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A further Discovery of the Mystery of the last times; As an Addition to a little Book, called Some Discoveries of the Mystery of the last Times, bordering upon the Coming of the Lord Jesus.

Set forth for the good of all men; but especially of those who in these dissenting times (wherein Ephraim envieth Juda, and Juda vexeth Ephraim) know not where to settle themselves, or to what society of Christians to joyn themselves: wherein is (as simply and plainly, as the Author was able to open those mysterious Scriptures quoted in this following Treatise) shewed the cause of all our divisions and con­tentions about matters pettaining to Form and Order in the Church of Jesus Christ; and wherein is moderately proved from those Scriptures these particulars.

  • 1. The flourishing and building condition of the Church of Jesus Christ in the time of the Gospel.
  • 2. The slumbring or declining condition of the state of the said Church.
  • 3. The sleepy or dead condition (in respect of outward order) of the said Church, with an Answer to all the objections the Author hath met with touching this subject.
  • 4. That there is to be a most glorious Restoring of the said Church by the Lord Je­sus himself.
  • 5. That this Restoring will be most sudden and unexpected.
  • 6. Is shewed the severall forms of Governments, which have been enemies unto the people of the Lord Jesus in these severall dispensations; viz. the Dragon, the Beast which did rise out of the sea, the Beast that did rise out of the earth; with the time of prevailing of each Government.
  • 7. Lastly, That the Lord Jesus will by himself destroy all those enemies, and deliver his people, when the Restoration of all things shall be.
Hos. 2, 2. 3.

Plead with your mother, plead, for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband; let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from be­tween her breasts; Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wildernes; and set her as a dry land, and slay her with thirst.

Rev. 2. 5.

Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do thy first work, or else I will come quickly unto thee, and will remove thy Candle stick out of his place, ex­cept thou repent.

Ezek. 16. 3.

And say, Thus saith the Lord unto Jerusalem, thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan, thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite.

Eph. 2. 12.

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.

Hos. 2. 14.

Therefore behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wildernesse, and speak comfortably unto her.

Rev. 12. 14.

And to the woman were given two wings of a great Eagle, that she might flee into the wilderness unto her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the Serpent.

Rev. 16. 15.

Behold, I come as a thief; blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his gar­ments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

London, Printed for W. Roybould, at the Unicorn in Paul's Church-yard. 1651.

The Epistle to the Reader.

Christian Reader;

THou shalt know, that some twenty months since there came out under my name a little Book, in­tituled, Some Discoveries of the Mysteries of the last Times; which coming into the hands of the men for whom principally it was intended, they, in stead of giving moderate Reasons a­gainst it, that so the Truth might be found in these disputing times, (wherein every man al­most shews his judgment in one sort or other, and was the thing I aimed at in publishing of it) began, some of them at the least, to vilifie both me and the work that I had set forth, that it was a weak and simple thing, and not worth the reading; and for my person, as I was credibly informed, it was said, That they thought I did it against my Conscience; a sin, if in me indeed, against the holy Ghost; so unchari­table were they towards me. Again, there was another sont of men which seemed to approve of the Work; But, say they, You have laid down your judgment so darkly and obscurely, that we are not able to reach your meaning: Which things considered, there came into my thoughts two main ends for which man was created; the one was, to glorifie God his Maker; the other, to be serviceable to all men in his generation: Upon the account of which two ends, but especially of the later, I began to con­sider, that I was a debter both to the wise and unwise: Therefore to the wise I thus say, that if there be any thing in this following Treatise, that is worth taking notice of, as it is much there should be nothing; that they would esteem it, not according to the worth of the Author, or the manner of the delivery of it, which are both mean and of no esteem; but according to the truth of the thing; Especially, insomuch as Moses being indued with an extraordinary spirit, did not despise the counsell of Jethro, which was a stranger to the Common wealth of Israel: and forasmuch as it pleased God to reveal to shepherds those things which were hid from the great Rabbins and learned men of that time, as may be seen in the Gospel. And to the unwise I say (If there be any more unwise then my self;) that it pities me to see how we contend for the body, untill we well nigh lose the spirit; how earnest we are for shadows, which must in their due time passe away, untill we endanger to lose the substance; how we quarrel for form and discipline; yea unto bloud, in destroying one another; as hath been seen in this nation, and ought to be lamented, untill we almost for­get that great and new Commandment, which is the law of Love; and all under pretence of Reforming the Church of Jesus Christ: which upon due consideration made me stand amazed; to see such offences committed amongst Christians in profession, and as seemed zealous on both parts; until entring into a most serious search into the prophesies of the last times, not without the outward means of prayer, and humility, and sincere de­sire to find out the cause; and knowing that the Lord had promised to reveal his secrets to the humble, upon which I found, and I trust by some brea­things of the Spirit of God, that these things were foretold; and that Ephra­im should envy Juda, and Juda vex Ephraim; and that by negative con­sequence, they should hurt and destroy in the mountain of Gods holiness; and that until there come a Rod out of the Stem of Jesse, and a branch grow out of his root; at which time, the Earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the Sea; and then the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb; and the Leopard shall lie down with the Kid, and the Calf, & the young Lion, and the fatling together, and a little Child shal lead them; and then there will be such a judg, as shall not execute Judg­ment after the sight of the Eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his Eares; but with righteousness shall he judg the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the Earth; and he shall smite the Earth with the Rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked; Isaiah the 11. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 13. untill which time the defenced City shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness; there shall the Calfe feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof; Isaiah 27. 10. Now to both the wise and unwise I say, First, what I have done, is in love to the truth, and to all men; not envying the happiness of any in their wayes of worship, if they find what they professe; but I fear they build again the things which God will have destroyed; and secondly, to be true to the principles within me; that is, to discover the talent which God hath lent me, and put it out to profit, that when the Lord comes he might have his own with van­tage: And to cleer my self that I have done it in love, I appeal to the men of every profession that have any commerce with me; if they find any spirit of evill against them in my carriage towards them; but alwayes lo­ving the Image of God in any of them. I write not this to advance my re­putation, but to take off all prejudice from my person; that so my worke may take the better effect. Thirdly, in the following Treatise I have not built upon another mans foundation; that is, discoursed of things made ready to my hand; but I have, for the most part, opened such Scriptures as I never met with any exposition, to my best memory, of them; and though I could have wished some abler pen might have opened them, that had been better furnished with gifts and learning, and time convenient for the per­formance of so weighty a task, being exceeding unfitting for such a labour; yet nevertheless, considering the great necessity of the matter, being a thing of great weight, and not looked into; namely, how the Lord would have his people walk in their waiting for his coming in the last times, wherein I beseech thee to consider, that I have not laid down my grounds and Reasons as infallible verities; but propounding them to the Judgment of all men to examine, with all the meekness I could, fearing to give offence, either to God, or to the Christian in any dispensation; and I hope it will be accepted accordingly. Thus I have made an Apology for my person and practise.

Now I come to make an Apologie to the entrance of the matter of my Treatise; therfore, Christian Reader, I desire thou wouldst seriously consider these few particulars.

First, that the Lord having establish'd Circumcision in the generation of Abraham; and upon this penalty, that the soul whose foreskin was not circumcised, should be cut off from his people, Gen. 17. 14. yet nevertheless, in case of necessity, the Children of Israel were tolerated tou­ching this duty during their travell in the wilderness; for the space of forty years, as may be seen, Joshua 3. 5. So likewise, though the Lord Je­sus did establish the ordinances to be continued in his Church by way of succession; yet nevertheless, they being polluted, and in case of necessity, he will doubtless bear with his people, though they cannot practise ordi­nances in their purity; especially there being no word for their restoring in that pure way wherein they were delivered.

Secondly, the Lord having commanded Moses to make all things after the pattern shewed to him in the mount, touching the sanctuary, Exodus. 25. 40. And also the pattern of the temple unto David, 1 Chron. 28. 11. and commanded the practice of the worship unto the Children of Is­rael in their generations; yet in case of necessity, when the temple was destroyed, and the people captivated, he bears with them touching those things; even now doubtlesse though the Lord did command his people to walk in Gospel order untill his Appearing; yet nevertheless they being captivated, and having lost their power to Reform; he bears with them, though they cannot practise ordinances in their purity.

