Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CHRIST Exalted Into His THRONE and the SCRIPTURE Owned in its Place


by James Parnell, 1654

All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Tim 3:12  Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Mat 5:10

Persecuted, he died in prison, shortly after writing this and several other tracts
(Click here to read a short Biography of James Parnell)

James Parnell did a wonderful job describing the difference between Walking in the Spirit being led by Christ versus living by the letter of the law.


This then is the message that we have received of the Father, that God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all; if we walk in darkness, and say we have fellowship with him, we lie, and do not the Truth; but if we walk in the Light, as he is in the Light, then have we fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7

And this is the Word which was in the beginning, by which all things were made; and in him was Life, and his Life was the Light of men. John 1:1-4. By which Light all the holy men of God, in the days of old, were inspired. By which Light Moses saw the things that were done in the beginning, and wrote of them. Which Word was a lamp unto David's feet, and a Light unto his paths. Ps 119:105. Which Light dwelled in the prophets and holy men, by which they saw the day of Christ, and wrote of him, (Isa 49:6, 60:19), and spoke as they were moved by it; and by it saw the deceit, iniquities and transgressions of Israel; and declared against it, both in priest, people, and rulers; speaking the Word of the Lord faithfully, whether they would hear, or forbear. Ezek 2, Mic 3, Isa 56

And this Word came unto the prophets, which was as a fire and a hammer in their bones, ( Jer 20:9, 23:29), which Word in due time became flesh, and dwelt among the Apostles, and they saw the glory thereof as of the only begotten Son of the Father, full of Grace and Truth, (John 1:14), whom John bears witness of, to be the Light of the world, who enlightens everyone that comes into the world. John 1. To which Light Paul was sent to turn the minds of the heathen. Acts 26:17-18. Which Light is the condemnation of the world, who love darkness rather than Light, because their deeds are evil; and he that hates it, has it, though he will not bring his deeds to it, by it to be proved; therefore his condemnation it is. John 3:19-21

And there is a time, Light shines in darkness, and darkness comprehends it not, and this is the cause why many stumble at it, and are offended in it. John 1:5

And there is a time Light shines out of darkness, and darkness flees away, and then is witnessed the perfect day, where the children of the day do walk. Isa 42:16, Mat 4:16, Eph 5:8. Which Light is the true trier of spirits, and gives the discerning of spirits, and discovers the works of darkness, and manifests the deeds of darkness; and by it the secrets of the heart are seen, and hidden things searched out; and by it all things are manifest; and whatsoever makes manifest is Light, (Heb 4:12, Eph 5:13), all which the natural man knows not, and therefore cannot receive the things of God, but by this Light is seen and judged; for by this Light the spiritual man is able to discern and judge the natural man, but he himself is judged of no man. 1 Cor 2:14-15. For this is the judge of the world, and by this the prince of the air is judged, wherever he rules, (John 16:11), and therefore at it rages, and stirs up his servants to persecute it, where it is manifest; and so it is a stumbling stone and a rock of offence to the children of the world, in whom the prince of this world lodges. Rom 9:33

And of this Word the Apostle Paul bears witness, is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, (Heb 4:12), to which Word the Apostle directed the minds of people within them, from looking without to find it without. Rom 10:8. And from this same Word the Apostles spoke forth the scripture; which Word was their guide, and rule, and Teacher all along from the beginning; by which both the Apostles, and Prophets, and the holy men were acted, moved, and carried forth in the power of it, to declare that which by it they were taught. 1 John 1:2, 2 Pet 1:21. And this is the free Grace of God, which brings Salvation, and has appeared to all men, (Tit 2:11-12), which is their condemnation who walk despitefully against it, (Heb 10:29), but this was the saints Teacher, by which they were taught to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live godly, righteously and soberly in this present evil world. Titus 2:11-14

And this is the anointing, which teaches all things freely, which is Truth, and no lie, and leads into all Truth; and he that knows this, needs no man to teach him; but has come to the end of man's teaching, 1 John 2:27, unto which the Prophet has come, and therefore called "freely, come, buy wine and milk without money or price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not Bread, or your labor for that which profits not? Isa 55:1-3. And from this the Apostle spoke freely, nor coveting man's silver or gold; but as they freely had received, freely they gave. Acts 20:33. And whoever speaks from this, speaks freely, and its ministry leads to the end of teaching; and here let all flesh keep silence before the Lord. Zech 2:13

