with Inventions, A Church; but all this trash and rubbish will fall together. Since that Temple that Solomon built, which God commanded, Christ said, should not be left one stone upon another of its building, but it should be all thrown down; surely these Popish Houses have no long reign. And so this may serve for the finishing of the third particular and fourth Head, which we except against, which is their Worship.

The fifth is their Practice, which is so large, and indeed so con­trary to all Scripture-Rule, it is much to express the Heads of it, except it be such as are practised in it; for the body of darkness is deep, and is such a puddle to rake in, that it is fit for none but those whose garments are filthy and defiled, to meddle with: Yet for [Page 33] the Seed of God sake, which is kept in Bondage, and in Captivi­ty, in and by this Power of Darkness, that hath lodged in this [...]ody of Teachers and Preachers, who have called themselves Christians, both Papists and Protestants, in this Night of Apostacy, that the True Church of God hath been in the Wilderness, and the Witnesses prophesied in Sackcloth; this hath been a Night of Darkness, but the Day is Springing, Glory to the Lord for ever; I say, for this Seeds sake, we shall proceed to mention some par­ticular Heads of their practice, and try them by the Scriptures.

And the first is that which they call their Studying, and their placing the very Foundation of their Call, and all their practices in that Function, in that which they call Learning; which thing we never finde neither in the Old-Testament nor New, that they who were called to the Office of the Priesthood, that obtained it by such wayes and means as they use; viz. That which they call their Studies and Fountains of Learning, which is their Universities; and in them, so many several Orders and Degrees, to ordain and appoint such as belong to that Function of the Ministry, which we do not finde in the Old-Testament, that either Aaron or his Sons, or those that were of the Tribe of Levi, were ordained after such a manner, and by such Orders as they pretend to theirs; for when the Lord spake unto Moses for the setting up of the Tabernacle, and after what manner he should do all things about it; he said, Thou shalt set the Laver betwixt the Tent of the Congregation and the Altar, and thou shalt put water therein, and thou shalt bring Aaron and his Sons unto the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and wash them with water; and thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy Gar­ments, and anoint him, and sanctifie him, that he may minister unto me in the Priests Office; and thou shalt bring his Sons and cloath them with coats, and thou shalt anoint them as thou didst their Father, that they may minister unto me in the Priests Office; for their Anointing shall surely be an everlasting Priesthood throughout their Generations: Thus did Moses according to all that the Lord commanded him, for he set the Laver between the Tent of the Congregation and the Altar, and Moses, and Aaron and his Sons, washed their hands and their feet thereat, as the Lord commanded Moses. Exod. 28, 29. chap. Levit. 8.

Moreover the Lord said unto Moses, Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them, and thus shalt thou do unto [Page 34] them to cleanse them; sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave them, all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make them clean; then let them take a young Bul­lock, with his meat offering, even fine Flowre mingled with Oyle; and another young Bullock thou shalt take, for a sin offering; and thou shalt bring the Levites before the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and thou shalt gather the whole Assembly of the children of Israel together, and thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord, and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites, and Aaron shall offer the Le­vites before the Lord, for an offering for the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the Lord; and the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the Bullocks, and thou shalt offer the one for a sin-offering, and the other for a burnt-offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for the Levites; and shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his Sons, and offer them for an offering to the Lord; thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine; and after that shall the Levites go in, to do the service of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering; for they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel, instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the First-born of all the children of Israel, I have taken them unto me; for all the first-born of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast, in the day that I smote the first-born in the Land of Egypt, I sanctified them for my self, and I have taken the Levites for all the first-born of the Children of Israel, and I have given the Le­vites as a gift to Aaron, and to his Sons, from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, to make an atonement for the children of Israel, that there be no plague among Studying and Di­vining contrary to Christ and his Apo­stles; and contrary to the Levitical Priest­hood. them, when they come nigh my Sanctuary.

And Moses and Aaron, and the Congregati- of Israel, did unto the Levites, according as the Lord commanded them; and the Levites were Purified, and they washed their Garments, and Aaron offered them as an offering before the Lord, and Aaron made an atonement for them, to cleanse them, and after that the Levites went in to do their service in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, before Aaron, and before his Sons: And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, This is it that belong­eth [Page 35] to the Levites, from twenty years old and upwards, they shall go in to wait upon the service of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more; but shall minister with their brethen in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service; thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge. Numb. 8.

Now here is nothing of Studying, or going to the Universities, nor diving, nor divinining into the Body of Darkness, which de­files and polutes; but here was Washing, and Cleansing, and Pu­rifying, and an Offering of two Bullocks, one for a Sin-offering, another for a Burnt-offering, the Levites being offered with the Offerings, and they laying their hands upon the heads of the Of­ferings, and Moses making an Atonement for them, to Cleanse them, before they could be admitted into the Service; and then they were to wait from twenty five years, and upwards unto fifty years, before they might cease waiting, and then they were to mi­nister with their Brethren in the Tabernacle; but they did not wait at the Universities, and at the Schools of Learning, but they waited upon the Service of the Tabernacle of the Congregation; for the Lord had called them for that end, that they might make an Atonement for the Children of Israel, that there might be no Plague among them.

So that it is strange that Ministers that profess Christianity, and profess themselves to be Ministers of Christ, and Ministers of the Gospel, should run into such extravagances, being that they profess the Scriptures, and that they should not walk in by­paths; but they go quite opposite to what the Scriptures of Truth hold forth concerning both the First and Second Priesthood. It is true indeed, the Lord complaineth by his Prophets, when Israel was gone away from the Lord, and turned unto Idolatry and Abo­mination, and was in Rebellion against him, then he complains of their Teachers, That they speak a Divination of their own Brain, and not from the Mouth of the Lord; But the Lord saith, That he will frustrate the Tokens of the Lyars, and make the Diviners mad, and turn the Wise men backward, and make their knowledge foolish. Isa. 44.

And again he complains of the Blind Watchmen, and said, They are all Ignorant, they are all dumb Dogs, they cannot bark, sleep­ing, [Page 36] lying down to slumber; yea, they are greedy Dogs, which can never have enough; and they are Shepherds that cannot understand, they all look to their own way, every one for his Gain from his Quarter: Come ye, say they, and I will fetch Wine, and we will fill our selves with Strong-drink, and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abun­dant, Isa. 56.

Again, the Lord complains of them by his Prophet Jeremiah, Je­remiahs heart was broken within him because of the Prophets, and his bones did shake like a drunken man, because of the Lord, and the word of his Holiness: For the Land, saith he, is full of adulteries, for be­cause of swearing the Land mourneth: for Prophet and Priest are pro­phane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord. Wherefore their wayes shall be unto them as slippery wayes, in the darkness they shall be driven on, and fall therein; I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the Prophets that prophesie unto you; thy make you vain, they speak a Vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still un­to them that despise me, The Lord hath said, ye shall have peace: and they say unto every one that walketh after the Imaginations of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. But behold, the whirlwind of the Lord is come forth in fury, and it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wick­ed: the anger of the Lord shall not return, till he have executed, and till he hath performed the thoughts of his heart. In the latter dayes he shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these Prophets, I have not spo­ken unto them, yet they prophesied. I heard when the Prophet said, that prophesied lies in my name, which cause my people to forget my name, as their Fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. Is not my word like a fire saith the Lord and like a hammer, that breaketh the rocks in pieces? therefore behold, I am against the Prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour: behold, I am against the Prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith; behold, I am against them that prophesie false dreams, and tell them, and cause my people to erre through their lies, and by their lightness; and yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit my people at all saith the Lord, Jer. 23.

And again the Lord said unto me, The Prophets prophesie lies in my name. I sent them not neither commanded I them, neither spake I unto them: yet they prophesied unto you a false Vision, and a divination, and a [Page 37] thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart, Chap. 14. Therefore hearken not ye to your Prophets, nor to your Diviners, nor to your Inchant­ers, nor to your Sorcerers: for I have not sent them, yet they prophesie a lye in my name; that I might drive you out, and ye might perish, Jer. 27. For thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, Let not your Prophets, nor your Diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, for they prophesie falsly unto you; I have not sent them, saith the Lord, Jer. 29

And Ezekiel saith, Her Prophets have daubed them with untempred morter; seeing vanity, divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord, when the Lord hath not spoken, Ezek. 22. 28.

And Zechariah saith, The Idols have spoken vanity, and Diviners have seen a lye, and have told false dreams, and have comforted in vain, Zech. 10. 2.

And Micah saith, Then shall the Seers be ashamed, and Diviners con­founded; yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer from God, Micah. 3. 7.

After the children of Israel and Judah were fallen away from the Lord God, and from his Worship and Service, into Idolatry, and worshiping of Baal, then their Priests, and Prophets, and Teachers fell to divining, and enchanting in the power of darkness, and fell into all manner of wickedness, and grosness, and prophaness, and drunkeness, in so much that the Lord complaineth of their drink­ing wine in bowles; Ye that put far the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; that lie upon the beds of Ivory, and stretch themselves upon the Couches; and eat the Lambs out of the Flock, and the Calves out of the midst of the Stall; that chant to the sound of the Vial, and invent to themselves Instruments of Musick like David; that drink wine in Bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief oyntment; but they are not grieved at the afflictions of Jo­seph; therefore they shall go into captivity with the first, Amos 6.

Surely the Diviners and Inchanters of these last dayes, in this night of Apostacy, in which the Apostle John said that Antichrist should come, have taken example by these false Prophets and false Teachers, that were fallen away from the Lord, and from the Or­dinances of his Law, that he gave out to those that were to mini­ster at the Altar, and were to minister in the Priests Office: when they were fallen away into Idolatry, they then fell into Divinati­on, and digging and diving into the darkness and imagination of [Page 38] their wicked hearts, and so spake false Visions, and false Dreams, and false Prophesies, and said, the Lord saith, when the Lord had never spoken to them. So it hath been with our professed Christian Ministers, in this time of Apostacy, since the Apostles dayes; they read the Prophets words and said, Thus saith the Lord; and they read Christ's words, and the holy Apostles words, who worshiped the only true God, and spake in and by his holy Spirit: And they themselves will confess the Lord never spake unto them, neither do they ever expect to know revelation, nor hear the voice of God, as the Apostle did; for they have preached to all people, that that is ceased.

And though it is true, that it hath been ceased among them, in their dark night of Apostacy, yet the holy Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, which spake in him, and in all his holy Apostles, is alive, and lives for evermore; which he sent and signified by his servant John, Rev. 1. Who bare record of the Word of God, and the Testimony of Je­sus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Who, when he saw him, fell at his feet, as dead; and he laid his right hand upon him, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth and was dead, and be­hold, I am alive for evermore, and have the keyes of hell and death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. And this Revelation which John saw of Jesus Christ, will as surely be fulfilled, as all the other Scrip­tures that prophesied formerly of his coming in the flesh; who in the fulness of time came and fulfilled all that was written of him: so certainly will he come and fulfil the Revelations that have been of him. And of his power and great glory, and of his coming in his Spirit, and in his Revelation by which he reveals the Father, as he said himself in the days of his flesh, Hereafter I will not speak un­to you in Proverbs, but I will shew plainly of the Father, John 17. How­beit, when the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you into all truth. And this hath the Lord fulfilled, and will fulfill in his day and time appointed; For the times and seasons are in the Fathers hand, al­though the night-owls, who have been in the darkness, have striven always to put this Light out, when it would have shined in their time, which was dark.

And therefore have they striven together, and combined toge­ther to make their Mountain strong, and set up Schooles of Learn­ing, [Page 39] as they call them; and educated youth up in that darkness, and kept them studying and divining in their braine, till many have studied themselves out of their wits; and so they might fol­low their Orders, and Ordinations, and Degrees, one above ano­ther, and one below another, with such a rabble as is not worth mentioning; and none might speak, nor preach, nor read, no nor teach School, but such as take Orders, or Degrees, or Licences from them: and all this rabble is quite contrary to Scripture-Rule and Example.

It is true, the Apostle exhorted the Thessalonians to study to be quiet, and to do their own business, and to work with their own hands, 1 Thess. 4. 11. And wrote to Timothy, to study to be ap­proved to God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

This was not studying in the power of darkness, to be approved of men, to study all their dayes to invent an hours talk to please men, and so they take the Scriptures, and garnish, and adorn, and flourish this dark muddy stuffe with it, and when they have done, sell it for money; and so bear rule by the poor peoples means, and the poor people are kept so in darkness, and ignorance by them, that the people love to have it so. But, as the Prophet Isaiah saith, What will they do in the end thereof?

But surely the Lord is coming to gather his flock, according as he spake by his Prophet Ezekiel, which Prophesie is not yet fulfil­led, for it was to the Jewes: As I live, saith the Lord God, because my flock is become a prey, and because there is no Shepherd, neither did the Shepherds search for my Flock, but they fed themselves and not my Flock: Behold, I am against the Shepherds, I will require my Flock at their hands; neither shall the Shepherds feed themselves any more: I will deliver my Flock from their mouthes: As a Shepherd seeketh out his Flock in the day that he is among his Sheep; so will I seek out my Sheep, and will deliver them, Ezek. 34. So the Lord will fulfill his faithful Word, which changeth not, however they promise them­selves peace, till sudden destruction come upon them.

For so Christ said, when he was in his flesh, when he spake of the coming of the Son of Man in his power and great glory, be bad them watch, and told them, that the Son of Man would come as a thief in the night: and he told them if the good man of the house [Page 40] knew at what hour the thief would come, he would not have suffer­ed his house to be robbed: and he said, Blessed is that servant that when his Lord cometh, is found watching.

Thus you see that the Scriptures are utterly against the practises of those that have been in the Ministry, and Teachers of People, since the Apostles dayes, in the Apostacy; for they have neither President nor Example from the Ministers of the Lord, neither un­der the Law nor under the Gospel, as we shall prove more fully hereafter. For when the Lord reproves Edom and Esau, and their Priests, and told them they had offered polluted bread upon his Al­tar, and they had offered the blind for sacrifice, and lame, and sick: and that from the rising of the Sun to the going down of the same, his name was polluted; as ye may read at large in Mal. 1, 2. chap. He told them that he would corrupt their seed, and spread dung upon their faces, even the dung of their solemn feasts: yet he told them, That his Covenant was with Levi, even of life and peace, and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me; the Law of truth was in his mouth, and Iniquity was not found in his lips; he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn away many from ini­quity; for the Preists lips should preserve knowledge, and they should seek the Law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts, but ye are turned away, &c.

