But what will the serpent and all his [false] ministers and messengers in Babylon say to this doctrine?—who sometimes exalts Christ in words as high as heaven, saying that “he is an almighty and most merciful savior, able and willing to save us to the utmost from all sin in this life.” And then [they] presently tumble him down again lower than hell, and exalt Satan and his doctrine, in his throne, and declare with one accord for a necessity of sin and continuing in sin [for] term of life, and no avoiding of it by any power received from God, his Spirit, or from the Messiah or any grace from him proceeding [and] by us received, or any other means whatsoever, although it be reading or praying, or singing of songs or psalms at home.
Or [avoiding sin by] coming to our “ware-house” of or on Sundays, where we set forth our wares to s[ell] by the hour to them that bid most—whether they hear our excellent sermons or fine songs or curious fine excellent prayers in the pulpit or at our best customers’ own houses when we go to visit them for our bellies. Or their being baptized, sprinkled, dipped, or plunged in pure, clean water by or with our impure, unclean, filthy hands. Or receive the “holy sacrament,” as we call it, although we have no scripture for it in the least.
Or though they go mourning all their life’s-time day and night in true contrition and in never so sincere a penitential frame of mind at home or abroad, in fields or woods, and desert and lonesome places (as many have done) with fasting, praying, and weeping before the Lord, that he would be pleased to pass by and forgive them their transgressions and sins, and give them—I say: and give them—strength to resist and withstand their grand enemy. And then they would serve [the Lord] in sincerity and in TRUTH all the days of their lives after.
And the Lord have been found by such, and answered them to the joy of their souls, according to his blessed promise of old to such, that their sins he would blot out as a thick cloud, and their sins he would remember no more.
“Notwithstanding these things or a thousand times more, and all that can be said, thought of, or done,” say these messengers of Satan, “there is no freedom from sin in this life, there is none that doeth good and sinneth not.” So such make use of scripture to uphold their master Satan’s kingdom—as all sin is.
So here is the very same temptation wherewith the serpent tempted Eve: “You shall be as gods if you do break God’s command; you shall not die but be as gods.” These [false ministers] say: “You must sin, there’s no possibility of being free from it on this side [of] the grave, and no repentance there, and yet [they] promise the people heaven.
Here is confusion enough to be seen by him that has eyes. And thus is Satan transformed into the likeness of an angel of light by his ministers, servants, and children, and exalted in his throne above all that is called God, and [Satan] showing himself that he is god, chief ruler there in the heart. As to be sure, he is—so long as men live in sin.
For that is his prerogative and ever will be. For these men will readily allow and confess that the purest, most holy—or unholy—religious performances and service in worship and ordinances are sinful, as I have heard it myself from the pulpit declared (when I was a very constant hearer of them).
“O Lord, forgive us the sins of our holy things,” say they. What greater contradiction can [there] be? For that which is holy is free from sin, as that which is sinful or full of sin (as their performances are) is free from holiness.
[It’s] sure these men have no faith, or else it is a false and sinful faith such as Cain’s, Satan’s, and all the false prophets’ [was], which is a murdering [faith], [a] killing [faith], but not a saving faith. Which is much, yea much, worse than no faith at all, and is more offensive to God and good men because [it is] more mischievous in the world, especially amongst those called Christians.
Oh! oh! that ever such as these should be accounted of as [the] chief and only persons ordained, called, prepared, fitted, and qualified, and sent forth to be the teachers of the people. And to be had in great honor and exceeding[ly] high esteem for their words’ sake, which yet is altogether sinful, or full of sin. And all sin is of their father the devil.
And his work they do for their bellies’ sake, which is their god, and for corrupt self, which is Satan or serpent—in Hebrew, Abaddon; but in the Greek tongue, Apollyon; in English, Devil and beast with seven heads, ten horns, and ten crowns. A little false, heathenish learning to amuse the populace, but stands very tottering, like crowns on the small, [splintering] tops of the horns of [the] beast, in great danger and likely to fall, being misplaced a little.
True Holy Spirit learning hath and will, before some are aware, shake many thousands of them very easily. The Holy Spirit right well knew what he did and said, when he alluded to a beast with many heads, horns and crowns, when he intended to present and set forth Anti-Christ clearly to our view. For Friends, all you that are ministers of Anti-Christ, whether in pulpits or [Quaker ministers’] galleries, you that are of the royal offspring, of the king of the locusts, and are creeping out of the bottomless pit a little, to see what mischief you can do to mankind, and service for your king Lucifer, who was (and is [still] now to you) as the son of the morning, and to see what good you can get for your god [and] your bellies.