And let all hirelings, and greedy shepherds, stop their mouths, who cry peace peace to them that put into their mouths, but if not, they even prepare war against them, and such like the prophet in the Light saw, and by it testified against them. Mic 3:5. And all this, the scripture bears testimony of, which was spoken from the Light; but scripture is not the Light, nor the Word, nor the Life, nor the judge, nor the rule, nor the guide, nor the trier of spirits; for all this belongs to Christ, who is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, (Heb 4:12), who is the Light, (John 8:12), who is the Word, (John 1:14), who is the Life, (John 14:6) , who blamed the Pharisees that thought in the scriptures to find eternal Life, but would not come to him that they might have Life, (John 5:39-40), who is the anointing, who is the guide and Teacher, and the rule, (1 John 2:27), who when we are going to the right hand or to the left, cries, "This is the Way, walk in it." Isa 30:21. Of which the scripture is a true declaration spoken from this Word of Truth, of which Light everyone has a measure, which to them is the free gift of God to profit withal, which Light in the conscience reproves for sin and iniquity, and manifests the deceit of the heart, and checks the creature when it swears, or lies, or does amiss, telling it, that it should not do so; and calls for repentance and amendment of Life, and leads unto the same as it is owned and followed; and as many as receive it, receive power to become the sons of god. John 8:12 and John 1:12, Rom 2:4

But he that does evil hates the Light, and will not bring his deeds to it, by it to be proved, and to him it is condemnation; but he that loves the Light brings his deeds to the Light, to show if they were done through God. John 3:20-21. But of this Light you people and teachers of the world are ignorant, and so are doting upon the scripture without, with your dark minds there, with the blind Pharisees, seeking for Life where it is not to be found; but you will not come to Christ the Light, that you might have life; but would cast him out of his throne, and exalt scriptures above him, calling them the judge, and the Light and the Word, and the Life, and the rule, and the guide, and thus with your dark minds you would take the authority from Christ and would give it unto the dead letter, which is but a declaration of these things. And thus your leaders cause you to err, (Isa 3:12), for their own ends, and of the scriptures they make an idol, to get money, by adding their own meanings, interpretations, and constructions upon them, which are all the conceivings and imaginations of their own hearts, by which they lead you in blindness, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth in your hearts; but are looking without, doting without in the letter, acting and imitating out of the Light for Life, (2 Tim 3:6,7), and so in darkness, doing your own works, (Isa 1:2), which are not required at your hands, but are for condemnation by the Light. And so in vain, (John 4:22), are you worshipping a God, whom ye know not, crying up his ordinances, and crying up his commands, and crying up the scripture, exalting it in the place of Christ, and thus coming near him with your lips, and your hearts far from him, (Mat 15:9), still living in the corrupt sinful nature, ignorant of the free grace of God, which should lead you to repentance and amendment of life. Eph 2:5-8

And because we do witness this mystery, which has been hidden from ages and generations, now made manifest in us, which is, Christ within, the Hope of Glory, (Col 1:26-27), who is the Light of the world, who enlightens everyone that comes into the World, who is the true Shepherd, (John 10), and the true Teacher, no more to be removed into a corner, (Isa 30:20, 1 John 2:27), who is the anointing, who teaches all things, and is the end of man's teaching. Therefore your ministers of the letter, who make a trade and a gain of the letter, by idolizing it, and setting it up in the room of Christ, by taking the authority from Christ, and applying it to the letter, that your minds, who are taught by them, may the more be drawn without, to look at it, and idolize it, expecting life and salvation by it, and no hope without it, that they may the longer make merchandise of you, and still uphold their trade, and gain by it, do now see that this our doctrine of Christ to be all in all, and that without him we can do nothing, (John 15:5), but that by him we can do all things without the help of scripture, or anything else without, (Philip 4:13), and that there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved, but that he is able to save to the utmost all that shall come unto God by him, (Heb 7:25), and that he is the Word and the scripture is not; and that he is the Light, and the scripture is not; and that he is the rule and guide, and Teacher, and Judge, and the scripture is not; but a declaration of him to be so. And that the scripture all along witnesses with our doctrine to be one with it, and theirs to be another doctrine, which the scripture will not maintain, but the scripture is against, and is only brought in for money's sake to satisfy their own carnal ends, that they may bear rule by their means, as the false Prophets did before them. Jer 5:30-31

