A Declaration of Truth TO BENJAMIN HOADLY, One of the High Priests of the Land, AND Of the Degree whom Men call BISHOPS.

By a Ministring Friend, who writ to Tho. Bradbury, a Dealer in many Words.

LONDON: Printed for E. More, near St. Paul's, and Sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster, 1717. Price Six Pence.

A Declaration of TRUTH TO Benjamin Hoadly.

BE it known unto thee, Friend Benjamin, that albeit we, who are the People of the Lord, own thee not in thy proud Titles, neither in thy Office, as thou exerci­sest the same; neither can we treat thee with that Distinction wherewith Men distinguish thee, forasmuch as we do not acknowledge the same (as thou dost) to be of God: Ne­vertheless I shall treat thee respectfully in this thing, whereof I am now to commune with thee, seeing thou hast uttered much Truth with thy Mouth, and therefore hast moved much Wrath of wicked Men against thee.

And would'st thou, Benjamin, faithfully pursue the Light which I perceive is in thee, and which shineth abroad far and nigh; I say, would'st thou act according to the Light which I plainly see is in thee, thou should'st have Praise; for thou hast verily done wor­thily, in that thou hast restored the King­dom [Page 4] to them to whom it solely appertaineth, and hast dethroned the Usurpations of wic­ked Men, who have unrighteously set them­selves up in the Throne of Jesus.

Verily, Benjamin, thou hast done worthi­ly, in that thou hast appeared for the Cause of our God against the Unrighteousness of Men; and hast not been afraid, neither dis­couraged, when they have risen up against thee with great Wrath: And I am sent unto thee to declare in words of Seriousness, that thou should'st not faint, neither be dismay'd, for that many of the Faithful Servants of God are with thee in this thing, and do say unto thee God speed, which thou knowest we are forbidden to say unto the ungodly, and unto Men who are not led in the right way.

Having thus given my Testimony to thy good Works, I communicated my Intentions to Friends: Among these, Aminadab, a righteous Man, fearing not the Face of Men, but fearing God only, saith unto thee, that his Heart is likewise with thee in the things which thou hast said; to wit, That the Power of Men, or the Laws of Men, have no Au­thority to interfere with, or to join their Power with the Right Hand of Jesus, who allows no Partners in the Throne of his Glorious Kingdom on Earth, any more than he will admit Partners in the Throne of his [Page 5] Glorisy'd Kingdom in Heaven. Moreover, he hath sent Messengers unto me, saying, Speak thou Ebenezer in the Ears of Benjamin Hoadly, and say unto him, Fear not the Face of Men, tho' many rise up against thee, say­ing, Thou lyest, thou lyest; for verily thou lyest not Benjamin, but hast spoken the Truth, and it shall prevail.

Aaron, a Man filled with Knowledge, and a Teacher of Wisdom, sent also unto me, saying, Ebenezer, the thing which Aminadab our Friend hath communicated unto thee concerning Benjamin Hoadly, are things which savour of Truth; and thou wilt do well to speak unto the said Benjamin, say­ing, Fear not Benjamin, for wise Men are with thee, and good Men are with thee; and verily they be better Men, and more in num­ber, that are with thee than those that be against thee.

I might name unto thee many Friends, en­dowed with Wisdom and Knowledge, who speak well of thee, for that thou hast spoken the Truth with great boldness, and hast not feared to utter it, even in the hearing of the King, and we may not doubt but that our Lord the King will be thy strong Helper a­gainst all thine Enemies, and will assist thee to silence the Gain-sayers of thy Doctrine; for verily, the King is an unfeigned Friend unto the Truth, and would be willing that [Page 6] all Men should walk in the path to Heaven, howbeit he may not be inlightned equal to our Friends, which nevertheless we hope he may hereafter be, if God seeth it good to bring his Heart over unto us.

And albeit Friend Benjamin, thou art not yet joined unto the faithful Servants of God our Friends, but that thou for a little while remainest, as to some things, in the Darkness of the World; yet forasmuch as thou join­est with us in the Truth, we embrace thee willingly, nothing doubting but that the Heavenly Light which has shone out in thy Word, will hereafter shine in thy Heart, and thou wilt come over more perfectly un­to us Friends, who are already established in the Truth.