Friends, for so I may and will call you still, but then: it is in the same sense and meaning that TRUTH spake to Judas when he was about to kill or murder him, or betray him into their hands that [w]ould do it. And Friends, you are in the same Spirit that our elder brethren—Cain, Judas, and the Bostoneers—and others were that came before them, as is mentioned already. For you are slaying and betraying the pure TRUTH, either willfully or ignorantly or both, for ends base enough. However though it is so in this cause, I find freedom to appeal to you and your earthly learning and carnal wisdom, for I know no other with you. Yet in this case you may be capable to answer:
Question: Did you ever see or hear of anything in the whole world more preposterous than this beast?—which is metaphorically pointed to by the Holy Ghost, which is infinite in power and wisdom.
For my part, I never did in all my travels and little reading [and] conversation, nor anything like it, except it be you yourselves which come the most near it of any or all visibles, for aught I know, if not exceed [it].
For Friends: for you to pretend to attain the knowledge of Divine Wisdom by human learning, or heavenly things by earthly acquirements; or to be citizens in [the] New Jerusalem, when you are fellow commoners in Babylon; or to attain to the True Light, or the Light of TRUTH when you are in and delight in the deeds of darkness buried therein; or to pretend of self-denial and to teach it to others, when you live in gratifying of the flesh and cursed self in all things, the lust of the eye, and pride of life, and whatever in this vain world is!
You pretend to be of the church of God, when you are members in full unity and communion in the church of Satan and have a prebend there, which is sin, which [Satan] allows in full freedom to all his members as much as their hearts’ lust can desire, without any contradiction or restraint, denial, or control in the least. You pretend to be subjects of Christ, and yet are sworn servants and friends of Antichrist. You in words call God father, and pretend to be his children and servants, heirs of his kingdom; but you have no lot or inheritance there.
For he, the Holy One, knows, and so do his dear children, that you are of your father, the Devil. And his work you do, so [you] are of his sinful kingdom, which is full of sin; and torment [is] its reward. So [you are] his own dear, choice children; so I acknowledge you have a right title to call him Satan, meaning father; and he is so. And you acknowledge your descent by confessing you cannot cease from sin (having eyes full of adultery); for indeed none of his children can, nor ever will, cease from it while in his government they willingly keep. They love it too well, and their father also. Oh! sorrowful, to love the father of all mischief and the author of all the misery and torment that is brought upon poor dear mankind both here and hereafter, for whom my soul mourns.
Now Friends, and all that may read these lines, consider with ourselves—you especially that has any true regard to or desire after the knowledge of the honor of God, sincere desires of attaining to the knowledge of love to his pure TRUTH, or the present and eternal welfare of your own souls—I say consider wisely and in time: Can Satan bring into the world a greater and a more eternal cheat than above-mentioned? And anything more likely to establish atheism in the world than fallen angels—messengers or ministers all one—who once knew the mind of God and were highly favored with the sweet enjoyment of his holy pure TRUTH, and had a commission from him to preach the sempiternal gospel of peace and purity, and received a part of the ministry, like Judas, who after all betrayed his master for 30 pieces [of silver]?
But our modern traitors scorn such a poor pittance, they will have 30 thousands or 30 millions of they can. But I could wish, with many others, that they were all set aside or put out of the way like him, or reclaimed and thoroughly purged if it be possible, which is much to be feared. Their enmity is so great to the Truth and its true ministers as it ever was, because they the true ministers are under a necessity to bear a testimony against them, or else they cannot be true to the trust deposited in them or committed to them.
These fallen angels, the worst of enemies in any religious society, may well be compared to some usurpers that had been chief rulers under a king or kings and had commissions from them, but for some notorious crimes have had their commissions taken from them, and [been] turned out of their high, profitable, and honorable office. When they being thus cashiered, to work their revenge and carry on their design, [they are] keeping a form and copy of their old commission, prefixing to it a countersuit or forged name, hand and seal. With this sham commission, and the great interest and power they had before with the king’s subjects, as Absalom, have gathered a party and headed them and usurped the government in discipline etc.; debauched the king’s wives or wife, the spouse; defiled the temple, [the] true church; corrupted and destroyed his posterity, all they could catch by their deceit, hypocrisy, and feigned humility, under pretense of doing more justice than the king himself did or had done. And so [they] have set up themselves and their party for a time, and dethroned the true king, although it tended to the destruction of vast numbers of the people, that were unhappily led away by them, as in the case of Absalom, Abimeloch, and Haman—and abundance more, that [are] mentioned in sacred writ, as well as other history.
