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P. "The most faithful messengers of Christ will acknowledge they came short of their duty.'
A. They that are faithful messengers of Christ, have the answer, well done, thou good and faithful servant.' Where did Paul, or John, or Peter acknowledge they came short of their duty ? have not you slandered the servants of the Lord, thinking them to be like yourselves, and falsely accusing them that you may seem justified, who are false
messengers, and come in his name when you have no commission from him? And you come short of every good work, but thus it is not with Christ's true messengers, for they fulfil his will that sent them: and it is the Lord that worketh in them whose they are, and whose duty they perform by his spirit.
P. The best of us have stammering tongues in this great work, and oftentimes we do it coldly and by halves, like Pellifer we see but with one eye; like Milkes, hear but with one ear; like unicorn, push against sin but with one horn. Place not good preaching in large speaking, judge of a minister by his brains, not lungs, by his heart, not throat.'
A. This is confessed to your own shame, who do your work coldly and by halves: it shows you have not the same spirit that was amongst the apostles, who were zealous, and faithful in the work of the Lord, and did it not coldly nor by halves as you do. And they saw with their eyes and heard with their ears, and their hearts God had opened, and they were a terror to all unrighteousness wherever it appeared. And the way to judge of a true minister is not by his brains, nor lungs, nor throat, but whether he hath received the holy ghost, and whether they have the same spirit that was amongst the apostles, and whether the presence of the Lord be with them, and effect his own work through them? These are the signs of Christ's ministers to judge them by : so you have missed the true character to judge justly, and your judgment is false, and it shows you are not guided by the infallible spirit of God.
P. We must attend to the words of the minister, though he himself be fruitless; in which sense we may be said to gather grapes of thorns, and figs of thistles: unsanctified ministers may possibly convert and comfort sinners, though our candle be in a dark lantern, and the saints know not what God is a doing.'
A. Christ said, Either make the tree good, and his fruit good, or the tree nought and his fruit nought,' and none can gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles;' but you say the contrary: and are pleading for fruitless ministers that they should be attended to, but the apostle exhorted to turn from them that had the form of godliness, but not the power. And judge in your ownselves how your words agree with Christ's and the apostles, they appear to be quite contrary. And unsanctified men are not Christ's ministers, nor did Christ ever send unsanc
tified persons, and they that run and were not sent, should not profit, nor did profit the people at all, could neither comfort saints nor convert sinners. But you are pleading for unsanctified ministers and for sinsul ministers, and say that people should not despise their doctrine; yea, the doctrine and words of unbelievers are despised and rejected by the saints, and though you say, 'scripture is scripture though uttered by satan,' yet I say, scripture in the mouth of satan is temptation and not edification; and it is true your hearts are dark, and minds are dark, even as a dark lantern, we do believe it; and the light in you shines in darkness, and is held in the dark lantern, and no light in you appears unto the dark world, but your unholy lives and unsanctified spirits, and you know not what God is a doing, who are unbelievers. But the saints have the mind of Christ, and know what God is doing; for his spirit dwells in them, but you have shut out yourselves that you are ignorant of God and what he is doing; but Christ's ministers, their light shines among men, and their good works are seen, but you have showed your folly and ignorance to all the world.
P. But what if somewhat in the lives of ministers, contradict the word they preach; disorderly teachers are pretty well purged out; if any continue, it is the fault of them that do not bring their wickedness to light, that such may be rooted out, who make the offering to be abhorred, the sins of the teachers being teachers' sins.'
A. The true ministers of Christ, their conversations were in heaven, and their good works and holy lives were agreeable to the word they preached; but disorderly teachers are not purged out. To preach for hire, is a disorder, and to cause people to be put into prison, and to be persecuted, and to be whipped, and to have their goods spoiled, these are disorderly practices, and such are disorderly teachers, many of whom there are yet unpurged out. But now the Lord God is arisen to try and to purge, and to bring wickedness to light, and to condema the sins of teachers, and teachers for their sins, and such shall be rooted out, whose offering is abhorred of the Lord, because iniquity lodges in their hearts, and their lives are unsanctified, contradicting in their practices what they preach’in words; such are hypocrites whom God will judge, and the law will utterly root you out in his season; you that are disorderly, and out of the order of the true church of Christ.
P. "We do not thunder in our pulpits, nor lighten in our conversations as we might; our thunderings are no more heard by glorifying Christ than their hallelujahs are by us.'
A. You want the word of the Lord, which is terrible, it is not in your mouths, but the words of your own imaginations; and your words answer not to the witness of God in the people's consciences, but you are like the dreamers the apostle speaks of, whose conversations are bad
examples to all that look upon you; your unholy lives give an ill savour, and do not enlighten any man in the way of truth; and saints, that are glorified, do deny you, and hear you not, excepting to give their witness against you: neither do you know what the saints' hallelujahs are, who rejoice over the whore that hath made all nations drunk; but of these things are you ignorant, and you are shut out from the assembly of them that can sing hallelujah to God and the Lamb for evermore.
P. It is treason to undertake an embassage without commission: I sent them not, yet they run, saith the Lord, not knowing why, nor whither, they can tell no tidings for climbing on high, with the ape they do but show their own deformity.'