And I am the farther confirm'd in the truth hereof, in that thou hast so boldly acknow­ledged the Truths of God, being the same professed by us, and for the sake whereof we are inclin'd to think well of thee; and seeing I have informed thee that thou hast so exactly taught what we in Principle be­lieve, and closely adhere to in Practice, I shall let thee know, Benjamin, how exactly thou agreest with us who have received the Truth, and that we hold and believe all the Truths that thou hast taught, and that also even in the same words in which thou hast declared them, or but with small variation [Page 7] thereof, as thou wilt farther be informed, when thou shalt read the following Heads, which are part of the Principles of Truth, or of those things about Doctrine, which we Friends do most surely believe and recieve; to wit,

Concerning Religion, we believe, that it is only the Spirit of the Lord that makes Men truly Religious; and no Man ought to be com­pelled to or from any exercise or practice in Re­ligion, by any outward Law or Power, but every Man ought to be left free, as the Lord shall perswade his own mind, in doing, or leaving un­done this or the other practice in Religion; and every Man of what Profession in Religion so­ever, ought to be protected in Peace; provided himself be a Man of Peace, not seeking the wrong of any Man's Person or Estate.

And we believe, That to reprove false Opini­ons and unsound Doctrines and Principles seek­ing to convince them that oppose themselves, by Exhortation or sharp Reproof, by word or wri­ting, ought not to be counted a breach of the Peace; or to strive about the things of the King­dom of God, by Men of contrary Minds or Judg­ments, this ought not to be punished by the Ma­gistrates and their Laws: for we believe that the outward Laws and Powers of the Earth are only to preserve Mens Persons and Estates, and not to preserve Men in Opinions: neither ought the Laws of the Nation to be laid upon Mens [Page 8] Consciences, to bind them to or from such a Judgment or Practice in Religion.

And we believe, That Christ is, and ought only to be Lord and Exerciser of Mens Consciences, and his Spirit must only lead into all Truth.

And we believe, That Obedience and Subje­tion in the Lord belongs to Superiors, and that Subjects ought to obey them [in the Lord] that have rule over them: and that Children ought to obey their Parents, and Wives their Hus­bands, and Servants their Masters in all things, which is according to God, which stand in the exercise of a pure Conscience towards God: But where Rulers, Parents or Masters, or any other, command or require Subjection in any thing which is contrary to God, or not according to him, in such cases all People are free, and ought to obey God rather than Man; and we believe, that herein God will justifie them, being guided and led by his Spirit in all that which is good, and out of all that which is evil.

Herein, Friend Benjamin, thou mayest see, as in a Vision of clear Light, that thou art in the same way of Truth with us, and I have Freedom to own thee therein; for ve­rily thou hast clearly testified unto the Truth which we believe, in that thou hast likewise said, even in our Words, That every Man ought to be left free as the Lord shall perswade his own Mind.

[Page 9] Now Benjamin let it not seem strange un­to thee, that I say unto thee, that these are our own Words; for I speak therein with Truth and Soberness, referring thee for Testimony thereof unto a little Book pub­lished more than Forty and Five Years since, by a Body of our Friends, and Signed by John Crook, a Man endowed with a Spirit of a sound Mind, and also by three other Anci­ents, who were likewise Men of true Wisdom. This Book is Entituled, Truth's Principles, &c. in which Book the Words which I have written unto thee above, are to be found.

Searching likewise thy Book, Benjamin, which thou hast made Publick, by the Com­mand of the King, I find these Words, which I hope thou hast learned from our Friends above written; to wit, That the Language of the Word is, That knowing the Terrors of the Lord, we should perswade Men; but that the Language of the Mens Conduct, who profess to succeed Him that Taught the o­ther, is, That having the Terrors of this World in their power, they do not perswade Men, but force their outward Profession against their inward Perswasion.