Thirdly, that as the fews in the time of the standing of the temple did presume upon the promise of Gods presence unto that place, yea though their works were most wicked; Crying, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, Jeremiah 7. 4. Even so it is well known, how the Catholicks have boasted of the Church of Jesus Christ, that the gates of hell should not prevail against it, applying it to the Church of Rome; yea though their works were most wicked; And I fear me, in all our Refor­mations we are apt to stick too much to outward order, contenting our selves if we have but the form, and want the substance; and so sud­denly fall to loosnesse; as the experience of these few years have made ap­parent.

Fourthly, as the Jews in the time of the standing of the temple were exceeding zealous of their outward ceremonies, and neglected the weigh­tier matters of the law; as Judgment, and mercy, as may be seen Mat. 23. 23. Even so it is to be feared, that in the time of the Gospel we are more zealous of form and order, then of that great commandment of love, which is the fulfilling of the Law.

Fifthly, that as the Jews were reproved by our Saviour, Mat. 16. 3. Saying, O ye hypocrites, you can discern the face of the skie; and can­not you discern the signes of the times? Even so we in this age are bet­ter able to discern what was done in the first age of the Church in respect of outward order; yet neglecting the inward graces of the spirit, as it was then; but noting the order that was among the Christians, in that time, and con­tending for it now unto bloud, and never regard the diverse dispensations wherein the Lord is pleased to shew himself unto his people in these last ages; nor once to examine the prophesies of the last times, what shall be done then; but still urging for forme, and order in outward things, till we endanger losing the life of Religion, namely, Faith and a good Con­science.

Sixthly, that as the Jews in contending to keep up their Sacrifices, and Ceremonies, and temple, when the glory was departed from that ministra­tion; and in striving so long about it, untill their City and Temple was destroyed, and themselves scattered among the nations, the prophesies be­ing fulfilled upon them; Even so we in this age, strive so much for form and order in outward things, when we may plainly see the glory to be departed from it, as it was in the first Gospell times, until we shall give such an encouragement to the rising of the beast out of the Earth; (For we not being content with the Earths helping the woman, that is, in swallowing the floud up, which the serpent had cast out of his mouth to carry the wo­man away, which is now well aswaged, blessed be God therefore,) that it is to be feared that our Contentions will be a means to ruine our selves, and so the beast rise and bring us into bondage to worship his Image, or else to be killed; for the Lord may for a punishment unto us, for our dissention in matters perteining to outward order, stir up such as may give power to the Image of the beast, that the Image of the beast may both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the Image of the beast, should be killed.

Seventhly, gentle Reader, If none of these Scriptures move thee (which I have quoted in this following treatise) to believe the people of the Lord Jesus must lie in these severall dispensations, before the generall Restoration of all things by the Lord Jesus himself, then let the experi­ence of the times perswade thee; For if thou diligently consider of the times, thou shalt find that the Church flourished for a time, it then declined or slumbred for another time, the servants have been awake for another time; and for the Jews, they have been asleep or dead in respect of any temple and worship for many ages; and there is a time for the people of the Lord Jesus to be asleep or dead, Matthew 25. 5. in respect of Gospel order, before the great restoring, which we ought with much earnestness to cry unto the Lord for; and this the Scriptures which I have alledged do abun­dantly prove in my sense; which I am forced to believe, untill I see a bet­ter given.

Eightly, all that I shall desire of thee, will be but this; all those Reasons considered in this following Treatise, that it may but worke some moderate conformity among Christians; or at least, that enmity and bitterness may be laid aside among Christians in profession, and the edge of hatred abated amongst them, in resisting one another unto bloud, for matter pertaining to form and discipline in the Church of Jesus Christ; and let Christians remember, that if what they profess be truth, that it is of a prevailing nature, and will stand when Errour falls; and let them remember that Gamaliels Counsell will prove true; that if it be of God, it will stand in spite of all opposition; and if it be not, it will fall, though we strive never so much to hold it up.

Ninthly, Christian Reader, I shall desire thee, that if thou find any thing of God in this following treatise, then let him have the glory, which is worthy of it; and let me have thy prayer that have need of it: and if in this worke God be but so much glorified, as it be but to the setling of our soules that were distracted, by means of our distem­pers and contentions about Religion, I have my reward.

Lastly, I desire thee Christian Reader, whosoever thou art, though the greatest lover of order in this time of disorder, that if thou see that I have erred in the body of this Treatise, or in any branch thereof, that if thou know my face, or canst with conveniency come to the knowledg of me, that thou wouldst admonish me of it; and if thou know me not, that thou wouldest make it appear wherin I have erred; and if it arise to such a sum, as thou thinkest is worthy of an answer, I promise thee by the word of a Christian that I will (to use Job's expression in Job 31. 36. ) take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a Crown unto me; and if it weigh too heavy for me, that is, if I be not able to reply to it by arguments drawn from Scrip­ture Rule, then I promise thee by the same word, that I wil, God assisting me, as publickly revoke what I have done, as I have now publickly divulged this in print; however, I shall take thine admonition as an oyntment to my head, and count the stripes of a friend better then the kisses of an enemy. And so leaving thee to the protection of the Almighty, and wishing thee as much happiness both of body and soul, as I would wish my self, I remain thine in the Lord in the duties of Christianity,


A further Discovery of the Mystery of the last Times, &c.

THat great Creatour and Governour of all things, the mighty God, which hath in diverse manners and Administrations spoke unto the fathers by the Prophets, hath in this last age spoken unto us by his Son, this Son which is the Lord Jesus, hath also spoken unto us by him­self, and by his Apostles, in these last ages in divers manners and administrations, which is that Prophet which we ought to hear in all things, Deut. 18. 15. and to observe his word revealed unto us; and to follow him in all his wayes and dispensations, in which he delivereth himselfe unto his people; For the cleering of which, and to shew the divers wayes of the Lord in his making out of himselfe unto his people: I shall propound these severall particulars unto the consideration of all men.

First, That there is a building and flourishing condition of the Church of Jesus Christ in the time of the Gospel.

Secondly, That there is a declining and falling off, or slumbring condition of the said Church.

Thirdly, That there is a sleepy, or dead condition of all the outward face of the said Church.

Fourthly, That there is to be a most glorious restoring of the said Church, by the Lord Jesus himself.

Fifthly, That this Restoring will be most sudden and unexpected.

Sixthly, I shall shew, (according to the light I have received) the severall formes and goverments in severall ages which shall be enemies unto the people of the Lord Je­sus in these severall administrations which the Lord Jesus doth suffer his people to ly under.

Lastly, That the Lord Jesus will by himself destroy all those Enemies of his people at his next appearing, without the help of any humane power.

Now for my more orderly proceeding in the cleering of the truth of these particulars I shall handle them as they ly in order: and shall answer all the objections I have heard made against any of them.

And therefore of the first, That there is a building and flourishing condition of the Church of Jesus Christ in the time of the Gospel, is a truth so cleer, as it needs no clee­ring; for all men know that it did abundantly flourish in the first Gospell times: but for time how long, it will be necessary to treat of; therefore pray note, I conceive the Church did flourish and spread during the time of our Saviour and his Apostles, and during the time of the ten persecutions, untill the time of Constantine the first Chri­stian Emperour; in all which time, notwithstanding the Church was persecuted and afflicted with sundry miseries, yet by the grace of Christ Jesus she did continually flourish, to the spreading of her self to the utmost parts of the world; and this is that2 time, as I conceive, of that battell which was in heaven, in which the great dragon was cast out, that old Serpent called the divel, which deceives the whole world, he was cast into the earth; and his angels were cast out with him, Rev. 12. 9. and this flourishing condition of the people of the Lord Jesus is fully set forth in those seve­rall places, Rev. 6. 2. & 11. 1. & 12. 1, 2. in all which places there is mention made of a building and increasing condition of the Church of the Lord Jesus; and to this par­ticular I have met with no objection.

But secondly, That the Church did by degrees decline and fall into a slumbring con­dition, is a truth which needs some cleering: therefore pray mind; our Saviour Mat. 13. 25. speaks of the servants being a sleep; and in his 25 Chapter, and 5th verse he speaks, that while the bridegroome tarried, all slumbred and slept; which cleerly shews, that there was a time in which the peace and tranquility of the Church by that Riches which did come into her by means of Constantine the first Christian Em­perour, did cause her to be negligent, and to forget her watchfulness, and by de­grees, to suffer Antichrist to get possession of her; and this is set forth by Saint Paul 2 Thes. 2. 3. where speaking of the day of Christ, he saith that that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdi­tion; and is further set forth, though mystically, Rev. 8. in the sounding of the 2. 3. 4 and 5 trumpets. I shall speak of the trumpets as they ly in order, where in the 8. verse it is said, And the second Angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the Sea, and the third part of the Sea became bloud; and the third part of the Creatures which were in the Sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed; which, as I conceive, at the sounding of the second trumpet the Roman Empire under Constantine being the great mountain (which is a phrase usuall in Scripture) was cast into the sea; that is, as I conceive, into the Church; which is com­pared unto the sea, by reason of the many afflictions, which like waves follow one in the neck of another, burning with zeale like fire; and the same Emperour granting such priviledges unto the Churches, as immediately the third part of the Creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroy­ed; that is, the third part of the particular Churches of Jesus Christ began to fall away, and decline from the truth of the Gospel, by means of that outward peace and riches which now they had gained in the world by favour of Princes towards them.

