Page images
PDF
EPUB

7.

them up from these things, they rise up like angry Dogs, and bark at them, and rend them, as much as they can or dare.

Wherefore those Teachers who cannot patiently suffer wrongs for the Words sake; but on the contrary, when they are reproved by the Word, and their Sheeps Cloathing pullid off, even their false vizard of Religion, do presently grow impatient and furious; and they that bark and foam against the late revealed Truth, which toucheth them very near, they all are false Teachers, and Ministers of Artichrift. The Seventh Sign.

The true The true Prophetsy and Ministers of Christ, do

prophets not force any body to hear them, and obey their force no bo Doctrine against their Wills, neither do they vex hem againt and trouble them with Secular Power, who will their wills. not obey them, and be subject to them; but they leave all such People as they found them, left they should seem by their Doctrine, to seek any Worldly thing.

Thus Christ when he taught the Gospel, still cried out, He that hath ears to bear, let him hear; and he that had not cars to hear, he did not punish him ; and again faith Christ, if any man will be

may Disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me; and still left men to their own Freedom, whether they would be his Disciples

or no.

And as Christ did thus Himself, so he left the same thing in command with all his true Disciples; and when he sent them forth to Preach, Match. 10. he charged them saying, Whoever will not receive you, nor hear your words,

when you depare out of that house or City, shake off the dust of your feet, as a Testimony against them;

he doth not bind them if they be refused,' to betake themselves to the Secular Power, to get Authority from thence

Kk

[ocr errors]

to

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to stay and abide there, whether they will or no, 10 or otherwise to punish them, but bids them only po to make off the dust of their feet, that they might da know, they came not to them for the Love of

pa Earthly things. And when the Apostles out of a falle zeal would have had Christ to have commanded fire to have come down from Heaven to have destroyed them that would not receive him; he plainly reproved them, saying, Te know not of what Spirit ye are ; for the Son of Man is not come to destroy mens Lives, but to save them.

It is recorded in the life of Simon and Fude the Apoiles, as both Gulielmus de sancto Amore, and John Hus relace, That when the Chief Ruler Toas ve Pr ry angry with those who defamed the DoEtrine of those tApostles, and in great zeal commanded a great Fire to be in ude, that such Opposers might be cast into it, The Apostles fell down before the Emperour, saying, We beseech you (Sir) let not us be the Authors of Te Causers of this Destruction, who are come to pub- to lith the Doctrine of eternal Salvation; neither let Us who are sent to revive those who are Dead through fin, become the Killers of those who are Alive.

GO The faire force meu

Wherefore those Teachers who for Worldly by the pow. Advantage sake, will force Themselves upon those Magistrate

. men against their Wills, who will not willingly

receive them; and will provoke the Worldly Powers and Magistrates to punish those who will not hear and receive Them and their Doctrine, they all are false Prophets and Ministers of Antichrift

. The Eighth Sign. Prophets : The true Teachers are content that Others

6 are content should teach as well as They, and would not make A In uu'd teach a Menopoly of the Ministry to themselves alone, a welas Worldly Advantage fake. chez.

Thus our Lord Jesus Chrift did not content Him. self to preach the Gospel alone, but he fent forth

8. The true

for

Ece W.

[ocr errors]

Others,

Et Others, as his Father sent forth him, yea, he s pours forth his Spirit on all flesh, that fons, and

daughters, and servants, and handmaids may pro3 phelie, and so Knowledge may cover the Earth, as

Water's the Seas : and to make the world willing to receive such Teachers, he saith, He that receiveth Tou, receiveth Me, and be that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that lent Me.