Verily thou hast spoken, Benjamin, as one having the Light of the Spirit; and this is a Truth which the Men of the World cannot be able to resist. Verily, Friend Benjamin, we agree with thee, that the Kingdom of [Page 10] Jesus is not of this World, and that the Laws of his Kingdom likewise, and the Re­wards and Punishments of those Laws, are suited to the end of those Laws, and to the Nature of his Kingdom: Nay, Benjamin, I will use thy Words as thou hast used the Words of wise Men, who went before thee; to wit,

"The Laws of this Kingdom, therefore, as Christ left them, have nothing of this World in their view; not Tendency, either to the Exaltation of Some, in wordly Pomp and Dignity; or to their absolute Dominion over the Faith and Religious conduct of Others of his Subjects; or to the erecting of any sort of Temporal King­dom, under the Covert of Name of a Spi­ritual One."

"The Sanctions of Christ's Law are Re­wards and Punishments. But of what sort? Not the Rewards of this Worlds; not the Offices, or Glories, of this State; not the Pains of Prisons, Banishments, Fines, or any lesser and more moderate Pe­nalties; nay, not the much lesser Negative Discouragements that belong to Humane Society. He was far from thinking that These could be the Instruments of such a Perswasion, as He thought acceptable to God. But, as the Great End of his Kingdom, was to guide Men to Happiness, after the short Images of it were over [Page 11] here below; so, he took his Motives from that place where his Kingdom first began, and where it was at last to end; from those Rewards and Punishments in a future State, which had no relation to this World: And to shew that his King­dom was not of this World, all the Sanctions which He thought fit to give to His Laws, were not of this World at all."

I confirm these thy Positions and Doc­trines, Benjamin, with my Voice, and give thee Praise therefore, for verily thou art wor­thy of Praise, not only that thou hast spoken boldly the Truth, but for that thou hast done it in the Face of the Adversary, and hast not been afraid. And Blessed be the King, into whose Heart God hath put it to Frown upon the Gainsayers; and albeit they were gathered together against thee, he hath seattered them, and hath sent them away dis­couraged.

Neither do I flatter thee with my Lips; for Friends are not Guilty of such things, and it would be in me a great Iniquity; but I speak to thee in Sincerity and in Truth, and my Thoughts are moved to utter the Words of my Mouth; for verily thou hast dethroned and pulled down that Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, which has Exalted him­self; thou hast valintly Encountred the Tribe of ungodly Priests, who have by an [Page 12] Injurious Usage of the Lord's People, for many Years usurped the Authority of King Jesus, and have exercised Dominion over the Souls who they have had committed by Men unto their Charge; these they have Tyranni­zed over, and have Cruelly Persecuted un­der pretence of Authority from Jesus; albeit Jesus the true King and only Head of all true Believers, as thou hast well said, hath given no such Authority unto them.

Now concerning Ministers I will tell thee what Friends do surely Receive and Believe, and I will not give thee my own words, but the words of the said Declaration of Truth's Principles mention'd before; to wit,

"Such Ministers as are made by God, who are sanctified by his Word and Power, who have freely received perfect Gifts from God, and so by the Spirit and Power of God are sent forth into the World, to turn the People from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan to the Power of God; who freely Minister unto others, without coveting any Man's Gold, or Sil­ver, or Apparel; not seeking theirs, but them: Warning every Man and teaching every Man in all Wisdom, that they might present every Man perfect in Christ Jesus: such as minister from the Spirit, and have the Word of God abiding in them; who are never unprovided, but at all times and [Page 13] seasons, and in all places, do speak and declare the Truth, as they are moved and instructed, and as the Spirit of Truth doth give them utterance; Such Ministers we own, and have in great esteem."

This we surely do Believe, Benjamin, and thou hast done worthily in concurring with us, and in that thou hast taken away from those who call themselves Ministers, all that Power and pretended Authority which they assume, and which we say they usurp contra­ry to the Nature of the Office of a Minister, which we also Declare to be only to Teach and Instruct, not to Terrify and Affright the People of the Lord; and herein we know, that altho' thou wilt offend them, and they will shew great Wrath against thee therefore; yet, I say, we know thou hast spoken the Truth against them, and I concur with thee therein; nay I acknowledge thee and own thee therein, because thou hast concurred with us in the Truth, not doubting but thou wilt be farther inlightned, in the Lord's due time, to joyn with Friends in all the words of Truth which we Profess.