And this Light all along makes them manifest in all their colors and false covers so that they cannot hide themselves from being deceivers, and also this they do know, that if everyone comes to know and find a Teacher within them, which teaches them the will of God, and enables them for to obey it, so that they need no man to teach them; then indeed they will no longer spend their money upon them for that which is not Bread, nor their labor for that which profits not, and will be a prey unto them no longer. So not only their craft, and trade, and idol will fail them; but also, their great gain and riches will be taken from them, and all their honor, and fame and dignity will come to nothing. Therefore they in their hot rage, and fierceness, and enmity of their spirits, do set themselves to oppose this Light, wherever it is appears; and persecuting the publishers of this doctrine, railing against them as deceivers, and seducers and bringers in of false lights, and such as deny the scripture, and would rob it of its authority, and give it to a Light within them (which the priests call, natural light) and insufficient to lead to salvation without the help of scripture, and other outward helps; and so would set the scripture above the Light of Christ; saying among themselves, if we let go the authority of scripture, then all is gone; (that is to say) take away our idol, then take away our maintenance, then down with our ministry.

So here is clear the foundation they stand upon, and this is the cause why they call the scripture their foundation; and so all this authority, which they put upon the scripture, they take away from Christ, who alone is the foundation of the faithful, of whom the scripture is a declaration; and so we do own it by the same which gave it forth, which unto us opens it and reveals it, and shows them to be out of the Life of it, and so by the Life thereof are judged and condemned, as before is proved. And though they call it the Word, yet in the same it does witness against them, and witness Christ to be the Word before the scripture was written. John 1 And though they call the scripture the Light, yet in the same it witnesses against them, and witnesses Christ to be the Light before the scripture was written, and is able to save to the utmost all that shall come unto God by him; and they that climb up any other Way, the same are thieves and robbers. John 10:1

And therefore is not a natural insufficient Light, as they that know not him do report of him, and therefore show themselves to be as ignorant as the Pharisees, who only supposed him to the son of Joseph, yet wondered at his power, and the works that were done by him; as these do now wonder at the prosperity of this ministration of Light, and to see how it prevails upon the hearts of the people, so that they know not what to think of it; they are not able to encounter with it, but that they see it strikes so much at their Diana, and lies so hard at their foundation, so that it makes their building totter, therefore the rulers, priests and Pharisees take counsel together, saying one to another that if we let this people alone, all men will go after them, and they will draw away whole nations; therefore they take the same course, as ever the false prophets did, joining together with the earthly powers to make war with the Lamb, persecuting, stocking, whipping, imprisoning and shamefully treating his messengers, whom the Lamb sent forth to bear testimony of this Light in peoples consciences (where we have a witness both in them that believe, and in them that perish) and also, striving all the ways they can, by their evil incensing, lying, railings, and false accusings and reporting to defame this Light, and leaven your minds against it (that if it were possible) to put it out, that still they might uphold their Father's kingdom of darkness, and bear rule by their means over the blind, carrying captive the minds of people.

But who is able to make war with the Lamb, or who shall withstand the day of his coming? Saul, Saul, it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And though they call the scripture their rule and guide, yet in this it witnesses against them, to be in Cain's way, and Balaam's way, and in the gain-saying of Core, and so have not God, (Jude 1:11, 2 John 1:9), but are found to be the generation who are born after the flesh persecuting them that are born after the Spirit. Gal 4:29

And though they call the scripture their rule and guide, yet they receive not power from it to enable them to walk according to it; but are altogether erring from it, in anything that crosses self; but as many as receive the Light, receive power to follow it, and come out of the corrupt sinful nature, which they live in who know not the Light, (John 1:12), and here the Light is above the scripture.

And though they say, the scripture is the judge and trier of spirits, yet in the same it witnesses against them, to be liars, and bears witness of Christ to be the judge, and trier, and searcher of the heart, and discerner of the thoughts, (Heb 4:12, Rom 1:16, 1 Pet 4:5), and that whatsoever makes manifest is Light, (Eph 5:13), therefore that which manifests false spirits is the Light, and not the letter, which Light manifested and discovered false spirits before the scripture was written. And also, though they say, the scripture is the judge and trier of spirits, yet by the scripture they cannot discern or judge of spirits; else, what makes all this difference in judgment amongst them who profess to try spirits by the scripture, and profess it to be their rule, and ground their judgments upon it, yet are so confused in the same, and never a one knows which is the Truth, when the Way is but one?