And when Eldad and Medad upon whom the Spirit **

of the Lord did reft, did prophesie in the Camp of Israel, without asking any License from Mofes, and one told Mofes of it in great displeasure, and > Joshua thereupon wished Mofes to forbid them to

Prophesie, then Moses the meek servant of the Lord - replied, Enviest thou for my fake? would God (faith

he) that all the Lords people were Prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them All

, Numb. II. 29. And so the Godly mind of any faithful Teacher, desirech to be helped in the work of the Word, that the precicus Truth of the Gospel, which he himself alone cannot fufficiently express, all mens tongues might declare. And so they do not envy in Others those Spiritual Gifts which God hath given them, but do wish, that Every nian had a Mouth and Wisdom given him, to declare the Mystery of the Gospel, and the infinite Love, Mercy, Wisdom, Truth, Power, Redemption, and Salvation of God by Jesus Christ, which cannot by all mens Tongues be sufficiently published in the World.

Farther, as no worldly Prince or Magistrate hath such unlimited Power over the Goods of the people, as to forbid them to give corporal Alms to them that stand in need, as occasion is ministred; no more hath any Power, whether Ecclesiastical or Civil, fuch Dominion over the Word and Truth of God, written by the Spirit in the hearts of Believers, but that they may at Kk 2

all

would have none to

Own

Truth

all times, and upon all occasions, minister Spiritual Alms to them who stand in need, by the teach

ing of the Gospel. The false

Wherefore chose Teachers, who are envious

chat any should preach the Word but Themselves, tach, but and their own Tribe, as they call is, (because tbey and their get great Worldly Advantage thereby, whereas

otherwise they would be contented that any should Tribe; left their gain preach) and so would have the civil Magistrate thould be only to License Them to be Preachers, because prejudicedo of their Degrees and Orders, and to forbid all

Others, they all are false Teachers, and Ministers of Antichrift.

The Ninth Sign. The true

The true Teachers do not only teach the word, Prophets are' willing to but are also ready to seal to the Truth of it, with fuffer for their Estates, Liberties, and Lives. they teach. Thus did Jesus Christ, as was foretold by Isaiah,

Chap. 50. 5. where Christ faith by his Spirit, The Lord hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back; I gave my back to the fm

ту

cheeks to them who plucked off the hair; I bid not my face from shame and spitting. And in the days of his flesh, how willingly did he feal to the truth of his New Testament Doctrine with his Suffering, and suffered himself to be apprehended by the hands of men, and to be crucified, when he could have commanded Legions of Angeis for his succour, if he had pleased, and would not have made use of his own infinite and Alnjighty Power.

And this submission and willingness to suffer for the Truth, Christ hath commanded all his Disciples, saying, He that will save bis life, shal lose it; and be that will lose his life for my fake fbal fave it : And if any man will be my Disciple, let bim deny himself, take up the cross, and follow me : And again, I send you forth As sheep among wolves, and

ters, and

[ocr errors]

ye shall be brought before Kings and Rulers for my Names Sake, that is, for the true and Spiritual teaching of the Gospel.

Now as nothing will procure us niore enmity, than the Spiritual holding forth of the Gospel, which will cause the worldiy Church to cast out our Name as evil, and to cast our Persons out of their Synagogues, yea, and also to kill us, when they can get power; so if we be true Teachers, niult we be ready and willing to suffer all this for Christs Name fake.

Wherefore those Teachers who imbrace the the false beighth and honour of this Life, and will not own teach to the Gospel of Christ, farther than they may thereby feriög. procure to themselves, credit, reputation, profit, and preferment in the world, and co this end, in doubtful and difficult times carry themselves fo fubcilly, that whatever Parèy shall prevail, they may still stand on their legs, and enjoy their present prosperity and preferment, and so are neither hot nor cold, neither truly for the truth, nor openly against the truth, but seek by all subtil means to decline the Cross of Christ.

And though in Christ himself, they praise his meanness, plainness, simplicity, suffering, and cross, yet they themselves are delicate, and cannot endure these things for Chrifts fake in themselves, but bend and frame the whole course of their Ministry so, as they may obtain all good things from the World, and avoid and escape all evil things from it; these all are falle Prophets, and Ministers of Antichrist.

By these Nine Signs (for I shall name no more now) may the true Prophets and Ministers of Christ be manifestly distinguished and discerned from the false ones of Antichrist, by all the true People of God, who have received his Spirit.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »