A Loving Exhortation, TO All Kings, Princes, Potentates, Bishops and People in the whole CHRISTENDOM.

Wherein is a Distinction betwixt the TRUE and FALSE TEACHERS.

To be Read over in Meekness and the Fear of the Lord.

Written by Thomas Taylor.

LONDON, Printed in the Year, 1666.

A Loving Exhortation, TO All Kings, Princes, Potentates, Bishops and People in the whole Christendom, &c.

O Ye Kings, Princes, Potentates, and Rulers of the Earth, we desire not your Thrones, Honours, Places or Dignities, neither do we envy you for them: for we have enough in God our Reconciled Father, who hath made us Kings and Priests to himself by Jesus Christ, spiritually to reign over the evil in the World, and to offer up our selves in righteousness to his Glory; and this is our Crown, and that which we strive after in a pure Consci­ence; for we are not of those that fight with flesh and blood, and with carnal weapons, for an earthly Crown, but such as in the strength of Almighty God are taught with spiritual weapons to war only against that Mystery of Iniquity and Power of darkness that captivates the preti­ous Soul of Man, and keeps it short of the Glory of God; desiring from the truth of our hearts, that neither the Soul nor Body of any may pe­rish, but that this Wicked one, which is the Enemy of both, may be de­stroyed out of the Earth, in this day of Christ, by the Spirit of his mouth and brightness of his appearing; that so the whole Creation of God may be delivered from Bondage, to stand in its holy Order, to the glory of the Creator, as in the beginning; that so he may take delight in the Children of Men, and make his abode with them, as at that time, when the Morning Stars sung for joy, and all was full of beauty and sweetness, and no Death in them.

And O ye Bishops and high Teachers of the World, we desire not your Seats, neither do we envy you for your great Promotions, but do desire that you may know with us, the true Shepherd and Bishop of the Soul, Christ Jesus, the good and true Shepherd and Bishop, who gave him­self for the Sheep, that he might Redeem them from all Iniquity, and de­liver [Page 4] their Souls from the hands of all Oppression, to serve him in his own free Spirit, where none can come to make afraid. And as this Sa­viour you come to know and receive, your knowledge of Men and things according to the flesh will cease, and the Love of the World, and the Worlds things will die in you, and a Love to the Seed that breaths after Righteousness will arise in you, and you will know what God requires of you, and how you may do that which will commend you to God in the great day of his Judgment, which is nigh at hand, and apply your hearts thereto.

Therefore awake, awake, arise, arise, for the great day of the Lord is indeed nigh at hand, yea the Sun is already arisen, and his bright glory shineth upon the Sons of the Morning, and the true searching Light from which nothing can be hid, is felt and known in the Earth, and be­fore it the workers of iniquity are as Chasse, and before it can no mor­tal man stand in Judgment, though he glister never so much in outward glory in the Worlds eye; for in the presence of this Light, the Judgment proceedeth not according to person or worldly appear­ance, but according to Truth, Equity and Righteousness; and so every Evil-doer hates this Light because his deeds are evil, and the Light re­proves him to his Face, and in his Heart, without respect to his Person: And therefore none but they whose deeds are wrought in God, can willingly come to this Light with their deeds, or endure that this Light should pass Judgment on them; for its the Righteous only that hath praise in the presence of this pure God, the Light who lighteth every man that commeth into the World; and is come a Light in the World, that all through him might believe, and come out of Darkness, and the deeds thereof, and be saved.