So that it follows, that they have nothing but the scripture without, and are still without, in darkness and confusion, as all those appear to be who call the scripture their rule, and guide, and judge, and trier of spirits, and yet do not know the Truth; but are quarreling, and wrangling, and arguing, and disputing, and contending about the scripture, everyone with a several judgment upon it. Surely this distraction is not in scripture; for it was spoken from one, and all agrees in one.

Therefore you that so profess the scripture, see if you can find it out by the scripture, and see where you are; but they that are in the Light have fellowship one with another, (1 John 1:7), and are of one heart, and one soul, (Acts 4:32), and all agree in one, and are epistles written in one another's heart, (2 Cor 3:2), and by the Light they try and discern false spirits, and in it are able to judge them, and open the scriptures without wresting, adding or diminishing; and by it do know, they are of God, because they love one another with the same love with which Christ loved them; (1 John 4), it is not such love which is today, and tomorrow crosses the will, and it is turned into wrath and anger; no that love stands in the corrupt will, but this love stands in the bond of peace which endures; and here again the light is above the scripture; and though they say the light must be received from the scripture, yet in this, the scripture witnesses against them, and bears witness of Christ to be the light of the World, who enlightens everyone that comes into the World.

And they, who cannot even read, have this light, which is sufficient to teach them and lead them into all Truth, after they come to the knowledge of it; and from this light the scripture was spoken, (2 Pet 1:21), and without this light none can read the scripture with understanding; and here the light is before the scripture, and out of it all the children of darkness are shut with their busy minds and vain contending spirits; and though they say, they must receive life and salvation from the scripture; yet, in this, the scripture witnesses against them and testifies of Christ to be the alone Fountain of Life and Salvation, and that there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved. Ps 30:9, Ps 144:10

And that the Pharisees had the scripture, yet did not have the Light, neither could they see that he was the Christ, though the scripture bore testimony of him; neither would they come unto him for Life and salvation, but trusted in the scripture, thinking there to find eternal Life, and found it not therein. John 5:39-40

As all you are now who are seeking the living among the dead, and here again the light is above the Scripture, which Light is within us the hope of glory, (Col 1:26-27), and those that cannot witness this are in the reprobation, though they have the scripture without; (1 Cor 13:5), and from the Light we receive life and salvation, and from no other, and this alone is our guide, Teacher, Judge, and Law-giver, if we never see letter; (Luke 1:79, John 6:45, Isa 33), and this alone is the ground and foundation of our faith and hope, by which we are made able to cry Abba Father. 1 Cor 3:11, Rom 8:15. And here it is not self that judges or condemns, but Christ that lives in us, Gal 2:20, and it is not self that justifies us, but Christ that lives in us; and here Christ is exalted onto his throne, and the scripture owned in its place, without contempt or undervaluing.

And they are found the ministers of antichrist, who would cast Christ out of his throne, and take the scripture out of its place to exalt above him, applying to it that authority which alone belongs unto him, for their own by secret self-ends; so that in that, they apply such authority to the scripture, by doing so, they rob Christ of authority, and undervalue him, as the Pharisees did, who thought in the scriptures to find eternal life, but would not come to Christ that they might have life; in whose steps you and your teachers are now found, professing Christ in words, but in Life denying him, and therefore must be judged and condemned by him, as they were.

And if you priests do allege, there is a false light, as well as a true Light; I answer that, it is in you, which blinds your minds, so that you cannot receive this gospel, but from you it is hid. (2 Cor 4:3-4). And therefore you bring another gospel, calling the four books Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the gospel; in which, these four books will witness against you, and bear witness of Christ to be the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation; who is the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, who came to take away the sins of the world; and blessed are they that are not offended in him. John 1:26, John 1:13, Luke 7:23

And also, that is a false Light in you, which leads you into the form or resemblance, or outward show of holiness, but denies the Life and power, (2 Tim 3:5), and to profess the scripture to be your rule, but in life and practice deny it; and to be short, leads into a profession without possession; but that which leads into the Life and power is no false Light; for it leads into the possession, before the profession, and so the profession is from the possession; but your profession is from another's possession, and so boast in an others line, by which you beguile both yourselves, and others; and therefore in that you go about to arm yourselves with the scripture, to oppose the Light, by exalting it above the Light, thinking thereby to debase the Light, and so to keep peoples minds from the Light, that they may still remain in darkness and blindness under you.

