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it, and bring forth the fruits of it, and are led by it out of sin, and that righteousness and judgment which it did reprove them of while they lived therein, and are led by it into that holiness and everlasting righteousness (through true judgment) which is the white raiment, fine linen, and clothing of the true Christian, who is come to know the same holy spirit of truth, which once convinced, reproved and judged him for sin and ungodliness, to make him free from it, and become his comforter and leader into all truth, according to the promise of Christ Jesus, John 16; the which to possess and enjoy, is the end, sum,* and substance of the Christian religion, and the end of all hearing, reading, preaching and believing. And that thou mayst know whether thou art a possessor hereof, or whether thou only talkest of it, and professest it, I in the bowels of love entreat and beseech thee seriously to weigh, read, and consider what follows, as the faith and experience of a true Christian, which is written in true love and good will to all that have the veil over their hearts, and the scales before their eyes, when they are reading the holy scriptures, and professing God, Christ and Christianity, and the doctrines thereof, which are but briefly hinted at, or spoken to in few words, in what follows.
And whether thou art a bare professor, or a real possessor, thou mayst reap profit hereby: if the one, thou art invited to inherit substance; if the other, thou art exhorted and warned to beware, lest thou lose thy inheritance again. So to the light, grace and holy spirit of God in thee, (be thou professor, profane, or believer,) I do commend thee, with it to read, and with it to judge, and by it to be taught and guided into a good understanding, and into the true knowledge of the two great mysteries of godliness and iniquity.
And that thou mayst truly understand and receive the one, and discover and avoid the other, is the desire of him who is a lover of the Christan religion, and of all that walk therein, and hath good will to
READER—The scriptures following, having a good esteem in my mind, as sayings worthy greatly to be noted, and weightily considered, I have committed them to the press; wishing thou mayst enjoy the end wherefore.
And this I will assure thee, if thou canst understand, believe, and receive these divine and heavenly sayings, precepts, exhortations, promises and testimonies, in these and other scriptures mentioned in this brief declaration of a true Christian's faith, &c. thou wilt not stumble
* The sum of Christian religion.
at, nor reject his testimony, &c. but embrace and have unity therewith. But if thou understandest not, nor believest the one, neither wilt thou the other; for the true christian bears testimony to the holy scriptures, and the scriptures to him; and the titular Christian's testimony is against them, and they are against him, because he doth not obey them, nor live the life they call for.
Eccl. xii. 1, 2. “Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not: nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt
say, I have no pleasure in them; while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain."
“Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God; for many false prophets are gone out into this world." 1 John iv. 1, &c.
“Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them, for greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” v. 4.
“ Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine of Christ, hath both the Father and the Son.” 2 John 9.
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.” v. 13.
“ To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace: because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now, if any man have not the spirit of God, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his spirit, that dwelleth in you.” Rom. viii. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.
“ Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving, is nothing pure; but even their minds and consciences are defiled. They profess that they know God, but by works they deny him, and are abominable; and to every good work reprobate.” Titus i. 15, 16.
“ If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.” John xv. 7.
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” John viii. 32. 34.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” v. 51.
“Father, I will, that they also whom thou hast given me be with me
where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them.” John xvii. 24, 26.
“ The disciple is not above his master, but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” Luke vi. 40.
“But love your enemies, and do good. And lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the highest; for he is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Luke vi. 35, 36.
“ Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsover I command 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 truth, and is no lie. And even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." 1 John ii. 27.
Read the eighth chapter to the Romans, and the Lord give thee understanding.
Rom. x. 8. “ The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is the word of faith which we preach.” “And hereby we do know that we do know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith he knoweth him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whosoever keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we, that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk, even as he walked." 1 John ii. 3, 4, 5, 6. Read to the end of the chapter.
“Little children, let no man deceive you. He that doth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose was the son of God manifest, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin; for his seed remains in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil; whosoever doth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother. We know, that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother, abideth in death." 1 John iii. v. 2 to the 10th and 14th.
