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The power would open the hearts of people if ye were in it, and make them to give you, that there would be no want; and then the gospel would be preached and you live in that, and glad tidings be known to all nations, and men would not be cumbered about courts, and put in prison by you, whom you do no work for.
P. Ye say, 'Shall men have leave to preach, railing against Christ's ministers and church? a reproach to the world.' And hath Gyles Calvert owned his name at them?' And ye speak of your liberty of the pulpit; but that the pulpit should not be satan's oracle; as apothecary shops keep open poison, so Gyles Calvert doth poison for souls.'
A. This is not the way by railing, to stop poison; but your pulpits have been like shops of poison, even to poison nations; for have you not poisoned many people and made their minds envious? And most of
your stuff hath been railing one against another; but had ye been ministers, or spoken the truth in the love of it, it would have preserved people in peace and unity, and ye would not have sought yourselves.
And Gyles Calvert's, (which you call an apothecary shop,) hath been a place where many of your actions and fruits have been discovered and made manifest; not against the church of God, not against the ministers of God and Christ, not against the magistrates that live in the fear, life, and power of God, but against injustice and persecution, and the apostates got up since the days of the apostles, as ye confess if your maintenance be taken away, the ministry will fall. Now the power is that which causeth people to minister to any that ministereth to them, not by compulsion, but freely, and this is acceptable and pleasing to God, which the Lord loves. And so all your poison of your pulpits, as satan's oracles, hath been like such a thing; for the pulpiters are those who have caused the great persecution and imprisoning for speaking to them, and because they will not give them maintenance; and so you quench the spirit, and that which quenches the spirit is not of God; for in the true church all may prophesy one by one; and if any thing be revealed to him that sits by, the other must hold his peace, that all may learn and be comforted.' The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. And this was the order in the churches of God, before the apostles' decease. But since their decease, amongst you that are apostatized from them, this is disorder, and sets you all in an uproar and confusion. So your church and pulpit are more like satan's oracle than the church of God; and you have been in your pulpits more like women's scolding to the cuckstool, which you speak of, than men that preach the gospel; as the parishes may witness how they have been burthened with your railing against other people who have not been present with you. And when any of them have come to you, you have cried, take them away, they disturb you. Vol. III.
Is not this worse than women's scolding; for women will stand and scold one with another, but ye will scold behind their backs, and cannot endure to speak to their faces, but cry, to prison with them.
But the rod is gone over you, and you are come under the scourge, the whip, and the lash, for your evil words, which have corrupted your manners.
When ye should have been preaching the peaceable way to the kingdom of God, ye have been bringing people to strife, throwing them into prison for speaking a word to you, and such as cannot give you maintenance, whom you do no work for. But the sentence spoken in Matthew is coming upon you; ye cast into prison till death because they cannot give you maintenance, therefore ye are far short of visiting them who are in prison. And these covers will not cover you. And all your hard speeches which you have vented forth in your book, are not worth mentioning; but they will come upon yourselves; for every one of your words shall be your burthen.
Now fools may subscribe their hands to things they know not, and go with a multitude to do evil; but wise men consider and ponder the things beforehand. So all your petitions, the holy scriptures of the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, read and try them, whether ye have ever an example amongst any of the ministers of the gospel, that ever put up a petition to any supreme of a nation; or that Christ ever gave them any such command, that his disciples should go and beg with a petition to the supreme powers of the nation for maintenance? Have not you in this dishonoured the gospel and christianity, and showed that you are not of the royal priesthood, nor of the royal seed, nor everlasting covenant? nor you ministers to be those that do freely give, who have freely received ? but to be such whose spirits are in the earth, and that you petitioners are not able to maintain them! which all magistrates that stand in the fear of the Lord God will judge, and so see that you have shamed yourselves, your ministry, and church, and that you are not a vineyard, that you have not a flock to give you milk, but they must be fain to give you; and the magistrates must give your ministers milk. And so ye have showed the slothfulness of them that have ploughed, and are not made partakers of their hope, but have lost it. In vain have they ploughed, and thrashed, and not got out the 'cora. And in all this have you not showed your idleness, that ye have not laboured and got a vineyard, and thrashed and got corn, and have not ploughed and sowed the seed? And will not the magistrates see you in this? And have not they wronged you in maintaining you in idleness' Will not the magistrates see that they have done so, and will be pack. horses no longer, nor executioners for you, who have executed your malice upon them you do no work for, neither have hired you, and
cast them into prison when they have spoken to you to repent and fear God. And so it is time for the magistrates to do justice, and execute the law upon you idle vagabonds.
William Thomas, a minister of the gospel at Ubley, (so called,) in
his book called, · Railing rebuked, or a defence of the Ministers.' His principles follow.
P. He saith, his epistle reflects upon two sorts of persons; and that many false prophets have risen.'
A. The work of the ministers of the gospel was not to reflect upon persons, or strike at creatures, (as thou sayst, two sorts of persons) but they struck at the power which captivated the creature, to the intent that the creature might come into the liberty of the sons of God. And so thou that art reflecting upon persons, dost show a mark of thy being a false prophet; instead of speaking of the power, thou art reflecting upon persons. And this reflecting upon persons was never the way 10 beget to God; but that which strikes at the power which captivates creatures, reacheth to the witness in prison, and brings people into unity with God and one another in the spirit, which is the bond of peace.