So if any of you perish, it is in your love of Darkness, and your de­struction is of your selves, for God would have you to be saved, and to that purpose holds forth his Love in his Light to your Consciences dai­ly, that you might be warned and not perish: And if this Gospel of his Love and Grace, the Light, be hid from you, it is because the God of this World, with his deceitful Allurements; hath blinded your eye. Mark, The God of this World, hath blinded your minds ▪ that Old Serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, and Prince of the power of the Aix, which works in the hearts of all disobedient ones, hath captivated your Un­derstanding, if this Gospel of Light you perceive not to Love and O­bey it. And consider how the power of Darkness deceives man; it be­gins with him betimes, and works subtilly with him in his mind when he is tender and young, carrying him forth eagerly after Childish Vani­ties, and youthful Lusts, if by the Light, that secretly checks for these [Page 5] things, he be not resisted. The World tells the Youth that by going forth into some form of Religion, and conforming to that, is Gods way by which man may be helped against his sin; but God, the Truth saith, I have laid help upon One that is mighty, Christ Jesus the Light, who is to be known in man, a present help against sin. And, by what means, saith David, may a young man cleanse his way, save only by taking heed according to the Word of God. And, the Word is nigh, in the heart, saith Paul, discerning the thoughts and intents thereof. And, the Light shineth in darkness, saith John, (in man) yea, in every man that cometh into the World, making all things in secret, manifest; and who can hide their deeds from it? So if the young men come not to this Light, then they abide in darkness, and grow up in darkness, and covering themselves, but not with the Spirit of God, so long, until there be no remedy, but the wo and the curse must needs come upon them. But he that followeth me, saith Christ, (the Light) shall not abide in darkness, sin nor evil, but shall have the Light of Life, and shall not come into condemnation.

So, He that hath an ear, let him hear, and mind the Light of Christ in you, that lets you see all that ever you have done, and sets before you your sins in order, and brings Judgment and Condemnation up­on your Souls for them: And love the Light and its righteous Judge­ments, for Zion must be redeemed through Judgment; and bring all your deeds, words and thoughts, to this Light of Christ, and hide not any thing from it; for he that hideth his sins, from the Lord, shall not pro­sper. But he that in this true Light sees his sin, and forsakes the sin, and turns to God in his Light, and abides therein, [...]h [...]ll be blessed. But wo is the portion of such as turn not to him that smites them, but instead of owning the pricks and reproofs of Wisdom, kick against them. These are the ungodly, whose Sacrifice the Lord could never accept; but they abiding in their sins, all their Prayers and performances were still returned upon them, from the pure God, as dung upon their faces. Therefore, go not forth, saith Christ, for the Kingdom of Heaven (which he compared to many little things) is within you: And when they shall say, Loe here, loe there, saith Christ, go not after them: for those that draw People from the Light and Spirit of Christ (that holy annointing within) in man, were alwayes Antichrists. And in John the Apostles time, many of these were come; and, they went out from us, saith the same John (the beloved Disciple of Jesus.) From us, understand such as were in the Anointing of God, which taught all things, and they needed not that any man should teach them, abiding in the Anointing, wherewith their souls and spirits, of God were anointed; for that was true, perfect, and sufficient to lead them into all truth, according to the [Page 6] Promise; it was in them a Spiritual Unction, a free Gift from the ho­ly One in Christ, the promised Seed, with whom through Faith (the right holy Faith) they were become one Spirit, and so became Heirs of the Promise, and true Witnesses of the New and Everlasting Cove­nant, which saith, And they shall all be taught of God. These are not outwardly anointed, as those under the Law (the Figure) were, but these were and are spiritually anointed of God himself, in Christ, and so were and are true Heirs of the Gospel (the substance) and true Children of the day, walking in that heavenly and eternal Light, where­in they could and do in truth say, Our fellowship is with the Father and the Son. So here in this holy Body there was no Antichrists; but those that went out from these into the Worlds Wayes, Worships, Customs, Traditions and Inventions, these were Antichrists: and now being gone forth from the Lord and his Spirits Teaching, they become one with the World, using their Tongues to talke of the things of God in the worlds spirit, without God: and so they being of the World (saith John) therefore the World hears them, 1 John 4.5. But he that is of God (saith the same John) heareth us, even us that abide in the holy Anointing of God in us. And my Sheep hear my voice, saith Christ, and follow me, but a stranger they will not follow. So there are two Spirits, the Spirit of Christ, and the spirit of the evil World: and two sorts of Teachers according­ly; the one hears the voice of God in Christ, and in the strength of this Spirit, goes forth with the Word of God, and Gospel of Truth in their heart and mouth, in obedience to God, and pure love to the Soul of man, and not for filthy lucre, nor any worldly end whatsoever; and these the true Seed, Gods Little Ones, Lambs and Sheep hear, love and are one with, meerly for the Truths sake, which is one, and endures for ever.

