Wherein Christian Religion consisteth; and how Men should serve God and their Brethren.

Wherein Christian Religion consisteth; and how Men should serve God and their Brethren.

ALL Christian Religion wholly consisteth in this, to learn to know ourselves; whence we are come, and what we are; how we are gone forth from the Unity into Dissension, Wickedness, and Unrighteousness; how we have awakened and stirred up these Evils in us; and how we may be delivered from them again, and recover our original Blessedness.

181. First, how we were in the Unity, when we were the Children of God in Adam before he fell. Secondly, how we are now in Dissension and Disunion, in Strife and Contrariety. Thirdly, Whither we go when we pass out of this corruptible Condition; whither with the immortal, and whither with the mortal Part.

182. And Lastly, how we may come forth from Dis-union and Vanity, and enter again into that one Tree, Christ in us, out of which we all sprung in Adam. In these four Points all the necessary Knowledge of a Christian consisteth.

183.So that we need not strive about any Thing; we have no Cause of Contention with each other. Let every one only exercise himself in learning ahow he may enter again into the Love of God and his Brother.

184. The Testaments of Christ are nothing else but a loving Bond or brotherly Covenant, wherewith God in Christ bindeth himself to us and us to him. All teaching, willing, living, and doing, must imply, aim at, and refer to that. All teaching and doing otherwise, whatsoever it be, is Babel and a Fiction; a mere graven Image of Pride in unprofitable Judgings, a disturbing of the World, and an Hypocrisy of the Devil, wherewith he blindeth Simplicity.

185. Every Preacher void of the Spirit of God, who without Divine Knowledge, setteth himself up for a Teacher of Divine Things, pretending to serve God thereby, is false, and doth but serve the Belly, his Idol, and his own proud insolent Mind, in desiring to be honoured on that Account, and esteemed Holy, or a Divine in Holy Orders. He beareth an Office, to which he is set apart and chosen by the Children of Men, who do but flatter him, and for Favour have ordained him thereunto.

186. Christ said, Whosoever entereth not by the Door, that is, through his Spirit, into the Sheepfold, but climbeth up some other Way, the same is a Thief and a Murderer, and the Sheep follow him not, for they know not his Voice.

187. He hath not the Voice of the Spirit of God, but the Voice of his own Art and Learning only; the Man teacheth, and not the Spirit of God. But Christ saith, Every Plant which my Heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be plucked up by the Roots.

188. How then will he that is ungodly plant Heavenly Plants, when he hath no Seed alive in its Power in himself? Christ saith expressly, The Sheep hear not his Voice, they follow him not.

189. The written Word is but an Instrument whereby the Spirit leadeth us to itself within us. That Word which will teach, must be living in the literal Word. The Spirit of God must be in the literal Sound, or else none is a Teacher of God, but a mere Teacher of the Letter, a Knower of the History, and not of the Spirit of God in Christ.

190. All that Men will serve God with, must be done in Faith, viz., in the Spirit. It is the Spirit that maketh the Work perfect, and acceptable in the Sight of God. All that a Man undertaketh and doeth in Faith, he doth in the Spirit of God, which Spirit of God doth cooperate in the Work, and then it is acceptable to God. For he hath done it himself, and his Power and Virtue is in it: It is holy.

191. But whatsoever is done in Self, without Faith, is but a Figure and Shell, or Husk of a true Christian Work.

192. If thou servest thy brother, and doest it but in Hypocrisy, and givest him unwillingly, then thou servest not God. For thy Faith proceedeth not from Love, nor entereth into Hope, in thy Gift. Indeed thou servest thy Brother, and he for his Part thanketh God and blesseth thee, but thou blessest not him. For thou givest him thy Gift with a grudging Spirit, which entereth not into the Spirit of God, into the Hope of Faith; therefore thy Gift is but half given, and thou hast but half thy Reward for it.

193. The same is true of receiving a Gift. If any giveth in Faith, in Divine Hope, he blesseth his Gift by his Faith: But whoso receiveth it unthankfully, and murmureth in his Spirit, he curseth it in the Use or Enjoyment of it. Thus it is, that every one shall have his own; Whatsoever he soweth, that shall he also reap.

194. So likewise it is in the Office of teaching; whatsoever a Man soweth, that also he reapeth. For if any Man sow good Seed from the Spirit of Christ, it sticketh in the good Heart, and bringeth forth good Fruit; but in the Wicked, who are not capable of receiving the good Seed, the Anger of God is stirred.

195. If any sow Contentions, Reproaches, and Misconstructions, all ungodly People receive that unto them; which sticketh in them also, and bringeth forth Fruit accordingly. So that they learn thereby to despise, revile, slander, and misrepresent one another. Out of which Root the great Babel is sprung and grown; wherein Men, from mere Pride and Strife, contend about the History, and the Justification of a poor Sinner in the Sight of God; thereby causing the simple to err and blaspheme, insomuch that one Brother revileth and curseth the other, and excommunicateth, or casteth him to the Devil, for the Sake of the History and Letter.

196. Such Railers and Revilers fear not God, but raise the great Building of Dissension. And seeing corrupt Lust lieth in all Men, in the earthly Flesh still, therefore they raise and awaken Abominations even in the simple Children of God, and make the People of God, as well as the Children of Iniquity, to blaspheme. And thus they become Master-Builders of the great Babel of the World, and are as useful in the Church, as a fifth Wheel in a Waggon; yea, what is worse than that, they erect the hellish Building too.

197. Therefore it is highly necessary for the Children of God to pray earnestly, that they may learn to know this false Building, and go forth from it with their Minds, and not help to build it up, and persecute their Fellow-Children of God. For by that Means they keep themselves back from the Heavenly Kingdom, and turn aside from the right Way.

198. According to the saying of Christ to the Pharisees, Woe unto you Pharisees; for you compass Sea and Land to make one Proselyte, and when he is one, you make him two-fold more the Child of Hell than yourselves. Which is truly too much the Case with the modern Factions and Sects among these Cryers and Teachers of Strife.

199. I desire therefore, out of my Gifts, which are revealed to me from God, that all the Children of God, who desire to be the true Members of Christ, be faithfully warned to depart from such abominable Contentions and bloody Firebrands, and to go forth from all Strife with their Brethren, and strive only after Love and Righteousness towards all Men.

200. For he that is a good Tree must bring forth good Fruits, and must sometimes suffer Swine to devour his Fruits, and yet must continue a good Tree still, and be always willing to work with God, and not suffer any Evil to overcome him. And then he standeth and groweth in the Field of God, and bringeth forth Fruit to be set upon God s Table, which he shall enjoy forever. Amen, All that hath Breath, praise the Name of the Lord. Hallelujah.

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