P. "To love the word for the good parts, that in regard of the Christian is a dangerous thing, and in-regard of the word of God, a dishonourable thing.'
A. Where the good parts are not in the Christian, that is a dishonourable thing to the word, and causeth the word of God to be evil spoken of, as the whole assembly of you ministers have done by your bad conversations, earthly, covetous, impatient spirits, that cannot endure any should speak but yourselves in your places. So by you hath the word of God been dishonoured, and not honoured; for the apostles wrote that they were to show themselves patterns and examples to the flock of God in life and conversation, that the word of God might not be evil spoken of. Now where the word is evil spoken of, and the bad parts in a Christian proceed, this grieves the righteous, and causeth the truth to be evil spoken of; and the word makes them vessels of honour in whom it is.
P. Now when Christians leave the word, and sacraments, and sabbaths, it is a dangerous pride, lifting up the light within, as they do.'
A. The Christians that denied the sabbaths, and witnessed Christ the substance, the rest, said, “The light that shined in their hearts
would give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.' And they lifted up Christ the light, and they walked in him, the covenant of God and of light, to the Jews and Gentiles; which who walk in, are in peace with God, and unity one with another, and have the light of life, and rest, and all are in the dangerous state that are out of that. And as for the word sacrament, there is no scripture for it, but it is one of the Papists' common words, and the light brings off from it, and the Jewish sabbath.
P. “Buy the truth, and sell it not, not pleading for sufficiency of a common light.' And leaving their callings as the monks.' And their books flying abroad, their wings unclipped.' And no mention of eternal salvation from the wrath to come.' And he saith, he loves the word, sacraments, sabbaths, and ministry.'
A. Christ came to put an end to the Jewish sabbaths, and the apostles preached their end, and forsook all for Christ; and so, to revile such as are in the same power, and to call it by the unsavoury expression, 'monkish,' thou and you are more like that, that tell of sacraments that are from the monkish holiness. And for speaking of clipping the wings of our books that fly abroad, that is another unsavoury expression, and shows your spirit, that it is not able to resist that spirit that gives forth the books. As for the word and ministry, thou hast shown thyself against them, though thou professes the scripture to be the word. But those are the words of God, which Christ the word fulfilled, and this the ministers of Christ witness. And ye never read that the ministers of the gospel said they loved the Jewish sabbaths, and held up the sabbaths; these were the ministers of the law that held up the sabbaths, which Christ, the rest, came to put an end to, by whom the world was made, who was before it was made,
glorified with the Father before the world began.' And you sell the truth, and take the world, who deny the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, which is sufficient to him that believes in it.
P. We exercise and order our preaching for the getting of money and maintenance: and the greetings in the markets, are but that which humanity requires, nor to be called of men rabbi, else Christ would not have taken it. Must a minister lose the members of his church, and the maintenance of his place, both at once?'
A. Christ said to his disciples, they should know the false prophets by their fruits, and said, "Be not ye called of men master, for one is your master, even Christ, and denied the Pharisees' greetings in the markets, which thou calls human right. And the apostles ordered not their preachings to get money by them; but they laboured to keep the gospel without charge; and the ministers of Christ brought the people off the Jews'assemblies, and their maintenance both. And ye that are found out of the apostles doctrine, in the apostacy, such as
leave you, that you do no work for, how can you expect that they should give you maintenance ? or how can you in righteousness take maintenance of them that you do no work for? So if ye lose the members, will ye take the maintenance? which of the apostles did so? Nay, is it not the way to gain members, to deny the maintenance? Is not that the way whereby the power of God may be known that raiseth the seed of God, whereby the hearts of people may be opened, and whereby the seed is known? And the apostle declared against such as taught for filthy lucre, and made merchandise of the word; and that which thou callest humanity,' is your earthly right, seeing your conversation is in earth, and not in heaven.
P. It cannot be concluded that there is a light in every man leading unto Christ, and unto salvation. And if Christ put a light in every man that cometh into the world, to guide him unto the Father, and unto life, I deny that to be true; for that is a natural light which is only the light which Christ the word communicates to all men. Nay, the light that all men have, though it seem to make them to know God, as God, yet it is not sufficient to make them to know that there is a Father, or a son, or the holy ghost, or that there is a gospel.' And saith, I am the light of the world that doth enlighten every man that cometh into the world; that is, both Jews and Gentiles. And he that walks in the light shall have the light of life. Now here lies the deceit.'
A. The light which every man that cometh into the world is enlightened with, the covenant of God to Jews and Gentiles, doth enlighten every man that cometh into the world; and they that walk in the light, walk in Christ, and come to see before any natural light was. And he that walks in the light shall not abide in the darkness, but shall have the light of lise; and with the light he shall know God, he shall know the son, he shall know the gospel, he shall know the holy ghost, and that light is not natural. And he that knoweth God, knoweth the Father; and none know him but with the light of Christ Jesus who reveals him; for God is the Father. And I will give him for a covenant, a light to the Gentiles, a new covenant to the house of Israel and Judah,' who doth enlighten every man that cometh into the world, a leader of the people, a leader of them from death to life, to God, out of the fall, out of the first man Adam, a bringer in of righteousness, peace, and joy, and truth, and grace, to all that believe and receive him; but they that hate the light it is their condemnation. The light, Christ, the covenant of God, is the leader of the people out of the fall, out of all deceit unto God, and it is sufficient. It is the end of the prophets' and the apostles' teaching, the fountain of life, in which every one sees life.