You do, but in the same, bring a weapon to cut off your own heads, and raise a war to destroy your selves, and increase more light to the people, and manifest your selves odious, and to be the blind guides of the nation; who are to be denied, (2 John 2:9-10), and turned away from by us, as deceivers, and to be held as accursed , who bring another doctrine in opposition to the true doctrine which is held forth in the scripture; for the scripture and the Light agree in one, from both which you are shut, with disputing contentious spirits, by which you would wrest the scripture out of its place, to clash against its Original, thereby to uphold your father antichrist's kingdom, and therein do the more manifest yourselves to be the ministers of antichrist, who under profession of the true Christ, do oppose him and make war with him, (2 Cor 11:13-15), but your weapons are weak, as is daily made manifest.

James Parnell

Monday, September 27, 2010

Seeking the Undivided Kingdom of God

(The Following lesson is taken from the book - “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God” – Steve Bray)

We began our study by determining the goal of our faith. And then through Scripture, we have tried to show how God has the power and the desire to manifest a Christ-like nature through our mortal body. We have also tried to emphasis how we do not arrive at the goal of our faith through human effort. The only way someone is able to become like Jesus Christ is through the divine power of God. Our part is to seek out this new life through a dependent faith that is willing to respond to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, as He leads us toward “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Eph. 1:18-19)

Many believers have become disappointed in the Christian faith because they find little joy in trying to live out the kingdom-life that our Lord has described in His Sermon on the Mount. They do not experience the fullness of Christ’s life as promised in Scripture. (John 10:10) Although He has told them they would never thirst again if they believed in Him, they continue to find themselves thirsting after the things of this world and under the bondage of the sinful nature. Without an experiential reality of the heavenly life within their soul, they end up drifting back to the temporal waters of this world in an attempt to find fulfillment in their life.

It will help clarify some of the apparent conflicts in Scripture if we can begin to understand how the salvation of the Lord is not completed in a moment of time.

Continue Reading

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Babylon The Great by Isaac Penington

This is a wonderful book that I just added to the Recommended Books page.  It is written by Isaac Penington (1616-1679).  It gives one of the clearest pictures of what Babylon the Great really is and exposes the anti-christ. 

*Babylon The Great

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Determining the Source of our Righteousness

* The following article is from “The Way to Eternal Life”- Steve Bray

Self-produced righteousness has its source in the pride of life. It can therefore be offended. This is why people who live in self-produced righteousness inevitably stumble into sin when they are opposed. Something other than perfect love comes out of the mouth because there is still something other than perfect love in their heart. “For a tree is known by its fruit… For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt. 12: 33-34)

It is possible to live by many of God’s laws in a self-produced form of righteousness, without having a pure nature of love that can endure “all things” with meekness, humility, and longsuffering patience. It is in this sense that we need to determine if our righteousness has its source in God or if it is something we have developed through our own efforts.

Love {the love that has its source in God – *see again pages 15-16} suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up…does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil…bears all things…endures all things. Love never fails… (1 Cor. 13: 4-5, 7-8)

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another…But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. {In other words, put on Christ’s life of righteousness.} (Col. 3: 12-14)

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps…who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return…but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. (1 Pet. 2: 21, 23)

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven… (Matt. 5: 44-45)

Those who are filled with Christ’s Spirit naturally reveal the fruit of His Spirit. His love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control will continue to flow out of their heart like “rivers” of Living Water. (Gal. 5: 22-23) This steady flow of life from heaven makes it possible to consistently manifest His nature of holy love—the righteousness that comes from God by faith. “For the fruit of the Spirit is in ALL goodness, righteousness, and truth.” (Eph. 5: 9)

Jesus said we will find hypocrisy in those who produce their own righteousness. It is exposed by the way they judge others with a critical spirit concerning certain pet beliefs while they neglect “the weightier matters of the law” such as “love and mercy.” (Matt. 23: 23) Yes, they can be very adamant about certain laws, but their basic nature is contrary to perfect love. And we are afraid there is going to be a day when these people discover, to their own horror, how their lack of mercy, along with their critical and overbearing spirit, have put out some flickering wicks in weak Christians. They have actually turned them away from the true Christian faith. “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come {in a fallen world}, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” According to Jesus, these legalistic offenders would have been better off tying a millstone around their neck and jumping into the ocean before they caused one of His little ones to stumble. (Matt. 18: 6-7)

James has clearly described the wisdom that comes down from heaven. (Jam. 3: 17) It comes from the life of Christ when He has become our “wisdom” and “righteousness.” “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” (v. 17) In other words, if these characteristics have not yet become an innate part of our inner nature, then we have to assume that we are still not sharing with Christ in the righteousness that comes from God by faith.