But it may be asked this question; what proofe I have to compare the Churches to ships? To which I answer, that Isaiah in the 33. Chapter of his prophesie, com­pares the Church to a ship, which will be a sufficient answer, as I conceive. And then in the tenth verse it is said, And the third Angell sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the Rivers and the fountains of water; and the name of the star is called Wormwood; and the third part of the waters became wormwood, and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter; which, as I conceive, the starr was the Bishop of Rome, beginning to a­postate, and by degrees to corrupt the Scripture with his false glosse and corrupt do­ctrine; in so much, as many seeming Christians died of the waters; that is, of the corrupt glosse and false interpretation of the Scripture. And then at the sounding of the fourth Trumpet, it is said, And the third part of the Sun was smitten, and the third part of the Moon, and the third part of the stars, so as the third part of them was darkned; and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise; that is, as I conceive, the third part of the spirit began to be darkened in respect of its ope­ration unto the Lords people, as it was in the first Gospel times, that is, in respect of3 those miracles and gifts of the spirit which the former Christians were indued with; and the ordinances like unto the Moon, which received their light from the sun or spi­rit, began to be corrupted with mens traditions for a third part of them; and the third part of the eminent Christians began to lose their beauty and luster wherein they shi­ned unto the Church; and the day and night not shining for a third part, I take to bethe Church in generall losing the third part of her beauty; in all which places is laid down, though mystically, the declining condition of the Lords people; and how by degrees the people of the Lord Jesus did fall to a slumbring condition, and did suffer them­selves to fall off from the integrity of the Gospel. And to this also I have met with no objections, being so known as that it is scarce denied by any man, except it be by Chatholicks.

I shall now come to speake of that third particular, namely, That sleepy or dead con­dition of the people of the Lord Jesus; and for proof of this, pray take notice of these pla­ces, (for to this condition almost all the Prophets bear witness) namely, Isaiah. 6. 13. the Prophet compare the Church unto a teyl-tree or an oak in winter time, when they cast their leaves; shewing that the deadness of this condition of Gods people will be such, as it will have no outward beauty, but be like a tree in winter time without leaves; yet nevertheless it shall have its substance in it, for the holy seed shall be the sub­stance thereof. So likewise Isaiah the 10. 25. and 28. 22. the prophet fore-tels that there shall be a consumption in the midst of the land; that is, as I conceive, a sleepiness or deadness upon the outward face of all the Administrations: Likewise in Cha. 32. 13 the prophet foretels, that upon the Land of my people, speaking in the person of God, shall come up bryers and thornes; yea upon all the houses of joy, in the joyous City; and then in the 14. verse he shews how it shall come to passe, that is, because the palaces shall be forsaken, the multitude of the Cities shall be left, the forts and towers (which I take mystically to signifie the Churches) shall be for dens for ever, a ioy of wild asses, a pa­sture of flocks; And in the 15. verse he shews the time how long it shall be; which is, untill the spirit shall be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruit­full field, and the fruitfull field be counted as a forrest: thus much for Isaiah. Now let us here what the Prophet Ezekiel doth speak concerning this matter; for in Chap. 34. 12. speaking of this condition of the people of God, he compares the time therof to a cloudy and dark day wherin the people of the Lord were scattered; so likewise in his 37. Chapter and 11. verse the Prophet brings the people of God complaining, saying, behold our bones are dry, and our hope is lost, we are cut off, for our parts. They acknowledged that they had lain so long in captivity, and scattered among the na­tions, that they began to doubt of the promises of God for their restoring: And then in the 12. verse he saith, in answer to their complaint, Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come out of your graves; which shews that they were in a dead condition; and also it shews plainely that all this time they were out of order, as touching the worship, or else as touching any Gospel order: Thus far Ezekiel.

Daniell in Chapter 7. 25. speaking of that little horn, which I take to be Anti­christ, that he should think to change times and Lawes, and they should be given into his hands; that is, as I conceive, he should have power to change the times and lawes, which are the ordinances of the Gospel, and to sit in the temple of God, shewing him­self as if he were God; and to deaden all the outward worship of God, by chang­ing the ordinances of God: the like to this effect the same prophet, speaking of the pre­vailing power of Antichrist over the Church of Jesus Christ, in the last times, in chap. 11. 45. saith, He shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas, in the glorious4 holy mountain: And thus much for the prophet Daniel, to confirm this thing. Now for the prophet Hosea in Chap 2. 3. of his prophesie; where in the person of God he expostulating with his people, threatens to strip her naked, and set her as in the day in which she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst: and then in the 14. verse compared with Ezekiel 20. 35. and Rev. 12. 14. the judgment is fulfilled upon her for her sins. Where pray mark in the Judg­ment which is threatned upon this people, if they did not repent, the Lord tels them by his prophet that he would make her like a wilderness and dry land; and it is added, and set her as in the day when she was born; now how was it with the people of God in the day before they were born? I mean that new birth, being born by their calling out of the world, being applied to Israell after the flesh, or Israel after the spirit: As for Israel after the flesh, the prophet Ezekiel sets forth their condition in Chapter 16. 3 where he saith, thy birth and thy nativity was of the land of Canaan, thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite; shewing that there was little difference be­tween the gentiles and them, untill they were separated asunder by his love towards them, and by that outward order, as Circumcision and Sacrifices, and the worship of the law. So likewise in respect of Israel after the spirit, there was no difference be­tween the beleevers and unbeleevers untill the Lord called them out by the preaching of the Gospel; as is cleer by all the Epistles of the Apostles unto the severall Chur­ches: And thus much for Hosea touching this thing. The like hath the prophet A­mos, speaking of this sleepy or dead condition in respect of outward order, in his 8. chapter, and 9, 10, 11, 12 verses, where in the former part of the chapter, having set before the people their sins and wickednesses, and their oppressions of the poor; he saith in the 9. verse, And it shall come to passe in that day, speaking of the bloudy day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the Sun to go down at noone, and I will dar­ken the Earth in the cleer day; and I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentations; and then in the 11 verse it is said, Behold, the dayes come, saith the Lord, that I will send a famine in the Land, not a famine of bread, or a thirst of water; but of hearing the word of the Lord; and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the North, even unto the East; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. Lo here friends, what can be more plainly spoken then this prophet speaks of that cloudy day and dark? wherein, as the prophet Micah in chapter 3. 6. and the Sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them; Implying thus much, that in the last ages of the world, during the death of the witnesses, and the time and times and half time, there shall be no appearances of God by gifts and ordinances, but all things in respect of the outward administrations shall be dead and in a barren condition about the woman, that is, the Church in this, dead and sleepy condition of the Lords people. To the like matter the same prophet saith in chapter 9. 9. where he saith, For loe, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, as corn is sifted in a sieve; which sheweth their dispersi­on and captivity among the nations, without any order in respect of Kingdome and Priesthood, or injoying God in his ordinances in the purity of them: And so much for the prophet Amos. Now for the Prophet Micah, pray hear what he saith con­cerning this condition of the Lords people in cha. 2. 10. where speaking in the per­son of God, saith, Arise and depart, for this is not your rest: Why? what is the matter? he saith, because it is polluted, it shall destroy you with a sore destruction; shew­ing, that their polluting of the ordinances of God was the cause of their destruction and captivity; for he saith in the 12. verse, I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. The like is said to the same effect in chap. 53. 12. speaking of the cruelty of the Princes, and falsness of the Prophets, he saith, Therefore shall Sion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forrest; thereby shewing the de­solations which should lie upon all the face of the outward administrations. So like­wise the same Prophet in his 7. chapter and first verse, speaking in the person of the Church in her complaint, saith, Woe is me, for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grape-gleaning of the vintage, there is no cluster to eat; my soul desired the first ripe fruit; thereby shewing, that in the last times the people of God should be like the summer gatherings, and that there should be no cluster, that is, no assembly or Church congregated together in any Gospel order; but that they should be scattered amongst the Antichristian state, as is cleer in the 2 verse, where it's said, The good man is perished out of the Earth, and there is none upright amongst men; they all lie in wait for bloud, they bunt every man his brother with a net. And thus much for the Prophet Micah. Now pray hear what the Prophet Zephaniah saith touching this day, or the time of this dispensation of the Lords people; in his first chapter and 15. verse he saith, That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distresse, a day of wast­ness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominesse, a day of clouds and thick darknes: and then in the 17. verse, he saith, I will bring distresse upon men, that they shal walk like blind men; and the reason is given, because they have finned against the Lord. Now heare what the Prophet Zechariah saith touching this dead time of the Lords people, in chapter 14. 5, 6. he saith, speaking of the last times, And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee as ye fled from before the earth-quake in the dayes of Uzziah King of Juda; And then in the sixth verse, it is said, And in that day the light shall not be cleer nor darke, but it shall be one day known unto the Lord; not day nor night, but it shall come to passe that at Eve­ning time it shall be light; Thereby shewing, that in this gloomy day the people of God shall be in darkness in respect of the light of the spirit, compared to the sun, as it was in the first Gospel times; and all outward administrations shall in that day be darkened upon them. And thus much for proofe from the Prophesies in the old Testament of this sleepy or dead condition of the people of the Lord Jesus in the last times; in which I have quoted but few of the many places which speak of the de­solating of the outward administrations of the Lords people, and the withdrawing of his spirit, and captivating of his people among the nations and antichristian state, be­fore that bright day of the Lords appearing to deliver them out of their bondage and captivity, in which the Earth shall be filled with the knowledg of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