So these are none of the Priests of our dayes, that come from the Universities, and have their Orders and Degrees from thence, for they confess themselves to be all polluted and filthy, from the Crown of the Head, to the Soal of the foot; and they tell people they must never be free from sin and iniquity, nor they must never look for Revelations: So these are none of Levie's Tribe, for he turned many from iniquity, and the People were to seek the Law at his mouth; because the Law of Truth was in his mouth.

And so by what hath been spoken before concerning their attain­ing to the Ministry, as also their Principles what they hold; you see that they are none of Gods Ministers under the Law, neither did any that were ordained of God to be Ministers under the Law, attain to it by such means, or in such a manner as they have done to theirs, viz. by School-learning: Neither are they God's Mi­nisters under the Gospel; so that they are neither Gods Ministers under the Law nor Gospel.

[Page 41] As also Christ, those that he chose to be Ministers, you may read what sort of men they were. When he was on the Coast of Zebulon and Naphthali, he preached unto them Repentance. And as Je­sus was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brethren, Peter and Andrew, and he called them: They were casting their nets into the sea, for they were fishers; and he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men: And straightway they followed him, Matth. 4. Mark 1. And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in a ship mend­ing their nets, and straightway he called them: And they left their Father in the ship with the servants, and went after him. Matthew was a Publican, Simon a Canaanite. Also when Christ sent forth the seventy, Luke 10. there were no Universities provided for them; nor had they Ordinations, or Degrees from thence; but ye may read they had their Command and Commission from him.

And again when he had wrought the Miracle on the man that was sick of the Palsie, As he passed from thence, he saw a man na­med Matthew, sitting at the Receipt of Custom, and he said unto him, Follow me; and he arose and followed him, Matth. 9. 9.

Also. Jesus when he was going forth into Galilee, findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me; Philip findeth Nathaniel, and saith unto him, We have found him of whom Moses in the Law, and in the Prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph, John 1. Also two of Johns Disciples, when they had heard him speak, and looked upon him, followed Jesus; and one of them which followed him was Andrew, Simon Peters brother, and he saith unto his bro­ther, We have found the Messiah, which by interpretation is Christ, John 1.

And thus they had the testimony of Christ Jesus in their Con­sciences, through which they gave up all, and forsook all, and followed him; and he having all Power in Heaven and in Earth given unto him, gave them power and authority over all Spirits; insomuch, that they said, the Devils were subject unto them: And when they came unto him, and told him, he said unto them, Rejoyce not that the Devils are subject unto you; but rather rejoyce that your Names are written in Heaven: and this was their Power, and the matter of their Joy, that they had their Testimony and Com­mission from him, their Lord and Master.

[Page 42] So here was no Ordinations of men, nor Degrees taken from Universities; nor no Nurturing up in Schools of Learning, as hath been in these latter dayes; for this hath all been since this Power and Spirit of the Lord Jesus hath been lost, and gone from, and rebelled against, in this Night of Apostacy. Also after this, when the Apostle Paul was called to be a Minister, he was called by Vision, and by the Voice of God, and sent forth by the Com­mand of his Word and Power, Acts 26. 16. and yet he confessed himself, that he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect Law of the Fathers, Acts 22. 3. Yet he desires his brethren, to beware of Dogs, beware of evil-workers, be­ware of the Concision; for we are the Circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoyce in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh; though I might also have a confidence in the flesh: If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more. Cir­cumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, &c. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ: Yea, doubtless I count all things but dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, Phil. 3.

Here the Apostle clears himself concerning his choice, and sees the Vanity of all transitory Things; and this was a fit Minister of the Eternal Gospel of Christ, who forsook and laid away all his hu­mane Knowledge, and Learning, and filthy Wisdom, and only chose the holy Spirit of the Lord God, the Cross of Christ, where­by he said he was crucified to the world, and the world to him; and this is quite contrary to the ministration of mens wisdom before mentioned. And so this may suffice for the first particular of the Fifth Head, which is their Practice, to wit their way and means to attain to the Ministry.

The second particular of the Practice, is the limiting and bind­ing of People unto their way and worship, by their Laws and Courts, which they call Ecclesiastical, with the several Degrees of Offices to get money from people, and to bring them into bon­dage, and keep them in awe and continual trouble, in tying of them up to their Inventions and Laws, which they make for their own gain and advantage, not leaving poor people to the liberty of their Consciences, and to the freedom of their Spirits, but binde [Page 43] them to such things as pertain to their own advantage, and supe­riority, and in this lord it over poor peoples Estates, Persons, and Consciences, and yet they call themselves Gospel-Ministers, and in words profess Christ and Christianity; but this is quite contra­ry to the practice and example of Christ and his Apostles and Mi­nisters; for those that he sent forth, into whatsoever City they went, they were to enquire who was worthy, and there to abide till they went thence. And when you come into one house, salute it; and if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you; and whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that House, or City, shake off the dust of your feet, Matth. 10. Mark saith thus, And whosoever shall not re­ceive you, nor hear you, shake off the dust under your feet, for a testi­mony against them; verily I say unto you, it shall be more tollerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of Judgment, then for that City, Mark 6.

And again, when he sent out the Seventy, he said unto them, Into whatsoever house ye The second particular of their practice, is binding and limitting people to their Wor­ship, by citing them to their Courts. enter, first say, Peace be to this house; and if the Son of Peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it; if not, it shall return to you again: But into whatsoever City ye enter, and they re­ceive you not, go your way into the streets of the same, and say, Even the dust of your City, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you; notwithstanding, be sure of this, that the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you; but I say unto you, it shall be more tollerable in the day of Judgment, &c. Luke 10.

And according to this Command of Christ, Paul and Barnabas, who were separated by the Holy Ghost for the work of the Mini­stry, when they had preached the Gospel among the Jews, and witnessed forth Christ Jesus, and his Sufferings, among the Jews who had Crucified him, and also preached him unto the Gentiles, and the Jews contradicting Pauls Ministry; Then Paul and Barna­bas waxed bold, and said they would turn to the Gentiles; for, say they, so hath the Lood commanded us, saying, I will set thee for a Light un­to the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be my Salvation to the ends of the Earth: but when the Jews heard this, they stirred up the devout and honorable women, and chief men of the City, and raised persecution [Page 44] against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their Coasts; but they shoke of the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconi­um. Acts 13.

This was that which the Ministers of Christ, that he sent forth, were to do against those that would not receive them; not to hale them to Courts, and punish their Bodies and Estates, and make them give them money, by their citing of them; if they did not believe in their Doctrine, they did not deliver them up to the Ci­vil Magistrate, to lay their Laws upon them, and to Whip them, and Scourge them, as the Christians of these Ages have done, both Papists and Protestants; what they cannot do with their In­quisitions and Bishops Courts, they can deliver them up to the Civil Magistrates, to their Racks and Tortures, and Hanging, and Banishment, and Imprisonment to Death; and this is the way that the Christians of these late Ages have used, with such as did not believe in their Doctrine of Darkness, as many thousands of Witnesses might be instanced, that have born their Testimony against them, even to the loss of their Lives and Blood; and in this they have been like unto the High-Priests, and Scribes, and Pharisees, and manifested themselves to be of that Generation, which Christ pronounced woe upon, That upon them may come all the Righteous Blood shed upon the Earth, from the Blood of Righteous Abel. Matth. 23.

But this was not the way that Christ taught his Disciples to do; for he said unto them, It is impossible but that Offences should come, but woe be to them by whom they come; it were better for him, that a Milstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the Sea, then that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to your selves; if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him, and if he repent, for­give him; and if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and se­ven times in a day, and turn again unto thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him. And the Apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith; and the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of Mustard-seed, ye might say unto this Sycamore-tree, Be thou plucked up by the roots, and be thou planted into the Sea, and it should be so, Luke 17. Here is the power of their Ministry, Planting and Watering in the Faith.

Moreover, he saith, If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go [Page 45] and tell him his fault, between thee and him alone: if he will hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother; but if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be established; but if he shall neglect to hear them; tell it unto the Church; but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an Heathen man, and a Publican. Here is no citing to the Bishops Court, though he was to be brought to the Church, it was but to instruct him, and exhort him, and to shew him his fault; and if he would not hear, let him be as an Heathen, or as a Publican; not to deliver him up to the Civil Magistrate, or to be cast into Prison all his dayes, or to be Tortured or Racked. And when Peter heard these Exhortations of Christ, he came unto his Master, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him, till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee till se­ven times, but till seventy times seven; therefore the Kingdom of God is likened unto a certain King, which would take an account of his Ser­vants, &c. Matth. 18.

I desire the Masters, and Upholders of the Courts and Inquisi­ons, Racks and Tortures, Imprisoners and Persecutors, to read the remaining part of this Chapter, and see whether they be not the men that have owed much unto the Lord, and sinned and trans­gressed against him, and had need to crave his Pacience and Mer­cy, though they have been cruel with their Fellow-Servants, and have laid violent hands on them, and have taken them by the Throat, and said, Pay me the Debt, and would not have Patience, but cast into Prison; so that the Lord may well say unto them, O ye wicked Servants, I forgave you because ye desired me, and should not ye have compassion on your Fellow-Servants; surely the Lord is wrath for these things, and will deliver you unto the Tor­mentors.

Here ye see, to use Violence and Cruelty, is absolutely contra­ry to the Doctrine and Command of Christ, though some bring that Scripture where Christ saith, Go into the High-wayes and Hedges, and Compel them to come in; this Christ spake when he was in the House of one of the chief Pharisees to eat Bread, and he exhorted them in several particulars; one of them was, That when they made a Dinner, or a Supper, they should not invite their Friends, Brethren, and Kindred, and Rich Neighbours; but when they [Page 46] made a Feast they should invite the poor, which could not recom­pense them again: and when one of them that sate at meat heard these gracious words that proceeded from him, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God; and then he spake a Parable unto them, and said, A certain man made a great sup­per, and invited many, who made excuses and did not come; as you may read in this 14th chapter of Luke. And therefore it was that he sent into the High-wayes and Hedges, because those that were bidden, were not worthy to taste of his Supper, neither went he about to compel them. And there were great multitudes with him, and he turned and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his Father and Mother, and Wife and Children, and Brethren and Sisters, yea, and his own Life also; he cannot be my Disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his Cross, and come after me, cannot be my Dis­ciple.

And this Scripture they abuse, and make it a cover for their vio­lence and cruelty; but what is their Supper or Dinner, that people can receive, when they have compelled them? Is it worthy of for­saking Father and Mother, Wife and Children, House and Lands, and ones own Life? I trow not. But this is but like the Scribes and Pharisees, when they came to Christ, and said, Why did his Disci­ples transgress the tradition of the Elders? in eating with unwashen hands: But he answered and said, Why do ye transgress the Command­ments of God by your Traditions? In vain do they worship me teaching for Doctrine the Traditions of men, Matth. 15.

And this hath been the Doctrine of our Ages last past, the Tra­ditions of men, and Imaginations and Inventions of men: By this they have holden up the Superiority, according as the Apostle saith, having mens persons in Admiration because of advantage, and so have Lorded over God's Heritage; and so have kept his People under the weight of Oppression, as the Scribes and Pharisees did; binding heavy burdens grievous to be born: But this is contrary to Christ and his Apostles Doctrine, and Example; as hath been shewed already.

Moreover the Apostle Paul, when he writeth his second Epistle to the Corinthins, chap. 1. and relateth the sufferings and hardships that they had passed through, how that they had the sentence of death in themselves; he saith, Now he which establisheth us with you [Page 47] in Christ, and hath anointed us in God, who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of his Spirit in our hearts; not that we have domi­nion over your Faith, but are helpers of your joy; for by Faith ye stand. Here the Apostle did not bind them, and limit them, nor called them to Courts, to keep them under oppression and penalty in those things that were contary to their Faith and Principles, this was con­trary to Pauls practice; for when he called the Elders of the Church of Ephesus unto him, he said unto them, Ye know that from the first day that I came unto you, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind; and with many tears and temptations which befel me, and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publick­ly, and from house to house; testifying both to Jews and Greeks, Repen­tance towards God, and Faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. And when he goes on mentioning his sufferings, he saith, None of these things move me, neither count I my self dear unto my self, so that I may finish my course with joy, and the Ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the Grace of God; for I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto your selves, and to the whole Flock of God, whereof the Holy Ghost hath made you Overseers: and feed the Church of God, which he hath pur­chased with his own blood, Acts 20.

Here the Apostle gives them no Commission to oppress or bon­dage those that they were Overseers over, but to feed them, and to watch over them; For, saith he, after my departure shall grievous Wolves enter among you, not sparing the Flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things; therefore watch and remem­ber, &c.

This hath been fulfilled and largly manifested; Wolves and Devourers have had a large time since that day. Also the Apostle Peter saith thus, The Elders which are among you I exhort, who am al­so an Elder, and a Witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. Feed the Flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being Lords over Gods he­ritage, but being examples to the Flock; and when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a Crown of glory that fadeth not away, 1 Pet. 5. Here is a perfect Example and Rule for all the Overseers of the Church of God.

[Page 48] Moreover, when the Apostle writes unto his Son Timothy, he saith, That the end of the Commandment is Charity, out of a Pure Heart, and a good Conscience, and Faith unfeigned; Also he exhorts him, First of all that supplications, prayers, and intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for Kings, and for all that are in Autho­rity, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and ho­nesty; and so he goes on, exhorting this Bishop; but never bid­deth him set up Courts, nor be a Lord over Gods Heritage; for he saith, This is a true saying, If any man desireth the Office of a Bishop, he desireth a good work; a Bishop must be blameless, the Husband of one Wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach. I believe our Bishops are wanting here, because they Hire and Imploy so many petty Teachers under them; but he goes on, Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient, not a brawler, not covetons, (now our Laws and Courts signifie the contrary of this) not a Novice, lest being lifted up with Pride, he fall into reproach, and the snare of the Devil; Moreover, he must have a good report of those that are without, holding the mystery of Faith in a pure Conscience; So the Apostle goeth on, exhorting the Bishops and Deacons, that they may know how to behave themselves in the House of God, which is the Church of the Living God, the Ground and Pillar of Truth. 1 Tim. 2, 3, chap.