Self-produced righteousness, which has its source in the pride of life, will inevitably result in partiality, contentions and divisions. This form of life is nothing more than human politics. After various individuals and groups determine what they consider to be the right way to live, they then try to press their opinions onto others. It naturally results in the divisions and favoritism we now find in churches and nations. It is how “mere men” naturally act. “For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Cor. 3: 3)

Those who receive the righteousness that comes from God by faith will no longer behave like “mere men.” Having lost their self-life, they are lifted by the power of God into His heavenly life where they become “perfect in one” with each other. (John 17: 22-23) These children of the Father bear His image of holy love in everything they do. They are “peaceable,” “gentle,” “willing to yield” and “full of mercy.” Their whole purpose in life is to lead others into the heavenly Kingdom-life that comes down from above. And they know it has nothing to do with self-produced righteousness.

Those who die to their own righteousness are in a place to live by the Spirit alone. It is by living through the Son, and sharing with Him in His eternal life of love, that we can all remain in harmony with God and each other. It makes it possible to “be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10) And while our knowledge will tend to differ depending on our spiritual growth, when we all die to our own righteousness and opinions, we can then be led by the Spirit into the same truth.

Therefore let us, as many as are mature {spiritually}, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you {when you are dead to your own opinions and give Him sufficient time}. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained {to God’s life of heavenly love}, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. (Phil. 3: 15-16 NIV)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Old Serpent's Voice; or, Antichrist Discovered, Opposing Christ in his Kingdom

The Old Serpent's Voice; or, Antichrist Discovered, Opposing Christ in His Kingdom

by James Naylor (1616-1660)

I am the light of the world, saith Christ; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life; that is the true light which enlighteneth everyone that cometh into the world.

Saith antichrist, Christ is not the light of the world, nor doth he enlighten every one that cometh into the world, for that light which lighteth every one that cometh into the world is not the light of Christ but is a natural light, and is not sufficient to lead out of darkness into the light of life.

Saith God, I give thee for a covenant to the people, for a light to the Gentiles, and to them that sit in darkness, that thou mayest be my salvation to the ends of the earth.

Saith antichrist, the Gentiles and they that sit in darkness have not the light of Christ given to them, nor doth this light reach for salvation to the ends of the earth, but only to such as have heard the gospel (which is the letter), and whom I have taught to understand the meaning of it by my study and learning.

Saith John, he that commits sin is of the devil, and for this purpose was the son of God manifest, to destroy the works of the devil.

Saith antichrist, you may commit sin and be of God, for sin (which is the work of the devil) is not to be destroyed in this world, but in the world to come, for all must have their failings while they are here.

Saith Paul, Christ gave himself for his church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, and present it to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, and that it should be holy without blemish.

Saith antichrist, that's blasphemy for any to witness to such attainments in this world, that any should be holy, glorious, sanctified, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, for all must be subject to sin while they are here, and be made holy and glorious after death.

Saith Paul, Christ hath by one offering forever perfected them that are sanctified, and that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus; and for that end did Christ begift and send out his ministers for the perfecting the saints, and to bring them up to his measure and fullness.

Saith antichrist, Christ hath perfected none, nor ever shall any be made perfect while they live, for perfection cannot be attained to till after death in another world.

Saith John, he that saith he abideth in Christ ought himself also to walk even as he walked; herein we may have boldness in the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world; and as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.

Saith antichrist, that's blasphemy for any to witness that holiness that was in Christ in any measure; for it's sufficient that he was holy in his own person before he ascended, and if you can but believe in that holiness and profess it, though you never come to possess it, yet it's sufficient to cover all your sins past, present, and to come; and it were high presumption for any to seek to be partakers of that holiness that was in Christ, or to be like him, for he was the son of God; and do you look to become sons of God, that were high presumption, for you must bear the image of the first Adam while you live in this world, and you must be conformable to the image of Christ in another world after death.

Saith Christ, God is a spirit, and he will be worshipped in Spirit and in truth, for he seeks such to worship him. And you (that contend about places and forms) worship you know not what. And saith Paul, the word is nigh in the heart within, and God, whom you are to worship, is within; and Christ, the ordinance whom the Father ordained for the way to his worship, and of whom all the outward ordinances were types, is within, and is the substance of all ordinances.