I must farther say in thy behalf, Friend Benjamin, that thou hast spoken Excellent words of Wisdom in defiance of the Men of high Notions, who are of the Tribe who thou didst belong to in former time; for thou hast taken the People out of their hands, and hast [Page 14] set them free from the mock Terrors of Vain Men, such as they call the Artillery of the Church; which we that know the ways of Truth, are acquainted with the Deceitfulness of; and as I Glory in thy Words thereupon, I shall repeat them in thy Praise as followeth, to wit,

‘"Not the least Tittle of Salvation or Damnation depends upon the Will of weak Men, but all upon God and your selves; Humane Benedictions, Humane Absoluti­ons, Humane Denunciations, Humane Ex­communications, have nothing to do with the Favour or Anger of God: But are Hu­mane Engins, permitted to work (like o­ther Evils) by Providence."’

These are Excellent Things spoken with Wisdom, and thou shalt have due Praise of the same: Likewise hast thou Batter'd down the strong Holds of Satan, in thy Words on the same Subject.

‘"In all your Religious Concerns, that ef­fect your Eternal Salvation, and your Title to God's Favour, your Rule is plain and evident Christ is your sole Law-giver, and your sole Judge, as to those Points. The Papists may Excommunicate the Protestant Non jurors: The Non-jurors may Excom­municate the High-Church-Men, as well as all other British Protestants, who pray for King GEORGE: These again may [Page 15] Excommunicate, Ʋnchurch, Ʋnchristian, those whose Church-Government, or Wor­ship, differ from their own; and these a­gain may Exercise the same Spiritual Dis­cipline, wherever their Terrors can extend themselves: They may thus scatter Dam­nation about; Playing, one would think, as the Man in the Proverbs, with Fire­brands and Death, and saying, Are we not in Sport; and they may every one Flatter themselves, that this Power of the Keys shuts out from the Catholick Church here, and from the Kingdom of Heaven hereafter: But it is in truth only from themselves that they can Excommunicate: And this is very often their own Crime, and their own Loss: but Christ himself and his Apostles have plainly told you what it is, and what alone that shall cut you off from him; and Declared a Curse upon all who Preach any other Gospel; and conse­quently, who add any thing as absolutely necessary to his Favour, which he hath not made so."’

To these Truths of thine, such I call them, as thou hast been honoured to speak them first among Men, I bear my Testimony, and the good People, the People of the Lord, despised by Men, of whom I am the meanest, have born their Testimony many Years ago: I say, with thee, that the boast­ed [Page 16] Terms which those Men make wicked use of, such as Regular and uninterrupted Succes­sions, Authoritative Benedictions, Excommu­nications, Absolutions, &c. are Vain Words, mere Terrors of Men, not the Terrors of the Lord, Niceties and Trifles: And therefore it is that we disown the whole Tenor and Sub­stance of the Canons and Institutions of that which they Prophanely, as I doubt not thou wilt in time be led by these Lights to do al­so; I Despise and Contemn all the pretend­ed Authority of that which they weakly and impertinently call, a Power derived from Christ and his Apostles: I know no Ministers but such as is before described; as for such as are brought up at Schools and Colleges, and so made Ministers by the will of Man, who have not freely received perfect Gifts from God for perfecting of the Saints, but denies Perfection, and so denies the Ministers Work, neither do minister freely, but seek for Gain from their Quarters, and will not Preach without a price; who are not sanctified by the Word of God, but plead for a continuance in Sin while People walk upon the Earth: Such as Minister from the Letter, and not from the Spirit; who can­not Preach except they have time to Study, and so by their industry provide themselves, and are not provided of the Lord (such a Ministry is of Works, and not the Free Gift from God) such cannot profit People, but lead them captive [Page 17] in an empty and dead Form, always hearing, but never able to come to the true Know­ledge of God: Such called Ministers we do deny, and turn from them, and testifie against them, as the holy men of God formerly did.