So he goes on, exhorting them what to Teach and Preach, and how to order the Church, in the 4th and 5th chapters, concerning the Elders, Elder-men, and Elder-women, Younger-men, and Younger-women; as also Servants; he directeth him how to go by way of Exhortation to them all; and saith, If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholsom words, even the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Doctrine which is according to Godli­ness, he is proud, knowing nothing, doting about Questions; So he go­eth on, dehorting them from those things: But thou, O man of God, saith he, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, and patience, meekness; fight the good fight of Faith, lay hold on Eternal Life, whereunto thou art called, and hast professed a good profession before many Witnesses: I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pon­tius Pilate witnessed a good confession, that thou keep this Commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus [Page 49] Christ; O Timothy, keep that which is committed unto thy Trust, chap. 6.

Here is a weighty, and a hard Charge laid upon Timothy, the then Bishop and Overseer of the Church; but here is nothing of making of Laws, and setting up Courts, and oppressing people, and keeping them in Bondage and Slavery; for when he writeth his Second Epistle to Timothy, he saith, My dearly beloved Son, Grace, Mercy, and Peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ. When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice, and I am perswaded, that in thee also: Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the Gift of God which is in thee, by the putting on of my hands; for God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound minde: That good thing which was committed unto thee keep, by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us: This thou know­est, that all they which were in Asia be turned away from me; yet he doth not bid him Arraign them, nor call them up to Courts, nor Cite them, nor Excommunicate them, nor cast them into Prison; but he exhorts him to be strong in the Grace that is in Christ Jesus; and he layeth down how he should teach the people; and commit those things he hath heard of him unto faithfull men; And thou therefore endure hardiness, as good Souldier of Jesus Christ: And if a man also strive for Mastery, yet he is not Crowned, except he strive Lawfully. Consider what I say, saith he, and the Lord give thee an Understanding in all things: Study to shew thy self Approved unto God, a Workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth; but shun profane and vain bablings; and so he goes on ex­horting him, saying, Flee also youthfull Lusts; but follow Righteous­ness, Faith, Charity, and Peace with them that call on the Lord out of a Pure Heart: But foolish and unlearned Questions avoid, knowing that they gender to Strife; and the Servant of the Lord must not Strive; but be Gentle unto all Men, apt to Teach, Patient; Instructing them that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them Repentance to the acknowledging of the Truth; and that they may recover them­selves out of the Snare of the Devil. 2 Tim. 2.

This is contrary to the Striving and Contention, that hath been by our Bishops and Deacons, that have professed these Scriptures, both Papists and Protestants; one Striving with Inquisitions, and [Page 50] Racks, and Tortures; the other Striving and Terrifying poor peo­ple with their Courts, and Chancellors, and Prisons, and Commis­saries, and Subordinate Officers not a few; insomuch, that there hath been such a Yoke of Bondage upon the Necks of the Poor and Innocent, that Grievous Groans have ascended, under it, from them unto the Lord: But of this the Apostle was a true Prophet to his Son Timothy, the then Bishop and Overseer of the Churches of God: This know also, saith he, that in the Last Dayes perillous Times shall come: For men shall be Lovers of their own Selves, Covetous, Boasters, Proud, Blasphemers, without natural Affection, False Ac­cusers, Fierce, Despisers of those that are Good; Heady, High-minded, Lovers of Pleasures more then Lovers of God, having a Form of God­liness, but denying the Power thereof. See here, Is not this fulfil­ed? But the Apostle saith unto Timothy, From such turn away; for of this sort are they which creep into Houses, and lead Captive silly wo­men, laden with Sin, and divers Lusts, ever Learning, and never able to come to the Knowledge of the Truth.

And hath not this been our State and Condition in all this Night of Apostacy? Have they not crept into Houses, and called them Churches? And have kept people ever Learning, but they never brought them to the Knowledge of the True Church, nor of the True God. And the Apostle saith further unto him; But thou hast known my Doctrine, manner of Life, Purpose, Faith, Long-Suffering, Patience, Charity; Continue thou in the things that thou hast Learned, and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them, 2 Tim. 3. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Preach the Word, be instant in Season, and out of Season, Reprove, Rebuke, with all Long-suffering and Doctrine: this is not to use Violence, nor Compel, as hath been used for many hundreds of years; but he biddeth him, Watch in all things, en­dure Afflictions, do the Work of an Evangelist, make full proof of thy Ministry, 2 Tim. 4. this was not the full proof of Gain and Ad­vantage upon poor Peoples Estates and Livelihoods, as hath been made of in these late Dayes; for if that be it, they have done it to the utmost.

Moreover, when he writes unto Titus, his own Son, he saith, For this cause left I thee at Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain Elders in every City, as I appoint­ed [Page 51] thee: If any man be Blameless, the Husband of one Wife, having Faithfull Children, not accused of Riot, or Unruly: for a Bishop must be Blameless, as the Steward of God; not Self-willed, not soon Angry, not given to Wine, no Striker, not given to Filthy Lucre; but a lover of Hospitality, a lover of Good Men, Sober, Just, Holy, Temperate, holding fast the Faithfull Word, as he hath been taught, that he may be able by Sound Doctrine, both to exhort and convince the Gainsayers; for there are many unruly and vain Talkers, &c. Tit. 1. But speak thou the things that become Sound Doctrine: And so he directs him to exhort the Aged-men, and Aged-women; Young-men, and Young-wo­men, and Servants, how they ought to walk in their Places, and Callings, that they might all Adorn the Doctrine of God: For the Grace of God that bringeth Salvation hath appeared unto all men, saith he, teaching us, that denying Ungodliness and Worldly Lusts, we should live Soberly, and Godly in this present World, looking for the blessed Hope, and glorious appearing of the Great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might Redeem us from all Ini­quity, and Purifie to himself a Peculiar People, Zealous of good Works: These things speak and exhort. it. 2.

This is contrary to the Doctrine of the Bishops and Teachers of our Dayes; for they do not turn people to the Grace of God that hath appeared to all men, that teacheth to deny Ungodliness and Worldly Lusts; but they say we must never be redeemed from Ini­quity, nor never be purged nor purified from Sin while we are up­on Earth; and then how can we be Peculiar and Zealous of good Works: for the worst of People are but Sinners: but surely this which they Preach is another Gospel.

The Apostle goes on with his Exhortation to Titus, and bids him Put them in mind to be subject to Principalities and Powers, and to obey Magistrates, and to speak evil of no man, to be no Brawlers, but gen­tle, shewing all Meekness unto all men: For we our selves, saith he, were sometimes Foolish, Disobedient, serving divers Lusts and Pleasures, living in Malice and Envy, Hatefull, and Hating one another: But after that the Kindness and Love of God our Saviour towards man ap­peared, not by Works of Righteousness that we have done, but according to his Mercy he hath saved us, by the washing of Regeneration, and Re­newing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. These things I will that thou affirm constantly, that [Page 52] they which have believed in God, might be carefull to maintain Good Works; these things are profitable unto men. Tit. 3.

Thus ye see that these Bishops Timothy and Titus, are far diffe­rent both in Doctrine, Practice, and Example, from the Bishops that have been for several hundreds of years last past, the Night hath been upon them, and come over them, so that they have erred from the Faith and Doctine of the Apostles, neither have they re­ceived the Holy Ghost. For Timothy, who was a Bishop, was a man that the Apostle had much confidence in, and belief of, as he ex­presseth in several of his Epistles; for he saith to the Corinthians in his First Epistle; Though ye have ten thousand Instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many Fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begot­ten you through the Gospel: Wherefore, I beseech you, be ye Followers of me. For this cause I have sent unto you Timotheus, who is my be­loved Son, and faithfull in the Lord, who shall bring you into remem­brance of my Wayes which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every Church. 1 Cor. 4.

And again, when the Apostle Exhorteth the Philippians in his Epistle, To let nothing be done through Strife, or Vain-glory, but in lowliness of Mind, let each esteem other better then themselves. Look not every man to his own things, but every man also to the things of others: And so he goes on opening the Mystery of the Sufferings of Christ; But, he saith, I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort when I know your State: for I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your State: for all seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christs; but ye know the proof of him, that as a Son with a Father, he hath served me in the Gospel, him therefore I send unto you, &c. Phil. 2.

And again, when he writeth to the Thessalonians, he saith, We sent Timotheus our Brother and Minister of God, and our Fellow La­bourer in the Gospel of Christ, to Establish you, and Comfort you con­cerning your Faith, 1 Thess. 3.

Thus ye see that this Timotheus, who was the Bishop and Over­seer of the Church of God in the Apostles dayes, was a Faithfull Labourer and Minister of Christ Jesus, and much trusted in, and approved of by the Apostle; for he laboured with him in the Gospel, as a Son laboureth with his Father. And it is strange that the Bishops that have been in these later Ages, should call them­selves [Page 53] by that name, since they have both derogated from their Doctrine, and Principles, and added what their own dark minds and inventions would invent; for in that they have erected unto themselves a supremacy and a superiority above others, which they have practised and Lorded over peoples Faith and Consciences for many hundreds of years together; under which many thousands have groaned, and suffered even until death, and shedding of their blood, and in all these things, they have quite contradicted Christ Jesus his Doctrine, Practice and Example; as also all his holy A­postles after him, for he and they were alwayes sufferers, as hath been shewed already, and as we shall shew hereafter. But they were never Oppressors, nor layers of Yoaks and Burdens upon the Con­sciences of Men and People; but they alwayes preached Liberty and Freedom to others, though they suffered themselves; and there was their Cross that they took up, when they followed Christ. And so those Church-Governors, as they call themselves, that have been Blood-shedders, that have been Oppressors and Persecutors, they have no Example neither from Christ, nor none of his Apostles; and so let the Blood that they have shed for so many hundreds of years return upon their own heads. Let Babylons Merchants have blood to drink, for they are worthy, for they have been made drunk with the blood of the Saints and Martyrs of Jesus: so the Cup that they have given to others, let them have it double; for they learned none of this from Christ, nor from any of his Apo­stles.

For Christ when he sent his Messengers, and they entred into a Village of the Samaritans, and they received him not, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem; and when his Disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire from Heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not of what manner of spirits ye are of; for the Son of Man is not come to destroy mens lives, but to save them, Luke 9. 55, 56. And to save mens lives, he laid down his own Life, and shed his own pretious Blood; as he saith himself. He hath laid down his Life for his Sheep, and they shall ne­ver perish; Yea, he hath laid down his Life for his enemies: For the Apostle saith, Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good and edification: For even Christ pleased not himself, but as it is written, [Page 54] The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell upon me. Wherefore re­ceive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Rom. 15.

And again, the Apostle saith, All things are in God who hath re­conciled us unto himself, by Jesus Christ; and hath given to us the Mi­nistry of Reconciliation; to wit, That God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them: and hath committed unto us the Word of Reconciliation. Now then, we are Em­bassadors for Christ; as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christs stead, be ye reconciled to God. 2 Cor. 5.

Here is no violence nor cruelty used, neither bondages nor snares laid upon mens Consciences; for the Apostle saith, Give no offence in any thing, that the Ministry be not blamed; but in all things appro­ving our selves as the Ministers of God: In much Patience, in Afflicti­ons, in Necessities, in Distresses, in Stripes and Imprisonments, in Tu­mults, in Labours, in Watchings, in Fastings; by Pureness, by Know­ledge, by Long-suffering, by Kindness, by the Holy Ghost; by Love un­feigned, by the Word of Truth, by the Power of God, by the Armour of Righteousness, on the Right Hand, and on the Left; by Honour and Dishonour; by Evil-report, and Good-report; as Deceivers, and yet True; as Ʋnknown, and yet Well-known; as Dying, and behold we Live; as Chastened, and not Killed; as Sorrowful, and yet alwayes Rejoycing; as Poor, and yet making many Rich; as having Nothing, yet possessing All things; 2 Cor. 6.

Here is a Ministry of God indeed, which is quite opposite and contrary to what hath been set up, and practised in the Christian world. Also read 2 Cor. 11. and likewise in Chap. 4. the Apostle saith, Therefore, seeing we have this Ministry, as we have received mercy we faint not: For if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the Light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the Image of God, should shine unto them.

And this Gospel hath been hid all this time of darkness, for the god of the World, hath blinded the minds of all that have not be­lieved in the Light of the glorious Gospel; and so they have been lost from it, and kept from it, by the Ministers of darkness, who have preached the divination of their own brain, and not from the Light of the Lord. But the Apostle saith, We preach not our selves, [Page 55] but Christ Jesus the Lord, and our selves your servants for Jesus sake, (these are not Lord-Bishops, nor Pope-Holiness) for, saith he, God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ. For we have this Treasury in earthen Vessels, that the excellency of the Power may be of God, and not of us: For we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in de­spair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in our body the dying of our Lord Jesus Christ, that the Life of Christ might be manifested in our body: for we who live are al­wayes delivered unto death for Jesus sake, that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh; so that death worketh in us, but life in you.

Thus the Apostles laboured in the work of the Ministry, even under cruel sufferings; which Gospel, it may well be said, hath been hid; for the Gospel that hath been preached since the Apo­stacy, hath laid Oppressions and Sufferings upon others, and they themselves have Ruled and Lorded over Peoples Consciences: but the Apostle Paul said, I Paul am made a Minister of the Gospel, that is preached to every Creature under heaven; now rejoyce in my suffer­ings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ, in my flesh, for his Bodies sake, which is the Church: whereof I am made a Minister, according to the dispensation of God, which is given to me for you, to fulfil the Word of God, Col. 1.

But this Ministry and Ministration hath been lost, and the Church for which the Apostle suffered, hath been in the Wilder­ness; and if there was any small Appearance or Testimony of Je­sus Christ in any, such have suffered Oppressions, and Hardships, and much Detriment, from such as were the Professed Ministry. So these Scriptures, with many more, which might be mentioned, shew the contrariety between the Ministers of the Gospel in the Apostles Dayes, and the Professed Ministry that hath been since the Apostles Dayes, in the Apostacy: And as the Supremacy, and Superiority hath been contrary to the Apostles Way, and Manner, and Order, in laying Oppressions and Burthens upon the People: so also they have been contrary, and opposite to Christ and the Apo­stles Doctrine, Practice, and Example, in not preaching Liberty and Freedom to the Spirits in Prison; for Christ Jesus, who is the [Page 56] Anointing of God, Preacheth Glad Tidings to the Poor, Liberty to Captives; his Commission that he gave to his Disciples was, to Preach the Gospel to all Nations, to every Creature.

