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of carnal wisdom and prudence, to the word of God: so I' desire all men that are spiritual, and able to judge, to allow of no more in this discourse, than they shall find agreeable to this word; and whatever the word of God, in the true sense and meaning of it, shall disapprove or condemn; so far, let them also disapprove and condemn with it, as I myself also do: knowing well, that no word ought to have any place in the church of God, but the word of God, which alone carries light, life, righteousness, wisdom and power, sufficient, and enough in itself, to do the whole mind and work of God in his church. Wherefore, what I have freely learned, I shall freely communicate, desiring every one to regard his own salvation; seeing now, after so clear a discovery of truth, he can have no cloak, nor the least excuse for his sin.

Now, that he that reads may understand, it is necessary for me, speaking of the unity and peace of the church, to tell you at first, that I intend not to propound any way of peace, either between the church and the world, or else between the carnal and spiritual children of the church, as having learned no such thing out of the word of God.

First Not between the church and the world: for the Lord never intended any reconciliation and agreement between these, in the spiritual and eternal things of the kingdom of God; for these are two distinct seeds, and sorts of people; the one from beneath, the other from above; the one the seed of the woman; the other the seed of the serpent; and between these two, God hath put such an enmity, that no man can take away. Wherefore, they who never minded these two different seeds, between whom God hath put such irreconcileable enmity, would make all the people of one or more whole kingdoms a church at once, and would reconcile all of them together, in the things of God, and in the ways of his worship, according to devices and methods of their own; these men

know not what they do; for they walk in the darkness of their own hearts, and not in the light of the word; which shews us clearly, that it is as possible to reconcile Michael and the Devil, as the angels of both.

2. Neither, secondly, do I find any way in the word to reconcile all those together, who are commonly called the visible church: sceing, even among these, there are two distinct sorts of children, as Paul teacheth us; one sort are those who are born after the flesh, as Ishmael and Esau ; and another are those who are born after the Spirit, as Isaac and Jacob: and there is as great enmity between these in the church, as between the former in the world; for they that are born after the flesh, are always persecuting them that are born after the Spirit; but never agreeing

with them.

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Now of these two sorts of Christians, one makes up the body of Christ; the other, the body of antichrist. The spiritual children make up Christ's true body, as it is written, He gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body; for these, being born of the Spirit, do also partake of the Spirit, and so are the true flesh of Christ, as all that flesh is, in which the Spirit dwells: and these all worship God in the spirit, and have no confidence in the flesh, that is, in no fleshly forms, ceremonies, or worship.

The carnal children of the church, make up antichrist's true body: For as Christ's body consists of spiritual Christians, so antichrist's of carnal; for antichrist sets up in the temple of God, as well as Christ: and as Christ gets his body together of spiritual Christians, so antichrist gets his body together of carnal Christians: and these have a form of religion, or godliness, but they have no spirit or power in that form: yea, under the form of godliness, they exercise the greater power of ungodliness: And Christ and his Spirit, and all their things, are no where more op

posed, than by those in the church, who have the letter of the word, but want the spirit of it, being taught of men only, and not of God. So that, all that part of Christianity, that is destitute of the Spirit, and hath the name only, and not the anointing of Christians, makes up the body of antichrist. And now there can be no more agreement between these two bodies, of Christ and of antichrist, that is, between spiritual and carnal Christians, than between Christ and antichrist themselves, the heads of these bodies. And as I find nothing in the word, so neither do I propound any thing for an agreement here: For to go about to reconcile there, where the Father never intended, nor the Son never undertook any reconciliation, would not be a work of wisdom, but of weak

ness.

So then, the way of peace I shall speak of, is between the children of peace, touching whom God hath promised, that He will give them one heart, and one way; and for whom Christ hath prayed, That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: And these are the elect, made faithful, called to be saints, and sanctified through their calling; and these are the true church of God.

The peace then I seek by this discourse, is the peace of the true church: Wherefore, I shail first declare the church itself, whose peace I seek; and then declare wherein this church's true peace and unity lies; and also how it may be preserved among themselves, it being first wrought by Jesus Christ.

For the church itself; what I have learned touching it, I shall speak plainly, and something largely, because the right understanding hereof is so absolutely necessary to our present business: and yet there are very many, and very great mistakes and misapprehensions, touching it, even among the faithful.

The right church then, is not the whole multitude of the people, whether good or bad, that join together in an outward form, or way of worship; for in this church, there are whoremongers, idolaters, thieves, murderers, and all sorts of wicked and unbelieving persons; which are so far from being the church of Christ, that they are the very synagogue of Satan, and children of the devil; and therefore I shall not speak of this church. But the church I shall speak of, is the true church of the New Testament, which, I say, is not any outward or visible society, gathered together into the consent or use of outward things, forms, ceremonies, worship, as the churches of men are; neither is it known by seeing or feeling, or the help of any outward sense, as the society of mercers, or drapers, or the like; but it is a spiritual and invisible fellowship, gathered together in the unity of faith, hope, and love, and so into the unity of the Son, and of the Father by the Spirit; wherefore it is wholly hid from carnal eyes, neither hath the world any knowledge or judgment of it.

This true church is the communion of saints, which is the communion believers have with one another: not in the things of the world, or in the things of men, but in the things of God; for as believers have their union in the Son, and in the Father, so in them also they have their communion; and the communion they have with one another in God, cannot be in their own things, but in God's things, even in his light, life, righteousness, wisdom, truth, love, power, peace, joy, &c. This is the true communion of saints, and this communion of saints is the true church. of God.

Now this true church of God, differs from the churches of men in very many particulars, as follow.

1. Members come unto the churches of men, either of their own minds, or else by the persuasion, or by the

forcing of others; and so only after the will of man; but none come to this true church, but from the drawing of God the Father, and his own calling, according to his own purpose.

2. In the churches of men, members are admitted through an outward confession of doctrine; but none are admitted into this true church, but through a new birth, from God and his Spirit: John iii. 3. Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God, (which is the right church of the New Testament) for that which is born of the flesh, is flesh, and so remains without in the world; but that which is born of the spirit, is spirit, and so hath entrance into the true church.

3. In the churches of men, there are more wicked than righteous; but in this true church of Christ, the people are all righteous, not one excepted; as it is written, Thy people shall be all righteous. Isaiah lx. For they all have their iniquities forgiven them, and they are all redeemed and washed with the blood of the Lamb.

4. In the churches of men, the people, for the most part, are only taught of men, who are their heads, and leaders, and whose judgments they depend on, and follow in all things; but in the right church, the people are all taught of God, as Isaiah saith, Thy children shall be all taught of the Lord: and Christ saith, They shall hear and learn from the Father: and John saith, The anointing they have received, teacheth them all things.

5. In the churches of men, the greatest part are hated and rejected of God, as being strangers and enemies to Christ ; but in the true church, all the members are dear to God, as Christ is dear; and loved of God, as Christ is loved, as being one flesh and spirit with him.

6. The churches of men are of men's building, contriving, framing, fashioning, beautifying but the true church is built only by Christ; as it is written, The man

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