I doubt not, Friend Benjamin, but thy Words tend to bring thee to the same Just Contempt, that I have entertained, and that Friends most righteously do entertain of these uncalled Priests, and that in the mean time thou wilt, by thy sober and weighty Speeches, bring all that wicked Hierarchy, which those Priests so violently contend for, into Con­tempt among the People.

I am therefore moved to bear my Testi­mony with thee against them; forasmuch as they usurping high Dignity and Authority, have erected a Kingdom which they say is the Kingdom of Jesus; howbeit, as I veri­ly think, it is a Kingdom of this World, forasmuch as they exercise Jurisdictions which be of this World therein, and have taken to themselves Powers which be of themselves; which nevertheless they take upon them to say, are descended to them, and by the no­tions and pretences of a Succession of those Powers, they assume a Right to Exercise those Powers over the Consciences of Men, which Friends say they have no Right to do: And furthermore we say and believe, That whereas they Exercise the Power and [Page 18] Authority which alone belongs to King Jesus, the King and sole Chief of his faithful Followers; they therefore erect their own Kingdom, not the Kingdom of King Jesus, and exercise the Authority and Power, which is his only, as their own.

I rejoice, Benjamin, that thou hast publish­ed true Doctrine, and hast given thy testi­mony with us to the Truth, which we on so good and solid Foundations have receiv'd; and I question not but thou wilt be assisted by the Spirit of Truth to pull down and overthrow the whole Power; Hierarchy and Constitution of that People who call them­selves The Church; verily, they are Usurpers of the Kingdom and Throne of King Jesus; and thou shalt be a Champion of the Truth, in that thou shalt overthrow those Ecclesi­astick Principalities and Powers, which are not of God, and shalt establish true Religion in that mighty Principle of Heavenly Light, in which it is only to be found.

This is that inward Revelation which thou hast been obliged to bear thy Testimo­ny unto, (viz) That Light which perswades the Minds of Men, and whereby every step of Reformation which hath been made in the World, hath been justified, and which, as thou sayest well, is all the Account which Protestants can give for their being reform'd from the People call'd Papists.

[Page 19] And doubtless thou hast by the same Ar­guments justified all those, the People of the Lord, who being perswaded in themselves of their being guided by Heavenly Light, have separated and withdrawn from these Usurpations, of which thou hast spoken so worthily.

And what remains, beloved Friend Ben­jamin, but that thou shouldst, according as thou hast worthily begun, and according to the Light which shineth in thy Mind, sepa­rate thy self from these Usurpers of unrigh­teous Authority, and joining thy self with the Friends to Truth, shouldst bear thy Te­stimony against all Ungodliness; for verily Benjamin, thou canst not but see and abhor the Doctrine which these Men teach, saying, We are the Church, and Power is with us; which thou knowest is false, and is not of God, and that the Power which they use is not of God, but is the Power of Men, tend­ing to ungodly Dominion and Usurpation; such as is that of the Pope of Rome, which nevertheless they have disowned while they yet practice.

For verily, Benjamin, it seemeth to me that thou who hast received such Light, and hast acknowledged the Truths which are di­rectly contrary to these Men, canst not any longer continue among them, or wear those prophane Ensigns of Idolatry, whereby thou [Page 20] art distinguished from other Men, even in a manner which thou thy self knowest is not appointed by King Jesus: For verily, Ben­jamin, the Robes of Distinction which thou wearest, and wherewith thou art honoured among Men, are the Ensigns of that usurp'd Power which thou hast so worthily condemn­ed, and thou canst not longer abide among those who thou knowest are the Enemies to the Light which thou hast receiv'd, and who walk contrary to the Doctrine which thou hast taught, and which we the Lord's People have so many Years ago receiv'd.

Wherefore I am mov'd to advertise thee, in behalf of the Truth, that thou shouldst not delay any longer joining thy self unto the Lord's People, whose Cause thou hast already so worthily pleaded: For why shouldst thou not cause thy Life and thy Doctrine to conform unto each other? And why shouldst thou decline to profess openly thy adherence to the Lord's People, whilst thou dost not decline to teach the Principles which they believe, and which they have re­ceived from the beginning?