And he said to those that believed in him, If ye continue in the Truth, the Truth will make you free, John 8. And the Apostle con­fesseth, That the Law of the Spirit of Life had made him free from the Law of Sin and Death, Rom. 8. And the Apostle saith, when he was speaking of the Ministration of the Law, and the Gospel; When Moses is read, the Vail is over the Heart: Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the Vail shall be taken away: Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty, 2 Cor. 3. And so this is that Substance the Apostle Preacheth from, and Preached to the Spirit of the Lord that takes away the Vail, and giveth Liberty, and Redeemeth from under the Power of Darkness, and from the Bondage of Corruption; and therefore they did not set themselves to Rule over mens Faith, or to lord over their Consciences, but they endeavour still to be made mani­fest unto every ones Conscience in the sight of God; But we have, saith the Apostle, Renounced the hidden things of Dishonesty, not walk­ing in Craftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully; but by Manifestation of the Truth, commending our selves to every mans Con­science in the sight of God, 2 Cor. 4. Knowing therefore the Terrours of the Lord, we perswade men, but we are made manifest unto God, and I trust also are made manifest in your Consciences.

So here the Apostle preached to Gods Witness in Peoples Con­sciences, and that answered to them again, and they were made manifest to that; and therefore did the Apostle John say, That they needed not any man to Teach them, but as the same Anointing teacheth them, which is Truth, and is no Lye: And so this is unlimited, neither doth the Apostle limit this, when they were gathered into the Eter­nal Spirit, and all drank into one Spirit, and all baptized into one Body, by one Spirit; he told them they might all prophesie one by one; and that though they were many Members, yet they were one Bread and one Body, and every Member of the Body had its several Office; the Head did not say to the Feet, I have no need of you.

Now concerning Spiritual Gifts, Brethren, I would not have you ig­norant, there are diversity of Gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are [Page 57] differences of Administrations, but the same Lord; and there are di­versities of Operations, but the same God which worketh all in all; but the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal; For to one is given by the same Spirit the Word of Wisdom, to another the Word of Knowledge, by the same Spirit; to another Faith, by the same Spirit; to another the Gift of Healing, by the same Spirit; to another the working of Miracles, by the same Spirit; to another Pro­phesie, to another Discerning of Spirits, to another divers kinds of Tongues, to another interpretation of Tongues: But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will: For as the Body is one, and hath many Members, and all the Members of that one Body, being many are one Body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we are all Baptised into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be Bond or Free, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit; for the Body is not one Member, but many. 1 Cor. 12. And so the Apostle goes on to the end of the Chapter discoursing of the several Gifts, all given by one Spirit.

So here is no binding nor limiting, nor Supremacy one over ano­ther; not to sit Judges one of another, but every one to wait in their several Gifts of the Spirit given unto them to profit withal: For I say, saith the Apostle, through the Grace of God given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly then he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of Faith: For as we are many Members in one Body and all Members have not the same Office; so we being ma­ry are one Body in Christ, and every one Members one of another. Ha­ving then Gifts, differing according to the Grace that is given us, whether Prophesie, let us prophesie according to the proportion of Faith; or Mi­nisty, let us wait in our ministring; or he that teacheth, on Teaching; or he that exhorteth, on Exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth Mercy, with chearfulness; let Love be be without dissimulation; abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good. And thus the Apostle goeth on with gracious Exhortations, Rom. 12. to the end of the Chapter, not preferring one before another, but every one to abide and wait in their Gifts.

Also when he writeth unto the Ephesians, he writeth thus, I therefore the Prisoner of the Lord beseech you, walk worthy of the voca­tion [Page 58] wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in Love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace: There is one Body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one Hope of your Calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptisme, one God, and one Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all, Ephes. 4. And in this Chapter he also goes on in opening of the manifestation of the Gift of the Spirit of God, and in holy Admonitions, even to the end of the Chapter; Which Gift, he saith, is given for the Work of the Ministry, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the edifying of the Body of Christ.

And this Doctrine and Ministry is contrary to those Ministers which have been of late, that limit and bind under their Power; which Power is contrary to the Power of God, and his Spirit, as they themselves will confess; for they cannot say they have the same Power and Spirit that the Apostles had, and yet they inflict Punishments, and lay Oppressions, and Burthens, and Bondages by their Laws, upon those that do not follow and obey their Doctrine and Practices, which is quite contrary to Christ and his Apostles: For there is but two Wayes, Truth and Error, Light and Darkness. So let the wise and honest in heart judge what a condition the Saints of God are in, while this Power of Darkness Ruleth. And thus much for the Second Particular of their Practice, which is Binding and Limiting, and keeping in Bondage those that are under their Power.

The Third Particular of their Practice is, That they upbold and carry on many of these Practices before-mentioned, by causing People to Swear in their Courts, or upon any other occasion, what they like, and preach up Swearing, and allow of it, and hold it up in all occasions whatsoever.

And in this they are absolute Breakers of the special Command of Jesus Christ, and also out of the Doctrine and Practice of Christ and his Apostles, and contrary to their Testimony: For Christ Jesus when he was in his Sermon on the Mount, and was re­hearsing the Heads of the Law, as we said before, he mentioned this also again, Ye have heard that it hath been said to them of old time, Thou shalt not Forswear thy self, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine Oathes; but I say unto you, Swear not at all, Matth. 5. Now Christ being the fulfilling of the Law, and the end of the Law, as [Page 59] the Apostle saith, for Righteousness; and being that one Offering, that hath been offered up once for all, in which he said, Lo I come to do thy will O God, he hath taken away the First, that he might esta­blish the Second, and when he had offered one Sacrifice for Sin, for ever he sat down at the right hand of God, expecting his Enemies to become his Foot-stool. And the same Apostle saith, when he is speaking of his Priesthood; And in as much as not without an Oath he was made a Priest: For, saith he, those Priests, to wit, those that were under the Law, were made without an Oath; but this with an Oath, by him that said unto him, The Lord sware, and will not re­pent, Thou art a Priest for ever after the Order of Melchisedec, &c. Hebr. 7.

So this is he that is the Oath of God, and the Promise of God, the Substance The Third Particular of their Practice, in causing People to Sware, contrary to Christs and the Apo­stles Commands, Pra­ctice, and Doctrine. and Performance of all that God swore and promised unto Abraham, and unto his Seed for ever; this the Apostle makes very clear in the foregoing Chapter; where he saith, When God made a Promise to Abra­ham, because he could Sware by no greater, he Swore by Himself, saying, Surely, in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thee: And so after he had patiently endured, be obtained the Promise. Wherein God willing more abundantly to shew unto the Heirs of Promise, the Immutability of his Counsel, confirmed it by an Oath, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to Lye, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the Hope set before us: which Hope we have as an Anchor of the Soul both sure and stedfast, which entereth into that within the Vail, whither the Fore-runner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High-Priest for ever after the Order of Melchisedec. Hebr. 6.

Surely all will confess that this is he whom God the Father pro­mised unto Abraham by an Oath, as also of whom David said, The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever after the Order of Melchisedec. These are the two Immutable things, which the Apostle saith here, in which God shews the immutability of his Counsel, which both here meet in Christ Jesus, the Sum and Substance of all: For surely he is the Seed which God promised to Abraham, if we will believe the Apostle, Gal. 3. 16. Also he is [Page 60] that Priest that is for ever, that ever liveth to make intercession for us, and this is he that the Apostle saith, At his Name every Knee shall bow, and every Tongue confess. Then, I say, let all Mouthes be stopt, in speaking against him, and opposing of him, who hath said, But I say unto you, Swear not at all, he that is the Sum and the Sub­stance, and the Performance of all that God hath Sworn, and hath put an end to the Law, under which Oathes and Swearing was al­lowed; he had full Power as well to put an end to Oaths, as he had to put an end to the Sabbath: For, he said, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, which was one of the Ten Words, and Swearing was none of them: And surely those that disobey Christ Jesus his Com­mands, who is the Sum and Substance of Gods Oaths, and the fulfilling and end of the whole Law; surely they blaspheme against that Holy One. For the Apostle said, He that despise Moses Law, died without Mercy under two ar three Witnesses; how much more sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall be thought worthy for them who have trod­den under foot the Son of God, &c. Hebr. 10.

All those that are Fighters against God, and Holders up of Swearing, against Christs Command, they will find It a fearfull thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God. But they have three Objections: First, That God Swore: Secondly, That the Angel Swore: Thirdly, That the Apostle saith, Men verily Swear by the Greater, and an Oath for Confirmation is to them an end of all Strife.

In answer to these three; First, For what the Lord hath Sworn concerning Christ, it is already proved, and fulfilled in Christ; but it is said in Isa 45. where the Lord by his Prophet was speak­ing that Israel should be saved, and he saith, Look unto me and be saved all ye Ends of the Earth, for I am God, and there is none else: I have Sworn by my self, the Word is gone out of my Mouth in Righteous­ness that to me every Knee shall bow, every Tongue shall swear.

Now the Apostle Paul rehearseth these words again, when he writ unto the Philippians, where he saith, If there be any Consolation in Christ, if any Comfort of Love, if any Fellowship of the Spirit, if any Bowels and Mercies, fulfil ye my Joy; and let the same mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the Form of God, &c. Where he rehearseth the Humility of Christ even to Death upon his Cross, in which he became a Saviour, as the Lord by his Pro­phet said, Even to the Ends of the Earth: Wherefore, saith the Apo­stle, [Page 61] God hath highly exalted him, and given him a Name above every name; That at the Name of Jesus (that signifieth a Saviour) every Knee shall bow, of things in Heaven, and things in Earth, and things un­der the Earth; and that every Tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of the Father. Philip. 2.

So here the Apostle hath omitted those words, Every Tongue shall Swear, and saith Every Tongue shall Confess, as a Faithfull Witness, and an Obedient Servant of Christ Jesus, whom he saith is the Lord, who hath said, Swear not at all. Now since that the Apostle, as a Witness of Christianity, and an Obeyer of Christs Commands, hath left out the word Swear, and hath put in Confess, accor­ding to Christs own Words, who said, He that confesseth me before men, him will I confess before my Father which is in Heaven. Now since that Christ and his Apostles have left us this Example; who saith not, Swear before men, but, Confess before men; who are they that dare Oppose and Gainsay Christ Jesus and his Apostles, under a colour of what the Law saith, and what the Prophet saith, and that the Angel Swore; But, as the Apostle saith, unto which of the Angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son? Who said, Swear not at all. When he bringeth his First-begotten into the World, he saith, And let all the Angels worship him; and of the Angels he saith, Who maketh his Angels Spirits, and his Ministers a Flame of Fire; the Angels are his Messengers and Servants, as may be read in the Re­velations. And what hath any one to do, to bring that where the Angel Swore by him that liveth for ever and ever, that Time should be no longer, when he was upon his Message and Service, which the Lord sent him about? What is this to men that have the Command of the Son of God upon them? who hath said, Swear not at all. Unto which of the Angels said he at any time, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine Enemies thy Foot-stool? But unto the Son he saith, Thy Throne O God is for ever and ever, a Scepter of Righteousness is the Scepter of thy Kingdom. Let all such as contend with the Almighty in this matter, read Hebr. 1. and see how they can answer him there.

And as for that where the Apostle saith, An Oath is for an end of Strife: this he saith, when he speaketh of the Assurance of the Oath of God, he bringeth a Comparison of them that Swore, when Swearing was lawful under the Law; For men, saith he, Swear by the [Page 62] greater, and an Oath for confirmation, is to them an end of all strife. Now there is none have the reason of a man, but they may see the Apostle speaketh of such as did use Swearing, because he said, An Oath for confirmation, was to them an end of all strife; and so it was under the Law; but Oaths for ending of strife were never used among the Christians, for Christ had commanded to the contrary; and the Apostle manifested the contrary, when he wrote to the Phi­lippians, as is proved before.

Moreover the Apostle James, who wrote to the twelve Tribes scattered up and down, who were they that had the Law, that en­joyned Swearing, and under which they practised swearing, for a confirmation, and an end of strife, as the Apostle saith before, even to them the Apostle James, when he writes to them of the suf­fering of affliction, that they should be as examples to endure, he saith, Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that he is very pittiful and tender of mercy; but above all things saith he, my Brethren, Swear not; neither by Heaven, nei­ther by Earth, neither by any other Oath: but let your yea, be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation, Jam. 5.

And into this state of condemnation, are the Teachers and Lead­ers of our Age fallen, who are not only Swearers, but Teachers, Upholders, and Forcers to Sware, and preach it up for Doctrine to Swear, and in this oppose and gain-say Christ Jesus, and all his Apo­stles, and all that bear testimony to his Name, and Truth, and Word, and obey his Command; such suffer by them, and under them, and if they bring them into their Courts for any thing, be­cause they cannot pay them Tythes, or because they cannot pay them Steeple-house Dues, and Easter Reckonings, when they have sued them, except they will Swear, they cannot put in their An­swers: and then they get out Writs, and cast them into Prison. And thus they that profess themselves to be Ministers of Christ, and the Gospel, make havock of his Flock: But surely he will come and seek his Sheep, and search them out. And thus much for the third Particular of their practice, which is their causing People to Swear.

The fourth Particular that they practise without ground from Scripture, is Sprinkling Infants with water, upon their heads and [Page 63] faces, and some plunge them all over, which we do not find Christ or his Apostles did the like with Infants.

It is true, there was brought unto Christ Little Children, that he should put his hands on them and pray; and he laid his hands on them, but his Disciples rebuked them; but Jesus said, Suffer lit­tle Children, and forbid them not to come to me, for of such is the King­dom of Heaven, Matth. 19. Now Mark saith, That he took them up in his Armes, and put his hands upon them, and blessed them, Mark 10. And Luke saith, They brought unto him Infants, that he might touch them; but when his Disciples saw, they rebuked them; but Je­sus was displeased with them, and said, Suffer little Children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God. Ve­rily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little Child, shall in no wise enter therein, Luke 18.

Now by all these Scriptures it doth appear, that little Children were nearer the King­dom The fourth particular of their practice, is Sprinkling of Infants without ground from Scripture. of God, and readier for the Kingdom of God than any others; for Christ saith several times, Whosoever will enter into the Kingdom of God, must be as a little Child. So by all these Scriptures we may see that he ownes little Children above all others. Now how it cometh that they throw water upon them, to give an addition to that Innocent state while they are Infants, this is certainly an Invention and an Imagination of their own, for there is nothing in Scripture for it.