But now contrariwise, the other sort of Teachers, who are rightly called Strangers, because they are strangers to the Life of God, and holy motion of his Spirit; they go forth in their own Wills, according to the motion of their own earthly spirits, without God, for self-ends, in the allowance of the earthly Power, Name, and Authority; not to build up the Body of Christ, or to minister to his Seed in any, for to that they are Strangers, but to commend themselves to fallen mans wisdom for self-advantage, and to gather People into several Forms and out-side Professions and Observations, where all sorts of Sinners are taught to say, Lord, Lord, but never a one to do the will of God perfectly from the heart; and so they build up Babel, the City of Confusion, where there is like Priest, like People, the Teachers living in sin, and the People that fol­low them living in their sins, alwayes learning, never learned to wor­ship [Page 7] God aright: For the Teacher being blind through his ignorance of God and Christ, he must needs lead them that follow him from God, into the ditch. And of this sort were they in Christs time, that loved to be called of men, Master; fair sayers, but evil doers, who loved the praise of men and their greetings in the Markets, and the chief and high places in their Feasts and Synagogues; and loving, for this end, to go in long Robes and costly Apparel, outwardly appearing beautiful to the Worlds eye, but in­wardly full of Pride, Covetousness, uncleanness, the Spirit of Persecution, and all manner of Unrighteousness, as one may read in the 23 Chap. of Matth. and other places of Scripture, where Christ had to do with the false spirited Rabbies in his day, whom he compares to Graves, painted Tombs, Serpents and Vipers, who shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men, and neither entred in themselves nor suffered others, but did what they could to hinder those that were entring. And of such Christ gave his Disciples warning to take heed in time to come, and told them, though such Wolves should get the Sheeps cloathing on them (to wit, the good words, or so) yet they should not trust them, but should know them by their fruits. And so the Tree that is by nature a Thorn and a Thistle, hath manifested its fruit: and by their fruit the Children of Light now know them, and ac­cording to Christs will, avoid them. And of this sort are they that not only in the dayes of Christ withstood him, but even the same that in all ages withstood his Spirit and Work, as at this day. For with such earthly spirited Teachers it was that the Prophet Jeremiahs heart was so broken in his day, as one may read all along the 23. Chap. of his Pro­phesie, and of whom in his fifth Chapter he so grievously complains, say­ing, A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the Land: The Pro­phets prophesie falsly, and the Priests bear rule by their means, and the Peo­ple love to have it so. And therefore destruction from the Lord came upon them all. And these Teachers said still in their lying earthly spirit, that Jerusalem (though sinful) should have peace, and that no evil should come upon them People, though they walked every man after the imagination of his own evil heart, Jer. 23.17. And of this sort were they that the Lord sent his Prophet Micah to cry against, saying; Thus saith the Lord concern­ing the Prophets that make my People to erre; that bite with their teeth, and cry peace; and he that putteth not into their mouthes, they even prepare war against him: Therefore night and darkness came upon them, and the Vision ceased from them in the just judgement of God. For a self-end was in all their work, and the dead fly of covetousness corrupted all: as one may read at large in the third Chapter of his Prophesie, Verse 5, &c. And of this sort are they that Isaiah, the Prophet of God, in his time so grievously complains of also, as one may read in the 56. Chapter of his Prophesie, [Page 8] saying, Vers. 9, &c. All ye beasts of the field, come to devour; yea, all ye beasts of the forest: his Watchmen are blind, greedy, &c. all looking for their own way, every one for his gain from his quarter, &c. And against this sort of earthly-spirited Teachers it was that God sent his Prophet Eze­kiel to cry wo against, saying, Wo to the Shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves; should not the Shepherds feed the flock? Ye eat the fat, and ye cloath you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed, but ye feed not the flocks. And so the God of this World through pride and covetousness had so blinded their eye, and corrupted their hearts, that they had neither will nor skill to help nor heal the poor diseased, sick, broken, scattered souls of their hearers; and therefore the Lord was glad to put them aside as Physicians of no value, and became the Teacher of his People himself; as one may read in the 34. Chapter of his Prophesie, throughout. Glory to the Lord who hath fulfilled his Promise to his Israel this day; and is be­come the Teacher of his People himself, whereby they come to be tru­ly profited, as it is written, I the Lord thy God teach thee, O Israel, to profit. But the fore-mentioned Teachers, who have run in their Wills, for self-ends, and the Lord never sent them, could never profit People at all: and as Christ Jesus the Lord, and his true Prophets, in former times were troubled and opposed by such hirelings; So also the true Apostles of Christ did not escape the trials and oppositions of that de­ceitful spirit by which they were acted. For such, saith Paul, are false Apostles, deceitful Workers, Satans Ministers, transforming themselves into the likeness of the Apostles of Christ, 2 Cor. 11. Some of these were already come in his day: And I know, saith he, that after my departure grievous wolves shall come in among you, not sparing the flock: also, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples af­ter them, Acts 20.29, &c. And as the Kingdom of Antichrist grew, these perverse things were established for Doctrine by a Law: For the very Name of Antichrist holds forth a spirit opposing it self to every appearance of Christ, and of his holy Spirit and Anointing in man.