It is true, Benjamin, the mean and hum­ble Station of those who be Teachers and Ministers of the Lord among us, may not be agreeable to thy present Temper, who art exalted to be great among Men; but where­as thou knowest that the Kingdom of Jesus [Page 21] is not of this World, and that likewise his Rewards are not of this World, as thou hast most worthily taught; so Benjamin, how shouldst thou not reject the Honours given by Men, which are the Rewards issuing from that usurped Power which is not according to the Laws of his Kingdom! These sincere­ly, according to thy own Rules, are not of God, neither canst thou, who art now en­lightned from a higher Spirit, submit to be deck'd with their Ornaments, but shouldst cast them off, like as Christians in Primitive Times refused to be deck'd with the Garlands and Vestments of Idolatrous Priests; and like as those People who are called Prote­stants, refuse and detest the Habiliments and Vestments, Titles, Dignities and Distinctions, of the Popish Priests, choosing to be called by the truly venerable Name of Ministers of Christ, rather than by the Titles of Popes, Cardinals, Abbots, Monks, Friers, and the like.

Forasmuch then as the Usurpers of the Power and Authority of King Jesus have manifestly invaded his Crown and Judicatory also, as thou hast said, and have set up Marks of their usurp'd Authority, to wit, their Antichristian Excommunications, Abso­lutions, Exorcisms, and other profane Pra­ctices, and have likewise given Honours, which our Lord and only Soveraign Jesus [Page 22] Christ never gave, it seemeth unto me, that thou Benjamin, who hast so manfully de­throned their Power and Authority, and hast exposed their Usurpation to such Con­tempt, or at least hast contemned it in thy Heart, and with the Words of thy Mouth; I say, it seemeth unto me that thou canst not receive the Honours given by that usur­ped Authority without some Breach upon the aforesaid Declaration of thy Principles, and acting therein contrary to the Light which is within thee.

Furthermore, Benjamin, I admonish thee to consider that thou canst not abide in the Truth which thou hast now taught in thy Speaking Place, and published with boldness in Printed Papers, unless thou comest out from among that sort of People, of whom thou art said now to be a Ruler; forasmuch as thou hast declared them to be Workers of Iniquity, and Sons of Belial: Thy Consci­ence therefore will not suffer thee to be call­ed any longer by their Name; neither canst thou be found any longer to own and join thy self unto them: Canst thou, Benjamin, be joined unto Usurpers of the Authority of thy Master and King? Canst thou share his Power, whom thou hast so loudly declared to be the sole Lawgiver and Governour of his Kingdom? Do not these Men continue their Usurpations? Do they not continue to [Page 23] claim that Authority which, as thou hast said, appertains only to Christ the King? And thou knowest, Benjamin, they will continue to claim the same, and to exercise it, as if it was granted unto them, albeit thou know­est that it is not. Wherefore, O Man, re­move thy self speedily from these Men; yea, I know thou wilt remove thy self from them: For why shouldst thou be found at last in the company of those Men whom thou hast filled with Contempt, saying, They are Enemies to the Kingdom of Jesus in the World.

Verily, Benjamin, thou hast done well in that thou hast openly declared the Iniquity of those who have armed themselves with unlawful Power, and have exercised Ty­ranny over their Brethren, saying, Ye must join with us, otherwise ye shall go to Pri­son; or otherwise you shall have no Ho­nour, or Part or Lot among us; whereas King Jesus never left any such Command­ment: But it remaineth as a Difficulty, or Doubt, unto us who are Friends, how thou canst, O Benjamin, lay a Confederacy with these Men! Art not thou therein an Usur­per also with them of the Power and Au­thority of thy only Lord and King; and that in a much grosser manner than they? Verily, Benjamin, if thou come not out from among them, thou wilt give occasion [Page 24] to wicked Men to say of thee, that thou hast said that in thy Teaching Office which thou wilt not put in practice in thy own Person; and they will speak evil words of thee, saying, Thou teachest Men to do what thou shunnest to do thy self; and that thou shunnest not those things which thou teach­est others to shun and avoid. Moreover, Benjamin, Art thou not even at this time, and after the similitude of thine own words, according to thy own Doctrine, an Usurper of the Authority of King Jesus, in that thou continuest to exercise that same Power, of which thou hast said that King Jesus gave no such Power unto Men, to wit, that profane unlawful Power which those whom Men call Bishops generally exercise over their Brethren, oppressing the Lord's People in their ungodly Courts. Dost thou not preside in thy usurped Judicature, exercising that Power there which thou hast said, the Lord hath not given thee a Right to exercise? And dost thou not there make use of those things which thou hast owned to be Trifles and Nullities, to wit, Excommunications, Absolutions, and such like things? I say, Dost thou not suffer these things to be done in thy Name, to the Subjects of thy Lord, in those Seats of Evil Men called Ecclesi­astick Courts? And how canst thou do this after thou hast so plainly told us, that this [Page 25] is to make thy self King in the stead of thy King Jesus. Nay, Friend Benjamin, in this thou hast not done well; forasmuch also, as thou hast sinned herein against the Light that is in thee, and hast caused thy Feet to tread aside out of the Path of Truth, which thou hast chalked out for others, that they might walk therein: But I trust that thou wilt be guided by the good Spirit, and by the light of Truth shining in thy Soul, and then thou wilt be sure to come away and remove from the Tents of wickedness.

