56: William Dell, Minister of the Gospel, Master of Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge: The Trial of Spirits, Both in Teachers and Hearers

The Epistle Dedicatory

To all the very little flock of Christ, the truly faithful in these nations, now despised and almost worn out, according to the prophesy, for the word of God and the testimony which they hold: Grace be multiplied unto you, and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ our head and hope.

I could not but distinguish you thus from all the rest of the people of these nations, of what condition or quality soever, seeing God himself hath first done it: having chosen you to himself in Christ and set you apart for himself as a peculiar people zealous of good works.

And I have chosen to speak this unto you because ye are all taught of God and have heard and learned from him the TRUTH as it is in Jesus. Besides, you are the men whom God will use in his greatest and most glorious works which he hath yet to do in the world. To wit: in destruction of the kingdom of Antichrist, and the setting up and enlarging the kingdom of Christ, which things are not to be done by the might and power of worldly magistrates—which maybe you have not received, and if you had, it would not be helpful here by the spirit of the Lord, which you all have received in some measure.

Yea further: none but you will be contended to live by faith and to follow Christ in untrodden paths and to undertake impossible works [un]to flesh and blood. And none but you will be willing to have the residue of Christ’s life and works, and of his sufferings and death, filled up in your mortal bodies. Wherefore remember you that word of the Lord, spoken by his angel: If any man worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.  

Wherefore you faithful ones had need to be well advised, seeing Antichrist hath nobody else to oppose him in all the world that dare or know how to do it but you. And if he can prevail with you, all the world beside will follow him headlong, as [the] Gadarenes’ swine ran into the sea and were choked.

The mystery grows more mysterious, yet this is our comfort: God still causes his Light to shine proportionably to his people, to discover every new change and form of the mystery of iniquity. And though it’s mysterious enough to cozen all the world of unbelievers though never so wise and learned, yet it is never able to deceive the faithful, who have sufficient Light from God to discover [it] and sufficient grace to overcome it. —William Dell

The Trial of Spirits

1 John 4:1: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 

Really they went forth betimes. No wonder there are so many now amongst all people. 

1 John 4:2: Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. 

Come into its own heart: the Word Christ within, the glorious hope, or hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

1 John 4:3. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof you have heard, that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 

Then sure there is abundance now in 1700 years’ time! Satan has not been idle; I’ll say that for him. 

1 John 4:4. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 

1 John 4:5. They are of the world, therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 

The world loves its own. 

1 John 4:6. We are of God, he that knoweth God heareth  us; he that is not of God, heareth not us; hereby know we the spirit of TRUTH, and the spirit of error.