The true Apostles and Ministers of Christ drew the soul from men and self, unto Christ, and his Anointing in them, to know that to teach them: but these, and all other false teachers, draw from Christ and his Anointing within, to look at Flesh and Form without, which perfects not at all to God. And of this sort also are they, saith the same Paul, which creep into houses (understand the great stone houses, called Churches, as well as others) and lead captive silly Women, laden with sins, led away with divers lusts; ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth, 2 Tim. 3. Of this sort, saith Paul, as shall come in the last perilous [Page 9] times, even Lovers of their own selves, Covetous, Boasters, Proud, Blas­phemers, Unholy, (who say they are Christians, but are not so in truth) Fierce, &c. having the Form of Godliness, but denying the Power thereof; and these he exhorted true Believers to turn from; and so in obedience to God, those now who are come to know Christ and his anointing in them, to teach them, are turned from such. And though these Deceivers have proceeded for a time, to wit, during the late night of Apostacy, which Paul, 2 Thess. 2. spake of, to deceive many; Yet now that the Light is risen again from under the earth, they are manifest, and can proceed no further. Let none therefore now be so void of understanding, as to brand the true Messengers of Jesus Christ in this day, with the name of Deceivers, Because they declare truth, not only publickly, but al­so from house to house, by virtue of the holy Spirit only; for so did the Apostles themselves, and yet were no creepers into houses; for creeping into houses denotes the work of the children of dark­ness, who run without the Lord Jesus Christ, his Spirit, or Authori­ty, in their own wills, for self ends, as before: leading about Peo­ple in their silliness and sinfulness all their dayes, as by woful ex­perience, in the late Ages of the World, since the Apostles dayes, hath been fully manifest; wherein the World hath wondred after the Beast. And as there were false Prophets among the People, saith Peter, even so also shall there be false teachers among you; who shall privily bring in damnable Heresies, &c. 2 Pet. 2. But how may these be known, may some say; By their fruits, saith Christ, ye shall know them. And of this sort are they, saith Peter, in the same Chapter, who through covetousness, with fained words, make merchandise of People; and by walking after the flesh, in the lust of covetousness and uncleanness, and despite of Christs Government, even deny the Lord that bought them. These are the presumptuous ones indeed, who count it pleasure to ryot in the day time, speaking evil of the worthy things that God works and makes manifest in his Chil­dren, which these presumptuous ones know not. And these false Teachers are of those whose eyes are full of adultery, and that can­not cease from sin: for how should they, seeing their heart is ex­ercised with covetous practises, loving the wages of unrighteous­ness, like Balaam, as he (to wit, the Apostle Peter) there speaks. And therefore, those that see not these are blind indeed; and those that these Teachers can deceive, may well be said to be without [Page 10] a foundation: and hence it hath comes to pass that through such Teachers wickedness and Peoples ignorance, the World hath been as a Wilderness. And now therefore is the the Lord, according to his blessed Promise, bringing up that knowledge of himself and his Christ again, that shall make the Wilderness a fruitful Field, and sweet smelling Garden for himself to be glorified in. And this know­ledge of God shall cover the Earth as the Waters do the Sea. And, thereby shall all hurting and destroying be done away from amongst men, Isa. 65. last; as is this day witnessed amongst such where this knowledge of God hath place. Glory to his Name for ever. So now therefore all ye Kings, Princes, Potentates and Rulers of the Earth, see in what Principle you stand, and upon what Foundation you grow, and whose work you are a doing; whether Gods or your own. True Magistrates are not a terrour to the good, but to the evil But how can ye see the good and the evil truly asunder, or know what to punish, and what to protect, if you come not to the Light, Christ Jesus, that true Light which lighteth every man that cometh in to the world (as was said before) to take counsel at him, for he is the wonderful Counsellour; and whatsoever makes things truly mani­fest is his Light, and with it every hard thing is known, and every secret thing found out, but without it nothing; but all People that walk in the darkness of their own understandings, do erre in Visi­on and stumble in Judgment, and so know not what they do nor whither they go: and this way that seemeth good in the mans own eye, is that which alwayes tended to death, and disordered all things. And by such a judgement Barralas was released, and the innocent Jesus delivered to be crucified; and by this the false Prophets in all ages were protected and born up, and the dear Ser­vants of Christ cast out as a thing of nought.

