A MESSAGE FROM A 18 YEAR OLD,
MADE A MINISTER BY CHRIST AT AGE 16
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.