How a Man may call himself a Christian, and how not.

HERE therefore a Christian should consider why he calleth himself a Christian, and examine truly whether he be one or not. For surely my learning to know and confess that I am a Sinner, and that Christ hath destroyed my Sins on the Cross, and shed His Blood for me, doth not make me a Christian.

115. The Inheritance belongeth only to the Children. A Maid-Servant in a House knoweth well enough what the Mistress would have to be done, and yet that maketh her not the Heiress of her Mistress's Goods. The very Devils know that there is a God, yet that doth not change them into Angels again. But if the Maid-Servant in the House shall be married to the Son of her Mistress, then she may come to inherit her Mistress's Goods. And so it is to be understood also in the Matter of being a Christian.

116. The Children of the History are not the Heirs of the Goods of Christ, but the legitimate Children regenerated by the Spirit of Christ are the only true Heirs. For God said to Abraham, Cast out the Son of the Bondwoman, he shall not inherit with the Son of the Free. For he was a Scorner, and but an Historical Son of the Faith and Spirit of Abraham; and so long as he continued such a one, he was not a true Inheritor of the Faith of Abraham, and therefore God commanded he should be cast out from inheriting his Goods.

117. This was a Type of the future Christendom. For the Promise of Christendom was made to Abraham: Therefore the Type was then also set forth by two Brethren, Isaac and Ishmael; foreshewing by them the diverse State and Manners of Christendom; how that two sorts of Men would be in it, viz., True Christians and Lip-Christians. Which latter, under the Title or outward Profession of Christianity, would be but mockers, as Ishmael was and Esau, who also was a Type of the outward Adam, as Jacob was a Type of Christ, and His true Christendom.

118. Thus every one who will call himself a Christian, must cast out from himself the Son of the Bond-Woman, that is, the earthly Will, and be evermore killing and destroying it, and not settle it in the Inheritance.

119. Nor give the Pearl to the Beastial Man, for him to please and amuse himself with in the outward Light, in the Lust of the Flesh. But we must, with our Father Abraham bring the Son of the right Will to Mount Moriah, and be ready in Obedience to God to offer it up, ever in Will dying from Sin in the Death of Christ, giving no place to the Beast of Vanity in the Kingdom of Christ, nor letting it grow wanton, proud, covetous, envious, and malicious. For all these are the Properties of Ishmael the Son of the Bond-Woman whom Adam begat in his Vanity on the wanton Whore the false Bond-Woman, by the Devil s Imagination, out of the earthly Property in Flesh and Blood.

120. This Mocker and titular Christian is the Son of the false Bond-Woman, and must be cast out; for he shall not possess the Inheritance of Christ in the Kingdom of God. He is not fit, he is but Babel, a Confusion of that one Language into many. He is but a Talker and a Wrangler about the Inheritance; he means to get it to himself by Talking and Wrangling, by the Hypocrisy of his Lips and seeming Holiness, although in his Heart he is no better than a blood-thirsty Murderer of his brother Abel, who is the right Heir.

121. Therefore we say what we know, that he that will call himself a true Christian must try himself, and find what Kind of Properties drive and rule him, whether the Spirit of Christ moveth him to Truth and Righteousness, and to the Love of his Neighbour, so that he would willingly do what is right if he knew but how.

122. Now if he find that he hath a real Hunger after such Virtue, then he may justly think that he is drawn. And then he must begin to practise accordingly, and not be content with a Will only, without Doing. The drawing of the Father to Christ consisteth in the Will, but the true Life consisteth in the Doing; for the right Spirit doeth that which is right.

123. But if there be the Will to do, and yet the Doing followeth not, then the true Man is still shut up in vain Lust, which suppresseth the Doing. And therefore such a one is but an Hypocrite and an Ishmaelite; he speaketh one Thing and doth another, and witnesseth thereby that his Mouth is a Lyar; for he himself doth not that which he teacheth, and consequently only serveth the Beastial Man in Vanity.

124. For he that will say, I have a Will, and would willingly do Good, but the earthly Flesh which I carry about me, keepeth me back, so that I cannot; yet I shall be saved by Grace, for the Merits of Christ. I comfort myself with His Merit and Sufferings; who will receive me of mere Grace, without any Merits of my own, and forgive me my Sins. Such a one, I say, is like a Man that knoweth what Food is good for his Health, yet will not eat of it, but eateth Poison instead thereof, from whence Sickness and Death, will certainly follow.

125. For what good doth it to the Soul to know the Way to God, if it will not walk therein, but go on in a contrary Path? What good will it do the Soul to comfort itself with the Filiation of Christ, with His Passion and Death, and so flatter itself with the Hopes of getting the Patrimony thereby, if it will not enter into the Filial Birth, that it may be a true Child, born out of the Spirit of Christ, out of His Suffering, Death and Resurrection? Surely, the tickling and flattering itself with Christ's Merits, without the true innate Childship, is Falsehood and a Lie, whosoever he be that teacheth it.

126. This Comfort belongeth only to the penitent Sinner, who striveth against Sin and the Anger of God. When Temptations come, and the Devil assaulteth such a poor repentant Soul, then it must wholly wrap itself up in the Merits and Death of Christ, as its sole Armour of Defence.

127. Christ alone indeed hath merited Redemption for us; but not in such a Way as that for His own proper Merit s Sake, he will freely grant us his Childship by an outward Adoption only, and so receive us for Children, when we are none. No,. he himself is the Merit; he is the open Gate that leadeth through Death; and through that Gate we must enter. He receiveth no Beast into his Merit, but those only that turn, and become as Children. Those Children that thus come to him are his Reward, which he hath merited.

128. For thus he said, Father, the Men were thine and thou hast given them to me (as my Reward) and I will give them eternal Life. But the Life of Christ will be given to none, unless they come to him in his Spirit, into his Humanity, Sufferings, and Merit, and therein be born true Children of the Merit.

129. We must be born of his Merit, and put on the Merit of Christ in his Passion and Death; not outwardly with verbal Flattery only, and bare comforting of ourselves therewith, while we still remain Aliens and strange Children, of a strange Essence or Nature. No; the strange Essence inheriteth not the Childship, but the innate Essence inheriteth it.

130. This innate Essence is not of this World, but in Heaven, of which St Paul speaketh saying, Our Conversation is in Heaven. The filial Essence walketh in Heaven, and Heaven is in Man.

131. But if Heaven in Man be not open, and the Man stand without Heaven flattering himself, and say, I am still without, but Christ will take me in through his Grace; is not his Merit mine? Such a one is in Vanity and Sin with the outward Man, and with the Soul in Hell, viz., in the Anger of God.

132. Therefore learn to understand rightly what Christ hath taught us, and done for us. He is our Heaven; he must get a Form in us, or else we shall not be in Heaven. Thus then the Soul's inward Man, with the holy Body of Christ, viz., in the New Birth, is in Heaven, and the outward mortal Man is in the World, of which Christ spake saying, My Sheep are in my Hand, and none shall pluck them away; the Father which gave them to me is greater than all.

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