Wherefore, Friend Benjamin, as I know that the Truth hath been spoken by thee, I warn thee, for thy good, that thou come out speedily from among them; lay down thy painted Vestments, and prophane Trin­kets, the Ensigns of that Usurpation upon thy Lord and Master's Kingdom, which thou hast so faithfully born thy Testimony a­gainst; I say, I exhort thee to lay them down speedily, and come out from among them forthwith, joyning thy self unto us, whose Principles thou hast acknowledged: So shall thy Life and Doctrine be Uniform, and thou shalt be sure to deserve that Bles­sing which attends those who are not asha­med to Practice the things which they Pro­fess.

Likewise, Benjamin, this will enable thee to overcome the Gainsayers; for behold [Page 26] they do already upbraid thee herewith; and verily the Man called Andrew Snape, hath spoken unto thee Words of scorning with boldness, in a Book which he stileth, a Let­ter written unto thee; and in the Twenty and Fifth Page thereof, that if the Case be as thou hast said, it is the Men called Parsons, have nothing more to do but to throw up their Orders, since their Church hath no need of them, and since they not only do no Service, but are Guilty of a Criminal Ʋsurpation.

Likewise hath the same Andrew Snape said unto thee in his said Book, and in the Thirty and Sixth Page thereof, these words, to wit, That he doth not see how, upon these Princi­ples, thou canst take thy place in the Provincial Sanhedrim of the Priests, or how thou canst require Subscriptions or Declarations of those of the Sons of the Prophets whom thou dost ad­mit to the Priesthood among thy People, or how thou canst Exercise almost any Act of Episcopal Jurisdiction.

Now verily, Benjamin, albeit this same Andrew Snape is a Man by his Profession in an evil way, and such as I allow not to be according to the Truth; yet nevertheless herein hath he spoken unto thee words which thou shouldest consider well of; for that they are of weight unto thee, to wit, That thou shouldst separate thy self from E­vil-doers, whose ways thou knowest to be [Page 27] Wrong; and that whereas thou hast con­demned them for Usurpation, and Invasion of the Kingdom of King Jesus, thou should­est not at the same time continue among them, or sit in thy Seat in their Assemblies.

Moreover, it seemeth unto me, Benjamin, that whereas thou hast replied to Andrew Snape in harsh Words, saying, That he hath evil entreated thee, and hath written bitter things against thee, and things which sa­vour not of Truth; yet nevertheless, I per­ceive that thou hast not said one word unto him to Gainsay what he hath told thee con­cerning thy coming out from among them, or that thou canst not, by thy own Princi­ples, take thy Seat in the Assembly of thy Priests; wherefore I rejoice in thy behalf, nothing doubting but that thou wilt come and join thy self with the Lord's People, who are Friends unto the Truth, and unto all that thou hast said of the Usurpation of Men, and as I have already given thee to understand, have many Years received the Truths which thou hast Preached at this day.