A. There is none more guilty than yourselves of this treason, and out of your own mouths will the Lord judge you. Where is your commission, and what is it? any other except such as the pope gave to his ministers? having your degrees in your schools and attaining from one art and office to another, till at last you profess to be attained to the ministry: but this is not God's way of commissioning, but antichrist's way, and the'Lord God is risen who will confound it. For the Lord hath not spoken to you, neither hath he revealed his glory to you, you have neither seen his shape nor heard his voice, neither are the tidings you bring, effectual to convert sinners; for you are climbed up another way, and enter not in at the door, and the ape is truly your figure, for your deformity appears to the saints, and all the children of light do see you and your original, which came up in the falling away of the true churches, when antichrist took the throne, and the man of sin got up into the temple, who for many generations amongst you hath shown himself to be God, and hath been worshipped as God.
P. “The accomplices of Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, who usurped the priests' office, were destroyed, a warning piece for such as usurp the ministerial function uncalled, and unordained; let them take heed, when they presume to vent their illiterate, rude incoherence, and blasphemous stuff.
A. This belongs to yourselves, ye men of unholy lives, who have usurped the ministry uncalled and unordained of the Lord, and by his spirit; and you may take warning at Corah's destruction, whom the Lord shall as surely destroy with the fire of his jealousy. For while the beast hath had power over nations, and the whore made nations drunk, all this time hath your authority been exalted, by which you have been set up, and your ministers, without the life that the true ministers were in, and without that call and ordination which they had, for you are of man and by man, and you effect not the work of the true ministry of Christ, but are left desolate, and are desolate of the presence of God,
being yourselves unlearned in the doctrine of Christ, venting your imaginations out of the truth, and out of the power of God, and there stands your ministry.'
P. · Unsanctified ministers may possibly convert to God.'
A. No, he that is unsanctified is out of the power of God, and the word of God abides not in him, and he runs and is not sent, and it is not possible that such can convert sinners, who are themselves unconverted from their iniquities.
P. “That some learned Christians have been able to squeeze the greatest mysteries of our religion out of the writings of some heathens.'
A. This is the sum of your principles, you fifteen priests, and here is the sum of your ignorance and wretchedness discovered, and the vanity of your religion, whose foundation is the writings of heathens, and the heathens that knew not God; out of their writings is your religion made up, as you confess. This is the whore's religion that sits upon the beast, that the world hath long wondered after, and not the true religion which the apostles and true churches were in. And they are no christians, no saints, nor true christians that go to the writings of heathens to squeeze out mysteries; they that do so, are the christians in the apostacy, who are fallen from the life of righteousness, such as you and thousands are, at this day, being without the spirit, and without Christ; therefore you run to the heathen for knowledge, and shame true christianity, and true christians, in reputing the heathen wiser than yourselves, who are fain to run to their writings to make up your mysteries. And such is your religion, deceit, and vanity, and the mystery thereof, studied for, out of the heathens' writings! This is christianity in the apostacy, and the religion apostatized from the life of true christianity; for the true christian religion, the foundation thereof is Christ, who is the mystery of God, and of life, and salvation, and the mysteries of our true christian religion, which we live in that are come out of the apostacy, are revealed to us by the spirit of the Father that dwells in us, and is in all that are in the true christian religion, who deny the heathens and your apostatized christians, and are come into the mysteries of eternal salvation, which are not squeezed by imaginations of men, but revealed by the spirit of God; the great mystery, Christ in us, and the mystery of the kingdom, all this is made manifest to us, and to true christians, whose religion stands in the power of God, and not in the tradition of men, nor fetched from the heathens' writings. And this religion will stand for ever, but your religion, and ministry, and church, will the Lord confound, the author of which is the heathens' writings; and how then shall it stand ? It is out of the bottomless pit, and ariseth out of that,
and thither shall it be turned into the pit that hath no bottom. Oh! how have you blind leaders led the blind, that have been professing to teach Christ, and faith in him, these many years. And have you taken so much money of the nations, and do you now tell us that the greatest mysteries of your religion are squeezed out of the heathens' writings? O ye unrighteous men, blind leaders ! the Lord God Almighty is now risen, and the nations can no longer be satisfied with this religion, but the Lord is gathering out of your mouths, and you must howl and lament; all the idle dumb shepherds shall be confounded, and souls delivered, of which they have made a prey; for the souls of men have been the merchandise of Babylon's merchants, they have bought and sold the souls of men, they have blinded the eye of the soul, and trodden it down, and the immortal soul hath not been respected otherwise than to make merchandise thereof, to get gain thereby. There have been many traffickers since the days of the apostles, that have made merchandise of souls, but the judgment of the great whore is come, and of Babylon the mother of harlots, and the Lord God and the Lamb will plead against her, and the jaws of the wicked shall be broken, and their hearts shall utterly fail in the midst of them, and the Lord will reveal his righteousness from heaven, and by his judgments shall he be known in the earth, a mighty God, and a dreadful; and his dread and terror shall take hold upon your consciences. Come down and sit in the dust, for the Lord's controversy is against you; he will bruise you with an iron rod, he will break you as a potter's vessel, and his hand ye shall not escape; for ye are but like briars and thorns in battle before him, and like the stubble in which the fire is kindled, and you will be as the dross in the time of purging, and as reprobate silver: the Lord God hath said it.
W. S.'s book, called “A Parson's Guide, concerning Tithes and
the Law of Tithes.'
P. And he saith he supposes, that taking away tithes from ministers, but not taking away tithes from other men,' &c.
A. The law that hath set up tithes, since the days of the apostles, is from the popc, the false church, the whore. The true church set up none among the apostles; and so tithes must be taken away from men as well as ministers, for they have been set up since the days of the apostles, by the pope's law, and not by the law of God, but by the false church, the whore, who have set up their tenths, and keep people in the ninths of the earth, with all their images; for the true priesthood that took tithes, among whom were all the figures, and Vol. III.