Indeed John the Baptist, who was sent before Christ to preach the Baptisme of repentance, he baptized those that received his Do­ctrine with water in Jordan, but we do not find that he put Infants in; that was not according to his Doctrine which was Repentance; for Infants were not capable to repent. And when the Jewes sent the Priests and Levites to enquire of John what he was; they ask­ed, Why he baptized, if he was not the Christ, neither Elias, nor that Prophet? John answered them, saying, I indeed baptize with water un­to repentance; but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not, he it is who cometh after me, and is preferred before me, whose shoes latchet I am not worthy to unloose. This was beyond Jordan, where John was bap­tizing. Saith he, and I knew him not; but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit [Page 64] descending and remaining on him, the same is he that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost, John 1. And Matthew saith, In those dayes came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and said, Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand, &c. I indeed baptize you with water un­to Repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shooes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire, Mat. 3.

It is said, in John 3. After that Christ had been preaching and speaking to Nichodemus, and had been preaching the Light to him, that he and his Disciples came to Judea, and there he tarried with them and baptized, and the disciples of John and some of the Jewes were at difference about Purifying, and they came to John and said, He that thou bore witness of, baptizeth; John answered and said, Ye your selves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I am sent before him; he must increase, but I must decrease. When Jesus therefore knew that the Pharisees heard that he baptized and made Dis­ciples more then John, though Jesus himself baptized not, but his Dis­ciples; he left Judca, and departed, John 4.

Also when John was preaching and baptizing, and preaching re­pentance and remission of sins, then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan, unto John, to be baptized of him, but John forbad him say­ing, I have more need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? and Jesus answering, said, Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water, and the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a Dove, and lighted upon him, and a voice came from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, Mat. 3.

This is the main Scripture that the Baptists build upon, for their Water-Baptism; and here is a secret in this, which they never came to see: For John saith, I knew him not, but that he should be made manifest to Israel; therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from hea­ven, like a Dove, and it abode upon him, and I knew him not. Now how do the Baptists know him? And the end wherefore he went in­to the water, since that John did not know it, nor would not have had him to have done so, who was a man sent of God to Baptize with water, till he said it was to fulfill all Righteousness; which [Page 65] word was hid from John, as he afterwards saith, but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore he came baptizing with wa­ter. And so afterwards when Christ was teaching Nichodemus, when he told him, That those that were to enter into the Kingdom of God, must be born of the water of the Spi­rit. These things were strange unto him, but The Anabaptists Bap­tism with outward water condemned. Jesus said, We speak what we know, and testify what we have seen, and ye believe not our testimo­ony. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe them not, how shall [...]e believe if I tell you of heavenly things?

To the same purpose the Apostle saith, There are three that bear record in the Earth; the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood, and these three agree in one, 1 John 5. It were good for the Baptists to know this Water, and this Baptism, and this Spirit, by which they might he born again; and to know the washing of the Regeneration, and Renewing of the Holy Ghost: For this was the Washing and Wa­ter that the Saints were washed with; They were made clean through the Word, by the washing of the water of the Word, Ephes. 5.

Now for the Baptists to stand washing with outward Water, which John baptized with, who was before Christ, which was a Figure of the inward washing, and cleansing, and purging, as the Apostle Peter saith, the same, when he is speaking of Noah's preaching while he made the Ark, wherein few, that is, eight persons were lived by Water; The like figure, saith he, whereunto even Baptism doth now save us; not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the an­swer of a good Conscience towards God, by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 3. 21. Whose Blood, and the Water, and Spirit, which he Baptizeth with, is the true and only Baptism. For John himself saith, He must decrease, and Christ must increase; and for them to stand washing here with outward water, and their hearts and Consciences defiled and polluted, this will be of little value to them; for John, who was a man sent of God, and bore a true witness of Christ Jesus, yet after he was cast into Prison, he sent his disciples to ask, Art thou he, or do we look for another? He was [...]r beyond the Anabaptists. So it concerneth them to question their state and condition; For they that look at the outward element of Water to be the Baptism, they are far from the real and true wash­ing, and from that Baptism that baptizeth into the body.

[Page 66] When Paul came to Ephesus, and finding certain Disciples, he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? they said, We have not so much as heard whether there be a Holy Ghost; he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? they said, Unto John's Baptism. Paul said, John Baptized with the Baptism of Re­pentance, and that they should believe on him that was to come after him, that is, in Christ Jesus. Then they were Baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus: And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with Tongues, and Prophesied. Acts 19.

So here is the true and only Baptism, the Power and Spirit of Christ Jesus, which, as John said, shall increase; who is that Li­ving Fountain, that if any man be athirst, they may come unto him and drink. And this was spoken of the pourings forth of his Spirit; and with this Spirit were they Baptized, while Peter was speaking unto them, when the Holy Ghost fell upon them, and they spake with Tongues. And they of the Circumcision which believed were astonied, and came to Peter, because the Holy Ghost fell upon the Gentiles. But Peter answered, Can any man forbid Water, that they should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost? So he com­manded them to be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and so they were united into the Body, and into the Christian Faith; and into the Unity, as well as the Jewes.

And by this Spirit did Christ send forth his Disciples, to go teach and Baptize all Nations, Acts 2. 38, 41. And this is not an outward Element of Water, neither is this poured only upon Infants, but upon all that are athirst. And this is that one Baptism which the Apostle mentioneth, in Ephes. 4. where he saith, There is one Bo­dy, and one Spirit; one Lord, and one Faith; one Baptism, one God and Father of all: So as there is but one Lord, and one God, and one Faith, and one Spirit, and one Body; so there is but one Baptism, if we be­lieve the Apostle; who saith, By one Spirit we are all Baptized into one Body, 1 Cor. 12. Then we cannot believe that it is outward Water: So this one Baptism, and one Spirit, is not outward Wa­ter. So the Baptizing of Infants, with outward Water, which both Papists and Protestants use, is contrary, and without any ground from Scripture; for if there be but one Baptism, surely outward Water is not it.

[Page 67] And whereas they say, They do it as a Sign or Signification, and call it a Sacrament; this is nothing but their own Invention, and Imagination, to keep People in ignorance and darkness, for they have no Scripture for it. So much for that Particular of Bap­tism.

There is no Scripture that mentioneth a Sacrament, this word hath been invented at Rome, by the Pope, who was the first that set up the Sacrament, and the Altar, and the Eucharist, which they call the Real-Presence; which, after their Priests have consecrated Bread, they call it, The Real Body of Christ, and many have lost their Lives by them, because they could not believe this. Something of kin to this is that which our Protestants use, though it's not alto­gether so gross; for they call Bread and Wine (after they have blest it) A Sacrament, as though the nature and property of it were changed from what it was before; but this is not the fruit of that Vine, which Christ said, he would drink with his Disciples new, in the Kingdom of God.

When Christ was speaking to his Disciples, that the Son of Man must be betrayed, he said unto them, I have desired to eat this Passo­ver with you, before I suffer; for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, untill it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. And he took the Cup and gave thanks, and said, Take this and divide it among your selves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the Vine, until the Kingdom of God come. And he took Bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave it unto them; saying, This is my Body given for you; this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also, the Cup after Supper, saying, This Cup is the New Testament in my Blood, which is shed for you, Luke 22. Mat. 26. Mark 14.

Now if the Bread and the Wine had been the Real Body and Blood of Christ, which was given and shed for them, he needed not to have said, as he saith in the next words, Behold the hand of him that betrayeth me: for he ate of the bread that betrayed him; which words make a distinction betwen him and the Bread and Wine. But he said, This do in remembrance of me. And with this the Apostle agreeth, in what he writeth to the Corinthians; for he saith, I received of the Lord, that which also I deliver unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is my [Page 68] Body which is broken for you, this do in remembrance of me. In the same manner also he took the Cup, when he had supt, saying, This Cup is the New Testament of my Blood; this do ye as often as ye drink in re­membrance of me. For, saith the Apostle to these Corinthians, As often as ye eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, ye shew the Lords death till he come, 1 Cor. 11. So that the eating of this Bread, and drinking of this Cup, is but the remembrance of his death, how Judas betrayed him, and the Jewes Crucified him, until he come, saith the Apo­stle. But where is the drinking in his Resurrection, New in his Kingdom? It is manifested these Corinthians were not come to that, by what the Apostle was speaking to them of: in all the foregoing part of this Chapter, he is speaking to them of the state and condi­tion of the Man and of the Woman, and of their Praying and Pro­phesying with their heads covered, and uncovered; and of their long hair; and of their heads being shaven, and of Nature it self teaching them, but more especially in this particular, he saith; When ye come together into one place, this is not to eat the Lords Supper, but in eating every one taketh before other; and one is hungry, and ano­ther drunken. So any that read this Chapter may see, that these Co­rinthians were not come to the Power of his Resurrection; they might well eat in remembrance of his Death; for they were one with them in sinning, that Crucified him, and so Crucified him by their sins afresh, as the Apostle saith. And so are our eaters and givers of Bread and Wine; for they eat it in remembrance of his Death, and sin again as soon as they have done; and this they call, A Communion; but it is a Communion in sin and transgressi­on, which was the cause of Christ's Death, in the eating of this Bread, and drinking of this Cup: Yet in the foregoing Chapter he saith, Wherefore, my dearly beloved, fly from Idolatry: I speak as to wise men, judge ye what I say: The Cup of Blessing which we bless (here he taketh in himself) Is it not the Communion of the Blood of Christ? the Bread which we break, Is it not the Communion of the Body of Christ? This is not the Communion in sin and transgression: For we being many, are one Bread and one Body, for we are all partakers of that one Bread, 1 Cor. 10.

Here is no speaking of Remembrance, but the real partaking of the one Bread; this is the living Bread that is come down from Heaven. Christ saith, I am the living Bread that came down from [Page 69] Heaven, if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever: and the Bread that I give you is my Flesh, that I will give for the Life of the World. The Jews wondered at this, and said, Will this man give us his Flesh to eat? Jesus said, As the Living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; So he that eateth me, shall live by me; and except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his Blood, ye have no Life in you. But this is not, except you eat Bread, and drink Wine, ye have no Life in you; for Christ saith, My Flesh is Meat indeed, and my Blood is Drink indeed. John 6.

These things said Jesus in the Synagogue, as he Taught. And many of his Disciples when they heard this, said, It was a hard saying, who can hear it? But Christ saith unto them, It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the Flesh profitteth nothing: The Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life.

And so it is the Spirit that is the Living Bread, and those that live in the Spirit, and feed in the Spirit, and meet in the Spirit, they eat the Flesh of Christ, and drink his Blood; and this Spiri­tual Bread was that which the Apostles broke; and they that con­tinued stedfastly in the Apostles Doctrine and Fellowship, in breaking of Bread, and in Prayers, it is said, They continued daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house, Acts 2. And this Bread was that living Bread, that Christ said came down from Heaven. And when the Disciples met together on the First day of the week to break Bread, Paul preached unto them until midnight; surely this was Living Bread, else it could not have been the Communion of the Body of Christ. 1 Cor. 10.

And this was a Mystery, which Swearers and Drunkards know not; and therefore they set up that which is outward, and tempo­ral, as the Apostle saith, because they are blind of the Spiritual Eye; and so as the Apostle saith, That which can be seen is Tempo­ral, but that which cannot be seen is Eternal, 1 Cor. 14. 18. But this is hid from their eyes; and thus much for this Particular, which they call the Sacrament of the Lords Supper.

They have also several other vain Practices, which they have no Example in Scripture for; as praying over the Dead, and for the Dead, which the Apostle exhorted from; when he writ to the Thes­salonians, he saith, But I would not have you ignorant, Brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others, [Page 70] which have not Hope; for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again; so they also that sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him, 1 Thes. 4. Here is nothing of praying for them, nor over them, after they are dead: but they manifest by their prayers, that they have not a true Hope nor Belief in Christ Jesus, who is risen from the dead, And become the First-fruits of them that sleep, 1 Cor. 15.

The like may be said also of their Churching women, and Mar­rying people with Rings: but it appeareth that the main end of these Practices, are to get money of people; for they have no Ex­ample in the Scriptures, that the people were married with a Priest, neither in the Old-Testament nor New; ye do not read that Abra­ham and Sarah were married with a Priest; and Isaac took Rebecca to wife, and Laban gave Jacob Leah and Rachel, but not by a Priest. The Apostle saith, Marriage is honorable, and the bed undefiled; but he doth not say that they should be married by a Priest, or with a Ring: But it is manifested that this Generation of Priests, that have set up such Imaginations and Inventions as these, are the same that the Apostle prophesied of unto his Son Timothy, that good and true Bishop; where he saith, Now the Spirit speaketh ex­presly, that in the latter times, some should depart from the Faith, giving heed to seducing Spirits, and Doctrines of Devils, speaking Lyes in hypo­crisie, having their Consciences seared with a hot Iron, forbidding to Marry, and commanding to abstain from Meats, 1 Tim. 4. Now let the Reader but seriously read this Chapter, and consider whether these be not they, both Papists and Protestants, who marry peo­ple, as before mentioned, and yet forbid to marry all that will not marry according to their way, and will; though the Apostle saith, They may marry whom they will, only in the Lord, 1 Cor. 7. 39. Yet if they be not married with a Priest, and according to their way, they account it no Marriage: And thus they run themselves quite off from the Scriptures, as bad as they that never heard of them; for though they profess them in words, they are utterly, and quite out of them in their Practices. And that they abstain from Meats, and cause people so to do, this is well known to be their common practice, all which the Apostle saith, Are the Doctrines of Devils; and so here I have found them in their practice, and I will leave them. These with many more frivolous things, which might be mention­ed, as their keeping of Idle dayes, and causing people to do so, but [Page 71] what hath been said before, may give people a sight of their practi­ces, that they are quite contrary and opposite to the Rule of the Scriptures: And thus much for the Fifth Head, which is their Practice.

The Sixth is their Maintenance, and this is as contrary to the Scriptures of Truth, as any of the rest.