Neither let it grieve thee, Friend Benjamin, that thou shalt relinquish the things which Men call Honours and Greatness, and shalt lose thereby the Advantages and Profits which thou dost now receive; forasmuch as thou knowest that the Rewards of the King­dom [Page 28] of Jesus, are not of this World; and if the Rewards of this World are the Sanctions of the Kingdom whereof thou hast spoken, then it is not of Jesus: So that thou shalt only relinquish the Rewards of this World, and shalt seek the Rewards of that Kingdom which is not of this World.

These things being so naturally drawn from thy own words, I trust thou wilt not Hesitate thereat, but wilt accept of my wholesome Advice, and shew thy self not to be ashamed of the practising those things whereof thou hast testify'd, saying, That they are True.

Neither canst thou, Friend Benjamin, be in danger of joyning with any other People than those, whose Profession I have here in­vited thee to; since there are not any who have received the Truths which thou hast Preached in their full Degrees, so as the People, who in contempt are called Quakers; with whom, as I have shewed, thou hast per­fectly conformed thy self to the Honour of thy Judgment, and of the divine Light shew­ing forth in thee.

As for those People called Presbyterians, thou canst by no means joyn thy self unto them, seeing they have declared themselves in Terms greatly opposite to thy Doctrines, saying, That Men have Power to make Laws, binding the Consciences of others; and that [Page 29] Rewards and Punishments of this World ap­pertain to Humane Authority, exercised by such as they call a Succession of Officers: These their Opinions are not according to Truth, as Friends have received it; neither are they like unto those. Truths which thou hast Preached: And therefore we see that questionless thou wilt avoid also the Errone­ous Opinions of Persecuting Presbyterians, and wilt joyn thy self unto us; and this I speak unto thee with the more certainty, for­asmuch as, Blessed by the Lord, thou art al­ready come beyond the corrupt Tenets of those People: Moreover, beloved Friend Benjamin, I make known unto thee, that the said Presbyterians are equally guilty of those things which the People of the Lord abhor; to wit, The pretences to a Power, which, as thou saidst well, Jesus the King of all those who are led by the light of the Truth, never delegated to them; and this they not only give to their Followers, but make Laws of their own; I say, Humane Laws, and Sanc­tions of Laws, such as Rewards and Punish­ments, for enforcing others to comply there­with; to wit, That they admit none to be Teachers among them, or to Preach and Prophesy unto the People, unless they pro­fess to believe and to receive certain Points which they call prophanely, Articles of Faith; [Page 30] wherein these wicked usurpations of Power are openly declared by them, saying,

1. "That the Lord Jesus, as King and Head of his Church, hath therein appoint­ed a Government in the hand of Church-Officers distinct from the Civil Magi­strate."

2. "That to these Officers the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven are committed; by Vertue whereof they have Power re­spectively to Retain and Remit Sins, to shut that Kingdom against the Impenitent, both by the Word and Censures, and to open it unto penitent Sinners, by the Ministry of the Gospel, and by Absolution from Censures, as occasion shall require."

3. "That these Church Censures are ne­cessary, &c. for preventing the Wrath of God, which might fall upon the Church, if they should suffer the Seal of the Cove­nant to be prophaned by Notorious and Obstinate Offenders."

These things thou knowest, Benjamin, are contrary to the Doctrines and Positions which thou hast so openly avowed, being no less than Invasions, and manifest Usurpati­ons, of the Kingdom and Authority of King Jesus, and in themselves Nullities and Trifles.

Yet these things, and in these Words, thou wilt find in those Heads of Belief, which these ungodly Presbyterians call the Confessi­on [Page 31] of their Faith, Article the XXX. How­beit, Blessed art thou, O Benjamin, in that thou hast born thy Testimony against these also. Wherefore I know, that leaving be­hind thee all these wicked and erroneous O­pinions, and bearing witness to the Truth, thou wilt at length joyn thy self unto us; and I rejoice over thee in this, that thou art inlightned to know the Truth; Testifying that I embrace thee with Affection in the Lord.

Friend Timothy Greeteth thee in like man­ner; as also James the Aged, a Lover of those who forsake the Errors of the Wicked: In a word, all Friends Greet, and speak well of thee.

Fare thee well.

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