Saith antichrist, you must come to the house of God to worship, which is the church, for it's convenient and was builded for that purpose; and the letter is the word in the Bible, and not in the heart; and expounding and preaching this letter, by the help of learning, and sprinkling infants, and singing David's conditions in rhyme and meter, putting off your hats when you sing, these are the ordinances, and this is the worship, which is without, in forms and customs, and not that which is within in Spirit.

Saith Paul, you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be comforted; and if anything be revealed to one that sits by, let the first hold his peace, for God is not the author of confusion but of peace; and the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, as in all the churches of the saints.

Saith antichrist, that was the order in the primitive times, but that prophesying is now ceased, and none shall now prophesy but such as are men of learning and have been at the university, and have tongues, and study to fit them for that purpose, and have received orders either from the bishop, or are approved by some appointed by authority: and these shall be masters and bear rule in every parish, and none shall reprove or contradict what they say in public, nor speak anything till they have done (notwithstanding whatever be revealed to any that sit by), for we have a law, and by that law all that do shall be imprisoned and proceeded against as disturbers of the peace. And though it was the manner of Christ and his apostles to go into the temple and synagogues, disputing and alleging against them who held up outward forms of worship and idols' temples, and thereby gathered people out from them into the inward worship in Spirit; proving that to be the worship of God and denying all other worships, yet these times are not as those were; for now people are all baptized and believers and do profess Christ to be come, suffered and ascended, and what need any further? and we do not believe that any now have the same Spirit that Christ and his apostles had, nor the same commands; for they had an immediate call from God, which none now have; and though they have never such a call, yet let them not trouble us in our devotion, but keep them with their own disciples; for we care for no such company; and we do not come at them, and therefore why should they trouble us and come to draw our hearers from us and from the manner of worship we and our fathers have lived in these many years; and they are ill suffered in the nation to sow division between the people and their ministers by telling of our tithes and set maintenance, and that we ought to preach freely as the apostles did; and thus they seek not only our undoing but our wives and children after we be dead.

Saith God, I will make a new covenant with you, and you shall not teach one another, saying know the Lord; for all shall know me from the least to the greatest, for I will write my law in their hearts and put it in their inward parts, and they shall be all taught of God.

Saith antichrist, your law is the letter without and not in the heart, neither shall any know God or his will but by this rule without in the letter, of which I am a teacher, and by my meanings and expositions of it shall you come to know all that is to be known of God and his will in this world, for the immediate teachings of God are ceased, and never any heard the voice of God since the apostles, nor need any to look for it any more, for this teaching of mine is all the teachings that ever shall be, and it is to continue to the end of the world; and all that deny it, or to be ordered by it, are heretics, and are not to be suffered to live in the world.

Saith Christ, call no man master upon earth, neither be ye called master; for one is your master, even Christ, and you are all brethren; and if any man will be greatest among you let him be servant to all; for it is the heathen that exercise authority, but with you it shall not be so.

Saith antichrist, that was spoken concerning the pride of the Pharisees; but you may call me master, for I do not delight in it in pride, yet it is fit there should be distinctions of persons amongst men, for thereby are people governed; and it's the fashion of the country, and hereby you show your breeding and manners; and though God did forbid us to bow to or worship any but himself alone, or to have the faith of Christ in respect of persons for their pride or riches; yet this is not as theirs was, for this is but a civil respect in our bowing and worshipping, and it's but to differ them that are rich from the poor; and how can they bear rule without it? and it's decent and of a good report in the world, and the custom of the nation; and it's a reproach for any to deny it; and as for religion and obedience to God, it consists not in such trivial things as these are, that may be done or undone.

Saith God, thou shalt not covet; and covetousness let it not be once named amongst you, as becometh saints, for it is idolatry; and let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have, for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.

Saith antichrist, thou must live by thy wits that God hath given thee, and this is not covetousness, but a provident care; and he that will not provide for his family is worse than an infidel; and if thou stand to wait upon God and dost not help thyself by thy wits, both thou and thine may be poor enough; therefore first lay up for thyself and children that you need not fear want, and then take thy rest, and thou mayest have time to serve God, and thy riches need not hinder thee, but further thee in his service.

Saith Christ, no man knows the Father but the Son, and he to whom the son reveals him; and I thank thee, O Father, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.