So arise, arise, awake, awake to righteousness and sin not, for the Lord is on his way to give unto every Nation, and each Peo­ple therein, Rewards according to their Works, without respect of persons. And until Gods righteousness rule in all, and over all, how can any thing stand, let that of God in all Consciences judge; So lay things to heart, for this is the day of your visitation. Also, you Bishops and high Teachers, who are pleased in your mindes because accepted of man; consider, Are you accepted of God? Is your Sacrifice so pure, and your Persons so innocent, that the holy God can receive them? Is your Doctrine so sound, and [Page 11] Life incorrupt that none can justly blame it? Have your Hands handled the Word of Life which you speak of to others? And do you know in your selves what that living sharp and powerful Word of God is (which the Apostle, Heb. 4. speaks of) which divides betwixt joynt and marrow, soul and spirit, and discerneth all the thoughts and intents of every heart? And are your hearts clean­sed by it? And do you preach and minister this internal, living, and eternal Truth (the Word) to the People, or the dead Let­ter only? See how it is: For the Fruit now must be the real wit­ness of every Trees nature. Have you received the free gift from above? Then sell it not for mony. Would you be accounted Mi­nisters and Embassadors of Christ, and would you have the Chil­dren of Light to own you? Then approve your selves to them as Paul did to the Brethren in his dayes, 2 Cor. 6.3, &c. In much Patience, in Afflictions, in Necessities, in Distresses, in Stripes, in Im­prisonments; as dying, yet alive in the hearts of the Hearers by the power of Truth, &c. And let all People see that you mind the good of the Soul, and Gods glory, more than the World, and your own self-ease and advantage: For the Day is dawned that makes all things manifest. And lay by your carnal Weapons, and make proof of your spiritual Weapons (if you have any) and try a lit­tle, how you can perswade men to be of your mind by that means: for People begin to question much the forcing of men into Religi­on by the carnal Sword and outward Constraint, whether it be of God or no. For its found by experience, that into what Peo­ple are forced by the outward Power, by the same meanes may they be forced out of that again, and so remain restless and without a foundation, until the Truth it self settle them. So set not up your rest in the Wilderness, much less in Egypt, but look towards the holy Land, the undefiled, unmove­able Foundation, and suffer others to do so too. And those that have spied out the good Land, hinder them not from en­tring in, but help them on in their journey, if you can, lest you be found fighters against God. For now is the effect of every Vi­sion coming in; and a feeble one in this blessed Jerusalem, that is descended, and daily coming down from God out of Heaven, is as David, and David as the Angel of God before them, Zach. 12.8. he that runs may now read it his eye be open. And blessed are all that have believed in Gods holy Name; these will not be troubled [Page 12] at Zions Prosperity, but will set to their Seal that God is true, and praise the Lord with us, the Children of the Womb of the Eternal Morning, Praised be God. So be it.

And all know a separation in your selves betwixt the precious and the vile, and the vile brought under, and the precious bearing rule there, and then will you be in some measure able to discern and judge aright of things abroad, but not until then. The carnal man seeks to gather a great heap into a Form, but the Spiritual man whose eye is in his head, he seeks to bring People out of the evil of the world into the good of Gods Kingdom and power of Godliness. Blessed are they that can lay down all their own at the feet of Jesus Christ, that they maybe what they are in him; for the World and the Glory of it, and the Lovers of it, is as a fa­ding Flower, but he only that doth the Will of God abides for ever.

Given forth in the Movings of the Spirit of the Lord God, in his Servant, who is a Sufferer amongst his Reproached Ones (cal­led Quakers) for the Testimony of his Everlasting Truth, praised and blessed be God for ever, who hath counted us wor­thy thereunto.
T. Taylor.
THE END.

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