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you into all truth? Be not deceived, my soul entreats you, in a concern of such weight and moment. The great, everlasting God will not be mocked. If you are deceivers, hirelings, false prophets, unsanctified vessels, not called of God, and separated by his Holy Spirit to his work, it will be said unto you, one day, notwithstanding you take upon you to preach, and prophesy in his name, Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.'
"Water-baptism is no part of the gospel dispensation: this I testify, and know it to be true. But the true church cometh out of the wilderness, leaning on her beloved: therefore the exhortation to you, and as many as are in the same state with you, is to come out of the wilderness, and to lean on the beloved. My soul is truly concerned for you, and many a cry has ascended to the God of my life, on your behalf, that you may all turn to the true light, Christ Jesus, and may believe in it, that you may become the children of it. My heart is full of affection towards you, and in the bowels of my heavenly Father's love, I earnestly invite and beseech you, to suffer neither the farm, nor oxen, nor wife, nor children, nor possessions, nor notions, to hinder you from turning to the light within; but, come away, come away, to the brightness of its rising, and to the glory of its appearance. I know the way is narrow, and the gate is strait, and it will be hard to deny self, and take up your cross and follow Christ; but this I testify and declare, from sure and certain experience, in my own particular, that the light, as it is believed in and obeyed, is able to remove mountains, and to overcome the greatest difficulties; for I have had the trial of it, and do know the power, virtue, and excellency of it; and therefore to him, Christ Jesus, whom the Lord hath sent for a light to the Gentiles, and to be his salvation to the ends of the earth, in a sensible feeling of his quickening, and refreshing irradiations in my own soul, I tenderly recommend you, praying for you in the Holy Ghost. "RICHARD CLARIDGE"
We find this year an observable conference, occasionally had between him and Benjamin Keach, a Baptist teacher, at Green's Coffee-house, in Finch Lane, near Cornhill, London, on the 24th of the Twelfth Month, Christopher Meidel' being pre
1 Note. C. Meidel was by birth a Norwegian, educated at
sent, and managing part of the conference, which was in substance as follows.
After some friendly salutations that passed between them, Benjamin Keach began to express himself in a piteous and commiserating manner, over Richard Claridge, for his quitting the Baptists, and joining with the people called Quakers.
R. C. told him, That truth was very precious; and asked him what it was?
B. K. replied, Christ said, "I am the truth."
R. C. added, He was the way, the truth, and the life; and that it was well for all those that experimentally knew him to be so to them.
Then Christopher Meidel came into their company, and,
B. K. spake very kindly to him; and after a little time, addressed himself to him and Richard Claridge in words importing a great concern for them, looking upon them to be very honest men, but miserably deluded.
R. C. said, That was Benjamin Keach's mistake, they were not miserably deluded, as he supposed;
Copenhagen, in Denmark. Coming to England in the station of chaplain to Prince George of Denmark, the husband of Queen Anne, he became preacher to the Danish church (Lutherans) in London, then pastor of an Independent congregation in Nightingale-Lane, near East Smithfield; and in the year 1699, was convinced of, and received the truth, as professed by the people called Quakers. [C. Meidel's Preface to the 3rd Part of "Piety Promoted," is especially worthy the notice of the reader; it is a beautifully impressive piece, and shows the writer to have been a man of no ordinary stamp, as to religious weight and experience. Joseph Gurney Bevan gives a letter of his to our historian, William Sewell, dated Paris, 27th of Sixth Month, 1708, by which it appears, he had been then several weeks in prison for his testimony to the truth. See J. G. B.'s Historical Account prefixed to the 10th Part of "Piety Promoted."-Editor of 3rd edition.]
but he himself was under a delusion, who took money for preaching: for Christ said to his disciples, when he sent them forth to preach the gospel,Freely ye have received, freely give," Matt. x. 8. And that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles, 3 John, 7. And that Paul told the elders of the church at Ephesus, that he had coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel, but his hands had ministered to his necessities, and those that were with him, saying, “I have showed you in all things, how that so labouring, ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give, than to receive." Acts, xx. 33, 34, 35. And then argued from the precept of Christ, and examples of the apostles, both against priests' wages, and other ministers' set maintenance, upon the account of their preaching.
B. K. pleaded for the lawfulness of ministers' maintenance, urging, that in I Cor. ix. 14: "Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." And that, in 2 Cor. xi. 8, where the apostle saith, " I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service;" much insisting upon those words ordained and wages.
R. C. replied, That the apostle was to be so understood in one place, as that he might not interfere with himself in another; and said, that he was much upon travel in preaching the gospel, and that service lay many times so hard upon him, that he had no opportunity of working, and then was constrained to receive what was freely ministered to him by the churches, for the supply of his pre
sent necessities; but when that service did not lie so hard upon him, and he had an opportunity, he worked for his living: as at Corinth, he wrought with Aquila and Priscilla, at tent-making, Acts, xviii. 1, 2, 3. He laboured working with his own hands, 1 Cor. iv. 12. And that night and day, that he might not be chargeable, 1 Thes. ii. 9, and 2 Thes. iii. 8.
B. K. said, The apostle had a power to forbear working, and to receive wages.
R. C. confessed, He had a power to forbear working when he was actually in the service of truth, and to receive what was absolutely necessary for him; but he used it not in the regions of Achaia, 1 Cor. ix. 15, compared with 2 Cor. xi. 9, 10, that he might make himself an ensample to others to follow him, 2 Thes. iii. 9.
B. K., though he pleaded for the lawfulness of taking wages, or hire, even to the robbing of other churches, in case one was not sufficient to maintain the preacher; yet he declared against bargaining by the year or quarter, for a certain sum or stipend, giving C. M. and R. C. a relation of his own conscientious practice in the time of persecution, how he sold his library to buy cows, and himself took a yoke, and carried milk to London, because he would not be burdensome to others.
R. C. commended that honest practice of his, and asked him, How it was with him then, as to his inward sense; and whether he did not experience more peace in himself, and life in his preaching, than he did after he left that calling?
B. K. paused awhile, and answered in the negative, saying, That after he complied with the de
sires of his people, to leave his calling, and to betake himself wholly to the ministry, he found a greater success attending it, than he did before; for many were soon after baptized, and he did hope, they were most of them, if not all, converted per
Note. This answer doth not come up to the question; for his number of proselytes to water-baptism, is remote to it: his inward sense, peace, and life might be under an eclipse, notwithstanding that outward accession of proselytes.
B. K. next took occasion to charge C. M. and R. C. with the neglect, or omission of the two great ordinances, as he styled them, of water-baptism, and the outward supper.
R. C. told him, That water-baptism was no ordinance of the gospel. That it was not the baptism of Christ, but was John's baptism, who was the forerunner of Christ, who by his baptism was to be exhibited to Israel: "That he should be made manifest to Israel," saith John, "therefore am I come, baptizing with water," John, i. 31. And further showed the difference between John's baptism and Christ's, from the threefold testimony of John, Christ, and Peter: "I indeed baptize you with water," saith John, "but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire," Matt. iii. 11. "John truly baptized with water," saith Christ, "but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence." Acts, i. 5. So Peter, "Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost." Acts, xi. 16.
B. K. made no distinct reply to this; but after