I shall now proceed, as the Lord shall enable me, to prove the truth of this sleepy or dead condition from the new Testament; therefore pray mind: our Saviour Mat. the 25 in the parable of the ten virgins, saith, While the bridegroome tarried, all slumbred and slept, thereby shewing that when the bridegroom should appear, the people of the Lord Jesus should be asleep, as touching any outward worship distinct from other Professors: The like also doth the Lord Jesus foretell, Matth. 24. 15. where he saith, When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, then let them that be in Judea flee unto the mountains; that is, as I conceive, when you see all the outward worship polluted, then shift for your selves into the mountains, as the Jews were to shift for themselves into the mountains of the earth, or among the nations of the earth: and those mountains unto which those Christians are ex­horted to flee unto, I conceive to be the mountains of the Protestant Churches; for as Rome may be accounted a great mountain; so the Protestant Churches may be6 termed lesser mountains, unto which the people of the Lord are exhorted to flee. So also he saith in ver. 29. speaking of the darkness of the last times before his appear­ing, The Sun shall be darkned, and the Moon shall not give her light, the Starrs shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken: thereby shewing the darkness which shall be upon the outward Administrations of the Gospel. So likewise in the 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 verses, speaking of the dark times at his appearing, As it was in the dayes of Noe, so shall it be in the day when the Son of man shall be revealed; then shall two be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left; two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, the other shall be left: Implying thus much, when the Lord shall appear, all things shall be in a mingled condition, and the people of the Lord Jesus in the same work with the world, and no such difference as is preten­ded by gifts and ordinances. So in Luke 18. 8. Our Saviour in his exhortation un­to his disciples to watch and pray, foretels that the darknesse will be such before his bright appearing, that he puts this question; for, saith he, Neverthelesse, when the Son of man cometh, shall he finde faith on the earth? And if faith be so scanty, then doubtless the ordinances in their purity. So in Luke 17. 22. our Saviour tells his disciples, The dayes will come when you shall desire to see one of the dayes of the Son of man, and you shall not see it: which shews, that his people should desire to walk in Gospel order; but saith he, you shall not see it. So the Apostle Paul, 2 Thess. 2. 3. where he saith, Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth, and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God: That is, as I conceive, in sitting and ruling in the Church of God, and defiling all the whole worship of God; so that by degrees the Son or Spirit forsakes that worship, and so the people of the Lord Je­sus are asleep or dead in respect of that outward order which was in the first Gospel times, by gifts and ordinances in their purity; which is cleer from the 7. verse, where it is said, For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; onely he who now letteth will let, untill he be taken away: that is, as I conceive, untill the Lord have called back all the outgoings of his Spirit from the outward administrations of the Ordinances. And for the cleering of this to be a truth, pray look back unto the Prophet Ezekiel, chap. 10. 18. where it is said, Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the Cherubims. And then in the 23d verse of the 11th chapter, it is said, And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the City, and stood upon the mountain which was on the East side of the City. So that the glory of the Lord was now departed for the sins of his people, from all that outward worship; which is that sleepy or dead condition which we are now treating of. The like we have to the same purpose Rev. 9. 1. when St John saw a starr which was fallen from heaven; which starr I take to be that starr which fell from heaven in the 8th chapter and 10th verse, which I take to be the Bishop of Rome; and, as saith the text, to him was given the key of the bottomlesse pit; and he opened the bottomlesse pit, and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air was darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit: that is, as I conceive, the spirit and whole worship of Jesus Christ, compared to the air, wherein the saints lived spiritually, as their bodies lived in the air naturally: so that now all the outward worship of God is darkened, and his people are asleep or dead in respect of outward order. To the like purpose you have Rev. 11. 2. where the Angel saith, But the Court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not, for it is given unto the Gentiles, and the holy City shall they tread under foot forty and two monthes; thereby shewing, that the ordinances, which I take7 to be the outward Court, should be defiled by men, which are gentiles in manners, and to be trodden down, and the ordinances to be polluted, and the holy City to be trodden under feet forty and two months, during the dead condition of the people of the Lord Jesus. Another text to the same purpose you have Rev. 11. 7. where spea­king of the witnesses, he saith, And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that doth ascend ont of the bottomless pit shall make war with them, and shall over­come them, and kill them, and their dead bodies shall ly in the streets of the City, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt. As much as if he should say, when Antichrist shall have prevailed over the worship, why then the Lords people shall be among the Antichristian state as though they were dead in respect of any outward order, as Lot lay or dwelt in Sodom, and the children of Israel in Egypt, waiting for their Delive­rer. Another text to the like effect you have Rev. 12. 14. where he saith; And to the woman, meaning the Church, were given two wings of a great Eagle, that she might flee into the wilderness into her place; which shews, that the woman, which was the Church, was retired, and not to be seen or discerned.

Thus having proved, and I hope cleered that the third dispensation is a sleepy and dead condition, wherein the people of the Lord Jesus must live in captivity under the Antichristian state, without the spirit and ordinances in that purity as was in the first Gospel times; having no other note upon them, but what may be in Earth; or ha­ving no other form but as having a face like unto a man; So that here will arise a que­stion necessary to be discussed, and that is, what posture the people of God must waite in untill their Deliverer do come, and deliver them out of this capti­vity?

To which I answer; That all the posture which I find in Scripture for the Saints to wait in during their sleepy or dead condition, is, waiting for the Lord Jesus by watching and prayer, and this is cleer by these Scriptures, Isaiah 8. 17. Micah. 7. 7. Mat. 24. 42. Mar. 13. 35. Luke 12. 36, 37, 39. Rev. 16. 15. and in handling of this particular, that is, the sleepy or dead condition of the Lords people, which is the dis­pensation which doth precede that glorious dispensation of the Lord Jesus by himselfe unto his people, I shall, the Lord enabling me, answer all the objections which are made against this discourse. As for objections against those texts I have alleadged out of the old Testament, I have not met with any, it being a truth confirmed by experience of all ages, that the Jews and Israelites after the flesh have lain among the nations captivated without any temple, or worship, or kingdome, and priesthood, for many ages; that prophesie being fulfilled upon them, Hosea 3. 4. where it is said; For the Children of Israel shall abide many days without a King, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an Image, and without an ephod, and without a tera­phim; which is a Type, as I conceive, of that spirituall captivity of the Lords peo­ple under Gospel dispensations, which truth is abundantly confirmed by the Prophets and acknowledged almost by all the learned; only herein, as I conceive, they mistake, in that they endeavour to deliver themselves out of this bondage and captivity by themselves, that is, by their own gifts and abilities, without that pure Anoynting of the Spirit, which is prophesied to be poured out in the last times upon the Lords people, when they shall see Eye to Eye, when the Lord shall bring again Sion.

