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sinned, nor guile was found in his mouth, you may read his sentence in the New Testament upon such. And is not Christ a sufficient teacher, whose blood was shed for you and tasted death for every man? And doth not Christ say to his ministers, “ Freely ye have received, freely give ?" And the apostle saith, “ We covet no man's gold, silver or apparel ;' but laboured with their hands, and kept the gospel without charge; have they that are called ministers amongst you done the same, and kept this command of Christ Jesus? Let them be examined and examine themselves. And have you not trimmed your outsides? but look within with the light and spirit of Christ Jesus, and see if your insides be not black and foul, For Christ Jesus, who doth enlighten every man that cometh into the world, with the life in himself, who is the word, he saith, " Believe in the light, that ye may become children of the light;" and with the light ye may see all the evil deeds ye have done, and all your ungodly deeds that ye have acted and committed; and all your ungodly words you have spoken; and all your ungodly thoughts ye think; that ye may turn from them, and turn to Christ from whence the light comes; who is your Saviour and Redeemer, who hath given you a light to see your sin, and how that you are dead in Adam; that with the same light you may see Christ, the quickening Spirit, who makes you alive to God, and saves you from your sin. But if you hate the light, which is the life in Christ, the Prince of Life, and love the darkness and the prince of darkness more than the light or the life in Christ, whose deeds be evil, and because it will reprove you, Christ tells you,“ This light will be your condemnation.". John 3. Ånd therefore be warned now in your day, and while you have time turn to the Lord, and do not quench the Spirit of the Father by which he draws to his Son, nor hate the light of Christ ; for if you do, you hate the life in Christ, and so remain under condemnation from God and Christ with the light, who now speaks to his people by his Son, as he did in the apostles' days; so the same. God that was the speaker by the prophets to the fathers, and speaker to Adam and Eve in Paradise ; and happy had Adam and Eve, and the Jews and all Christians been, if they had kept to this Speaker, and not have followed the serpent, that false speaker, and his instruments. And now God is the true speaker by his Son, who bruises the head of the serpent, the false teacher, who is the head of all false ways, and false prophets, and false churches, and false religions and worships. And so God and Christ is bringing people to the pure and undefiled religion, that
will keep them from the spots of the world, and into the new and living way, Christ Jesus; and to the church in God, which Christ is the head of, as he was in the apostles' days; and to worship God in the Spirit and truth, which worship Christ set up above sixteen hundred years since. And therefore must all people come to the grace and spirit of truth in their own hearts, to know the God of truth, who is a Spirit, and in the spirit and truth to worship, and serve, and honour, and glorify the living God, who is over all, and worthy of all, blessed for evermore. Amen.
• And ye magistrates and oflicers read this in all your assemblies, and cause all your priests to read it in their churches; that they and you, and all people may hear and fear the God of heaven, as you will answer it at the great and terrible day of judgment, and vengeance of the Lord God Almighty. And this is in love to your souls, and for your temporal and eternal good.'
G. F. Amsterdam, the 19th of the
Seventh month, 1677.
An Epistle concerning true Fasting, true Prayer, true
Honour, and against Persecution, and for the true Liberty in Chrisi Jesus; and that all may have a care, that the Apostle hath not bestowed his labour in vain upon you in observing of Days, Months, Times, Feasts and Years, and of coming under the beggarly elements and the yoke of bonduge again, and of bringing and forcing people into them.
Where did ever Christ or his apostles command any be. lievers or Christians to observe holy-days or feast-days? and let us see where it is written in the scriptures of the New Testament, in the four Evangelists, or the Epistles, or the Revelation, that ever Christ or his apostles gave the Christians any such command, that they should observe the time called Christmas, or a day for Christ's birth? or that they should observe the time called Easter, or Whitsuntide, or Peter, or Paul's, or Mark or Luke's days, or any other saints' days?