Saith antichrist, that was in the time of Christ and his apostles, and then none knew the Father nor the things of the kingdom of God but by revelation, but now all revelations are come to an end, and none need to look for them any more; for it is now only they that have wisdom, prudence, and learning that know God and the things of his kingdom, as much as is to be known in these days. And all that would be wise or religious or would know any more than their neighbors must come to them to learn; for they have books and studies and the judgment of ancient fathers and philosophers, how they came to know the things of God; and these are more like to know God and his secrets than babes and fools.

Saith Christ, the harvest is great, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the vineyard that he may send forth laborers into his vineyard.

Saith antichrist, that was in the primitive times when there was but few believed; & then there was no Christian magistrate to take care for propagating the gospel; & then they had their immediate call from God himself, & they heard his voice and left all and followed Christ, and had their commission from God, and needed none from men; but what a vain thing were it to look for such a call now as is immediate: that were to look for a miracle; but there is a mediate call now by which all are called by commission from men; and such are called as are found fitted for that purpose and have learning, are able to answer school questions, and have logic and philosophy, and can dispute and resolve doubts and questions, and they to whom God hath given all the power now think it not fit to choose or suffer such as God and Christ did choose, as fishermen, herdsmen, and ploughmen and suchlike, who have not learning and the original tongues; for when God did choose such in old time he furnished them with his own Spirit instead of learning; but what a ridiculous thing would it be to look for such gifts now, when all are believers, & here are so many learned men in the nation to choose out of? & there is no need of such extraordinary calls or gifts in these times as was then; for when Christ ascended he gave gifts unto men and appointed officers, and left it to them to appoint others; and so one to ordain another to the end of the world: & he himself is set down at the right hand of God in heaven and meddles not with it: and so the apostles made bishops, and the bishops became popes, and the popes made cardinals, and they inferior bishops, and those became lord bishops, and they made parsons, vicars, curates, and they are now become ministers, pastors, teachers; and so my ministers can derive their ordination by succession from the apostles; & what matter is it for the errors of the pope and bishops? that's not as they were ministers, but men.

Saith Christ to his ministers, freely you have received, freely give; make no provision for your journey, neither take thought what to eat or drink or what to put on; for the life is more than food, and the body more than raiment; and your heavenly Father knows what ye stand in need of; and the workman is worthy of his meat.

Saith antichrist, it's true, they that received freely might well preach freely, but those free gifts are now ceased, and none come now to the ministry so easily, but are at great charge, they or their friends, in learning at schools and universities; and if they must when they have been at all that cost preach freely, then who will bring up any to be ministers? And now they come to the knowledge of the mystery of godliness by much study, and they must have abundance of books; and all this cannot be done with preaching freely; and besides, in those times of the apostles they must needs preach freely, for there was no believing magistrates to establish them in tithes or such benefits as is now; and if they would have had such things then, there was no law to get them by; but we have ours established by a law, and by the law of the nation do we demand them, and not from the apostles' example; and whoever denies to pay them denies the law and the magistrates and therefore deserves to suffer by the law; and though such suffer the spoiling of their goods, yea, the treble value of their tithes, yet they suffer as evildoers.

Saith God, thou shalt not add anything to the words that I command thee, neither shalt thou diminish anything there from; for every word of the Lord is pure, & he that adds thereto shall be reproved and found a liar; and he that adds to the words of this book, I will add to him all the plagues written therein; and he that takes aught therefrom, I will erase his name out of the book of life.

Saith antichrist, the Scriptures are a mystery and are given out darkly, and none can understand them as they are given out, for the Scripture is not to be taken as it speaks, but according to the meaning of it; which meanings are known to none but the learned, and is found out by comparing one Scripture with another; and by adding to them or taking from them they come to be reconciled and the meanings found out, which cannot be by any other means; and therefore they who are to expound the Scriptures must have the help of learning, books and studies; and by comparing the judgment of learned fathers one with another, the best expositions of Scripture are found out and owned, and all the rest refused. And this cannot be done but by adding or diminishing; for none can infallibly say what is truth, but everyone must declare it as he conceives and imagineth of it.

Saith Christ, in the old time it was said, thou shalt not forswear, for in the old covenant swearing in truth was an ordinance of God, but I say, swear not at all; for what is more than yea and nay cometh of evil. And the apostle, who was come into the new covenant and did witness the oath of God fulfilled, said, above all things, my brethren, swear not any oath whatsoever, lest ye fall into temptation.