And therefore as to the old Testament I shall passe it by, it being not objected against; and as for objections against those texts that I have alleadged out of the new Testament, there are many; as first, it is objected concerning the parable of the tares, that though it be true, say they, that it is the Masters saying, that the tares should8 grow with the wheat unto the harvest, yet nevertheless this should be in the world, and not that they should both grow together in the Church; for if they should, then it would contradict Scripture Rule; which is, that the Lord Jesus left power unto his Church to purge themselves, and not to suffer the tares to grow among them.

To which I answer, first, pray mind how the Lord Jesus sowed good seed in his field, and gave his servants power to water it, and to weed out all such bad weeds as might grow amongst them; now pray mark, those servants in processe of time fall asleep, and in time forget and neglect their duty; the Divell taking this occasion, soweth his tares amongst them; which when the blade was sprung up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also, and in time grew too many for the good seed.

Secondly, The servants in processe of time begin to wake, and finding the tares by their works to be tares indeed, they begin to be offended at them; whereupon they go to the housholder and say unto him; Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field, whence then hath it tares? he said unto them, An enemy hath done this: The ser­vants said unto him, Wilt thou that we gather them up? But he said nay; left while you gather out the tares, you roote up the wheat also; let both grow together untill the harvest, at which time I will say to the Reapers, Gather together the tares first, and bind them in bundles to burne them; but gather the wheat into my barn.

It is objected again, True, they may grow together in the world, which, as the Lord Jesus expoundeth it, is the field, but they may not be permitted in the Church together.

To which I answer, and desire all men to consider the difference of times; for it is not now as it was in the first Gospel times, the servants now have been asleepe, and the Church hath lost her power, the number of tares are above the number of the wheat; besides, the servants have lost that spirit of discerning as they had in the first times; the Sun now is darkned, and the powers of the heaven shaken, that is, removed, and there is not that spirit of infallibility, as was in the first Gospel times, wherein the spirit or pure Anointing was able to try who were tares, and who were good seed, as is clear by our Saviour's words in verse 29. where he saith, Nay, least while yee gather up the tares, yee root up the wheat also with them.

Secondly, The Lord Jesus doth now expound the world to be his kingdome, whereas before it was the Church, which was particularly Christ's kingdome; for in the same Chapter where this parable is set forth in verse the 38. he saith, The field is the world; and then in the 41 verse it is said, And they shall gather out of his king­dome all things that offend, and them that doe iniquity, and shall cast them into a fur­nace of fire. This is also confirmed in the same Chapter in the parable of the draw­net, which is cast into the sea, which when it is full, men draw to land, and gather the good into vessels, and cast the bad away; Even so shall it be in the end of the world, the Angels shall come forth and sever the bad from among the just.

It is further objected; that whereas the Lord Jesus saith, that he will gather out of his kingdome all things that offend, and them that do iniquity, this kingdome, say they, is that kingdom which the Lord Jesus will purge in the new world; wherein there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord.

To which I answer, that although Antichrist hath gotten possession, and doth Rule and Raigne in the Church; yet the Lord doth call it his Church; which I prove from these Scriptures, Isaiah 27. 10, where he saith, yet the defenced Ci­tie9 shall be desolate; and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wildernesse; there shall the calfe feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches therof: and 33. 14. where he saith, The sinners in Zion are afraid, fearfulnesse hath surprised the hypocrites; who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? which thews that there was sinners in Zion, and hypocrites in them that walked in outward order; for he saith, who amongst us shall dwell in devouring fire? who amongst us shall dwell with everla­sting burnings? he doth not say, he that goeth out of this Sion in this or that order; but he that walketh uprightly, and speaketh righteously; he that despiseth the gain of oppression, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his eares from hea­ring of bloud, that shutteth his eyes from seeing of evill; where note, here is no diffe­rence between the people of God and the sinners and hypocrites in Zion, but Righ­teousnesse, and yet Zion: the like Isaiah chap. 49. 17. speaking of the Restoring of the Church, he saith, Thy children shall make hast; thy destroyers and they that made thee wast shall go forth of thee; which thews plainly, that the enemies of the Church were possessed of her, and did destroy her, and make her wast. The like you have Eezekiel 9. when the Lord sends to mark his people, and to destroy those that had polluted his worship in an extraordinary measure, which will bear a Type of the last times, which I suppose cannot be denied, where he saith unto them in the sixth verse, which had the charge to destroy the city; slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women, but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; which shaweth they were mingled one amongst the other; and begin at my Sanctuary; where note, notwithstanding this people had so much polluted his worship, as is ful­ly set forth in the foregoing chapter, yet the Lord is pleased to call it his sanctuary; and beside, we read of no other sanctuary of the Lords at that time, and therefore the enemies of the Lord were possessed of his Church and sanctuary; the like you have in express termes, the 2 Thessalonians 2. 4. where it is said, speaking of the man of sin, who opposeth and exalteth himself, above all that is called God, or that is wor­shipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Now what can be plainer spoken, that notwithstanding antichrist had gotten posses­sion in the Church of God, and ruled as God therein; yet the Apostle cals it the temple of God?

Another objection is made touching the Virgins; for say some men, it is said in the text, Then shall the kingdome of heaven be likened to ten Virgins, which tooke their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom; so say these men, this going forth is as we do now out of Babylon, by the ordinances of the Gospel, as baptizing, laying on of hands, and all those ordinances which the Lord Jesus hath commanded his people to walk in untill his second coming.

To which I answer, that I do believe that the going forth of the Virgins was out from the world to professe the name of Christ (and not going out from Babylon, which I shall further cleer) but pray mark, it is said, while the bridgroom tarried, all slumbred and slept; so that here was a slumbring and sleepy condition between the going forth, and the bridegroom's coming, which, as I conceive, is that slumbring and sleepy condition which I have proved from Scripture. Secondly, it is said, and at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him; where pray mark, here is a midnight spoken of, and I thinke there is no man will say, that this midnight was either friday or saturday night, that is, one of these naturall nights, wherein we take our rest; but I conceive it is that midnight or dark­nesse which lies upon the Church of Jesus Christ, immediately before the Lords bright appearing. Thirdly, it is said, Goe yee forth to meet him, I suppose no man10 will affirm it is meant going forth out of a mans house, but it is that going forth out of Babylon, or the Antichristian state by the beleeving Gentiles, which lay in captivity among the Antichristian state; and that going forth of the whole Israel of God after the flesh, from among the nations in which they lay scattered so many a­ges to meet the Lord in Zion, at the voyce of the great trumpet, when he shall gather together his Elect from the foure windes of the heaven, Isaiah 11. 12. and 27. 13. Mat. 24, 31. and that voice of the second Angel mentioned Rev. 14. 18. and 18. 4. where it is said, come out of her my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and receive not of her plagues.

It is further objected, that in all ages, there have been such in the Church of God as have been but outward professors; and therefore this makes not but that there may be a Church of Jesus Christ distinct from the world, or that of antichrist, and so his people may be in a Church order notwithstanding those proofes you have brought to the contrary.

To which I answer, that there was as many foolish as wise, but marke the po­sture they where in during this time, which was, that while the Bridegroome tarried, all slumbred and slept. Now if it be said, they were asleep in spirit, that is, in such graces of the Spirit, as love to the Lord Jesus, as faith, hope, humility, selse-deniall, and all the graces of the Spirit, wherein they were inwardly alive unto God in this sleepy condition; if so, then sure there was no difference between the wise and the foolish; and then the wise must be in the number of those upon whom the day of the Lord did come and find them sleeping, that is unprepared; which sense be­ing granted, will overthrow the text it self; for it is said, that their lamps were not out; whereas it was otherwise with the foolish; for it is said, that their lamps were out; so that it must needs follow, that the true sense of the place must be this, That both wise and foolish were asleep in respect of outward order, according to the first Gospel times, or pattern; and so lay together mingled under the bondage of Anti­christ, and so in that sense the wise were asleep as well as the foolish; ut in respect of those inward graces of the Spirit, as faith, hope, love, selfe-deniall, humility, meekness, and all those graces of the Spirit, they were before the foolish vir­gins; and this exposition is made good from Canticles 5. 2. where the Church professeth that she is asleep, but her heart waketh. And thus much to this ob­jection.

Another objection is made against the abomination of desolation, spoken of Mat. 24. 15. for say some men, that the abomination spoken of in that place, is the destruction of Jerusalem, which fell out some forty years after our Saviours ascensi­on; for say they, it is an answer to his Disciples which made the question touching the temple; and besides, it is said, Luke 21. 20. when you shall see Jeru­salem compassed about with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is neer.