Now you, that profess yourselves to be the reformed churches from the papists, jews, and heathen, and the scriptures to be your rule, and are professors of the new covenant, where do you prove out of the scriptures of the New Testament, that the apostles and the primitive church practised or forced any such thing, or that Christ and his apostles gave any such command to the churches
that they should practise and observe any such days? Let us see where this command is written. For did not the apostle say unto the Galatians in the fourth chapter, “ But now, after that ye have known God, or rather ye are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage ? Ye observe days, and months, and times and years; I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” And in the third of Galatians it is said, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, &c.” And in Galatians the fifth, the apostle exhorts to “ stand fast in the liberty, wherewith Christ had made them free ;” and moreover said, 66 Be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Now doth not this manifest, that there were some teachers, that were drawing the church of the Galatians into these beggarly elements, and bringing them again into bondage, in observing of days, months, times and years? for it was the apostle's work to bring them out of those bondages and beggarly elements; and therefore, when they were going back again into observing days, months, times and years, he was afraid, that he had bestowed his labour upon them in vain; and he exhorts them to stand fast in the liberty, wherewith Christ Jesus hath made them free, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage; and again signifies, that they had been once entangled with that yoke of bondage and beggarly elements. But o ! how are people called Christians, since the apostles' days gone again under this yoke of bondage and these beggarly elements, in observing days, months, times and years, let their practice declare. Nay, do not both papists and protestants force people to observe days, months and times, &c.? And therefore is not the apostle's labour and travail bestowed upon Christendom in vain, which was to bring people from under such beggarly elements and that yoke of bondage, (which the law did require,) to stand fast in the liberty, wherewith Christ hath made them free, and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage? So it was and is Christ, that hath and doth make his people free from these things and beggarly elements. And therefore they that are redeemed, are to stand fast in that liberty, where with Christ hath made them free. And this liberty, which all true Christians are to stand fast in, they are made free by Christ and not by man ; for man without the spirit and mind of Christ, seeks to force and compel Christ's fol. lowers, and such as are made free from the yoke of bondage to outward things, that the law commanded, and to
the observing of days, months, times, feasts and years; such weak, beggarly elements, them that know God, or are known of God and Christ, are to stand fast in their liberty, and not come under, nor be entangled with the yoke of bondage of such things again, seeing he hath made them free. For they that are in such things, and would force others to them, are gone from that, which gives them the knowledge of God, and have not stood fast in the liberty, wherewith Christ makes free.
And now concerning prayer, we do not read that ever Christ or his apostles did compel by force any to fast or pray, and make a law to strain the goods of such as would not observe days to fast and pray with them. But Christ taught them how they should pray, and be distinct from the hypocrites, and Christ's words are as followeth ; “ When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are ; for they love to stand praying in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men,” &c. “ But when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, which is in secret, and thy Father that seeth in secret, will reward thee openly. But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think, that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like them ; for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him," &c. So as the apostles and saints did, so do we; we pray in secret, and we pray in public, as the Spirit gives us utterance, which helps our infirmities, as it did the apostles and true Christians; and after this manner we pray for ourselves, and pray for all men both high and low.
Concerning fasting Christ saith, “ Moreover when ve fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance ; for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. But when thou fastest, anoint thy head and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
And likewise you may see in Isaiah the 58th, what the true fast is the Lord requires; where it is said to the prophet, “ Cry aloud, and spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins; yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God; they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they,
and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. 'Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness, ye shall not fast, as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen ? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bull-rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under hin? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen, saith the Lord; to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” So this fast that the Lord requires, is not to lay yokes and oppress and lay heavy burdens, and to make fast the bands of wickedness, but to loose and to break such things.
* And further, concerning the true fast the Lord requires, “ Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor, that are cast out, to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thy own flesh? (Do you keep this true fast ?) Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee, the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am; if thou take away from the midst of thee the yokes, the putting forth of the finger and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light arise out of obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon-day. And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, -whose waters fail not,” &c..
Now here is the practice of the true fast the Lord requires of his people; and they that observe this fast, the Lord saith, “When they call, he will answer.” And you may see what glorious and happy comforts they do receive from the Lord that keep this true fast; but such as fast for strife and debate, and smite with the fists of wickedness, to make their voices to be heard on high, and afflict their souls for a day, and bow down their head as a bullrush, and looses not the bands of wickedness, and does not undo every heavy burden, and break off every yoke, and let the oppressed go free, and does not deal his bread to the hungry, and clothe the naked, and bring the poor to