“ No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfect in us. Hereby we know, that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his spirit. And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father sent the Son, to be the saviour of the world." 1 John iv. 12, &c.
“ I counsel thee to buy of my gold tried in the fire, that thou mayst be rich; and white rayment, that thou mayst be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thy eyes with eye
salve, that thou mayst see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous, therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man here my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sate down with my father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith to the churches." Rev. iii. 18, 19, 20, 21, 22.
“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it.” Rev. ii. 17.
“ He that believes hath the witness in himself.”
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”
“But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderer, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Rev. xxi. 7, 8.
Thus have I here transcribed and set before thee these scriptures before, being very divine and heavenly sayings, greatly worthy of thy reading over and over again; and in that light and grace which shines and appears in thy heart, and is able to remove the covering, and take away the veil from off the same; I desire thee to weigh and consider them, and measure and try thyself thereby.
Had I not the remembrance still upon my mind, how I often read those scriptures, and many the like, while my understanding was clouded, and the veil over my heart, and did not understand what I read, nor receive the comfort of them, nor witness the truth thereof in myself. I say, were it not for this remembrance, and the knowledge of the true light, that now shineth out of darkness, I should admire and wonder how the titular Christian, who readeth and professeth the holy plain testimonies, precepts, exhortations, and glorious promises recorded in the holy scriptures, (and lived in, and borne witness to by divers true christians now in this age,) should oppose and gainsay the same, and understand nothing thereof.
Though he professeth them to be his rule, he is so far from being ruled by them himself, that he hates and persecutes those that are, and that have received the good things they testify of.
And were it not that the holy scriptures had a great esteem in the affections of the people of those nations called Christendom, and that they did bear so plain evidence to the truth of the doctrines taught, and heavenly estates now professed and enjoyed by the true Christian, he would be more hated, persecuted, and cried out against than he is. So for this reason and divers more, he hath great cause to praise
God, that the scriptures have been preserved, and the holy divine sayings and testimonies of the righteous delivered down to this age, so clear, true, and plain as they are; for he alone enjoys the benefit, privilege, and comfort of them, by the virtue and operation of the light, love, and spirit of God, which they testify of, working in his inward
And except this be known, the scriptures, and all heavenly things are as a sealed book to thee, let thy natural parts, wisdom and acquired attainments, be never so great. Therefore thy duty is above all things, to hearken to, and obey the voice of God, and regard the inspiration of the Almighty, which gives understanding, that thou mayst learn his heavenly precepts, and understand his divine mysteries, and enjoy his glorious promises, and he made wise unto salvation, and so inherit everlasting life, peace and glory, and know an entrance ministered into the joy of the Lord.
And at least an earnest of all these things thou art to know, revealed, felt, and enjoyed within thyself, before thou go hence, and be no more seen among men.
Therefore put not the day of the Lord afar off, nor say in thy heart, the Lord delays his coming; for he waits to show himself gracious unto thee, and is come nigh unto judgment, and standeth even at the door, and appeareth at the gate and entrance of thy heart;* and his appearance thou mayst infallibly know from all other appearances, because it judgeth every appearance of evil; and not only so, but if thou openest the gate, and entertainest him in thy heart, he will furnish thee with power and strength against it, and fill thy temple with his heavenly treasures of wisdom and glory. So shalt thou not only read and hear of good things, but understand, possess, and enjoy them; and be able to obey this exhortation. “Abstain from every appearance of evil.”
And this saying, once spoken to Cain, the first-born, after transgression, universally concerns thee and all mankind, and is sounded daily in their ears, “ If thou dost well, shalt thou not be accepted? But if thou dost evil, sin lies at thy door,” Gen. iv. 3. And tribulation and anguish attends every soul of man that doth evil (let him profess what he will.) Rom. ii. 9.
Something by way of Caution and Warning to the titular Chris
tian, to whose hand this following Treatise may come.
I have some sense upon my mind, that thou wilt, upon thy reading thereof, be ready to censure and judge those things thou understandest
. Read Proverbs viii.