To which I answer, and say, that this objection seemeth to have some weight, for I do believe that the destruction of the City and temple is there meant; but that there is another thing meant, I do also affirm; which I shall thus prove; Therefore pray mind, in the beginning of the same chapter, there are three questions demanded by the disciples; one of the destruction of Jerusalem and temple; a second, of the signes of the Lords coming; and a third, of the end of the world: and in the same chapter, there is an answer given to either of them; but in Luke the 21. there is but one questi­on demanded by the Disciples touching the destruction of the City and temple, and an answer given unto it by our Saviour; and some little hint of the signes going before11 the Lords second coming: And then look into the 17. of Luke and 20, and you shal find a question propounded by the Pharisees, and an answer given unto them; that is, That the Kingdome of God is within you; and that the kingdome of God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, lo here, and lo there; for behold, the kingdome of God is within you. As much as if he should have said unto them; think not that the kingdome of God cometh with the vain pompe of the world, or with the observa­tion of the Sacrifices of the Temple, or the Ceremonies thereof, which are now en­ded; but saith he, the Kingdome of God is within you; when you do justice, and love mercy, and walk humbly with your God; and when you fulfill that great command­ment, which is to love God above all, and your neighbour as your self, as it is cleer from all the Prophers, which call upon them to do Justice, and to love mercy, Psalm 51. 16, 17. Isaiah 33. 15. and 66. 2. Micah 6. 8. Zechariah 8. 16. 17. And likewise ver. 23. there are instructions given unto his Disciples, how they should behave themselves unto his second coming, when once the abomination was set up; for he saith, The dayes will come, when you shall desire to see one of the dayes of the son of man, and you shall not see it; Implying thus much, You shall desire to return unto the wayes of the Lord Jesus, but you shall not, for they are polluted; And you shall have such as shall say unto you, see here, and see there, but he gives the warning, saying, Go not after them, nor follow them; for as the lightning that lightneth out of one part of heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall the son of man be in his day: which, compared with Mat. 24. 24, 25, 26, 27. veries, fully agree together. So that to me it seems cleer, that there is some other thing meant: besides, pray look in my booke called Some Discoveries of the mysteries of the last times, and you shall find five Reasons given why the polluting of the ordinances is there meant.

It may be further objected, that in regard the Lord Jesus gives warning, when his Disciples shall see the abomination set up, that they should flee to the mountains; how I can give it a mysticall meaning, seeing the words are plaine, compa­red with Luke 21. that it is the besieging and destruction of the Temple and City.

For answer unto which, that there is a mystery in the words, I have partly de­clared already, and shall further cleer it; as first, I desire it may be considered, that the Gospel as touching the believing part, is altogether in a mysterie: secondly consider, that all the Prophesies and predictions of the Gospel are mysteries, and not to be fulfilled in the letter; which is cleer from those places in the same chapter, as verses 26, 27, 28, 29. with the whole following chapter. Thirdly consider, it had been to little purpose for our Savionr to have exhorted his Disciples, and the Jews to have fled into the mountains of the Earth, for they must then have perished for want of subsistence, or else have fell into their Enemies hands; for the Romans would not suffer the Jews to inhabit any part of Judea until they had submitted themselves un. to them; for Josephus, Of the Wars of the Jews, makes mention of a part of the Jews which were fled into a wood for succour, and the Romans made warr against them, and destroyed almost all of them; as may be seen in the history of their Wars; which place, having not the book in my hands, I cannot direct the Reader unto; ther­fore it must necessarily follow, that it was to the mountains of the nations unto which they were exhorted to flee.

It may yet further be objected, how I can prove the nations, or the governments of the nations, either temporall or spirituall, to be mountains.

To which I answer, that the Prophets usually apply the name of mountains to the12 nations or government and magistracy of the nations; as may be seen Psalm 72. 3. Zechariah 4. 7. Daniel 2. 45. Rev. 6. 15. with divers the like places; now it being so, that the Jews were permitted to flee unto the mountains of the nations, when their City and Temple were destroyed, to hide themselves from the fury of the Romans their Enemies; in like manner, I conceive, the beleeving Gentiles have the like per­mission to flee to the mountains of the protestant. Churches, to shroud themselves from the fury of their oppressing Enemies, the Christian Romans, when once the Abomination makes the whole worship of the Lord Jesus desolate of the Spi­rit of God, and they cannot in conscience submit unto it; and the fury of the beast being such, as they that did not submit unto his worship, they were to lose their lives; as the Jews were sure to be cruelly handled if they did not submit to the government of the heathen Romans, And so much to these obje­ctions.

Another objection is made against my exposition of Mat. 24. 29. of the sun, moon and stars, with the powers of the heavens; some saying, that there is meant those crea­ted lights of the heavens, which guide the times; and by the providence of God enligh­ten the Earth naturally; others say, the sun signifies Magistracy, and the moon the Ministry.

To which I answer, and say, that the Scripture is full of such expressions, as the sun, moon, and starrs; and for the cleering of this figurative speech, I shall be for­ced to set forth the severall Acceptions wherein the sun, moon, and stars is taken in Scripture.

First, sometime the sun, moon, and stars, is taken for those glorious lights of heaven, as Josuah 10. 13. and Isa. 38. 8. with divers the like places, where the sun is taken for the light of heaven.

Secondly, somtime the sun, moon, and stars, are taken in a figurative sense, as that which is most excellent amongst men, as the sun signifies that spirit of govern­ment which naturaly al men that have any excellency of nature fit for government are indued with, as the spirit of counsell, prudence, and fortitude, and the like; which are vertues fit for government, and may be in a naturall man; the moon to figure out the laws of the nations, which are divers according to the policy of every nation; and are changed according as the state of things require, like unto the moon, and receive their light from that spirit of counsell that is in those law-makers which are indued with it; the stars to signifie those eminent counsellers which shine as starrs in any common-wealth; the powers of the heavens to be that Rule of government which is especially exercised in any nation, where those lights are applied unto; and of those sort are these Scriptures, Isaiah 13. 10. and 34. 4. Ezekiel 32. 7. Joel 2. 31. and 3. 15. Rev. 6. 12, 13, 14.. with divers other the like places; and for proof of this, that this is the meaning of the holy Ghost in these places, pray take notice of Isaiah 34. where the same figurative speech is used; in ver. 4, 5. it is said, my sword shall be bathed in heaven; behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment: And then in the 12. verse it is said, They shall call the Nobles thereof to the Kingdome, and none shall be there, and all her Princes shal be as nothing. Which shews plainly what is meant in the 4 verse, where the like figurative speech is u­sed. And observe also Isaiah 13. 10. Rev. 6. 12, 13, 14. in which places there is mention made of the destruction of the nations; but especially of Baby­lon.

Thirdly, sometime the like figurative speech is used and applied unto the people of God, and then the sun signifies the Spirit of God, which his people are indued13 with; the moon, the ordinances of God, as the tabernacle, temple and sacrifices of the law, in that standing; and to the ordinances of the Gospel in the time of that standing; and hath been changed according to the change of times, which the Lord hath been pleased to alter in his Church in severall ages; the starrs to those emi­nent Saints of God, which as stars did shine in severall ages in the Church of God; the powers of the heavens to be that Ruling power of the Lord Jesus, which his people did act by his Authority in the time of the Gospel, which was in the Church of Jesus Christ, wherein they did receive in, and cast out all such as were meet to receive, or unmeet for their spirituall society; and of this sense are these places of Scripture, Isai. 5. 10. Joel 2. 10. Micah. 3. 6. Matt. 24. 29. Rev. 8. 12. and 9. 2. In which places it is to me evident that those things are meant.

But it may be objected, that this is but my exposition, without any Scripture proof for it.