They profess themselves to be Christians, and Gospel-Ministers, and yet will not be content with Gospel-Maintenance; but their Gospel is dead, and so cold, that they preach to People, that it will not quicken them out of their dead and natural estate; and therefore they dare not trust themselves upon their maintenance, nor cast themselves upon the freedom, or liberality of the people. And so when the Power and Spirit of the Lord Jesus was lost, and the Revelation of Jesus, by which the Apostles preached; then when the Apostacy came in, those that got up into the Popes Chair, took upon them to find out a way, whereby they might compel peo­ple to maintain them, however they maintained themselves; and so they started back from Christs Rule, and his Apostles, and stept into the Imitation of some part of the Levitical Priesthood under the Law, which best suited their own ends. And that being made ready to their hands, they soon go [...] it set up, and established by a Law; and then those that were Christians, and stood to the Princi­ples and Faith of Christianity, who knew that the Priesthood was changed, and the Law also, and could not pay them Tythes; then they were ready prepared for them with Laws and Penalties, to clap upon them, and so force them by compulsion. And thus they have laid a weight of Oppression upon poor people, ever since the dark Night of Apostacy came on, and have taken from them the tenth part of their Lands, and a tenth part of their Flocks, and Herds, and the tenth part of their Labours; and thus poor people been made a prey unto their wolvish mouths.

And in this they have not done justly, nei­ther according to the Priesthood under the Tythes contrary to Gospel-Maintenance. Law, nor under the Gospel. For the Children of Israel when they were to come into the Land of Canaan, they were utterly to destroy all the Places where they worshipped their Gods, and they were to overthrow their Altars, and break down their Pillars, and burn their Groves with Fire, and hew down their [Page 72] Graven-Images (and these Priests, we are now speaking of, set Images up) and they were to come unto the Place which the Lord their God was to chuse out of all the Tribes, to put his Name there; and saith the Lord, Thither shall you bring your Burnt-Offerings, and you Sacrifices, and your Tythes, and your Heave-Offerings of your hand, Deut. 12. And at the end of three years, thou shalt bring forth all the Tythes of their encrease the same year, and to lay it up within thy Gates; and the Levite, because he hath no inheritance with thee; and the Stranger, and the Fatherless, and Widow which are within thy Gates shall come, and shall eat, and be satisfied, that the Lord thy God may bless thee. Deut. 14. 28, 29. and chap. 26. 12.

But these Tythe-Mongers of the Gospel Times, have neither fed Widows nor Fatherless; but what they could get of them, they have taken from them; and many poor Widows have been cast into Prison, because they could not for Conscience sake pay Tythes; and many poor fatherless children have had their goods taken away for the same: but this is none of Christ's nor his Apo­stles Example. And as they have taken up ways, that have been neither according to Law nor Gospel, so let them stand Usurpers, as they are, and Lorders over Gods Heritage: But let them know for all this, that they must come to Judgement, and the Lord will plead with them in his day and time.

For when Christ Jesus sent forth his Disciples; their great bu­siness was not to look after their Bellies; for they were not to provide neither Gold, nor Silver, nor Brass in their Purses; for they had received freely, and they were freely to give, Matth. 10. 8, 9. Also when he sent out the Seventy, they were neither to have Bread, nor Money, Luke 9.

And the Apostle Paul, when he took leave of the Churches, he told them, He knew that after his departure would come among them grievous Wolves, not sparing the Flock: he saith, I have coveted no mans Silver, or Gold, or Apparel; Ye your selves know, that these hands have ministred unto my necessity, and to them that were with me: I likewise shewed you all things, how that so labouring, ye ought to sup­port the weak; and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more Blessed to give then to Receive, Acts 20. 33, 34, 35.

But the Ministers in these dayes, think it more blessed to receive then give, for they accustom the one more then the other.

[Page 73] And again the Apostle saith, Let a man so account of us as of the Ministers of Christ, and the Stewards of the Mysteries of God. More­over, Its required of a Steward, that he be found faithfull: For I think God hath set forth us the Apostles, as it were appointed to death; for we are made a Spectacle unto the World, to Angels, and to Men, We are Fools for Christs sake, but ye are Wise; we are Weak but ye are Strong; ye are Honorable, but we are despised: Even unto this very hour, we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place, and labour working with our own hands; being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat; we are made as the filth of the world, and as the off-scouring of all things unto this day. 1 Cor. 4.

This is far different from those that have called themselves Gos­pel Ministers, they will be sure of certain abiding places; and in­stead of working with their hands, they make all people work for them: So this Scripture tries them and thir Practice.

Moreover, when the Apostle writeth to the Thessalonians, he saith, Your selves, Brethren know our Exhortation was not of deceit, nor of un­cleanness, nor in guile, but as we were allowed of God, to be put in trust with the Gospel, even so we spake, not as pleasing men but God, which trieth our hearts: For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness: God is witness; nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burthensom as the Apostles of Christ; but we were gentle among you, even as a Nurse che­risheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were wil­ling to have imparted unto you, not the Gospel of Christ onely, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, Brethren, our labour and travel; labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable to any of you, we preached unto you the Gospel of God. Ye are Witnesses, and God also, how holily, and justy, and unblameable we behaved our selves among you that believe: As ye know, how we exhort­ed, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 1 Thes. 2.

Here was a dear and faithfull Minister of God, that abhorred to be burthensom or chargeable even to them that believed, as he ma­nifesteth in his next Epistle, where he saith, For ye your selves know how ye ought to follow us; for we behaved not our selves disorderly among [Page 74] you, neither did we eat any mans bread for nought, but wrought with labour and travel night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have no power, but to make our selves an Ex­ample for you to follow us. For even when we were with you, we com­manded you, that if any would not work, neither should be eat; 2 Thes. 3.

This is hard Doctrine for our Lords, Deans and Deacons, who are got so high, that many of them are almost the greatest men in our Land; so that it will be no easie matter to bring them down into the Apostles Steps, and Paths, that they were in: But however it may let them see, that they are gotten up to the highest Pinacle of the Temple, whither the Devil carried our Saviour, and would have had him to have cast himself down; but Jesus was too strong for his Temptations, and said, It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, Matth. 4. But it is to be feared, that those who have climed so high, have been taken with his bait; and it is much if they cast not themselves down; for it is contrary to the Doctrine of Christ; for his Exhortation was, That they should take the low [...]st Seat, that it might be said unto them, Friend, Go up higher, but they have not taken that way.

But they have several Objections, or Colours for what they do, with which they do a little blind some ignorant people, which is an easie matter to do, While the Blind lead the Blind, saith Christ, they both go into the Ditch. One thing they alledge for Tythes, is, That Melchisedec took Tythes when Abraham paid them, Gen. 14. when Abraham returned from the slaughter of the Kings; and this the Apostle cleareth himself, in Heb. 7. and taketh away the objection of all that can be said for Tythes. For first of all, as for Melchi­sedec King of Salem, Priest of the Most High God, who met Abra­ham in his return from the slaughter of the Kings, and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave the tenth part of all, &c. Here the Apostle describes Melchisedec, being without descent, having neither beginning of dayes nor end of life. So that our Tythe-Takers in these last days, cannot claim them by this Order; for they are not with­out descent, for the furthest they can claim was Levi, and hun­dreds of them have ended their dayes, and their dayes are come to an end. Besides, the Apostle saith, that this Melchisedec was greater then Abraham, and Abraham had the Promise of God, and the Oath of God passed unto him, and unto his Seed, which the [Page 75] Apostle saith, is Christ, Gal. 3. But the Apostle saith, He was made like unto the Son of God, and remaineth a Priest continually. Now con­sider, saith he, how great this man was, unto whom, even the Patriarch Abraham, gave the Tythe of the Spoils, and verily, they who are of the Sons of Levi, who receive the Office of the Priesthood, have a Com­mandment to take Tythes of the People, that are of their Brethren, though they came out of the Loins of Abraham; but he whose descent is not counted from them, received Tythes of Abraham, and blessed him, that had the Promises, and without all contradiction, the less is blessed of the better.

So if our Tythe-Takers can say they are better then Abraham, then they may claim Tythes from Melchisedec; but if they say nay, but they will claim them from the Tribe of Levi, then they must own themselves to be of the Levitical Priesthood, and they must take Tythes of none but their Brethren the Jews: For so the Apostle saith, That the Priesthood had a Commandment to take Tythes, according to the Law, that is of their Brethren, Hebr. 7. 5. And he saith further, If therefore perfection were by the Levitical Priesthood, for [...]der it the people received the Law, what further need was there that another Priest should arise, after the order of Melchisedec, and not af­ter the order of Aaron. But the Priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the Law; For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another Tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the Altar. For it is evident our Lord sprang of Judah, of which Tribe Moses spake nothing coucerning the Priesthood. And it is more evident, that after the similitude of Melchisedec, there ariseth another Priest, who is not made after the Law of a carnal Commandment, but after the power of an Endless Life: For he testifieth, Thou art a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec. For there is verily a disanulling of the Commandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness there­of. For the Law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better Hope did, by which we draw nigh unto God, Hebr. 7.

Here the Apostle testifieth clearly of the overturning and chang­ing of the Priesthood of Levi, and the disanulling of the Law, by which they took Tythes, because that made nothing perfect. And for this other Priest that remaineth for ever, Who purgeth and purifieth the Conscience from dead Works, to serve the Living God; for the witnessing of this Everlasting High-Priest being come, hath [Page 76] many suffered, and do suffer by this Generation of Tythe-taking Priests, who are neither according to Law nor Gospel; and though they take the Apostles words here, and it may be, may read them to the people, yet do they act quite contrary to the Apostles Testi­mony here, and to all his practices that he practised while he was upon Earth.

And so we that have a Testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Everlasting High-Priest, that he is come, we cannot deny his Te­stimony, in paying Priests Tythes, which was paid under the Le­vitical Priesthood, before he came, now we have another Priest, that remaineth continually, who is not made by a Law of a Carnal Commandment, (as they all are) but by another Law, Even the Law of the Spirit of Life, which maketh us free from the Law of Sin and Death, Rom. 8. But they set up Laws against us, and make us suffer by their Laws, and by their Courts; and when we cannot Swear, cast us into Prison: But the Apostle taught his Son Timothy otherwise, when He besought him to abide still at Ephesus, that he might charge some of them, that they preach no other Doctrine: nei­ther give head to Fables, and endless Genealogies, which minister Que­stions, rather then Godly Edifying, which is in Faith. Now the end of the Commandment is Charity out of a pure Heart, and of a good Consci­ence, and Faith unfained: from which some having swerved, have turned again aside into Jangling, desiring to be Teachers of the Law, understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully: Knowing this, that the Law is not made for a Righteous man, but for the Lawless and Disobedient, for the Ungodly, and for Sinners, for Unholy and Prophane, for Murtherers of Fathers, and Murtherers of Mothers, for Man-slay­ers, for Whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for Men-stealers, for Lyars, for Perjured Persons, and if there be any thing further that is contrary to Sound Doctrine, 1 Tim. 1.

Surely these late Bishops have learned another Lesson, then this Bishop Timothy did; for they execute their Law against the Harm­less, and the Innocent, and such as abide in Sound Doctrine, and those that bring forth the Fruits of the Spirit, which is Love, Peace, Long suffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance, against such the Apostle saith, there is no Law, Gal. 5. And yet these are they that are made the object of their Laws, and are kept un­der [Page 77] the Scourge of the Laws in these dayes; and this disorder is, because our Leaders and Teachers have caused the people to err, from the Faith, and from the Truth.

But to come to the particular, which is concerning Ministers Maintenance, where they object, and say, The Apostle alloweth them a maintenance, by what he holds forth, 1 Cor. 9. where he saith, Have not we power to eat and drink? Who goeth a warfare at any time on his own charges? Who planteth a Vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? Who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk there­of? For it is written in the Law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the Oxe that treadeth out the Corne. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap of your carnal things? Do you not know, that they that minister about holy things, live of the things of the Temple? and they which wait at the Altar, are partakers with the Altar: Even so hath God ordained, that they which preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel.

All this we would freely allow them, and it would be joy and gladness to us, to see them come to this, upon the same tearms the Apostles did; for first of all he saith, Am I not an Apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ? Are not you my work in the Lord? If I be not an Apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you, for the seal of mine Apostleship are ye in the Lord. If others are partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power, but suffered all things, lest we should hinder the Gospel of Christ. For we have used none of these things, neither have I writ­ten these things, that it should be done unto me, for it were better for me to die, than that in this any man should make my glorying void; for though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of, for a necessity is laid upon me, yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel. For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, a dispensation of the Gospel is committed unto me, what is my reward then? Verily, that when I preach the Gospel, I may make the Gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the Gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet I made my self servant unto all, that I might gain the more, unto the Jew I became a Jew, &c.

Here the Apostle maketh all clear; so that if they would come to preach the Gospel in this Spirit and Power, they need not set up their Courts of violence, and lay such heavy oppression upon the [Page 78] Consciences of men and women. For the Apostle saith, Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual, and mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations of every high thought, that exalteth it self against the knowledge of God; and bring­eth into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ.

Here is no need of Courts or Prisons, where the power of God is manifested in the Ministry of the Gospel; they need not want means nor maintenance, where every thought is brought down into the subjection and obedience of the Lord's Truth. But as the Apostle saith, Those that sow spiritual things, ought to reap carnal things; So he that planteth a Vineyard, ought to eat of the fruit thereof; and whosoever feedeth a flock, ought to eat the milk thereof; and who­soever treadeth out the corn, ought not to have his mouth muzzeld according to the Law; that so he that ploweth in hope, and thresheth in hope, should be partaker of their hope.

All this is just and equal, and ought to be without force or con­straint; for the Apostle saith, Nevertheless we have not used this power, but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the Gospel of Christ. The Lord hath ordained that they which preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel, but I have used none of these things. Therefore, he saith, Have I committed an offence in abasing my self? Because I have preach­ed to you the Gospel of God freely. And when I was present with you and wanted, I was chargable to no man, 2 Cor. 11. Also the Apostle saith, I did not burden you; Did I make a gain of you, by any of them I sent unto you? I desired Titus, and with him I sent a Brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? Walked we not in the same Spirit? Walked we not in the same steps? Think ye that we excuse our selves unto you? We speak before God in Christ, that we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. Here the Apostle desireth their growth into grace, that he preached to; not his growth into their estates, as ours do now in these dayes, 2 Cor. 12.