Question: Why should any be so very earnestly bent about getting money? Doth any history mention anyone that was ever made good by riches?
These things are now! now! now! going on in the world in a spiritual sense, as certain as ever they were acted by the afore-mentioned, and by persons too that make great appearance of sanctity in religious performances. But it is Self—whatever their demure appearance may be—and that is Satan; and [it is] for Mammon, that worst and most mischievous devil in all the world.
These [are] rich-grown, ever-poor, over-wealthy, ever-needy, ever-grasping, never-satisfied, brim-full yet always empty, ever-laboring yet always idle, ever-diligent yet always negligent, ever-waking yet eternally asleep—ever-living, panting, and breathing after more, more, more, a little more! I say ever-living yet [these are] eternally dead. And there let them lie and stink still, if they will not be awakened. But I had much rather they should.
These great and high masters of misrule don’t care to be controlled in their way, although they are ever so much out of the way—which is a very great weakness as well as wickedness: that men and women will have their own way though to their own and others’ destruction. But the case is such, they—having been so long in power and repute, [held] in honor, men of renown in the congregation, chief rulers in the house of the Lord—won’t be contradicted. But if any should or dare do so—let his concern be ever so great or burden weighty—he may expect to be put in the stocks, in the high court of [the tribe of] Benjamin, with little Benjamin their brother. Oh! how often have I heard and seen these things done metaphorically. I am loath to say where, but if any one asks me I can tell them: There is that [which] rules in the church, to be seen and heard of men and to show their or its elocution, display their eloquence, as in their preaching so in this—some for Mammon, some for some other ends base and vile enough.
And a few there are still left amongst us (I firmly believe, blessed be the Lord!) that have not anything so much in view as in all sincerity to promote and exalt the honor and interest of TRUTH, the peace and tranquility of the true church, and the present and eternal happiness, welfare, and well-being of mankind in all nations, colors, and countries in the world, that they might be brought to the knowledge of the TRUTH, and be saved form sin—yea, from all sin, for that is possible, and so from wrath to come. But some are—yea, very many are—pushed on, headlong and headstrong with a furious, raging, fiery and mad zeal. Yet blind, as in the case of Saul, before he was Paul, before he had the new name, with his letters from the chief or high priest to persecute the saints at Damascus or elsewhere (not from Colchester Two-Weeks Meeting to R. J. to Philadelphia Monthly Meeting—to separate Sarah and Benjamin). I pray in my heart at this time [that] they, all that are living, that had any hand in it may have their reward according to their intention. I think to leave them there with him, him, him, himself that is able to do all things, and so is able to produce good effects from very bad causes, and [I] say: O Deus meus [et] omnia [my God and my all], preserve my soul.
Oh! That all the libertines; loose livers; the magdalens; the publicans and harlots; the smoking drunkards; all unclean persons; thieves and covetous, covetous earthly-minded idolaters; the superstitious, formal, and nominal Christians, preachers and hearers; the young and old; old, the old hypocrites too, if possible, I say if possible might be converted, translated, drawn out of that deep, dirty-ditch hypocrisy.
And all the blind zealots and superstitious bigots of all names: their nature and spirit are the same. When invested with a little imaginary power, how they will rage and persecute furiously them that oppose them, reprove them, and will not submit to their rules, orders, and laws, though never so unjust. And thus it happened to many of our dear Friends called Quakers, in old [England] as well as New England and elsewhere, when they went into their synagogues, mass houses, or idol temples to reprove them for their hypocrisy and wickedness in pretending to worship him that laid down his life for his enemies and at same time preparing laws to take away the lives of his servants that came in his name to do his will, as he the Holy One required it at their hands.
I would tenderly advise and earnestly entreat all my dear Friends to be very careful not to taste nor touch that dust and dirt—persecution—which is the serpent’s meat and Cain’s mark. And it is Satan’s food, and his children’s meat and drink and life to do the will of their hellish father, and father in hell, that sends them and sets them about that and all other unrighteousness and iniquity. And it is as essential to them in that state and nature, as it was and is to Christ’s brethren and sisters, and all his true friends and faithful followers, to do the will of their heavenly Father, and Father which is in heaven—in his holy church: his body, comprised of sanctified members, purified hearts and souls, washed and cleansed from all sin.