To which I answer, and desire all men to weigh diligently those places of Scrip­ture, as Isaiah 60. 19. 20. where the prophet speaking of the glory of the Church in her Restoring, saith, The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; meaning, as I conceive, when the Lord restores his Church and people, they shall need none of those secondary means to enlighten them with; but the Lord shall be unto them an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory; and then in the 20. verse it is said, Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon with-draw it self: in which texts are two things considerable to this purpose; first, that the Church hath a sun and moon; secondly, that this sun hath gon down, and this moon withdrawn her self; and I think that no man can find out any fitter ex­position to the sense of the text then this is, and to the order of the Church in all ages; which some time hath been flourishing with abundance of the Spirit of God, and the laws of the Administrations touching outward order especially kept, and the Church being crowned with her twelve stars, which abundantly did shine in her, and encrease her glory. Sometime again she hath been in captivity, and her temple and ordinan­ces destroyed, and made desolate of the spirit of God; and the glory of God, in re­spect of outward administrations, by degrees leaving her for her sins; as it is plain­ly set forth Ezekiel 10. and 11. chapters; besides, the experience of things in all a­ges doth confirm this truth, as is cleer unto us in these dayes, and explained by me in my book of some discoveries of the mystery of the last times, page the 14. Secondly, pray take notice of Rev. 12. 1. where Saint John saw a wonder in heaven, a woman cloathed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve starrs; now I think no man will deny, but the Church, which undoubtedly was the woman which was cloathed with the sun, when she had such abundance of the spirit that it sat upon them as fire, and they were filled with the holy Ghost, and spake with tongues, and were enabled with power to distribute the ordinances of the Gospel un­to whom they did appertain, and when the Church was crowned with twelve stars; namely the twelve Apostles.

But it is yet objected, Be it so, that this is true, yet is there no workings of the spirit, are all things so dead, as there is no appearance of God by gifts and ordi­nances?

I answer, I do beleeve that there are some breathings of the Spirit in the Saints; for it is not said, the sun is wholly darkened, but darkned; that is, doth not give that light, as it did in the first Gospel times; and this the very experience of times doth evince; but for the ordinances, which are likened to the moon, they are in a manner wholly darkened, from that they were in the first times; and as for the14 stars, the third part of them was darkned in the sounding of the fourth trumpet, Rev. 8. 12. and 12. 4. and they which persisted in the faith, are killed by the beast, Rev. 11. 7.

It is further objected, that though it be said, The powers of the heavens shal be shaken, yet it follows not, that they are removed, no more then trees that are shaken of a mighty wind are removed.

To which I answer, that shaking in Scripture sense is removing; and this is cleer from that of Haggai 2. 6. where it is said, for thus saith the Lord of hoasts, yet once, it is but a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; which shaking is expounded by the Authour to the Hebrews to be a removing, Hebrews the 12. 27. And thus I hope I have fully answered these obje­ctions.

Another objection is made against that exposition which I make upon that text, Luke 17. 34. where it is said; In that night there shall be two men in one bed, the one shall be taken, the other shall be left; which, say they, is meant, when the Lord appea­reth, then shall one that is a Christian be at work with an unbeliever; and where it is said, There shall be two in one bed, the one shall be taken the other shall be left; say they, it is meant, the husband may be a believer, and the wife an unbeleever, as it was in the first Gospel times.

To which I answer, That the text saith, it is two men, and two women; and therefore it cannot be meant of that matrimonial coupling of man and wife: and touching the two men being in the field together, as it is Matth. 24. that it may be expounded at work together, the one a beleever, the other an unbeleever; this the words going before will cleer; for it is said, Luke 17. 26. As it was in the dayes of Noe, so shall it be in the dayes of the Son of man: likewise, as it was in the dayes of Lot, they did eat, and drink, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone, and destroyed them all. Now we all know, there was no difference between Noe and the world, and Lot and the Sodomltes in any outward worship, but onely they were preachers of righteousnesse; which is cleer by that speech of Abraham, where he prayeth for Sodom, Gen. 18. 24. and saith, Peradventure there be found fifty righteous: so likewise in the dayes of the coming of the Son of man, those that are truly Christians, and watch and pray, cannot but be preachers of righteousnesse; forasmuch as that man that is addicted to sin and uncleannesse, cannot be said in reason to watch over his actions; and he that is praying, or prepared alwayes to pray, cannot be voyd of righteousness to­wards man.

Another Objection is made touching the raising of the Witnesses; for, say they, It is true, the Witnesses are to lie dead, but there is a time for their raising again, and this is our practice; sor we are raising the Witnesses from death to meet the Lord in Sion.

To which I answer, That it is true, that the Witnesses are to rise, and to stand up­on their feet; but the question is, when this should be, which I beleeve, upon exami­nation, will appear to be when the Lord appears from heaven: which I shall prove thus, as it is said. Rev. 11. 11. and after three dayes and a half, the Spirit of life from God entred into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon all that saw them; which compared with Ezekiel 37. and Rev. 20. 5. will appear to be that resur­rection spoken of in those two places.

But it may be said, Those places speak of the raising of the dead out of their graves, to meet the Lord in Sion; but this of Revel. 11. must be meant of the rai­sing15 the people of the Lord Jesus out of that darkness wherein they lay in the Anti­christian state.

To which I answer, It is true, it seems to be so; but mark well the sense of the place, and you shall finde, it is at the Lords appearing, as to mee it seems cleer from the 12 verse, where it is said, And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying, Come up hither; and they ascended up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them: which, compared with 1 Thes. 4. it will appear to be when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven with a shout, and the voyce of the archangel, as it is in ver. 16. besides, mark the effects that did follow upon the rising of the witnesses; for it is said, verse 13. And the same hour there was a great Earth-quake, and the tenth part of the City fell; and in the earth-quake were slain of men 7000; and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven; so that I think no man will affirm there is any such effects wrought by any arising from death of the witnesses in these our days; and thus I hope I have answered this objection.

It is yet further objected, that the changes that are wrought in this nation, are some tokens of the Lords hand; for we may plainly see that there be many men that were before wicked persons both swearers, and lascivious in their lives and conversa­tions, that upon their coming in, are changed in their lives; likewise there are many young men, that were of no gifts and parts in the sight of the world, are now able to dispense the word, and to pray very heavenly, somtime to the admiration of the hear­ers, insomuch as they are forced to say, God is in you of a truth; and therefore this must needs be a testimony, that the hand of God is in this work, and that he will pro­sper it.

To this I answer, and do acknowledg, that this in part is true, and I do acknowledg there are precious Saints among all our professors; neither is it the personall holiness of the men of any profession, that I have any thing to say against, but it is the tying and confirming the presence of God to this or that Administration, out of a good zeal, I hope, but I suppose not according to knowledg; and therefore I would desire all men to consider, that if God be in one profession, he is also as powerfull in another, in those things which are alleaged; for I am able to see no difference in one profession more then in another; but according as men excell one another in parts, education, wit or learning, so they excell one another, but no otherwise; yea those men whose principles are in esteem of most of our professours damnable, have many men amongst them of excellent parts outwardly; besides, take notice, at the most, this is but the day of small things, and the Church is to increase in glory, as it is confessed by all: but I finde no text tending to any encreasing condition before the Lord appear, which will be most sudden and unexpected; which I shall, the Lord enabling mee, prove in its due place: Besides, I pray mark, the first annointing was with abun­dance of successe, insomuch as thousands were converted at times: but this is no way comparable to that for gifts and graces, neither for powerfull conversion; and therefore it falls short of the first annointing; whereas the later glory is prophesied to exceed the former, as is plain from these Scriptures, Isa. 24. 23. and 60. 20. & 66. 11. Zech. 12. 8. Rev. 14. 1. and 18. 1. with divers other the like places, which I could pro­duce for proof, if my leisure would permit.

Therefore I conclude, that the times of the Reformation of the Church, as they call it, which have happened since the servants have been awake out of their slumbring condition, wherein they have endeavoured with much heat to weed out the tares out of the Church of Jesus Christ, sometimes by the sword of the spirit, when they had no other means; sometimes with the temporall sword, by which occasion hath fol­lowed16 all those miseries which have besell the Christian world, since the first falling off from the Church of Rome, which if they had on both sides followed the houshol­ders direction, to have let the tares and the wheat grown together, there would not have been so much good wheat rooted up with the tares in that manner; neverthe­less this hath happened by the Lords permission, so that by this meanes the mountains of the protestant Churches are established, which though it must needs be acknow­ledged, that as touching their ministry and in respect of their ordinances, they fall short of that purity which was in the first Gospel times, they retaining their office of ministry and ordinances through that corrupt channell of the Church of Rome, yet touching their doctrine, which are the things to be believed, they come neer unto the first times unto which the people of the Lord Jesus are exhorted to flee unto, (though mystically) when once the abomination of disolation standeth in the holy place.

It hath further been objected against me, how I being a man of such weake parts, and having no other learning then my Mother was able to teach me, dare meddle with the opening of those darke prophesies, in the Prophets and Re­velation.