But this hath not served our late Gospel-Ministers; they will not be contented, where they have planted to eat of the fruit; nor where they have fed the flock, to eat of the milk; nor where they have plowed or threshed, to partake of their hope; but they will be paid of all within the compass of their power and Lordships, whe­they feed them or no; and where they never planted, nor never [Page 79] plowed, nor never sowed, there they will make them to pay them, and that by force and violence: And this all people may see, is contrary to the Apostles Doctrine, Life and Practice. Surely the Apostle saw these things coming on, when he wrote unto his Son Timothy, whom the Holy Ghost made Bishop and Overseer; when he shewed him how he should behave himself in the House of God, concerning Elders, Fathers and Mothers, and concerning Chil­dren and Servants, saith he, Let the Elders that rule well, be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the Word and Do­ctrine; for the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the Oxe that treadeth out the Corn. The Labourer is worthy of his reward. I charge thee before God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect Angels, that thou observe these things, without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality; laying hand suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other mens sins. Keep thy self pure. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholsome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions, and strife of words; whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse dispute­ings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute concerning the Truth; sup­posing that gain is godliness; from such withdraw thy self. But godli­ness with contentment is great gain; for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out; but having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. But they that will be rich fall into a temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some have coveted after, they have erred from the Faith, and pierced themselves thorow with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, fly these things, 1 Tim. 5, 6 Chapters.

All that read this may see, that the blessed Apostle foresaw the state and condition the Church was falling into, and the time that hath been since, hath manifested the truth of it. And thus we see the good and wholesome Doctrine, that the holy Apostle left with them that were Overseers in those dayes, that had the Spirit of the Lord Jesus living and dwelling in their hearts, but this Gospel hath been hid from them that have been lost. And this may serve for the Sixth Head, which is, their Maintenance.

[Page 80] The seventh and last is their Garbe and Ha­bit, Long Robes and Sur­plices, Hoods & Tip­pets are contrary to Gospel Ornaments. which they seem to place much in, in mat­ter of their Worship, and they being Gospel-Ministers, we know no ground, nor Example, they have from Christ or any of his Apostles, to wear such Gar­ments.

It is true, Aaron when he was to minister in the Priests Office, there were holy Garments to be made for him, for beauty and for glory: And these were the Garments which they were to make; a Brest-plate, an Ephod, and a Robe, a broidered Coat, a Mitre and a Girdle; and they were to take two Stones, two Onix stones, and grave on them the names of the Children of Israel, and set them in four rows; and Aaron shall bear the names of the Chil­dren of Israel in the Brest-plate of Judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in into the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually: and thou shalt put in the Brest-plate of Judgment the Urim, and the Thummim (which is, Lights and Perfections) and they shall be upon Aarons heart, when he goeth in before the Lord; and Aaron shall bear the Judg­ment of the Children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord con­tinually, Exod. 28.

Here was more than the long Gown and the Surplice, the Tip­pet and the hood, here was the Urim and the Thummim, and the Judgement of the Children of Israel upon his heart: Also Aaron had a Brest-plate of pure Gold, and graven upon it like the engraving of a Signet, Holiness to the Lord, Vers. 36. This is far beyond the long Robes of our dayes; for there is little holiness graven upon them, neither Lights nor Perfections; and if they do take the long Robes and Surplices, Hoods and Tippets, from Aaron, they miss the Garbe and Fashion of this, for upon the Hemme of Aarons Garment there was Bells, and Pomgranets of gold; A golden Bell and a Pomegranet, a golden Bell and a Pomegranet round about the hem; and this was to be upon Aaron, when he went to minister, that his sound might be heard when he was to go in the Holy Place before the Lord. But they set Bells upon the top of their Steepls in stead of these, to make People hear the sound when they go to their Wor­ship. And so in this, as in all other things that have been shewed, they differ far from Scripture-Rule.

[Page 81] Moreover the Lord said unto Moses, Thus shall Aaron go into the ho­ly place, with a young Bullock for a sin-offering, and a Ram for a burnt-offering; and he shall put on the holy linnen Coat, and he shall have the linnen Breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linnen Girdle, and with the linnen Mitre shall he be attired, these are the holy Gar­ments, therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on, Levit. 16.

So here we see Aaron was to bring a Bullock and a Ram, for a burnt-offering, and a sin-offering, and to wash his flesh before he put those Garments on. It is to be feared, that our Long-Robed and Surplice-Men miss it in this too, except they offer a sin-offering, and a burnt-offering, and wash their flesh. We do not hear they use this, they calling themselves Ministers of Christ, and of the Gos­pel: but certainly they have not taken up the imitation of these things from hence, from Aarons Garments, but from the Scribes and Pharisees, for from Christ and his Apostle they had none at all, but the quite contrary: For Christ Jesus when he spake to the Multitude, and his Disciples, said, The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses Seat, and that which they bid you observe and do, observe; but do not ye after their works, for they say and do not; and all their works they do to be seen of men. They make broad their Philactaries, or Frin­ges, and enlarge the borders of their Garments; and love the upermost rooms at Feasts, and the chiefest seats in the Synagogues. But he saith, Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites, for ye shut up the King­dom of Heaven against men, for ye neither go in your selves, nor suffer them that would. Woe unto you, for ye devour Widows houses, and for a pretence make long prayers; therefore ye shall receive the greater con­demnation, Matth. 23. And he saith unto them in Mark 12. in his Doctrine, Beware of the Scribes, which love to go in long cloathing, and love salutations in the Market-places, and the chief seats in the Sy­nagogues, and uppermost rooms at Feasts; which devour Widows houses, and for a pretence make long Prayers; these shall receive greater dam­nation. And Luke saith, Chap. 20. That, then, in the audience of all the People, he said unto his Disciples, Beware of the Scribes, which desire to walk in long Robes, and love greetings in the Markets, and the highest seats in the Synagogues, and the chiefest rooms at Feasts; which devour Widows houses, and for a shew make long Prayers; the same shall receive greater condemnation.

[Page 82] Surely the Disciples and Apostles after they had heard Christ thus often to testify against them, that went after this manner, certainly they would keep themselves clear, for ever going in this garb. Besides, it is clearly manifested by their practices, that they never went after this manner, in long Robes and Surplices, for that would have been a great charge to them, that wrought with their hands, and were not chargable to any, except those that were raised up by the power of Almighty God, by their preaching of the Gospel of Christ unto them, the Lord might move their hearts to give them what they should stand in need of, which they could not want, if those had it, that were one with them in the Spirit; for so the Apostle holdeth forth to the Philippians, where he saith, But I re­joyce in the Lord greatly, that now at last your care of me hath flourish­ed again, wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity; not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know how to be abased, and how to abound, every where in all things I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry; both to abound, and to suffer need; notwithstanding ye have done well, that ye did communicate with mine affliction: for even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again to my necessity; not because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit, that that may abound to your account: But I have all, and abound, and am full, Phil. 4. But surely they bought no long Robes, nor Surplices with this, since that Christ Jesus had so often exhorted them, to beware of them that went in such.

And again Peter saith unto those he wrote to, Let your conversa­tion be honest among the Gentiles; that whereas they speak of them as evil doers, they may be put to silence by their good works; and that they should be as free, not using their Liberty for a Cloak of malitiousness, but as the Servants of God. And thus much for the seventh and last Head, which is their Garb and Habit, which all that reade the Scriptures may see, that Christ nor his Apostles ever used such.

So now, let the Reader, as he readeth over this Treatise, weigh and try by the Scriptures, their wayes and actions, for Christ hath left us a rule, how we should know them by their fruits. For, saith he, Beware of false Prophets, which come unto you in sheeps cloathing, but inwardly are ravening Wolves: Ye shall know them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes of thornes, or figgs of thistles? Even so every good tree, bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree, bringeth forth cor­rupt [Page 83] fruit; a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a cor­rupt tree bring forth good fruit: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them, Mat. 7. Luke 6. 43.

So by this which hath been shewed and tried by the Scriptures, comparing their Doctrine, Practice, and Worship with the Scrip­tures, let the honest in heart judge, whether this Gospel that they have preached, and which hath been holden forth for many hun­dreds of years, whether this Gospel be not another Gospel, than that the Apostles preached; and that which the Apostle feared is come to pass, where he saith, I fear lest by any means, as the Serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ: For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached; or if ye receive another Spirit which we have not received, or another Gospel which ye have not accepted: I marvel ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, into another Gospel, which is not another; but there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an Angel from Heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As I said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other Gospel unto you, than that ye have received, let him be accursed, 1 Cor. 11. Gal. 1. And thus you may see, that their Ministry hath been neither ac­cording to Law nor Gospel; and let the Lord judge between these two.

And now a few Queries to the Bishops, Ministry and Clergy, of what sort soever, whether Papists or Protestants, that have been in this time of Apostacy.

First, Whether that Light, which John was sent to bear witness of, John 1. 8, 9. which is the true Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; Whether this Light be not the same as it was, and hath the same Power that hver it had? since Christ saith, I am the Light of the world, John 8. 12.

Secondly, Whether the New Covenant, which the Lord pro­mised by this Prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah, which was a Light of the Gentiles, and was to be God's Salvation to the ends of the Earth, Isa. 42, and 49 Chapters. Jer. 31, and 24, Chap. Which Prophesies Old Simeon saw fulfilled, Luke 2. 30, 31, 32. VVhe­ther [Page 84] this New Covenant, which the Lord saith should be an Ever­lasting Covenant in the last dayes (which Covenant the Apostle bears testimony of in Heb. 8.) whether this Covenant (which is the Law written in the heart) be not the same as ever it was, yea or nay?

Thirdly, Whether the Word of Faith, which the Apostle saith, is nigh in the heart, even the Word that he preached, Rom. 10. VVhe­ther this be not the same as ever? since Christ saith, Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my Word shall not pass away, Mat. 24. 35. Mark. 13. 31.

Fourthly, Whether the Ministration of the Spirit, which the Apo­stle said, was glorious; and saith, the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty, 2 Cor. 3. 17. Whether this Spirit hath not the same power and efficacy to work in the hearts of People, as ever it had, yea or nay?

Fifthly, Whether the Revelation of Jesus Christ, that was reveal­ed to his Apostles by his Spirit, Ephes. 3. 5. 1 Cor. 2. 10. Whether this Spirit hath not the same power to reveal now, as ever it had? since Christ Jesus saith, All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him, Mat. 11. 27. John 3. 35. chap. 6. 46. Whether this Revelation of Christ Jesus, be not of the same force and power as ever it was, yea or nay?

Sixthly, And if so, that the Light of Christ which is the New Covenant, and the Word of Faith which is nigh in the heart, and the Spirit that he hath put in the inward parts, by which the Reve­lation of Jesus Christ is known, be the same as ever: Then why is not the ministration of the Spirit, and those that are inspired by the Almighty, the Ministers that are allowed of, and set up by the Powers of the Nation? And why is such a Ministry set up and al­lowed of by the Powers of the Nation, who deny Revelation, and do not wait for Revelation, but say it is ceased? And why are such Ministers allowed of, and set up by the Powers of the Nation, who do not only deny Revelation, and so deny Christ Jesus, but they also stir up the Magistrates, and those that have the Civil Power, to Persecute, to Imprison, to Premunire, and to Banish such as have the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and are Inspired by the Almighty, with the same Spirit and Power as the Apostles had?

[Page 85] Seventhly, Why is not the Church of Christ now in God, as the Church of the Thessalonians was? 1 Thes. 1. 1. 2 Thes. 1. 1. And why is now a house made with Wood and Stone, called the Church? since Christ saith unto Peter, when he confessed that he was the Christ, the Son of the Living God; Jesus said unto him, Flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee. Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I build my Church. But this Rock was not Peter, as the Pa­pists say, but it was upon that Revelation which Christ said his hea­venly Father had revealed unto Peter, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it, Mat. 16. 18.

Eighthly, Why is not the Worship of God performed in the Spirit, and in the Truth, according as Christ Jesus published and declared in the Mountain at Samaria unto the woman, which Jesus confessed unto, and said, when she spake of the Messiah, and of Christ, I am he; he said unto her, That the hour cometh, and now is, that the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth; for such the Father seeketh to worship him; God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and Truth, John 4. And why is not this Spirit waited in, and for, in the Worship that is ge­nerally performed, and allowed of in our Nation? since that the Apostle saith, We are the Circumcision which worship God in the Spi­rit, and have no confidence in the Flesh, Phil. 3. 3. And why is the Worship which is generally performed among people, and their Doctrines taught from and by the Commandments of men, seeing they profess themselves to be Christians, being Christ complained of this Worship? And saith, In vain do they worship me, teaching for Doctrine the Traditions of men; this people draweth near to me with their mouthes, and honoureth me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me: And he said, Let them alone, they are Blind Leaders of the Blind: and if the Blind lead the Blind, both shall fall into the Ditch, Matth. 15. 8, 9, 14.

Ninthly, And why is not the Worship of God performed among those that profess themselves to be Christians, and Gospel Mini­sters in the Unity of the Spirit? since the Apostle saith, When he ascended up on high, he led Captivity captive, and gave Gifts unto men, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the Work of the Ministry, for the Edifying of the Body of Christ; till we all come into the Unity of the Faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto the perfect man, [Page 86] unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, Ephes. 4. 13. And why is there such Difference in Religion, and Opinions, as there hath been between Papists and Protestants, and many others, even to the Killing and Slaying one of another, since that all pro­fess themselves to be Christians? and the Spirit of Christ is but one; and the Apostle exhorts them here, To endeavour to keep the Unity of the Spirit, and the Bond of Peace. And if they have received those Gifts from on High, which are for the Work of the Ministry; then why are there such Differences among them?

Tenthly, Why is there not that Liberty, and Order in their Meetings and Assemblies, who profess themselves to be Christi­ans, as was in and among the Apostles and their Churches? For the Apostle saith, If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace, for ye may all prophesie one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted: And the Spirit of the Prophets is subject to the Prophets; for God is not the Author of Confusion, but of Peace, as in all the Churches of the Saints, 1 Cor. 14. So if this was the Order of the Churches of the Saints, how is it that always one man is set up to Speak to all the rest of the People, it may be for many years together? since that the Apostle saith, That there is diversity of Gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are differences of Ad­ministrations, but the same Lord; and there are diversities of Opera­tions, but the same God which worketh all in all; but the Manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 1 Cor. 12. Rom. 12. 4. Since that the Spirit is given to every man; how is it that poor people have had one man set up to teach them, it may be thirty or forty years together, and whatsoever was revealed to him that sat by, they were not permitted to speak? but they might be haled before Magistrates; and it may be stockt, or whipt, for doing that which the Scripture alloweth of; and here are Christ words fulfilled, where he saith, Ye shall be haled before Magistrates, and persecuted for my Name sake, for a testimony against them, and they that kill you think they do God good service, John 16. 2.

And these few Queries are for all the Clergy in the Christian World to answer, whether they be Papists or Protestants.

M. F.


IT hath been an Old Proverb and Maxime among men, No Bishop, no King; this is but a supposition that is got into the minds of people in these late times, which hath proceeded and risen from among those of that Function, and their Adherents, being that their power standeth onely by the Kingly Power; for it might rather be said, No King, no Bishop. But to add to their Strength and Assistance, they have added this, and have got it in­to the minds of people, that if there be No Bishop, no King; but it is otherwise: for it is by experience known, and that by Scrip­ture Example.

For in the Reigns of all the Kings of Israel, we do not read that there was a Bishops Power, nor Ecclesiastical nor Spiritual Courts; neither Nebuchadnezzar the great; neither Cyrus, unto whom the Lord said, Thou art mine Anointed, whose right hand I have upholden to subdue Nations, I will loose the Loyns of Kings, to open before thee the Leaved Gates; I will give thee the Treasures of darkness, and the hidden Riches of secret places, that thou mayest know, that I the Lord which calleth thee by thy name, am the God of Israel, Isa. 45. Neither Darius, who set over his Kingdom one hundred and thirty Princes, and over these were three Presidents, of whom Daniel was the first; and by the voice and word of Daniel the man of God, who was greatly beloved of God, these Kingdoms of the Medes and Persians were swayed and governed by the Word of the Lord through Da­niel, as may be read in the Book of Daniel: but we never heard of Bishops, or Spiritual Courts among them.

It is true, we read, that among the Jews there was High-Priests, and Chief-Priests that ruled and governed amongst them, when their Kings were Heathens, as Herod, and Tiberius Cesar. In the dayes of Herod Christ was born, who sent his wise men to seek for [Page 88] the Child, and made all the young Children be killed, from two years old and under; and the Angel made Jesus be carried in­to Egypt, till Herod was dead. Then there was Herod the Tetrarch of Galilee, which beheaded John Baptist; this Herod and Pilate were made Friends the same day that Christ was under Examina­tion, for before they had been at enmity: And Ananias and Caia­phas, being high Priests, they sought how they might kill Jesus; And the Band of Souldiers led Jesus away to Annas first, for he was Father-in-law to Caiaphas, which was the high Priest the same year: Now Caiaphas was he which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was ex­pedient that one man should die for the people, John 18. 13, 14. And when Pilate had called together the chief Priests, and the Rulers, and said unto them, Ye brought this man unto me as one that perverted the people, and I have examined him before you, and have found no fault in him, nor yet Herod; and they accused him vehemently, Luke 23. Matth. 26.

The chief Priests and Elders sought false witness against Jesus to put him to death, and when they found false Witnesses that witnessed against him, Jesus said nothing: And the high Priest arose, and said, Answer­est thou nothing? And he said, I adjure thee by the Living God that thou tell us if thou be the Christ: Jesus said unto him, Thou hast said it: Hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power. Then the high Priest rent his clothes, and said, He hath spoken Blasphemy. And when the morning was come, all the chief Priests and Elders took counsel to put him to death; and when they had led him away, they delivered him to Pontius Pilate, Matth. 27. Mark 15. And when Pilate asked of them, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? But the chief Priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas. And Pilate said, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? and they cried, Crucifie him, crucifie him.

Now Ananias sent him bound unto Caiaphas, the high Priest, and he asked him of his Disciples, and of his Doctrine; Jesus answered, Why askest thou me? ask them that heard me: And one of the Officers struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, and said, Answerest thou the high Priest so? And Jesus said, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; if well, Why smitest thou me?

Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas the high Priest, into the Hall [Page 89] of Judgment, and Pilate went unto them, and said, Take ye him, and judge him according to your Law: the Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawfull for us to put a man to death, John 18. But they looked upon it lawfull to accuse him falsely, and vehemently to accuse him, and to cry out, Crucifie him, crucifie him, and to desire Bar­rabbas, that was found in an Insurrection, and a Murtherer, to be released, and to cry, that Christ the Lamb of God might be Crucified; also after the same manner did they with the A­postles.

And those Scribes and Elders that caught Stephen and brought him, and set up False Witnesses to witness against him, the high Priest with the Councel said, Are these things so? And after Stephen opened his mouth, and spake unto them, and opened through the Scriptures; and when they heard those things that Stephen spake from the Scriptures, They gnashed on him with their teeth, Acts 7.

And as Peter and John spake unto the people, the Priests and Captain of the Temple, and the Sadduces came upon them; and then Ananias the high Priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as ma­ny as were of the Kindred of the high Priest, were gathered together to take counsel against Peter and John, after they had wrought the Mi­racle upon the Impotent man; and when they could find nothing against them, they threatned them, and let them go, Acts 4.

And what ado made they with Paul, for all he was one of their own Nation, and made his Defence before them; and called them Men, and Brethren, and Fathers, and spake unto them in the He­brew Tongue, and told them how the Lord had converted him, As also the high Priests doth bear me witness, and all the Elders, from whom also I received Letters unto the Brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there in Prison to Jerusalem to be punished, Acts 22.

Paul that had been one of their Servants, and had acted in the same way with them in Persecution, after he was converted to the Christian Faith, he received no more favour from them than others; for afterwards when Paul was brought before the Council to be Ex­amined, wherefore he was so accused; And Paul earnestly beholding the Council, said, Men and Brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day: And the high Priest Ananias commanded [Page 90] them that stood by him, to smite him on the mouth: Then said Paul, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall; and they that stood by, said, Revi­lest thou Gods high Priest? Then said Paul, I wist not Brethren, that he was the high Priest; for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the Ru­ler of thy People. Paul acknowledged, and confessed his Transgres­sion of that Law, where it is said, Thou shalt not revile the Gods, nor curse the Ruler of thy People, Exod. 22. 28. But David saith, I have said ye are Gods, but ye shall die like men: And so it appeareth by this high Priest; for he was far from executing of his duty, where he sate to judge according to the Law, when he command­ed to smite the Prisoner contrary to the Law, and afterwards gave consent to the People to bind themselves in an Oath to murther Paul, but were prevented by the chief Chaptain and Souldiers, Acts 23.

And after five dayes Ananias the high Priest, descended with the El­ders, who enformed the Governor against Paul, and said, We have found this man a pestilent fellow, a mover of sedition among the Jews, throughout the whole world, a Ring-leader of the Sect of the Nazarens, with much more. And when Felix heard their Accusations of him, he deferred the examination of him, Acts 24.

Likewise, when Festus was come into the Province, then the high Priest, and the chief of the Jews informed him also against Paul, and desired favour against him, and besought him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, lying in wait by the way to kill him: but Festus answered, That Paul should be kept at Cesarea, Acts 25.

By these places, with much more that the Scripture maketh men­tion of, we may see the cruelty, and bloody-mindedness of [...]hese high Priests, that were then Rulers of the Nation of the People of the Jews, under the Roman Monarchy: for they were always worse in cruelty against the Christians then the Heathens; and joyned with the Kings, and incensed them what they could against the Christians, as is manifested; for they joyned with that He­rod and Pilate that crucified Christ.

Also when King Herod heard that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah, he gathered the chief Priests, and all the Scribes of the People together, to demand of them where he was to be born, in­tending [Page 91] to kill him, but the Lord prevented him, who in his Rage slew all the young children.

Also Herod the King that killed James the Brother of John with the Sword; and because that he saw it pleased the Jews; he proceeded fur­ther, and took Peter and cast him into Prison; and when Prayer was made to the Lord for Peter, and that the Lord delivered him out of Prison, there was no small stir among the Souldiers, what was become of Peter: And when Herod had sought him, but found him not, he com­manded that the Keepers of the Pison should be put to death. But when this Herod was arrayed in Royal Apparel upon his Throne, the Lord smote him by his Angel, immediately he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost, Acts 12.

This with much more might be instanced concerning this Ge­neration of men, of their cruelty and oppression, joyning with the Heathen Monarchs in the crucifying and persecuting of Christ Je­sus, and all his holy Apostles, and all the Primitive Christians: But we never heard of any Bishops, neither in the time of the Kings of Israel, nor in all the four Manarchies before Christs time; neither in the dayes of the Apostles, nor in the Primitive times, there was no such Bishops as had Courts, and Laws, to make people to Swear, and to imprison them if they would not; such, as there could not be Kings without there were Bishops.

For Christ Jesus, nor none of his Apostles, sought not after, neither looked after Earthly Kingdoms; for he said, His Kingdom was not of this World, neither could his Servants fight. And the Apo­stles said, The Weapons of their warfare, were not Carnal, but Spiri­tual; neither did they wrestle with Flesh and Blood, but with Spiritual Wickednesses.

And so they that are true Christians, and of the same Faith and Principle that Christ Jesus was of, they desire not Caesars due nor right, but give unto Caesar that which bears his own Image, the out­ward earthly Image, and the money that bears the Superscription of Caesars Prerogative, this they can give unto Caesar, and not wrong any man of his outward Propriety or Prerogative; for they seek not after earthly Crowns nor Inheritances, but after heaven­ly. The Apostle when he wrote to Timothy, exhorted, That first of all Supplications, Prayers, and Intercessions, might be made for all [Page 92] men; for Kings, and all that are in Authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable Life, in all godliness and honesty; for this is good and ac­ceptable to God, who would have all men to be saved.

This he wrote to him that was a Bishop, which if any man de­sireth the Office of, he desireth a good work, for it is no more then to be an Overseer of the Church of Christ, and not to look after carnal means, or carnal maintenance, neither to be a burden or an oppression to the People, nor to be upholden by men, or the Pow­ers of the Earth; such Bishops and Overseers of the Church of God as Timothy and Titus were, and all those holy Apostles the Scrip­tures mention, we should be glad of, Such as are lovers of Hospita­lity, lovers of Good Men, not given to Wine, not greedy of filthy Lucre, but Patient; not a Brawler, not Covetous; for the Apostle saith, The love of Money is the Root of all Evil; which, while some have coveted after, they have erred from the Faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Such things as these the Apostle exhorted Ti­mothy and Titus from, which many of the Bishops in our dayes, and for the last twelve hundred years and upwards, it is to be feared, they are fallen into Demas his way, and trodden his paths, and have forsaken the Apostles Spirit, Doctrine and Principle, and have embraced this present world; and here hath been the misery of these Ages last past: But this is that which Christ Jesus foresaw, which he mentions, Matth. 24, and 25 Chap. As also the Apostle Paul foresaw, when he told them, That grievous Wolves should enter into the Church, not sparing the flock, Acts 20. 29. 2 Pet. 1. 2. 1 John 2. 18. All these had a true sight of the dayes of darkness, and night of Apostacy that was coming on.

As also the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which he sent and signified by his Angel to his servant John; he saw the Beast rise out of the Sea, and out of the Earth, and power was given to him for forty and two mo­neths-(and this power began at Rome, which is the foundation of the Ecclesiastical and Spiritual Power; and here was the first Bi­shop that was called, his Holiness, and his Children are called as high as they can; but Timothy and Titus were not such) who made war with the Saints, and overcame them, and power was given unto him over all Tongues, Kindreds and Nations, and his power was to endure above twelve hundred years. And one of the seven Angels, that had the [Page 93] seven vials, shewed him the judgment of the great Whore, with whom the Kings of the earth had committed fornication, and the Inhabitants of the earth had made themselves drunk with the wine of her fornication. And he saw a Woman sit upon a scarlet-coloured Beast, full of names of Blasphemy, having seaven Heads, and ten Horns, which Beast he had seen before, Chap. 13. And when John marvelled, the Angel said unto him, Wherefore dost thou marvel? I will tell thee the Mystery of the Woman, and of the Beast that carrieth her, Chap. 17. And so, He that hath wisdom may reade, and count the number of the Beast, for it is 666.

And this Proverb which hath continued so long, No Bishop, no King, hath risen out of the Bottomless-pit, and must go into Per­dition; for there were no such Bishops in the times of the four Monarchies before Christ, neither among the Primitive Christians, that had Ecclesiastical Courts, and tossed poor people up and down, and caused them to swear, contrary to Christ's command, which they have nothing to do with, wrangling among them for getting of money. The Apostle saith, They should be no Brawlers.

And now this usurping power is gotten up under the Profession of Christianity, and because it is upholden by Monarchial Power, it hath hatched a Cockatrice into the minds of People, No Bishop, no King: but this we can say, That Kings have reigned by the Pow­er of the Lord God, and may reign as long as it pleaseth him; and God sent his Prophet to anoint a King.

So can we say that this usurping Power hath been alwayes against and contrary to the power of the Lord God, and hath ever been the Oppressour of the Innocent and the Just, and Gods Heritage and People have alwayes been Sufferers in all Ages by this Pow­er, and this generation of Priests hath been the cause of all the Saints sufferings; they stoned the Prophets, and slew them before Christ, and ye may see how they used Christ and his Apostles. And now in the Apostacy, O the Inquisitions, the Racks, and the Tor­tures, the Courts, Citations, and Imprisonments that have been, and are continually imposed upon poor People: so that the very misery of Nations cometh by these Usurpers (and their Superiori­ty, in having Power) and Oppressors, and Layers on of Burdens, grievous to be born, that upon this Generation might come, all the [Page 94] righteous blood shed upon the Earth, from Abel, Mat. 23. 35, 36.

But the Lord is coming to Redeem his People, and his Flock out of their covetous mouthes, and bloody hands; and the Lord hath sent the Spirit of his Son into the hearts of his People, and his Light is risen in their Consciences, and the Lord will Teach them all Himself, and set them free from the bondage and slavery of these Taskmasters; and he hath committed all Power in Heaven and Earth unto his Son, and he hath all Times and Seasons in his hands; and it is good for Kings that are set up by the Lord, to fear him, that by his Power they may stand; and not uphold that power that God will throw down; for he is come to Reign, and Teach his People himself. Read Isa. 21.


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