To such men I answer, and desire all men to consider, to what end those prophe­sies were unsealed, Revel. the 22. 10. and left as a monument to the people of the Lord in all ages; and whether they were to lie as a dead letter, or for Gods people to examine, and with humilitie to gaine the sense of them; And if all Scripture were given by inspiration, and is profitable to instruct; then doubtless the prophe­sies are given to the same end, as well as the other more plainer places of Scripture, especially in those last times, when the prophesies are in part fulfilled, and therefore the more easie to attain the sense of them; besides, take notice, the Lord is pleased to give encouragement unto his people to search them, that so they may understand the meaning of them, as may be seen Isai. 8. 20. Habak. 2. 2. Rev. 13. 18. and 17. 9. upon which accompt I took encouragement to open those places of Scripture quoted in this Treatise; neither can any man, I hope, accuse me with arrogancy in delivering the sense of them; for I have done it with humilitie and much modesty, still consi­dering the depth of those places, and the mysteriousnesse of them, so that I have been fearfull in a great measure, lest I should happen to be deceived in the sense of them. And this I hope will satisfie those men.

It is further objected against me, that the matter is high I treat of, and beyond the reach of ordinary sense; and say they, there is no end of making of many books: And this objection is made by such men as have been very forward to open their prin­ciples in this way of weiting, in the beginning of these dividing times.

To such men I answer, that the more hight there is in the matter treated of, so much the more we ought to search into it, provided it be with humilitie; especially the matters being such as are not hidden things, but things revealed to us and our chil­dren, and encouragement given unto us to search them; moreover, if the Scripture be the rule by which we ought to square all our actions, and this Scripture containes some dark and mysterious prophesies, whereof it is full; if we will have none of them, then sure we will leave out some part of our direction, and make use of no more then sutes with our affection; and will be guided but with part of our duty, which we pre­tend to follow; and then this is no sure way, but our practice which we pretend we fetch the rule from the word for, it may haply, it further searched into, (I mean the Scripture) speak against, and so we may be deceived; therefore it is most sure and certain, if we will have our practice warranted by the word, to search into the17 whole will of God, yea though the places be mysterious and doubtfull. But I have observed in some men, and those eminent too, that what they professe they labour with much diligence to propagate and to gain disciples to, and when once they have obtai­ned to any considerable number, and have gotten possession and footing, then what­soever crosses their practise, and doth not suit with their principles is matter of height, or else frivolous, and not worth the looking on: Whereas those very men in their begin­nings were the greatest setters on of others to search the Scriptures.

It is yet further objected, that this is strange doctrine; what, are you a man alone? hath God hidden those things from all, and onely revealed them unto you? this is most strange and contrary to Reason, that all men should be deceived, and you onely know the truth.

To those men I answer, and do acknowledge the doctrine is strange, and I do con­fesse I do not remember that I ever read of any such thing treated of, and for the most part of the places I have opened in some measure, I do not remember that I ever heard any exposition upon them; yea, I acknowledge that the matter seems sometimes strange to my self, having nothing in me that deserves that the Lord should reveal any thing to me rather then to another; I see in my self so much weakness and deadness to any thing that is good, that it seems to the contrary; but when on the contrary I con­sider the harmony and agreement which is among the prophets, tending to the same things; and when I consider the experience of the ages past, confirming it, and ma­king it to appear a truth, in part, without contradictions; and when I consider that the Lord hath in severall ages taught some of his people, yea his prophets by men of inferiour parts to them, as may be seen in Jethro's counsell to Moses, and by Amos, which was a herd-man of Tekoa, which taught Amasiah the priest of Bethel; and when I consider the Lord confounds the wisdome of the world by things of no esteem, and brings to nought things that are, by things that are not; I then take encouragement, and am constrained to beleeve that this is the meaning of the holy Ghost in those places, and shall beleeve untill I do perceive a better sense given; which being done, I hope I shall not be so self-conceited, as to prefer my sense before a better, if it begiven.

It is further objected, that we are commanded to come out of Babylon, left we are partakers of her sins, and so receive of her plagues, which is a duty required of us; and besides, we have now an oportunity given us to come out, for the States give us liberty to walk according to Gospel order, and according to our conscience there in, and to gather our selves into bodies.

To the first I answer, That it is true, that we are commanded to come out of Ba­bylon; but it is necessary to know the time when we are to perform that duty, lest hap­ly we should lose our labour; and I could wish that some man that is so zealous for the performance of that duty; would labour to demonstrate by the Scripture Prophe­sies, that the time for the performance of this duty were fully come, lest the practice of this duty have no better success then those men in Jeremy 29. 21. namely, Ahab the son of Kolajah, and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which were two false prophets; which did perswade the people that they should speedily return from their captivity; con­trary to the prophesie of Jeremy, which had prophesied their captivity to continue seventy years; which were a duty necessary to be done, for so much as the prophet Da­niel did understand by books the number of yeers, where of the word of the Lord came to Jeremy the prophet, that hee would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem, Dan. 9. 2. and accordingly did make his prayer for their return. So likewise in the Revelation there are set times for the people of the Lord Jesus to lie in this and that condition, as may be seen in the 11. 12. 13. chapters, which I shall endeavour, the18 Lord enabling me, in the sequell of this treatise to make appeare not to be fully accomplished. Besides, take notice of those places which speake of the people of the Lord coming out of Babylon, and you shall finde that Babylon is first fallen, before the Lords people are exhorted to come out of her, as may be seen Rev. 14. 8. and 18. 4. But we do not yet see Babylon fallen, nay rather we see her as high as ever almost; on­ly we have seen one of his heads wounded to death, but his deadly wound is almost healed; neither do we see any glory, like unto that glory which is spoken of in those two places, to precede the fall of Babylon; neither do we see the Lamb upon mount Sion with his hundred forty and four thousand, neither an Angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightned with his glory; which are things which goe before the peoples deliverance: besides, pray marke, that Babylon in the letter was destroyed before the people of God were dilivered; and his people had a Leader to goe before them out of Babylon: Even so likewise, I conceive, that the people of the Lord Jesus are to have a leader or diliverer to goe before them, to call them out of Babylon in the mystery, and to send his Angels to gather together his Elect from the four windes of the heaven, according to those Scriptures, Isai. 11. 11, 12. and 52. 12. and 66. 19, 20. Joel the 3. 11. Obadiah 21. Zechariah 2. 5, 8. Matt. 24. 31. compared with Rev. the 14. 6, 7, 8, 9. and 18. 1, 2, 4. In all which places is men­tion made of the Lords deliverance of his people by himself, and of sending forth his Angels to declare the fall of Babylon; and to exhort the people of the Lord to come out of her.

To the second branch of this objection, I answer; It is true, that the State gives liberty to tender consciences; for which they deserve much honour; but these men must also remember, that as the State gives them liberty, so must they have liberty of God also, which I desire to see proved; for first, if they will come out according to order, they must have their Leader with them, which is the Lord Jesus; for it is said expresly Isaiah the 52. 12. for you shall not go out in hast, nor go out by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rereward; But in this refor­mation which is profest in this nation, in any profession, I see no glory that comes neer the first Gospel times; whereas the coming of the Kingdom of God with power did ex­ceed the first glory, as may be seen Mat. 17. 2.

Secondly, it must be granted, that the nations of Christiandome are all of them at the least Christians at large, as I may term them; that is, professing the name of Christ; now if we follow order, we must reform by the major or greater part, as is the order in all assemblies; as also in the Church of Christ, whilst they had pow­er, as may be seen in the Churches of Asia: but we cannot reforme that way, because the major part will keep their customes still, be they never so ill; and therefore we cannot this way reform according to order, because the best part is over­voted:

But thirdly, seeing that all our reformers do acknowledg, that the ordinances are corrupted touching Church discipline, and if we will reform we must bring them to the first standard; and because all our ministers have derived their office of ministry through that corrupt channel of the Church of Rome, therefore it must needs follow, that insomuch as the Scripture is acknowledged to be our director in all things, by all Reformers; and for so much as all that enter not by the door are theeves and robbers, John 10. 1. and for as much as none can preach except they be sent, according to the doctrine of Paul, Romans the 10. 15. and for as much as the prophet Isaiah sends us to the Law and to the Testimony, and saith, If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them, Isaiah 8. 20. and the Apostle Saint Paul, in the19 aforesaid text of the Romans alledgeth Scripture for his and others preaching the Gos­pel, and saith, As it is written, how beautifull are the feet of them that preach the Gos­pel of peace, and bring glad tydings of good things? therefore I say, If we will reform, being the lesser part, we must necessarily have some Scripture for our warrant, to shew that the time is out for our deliverance, and some mention made in Scrip­ture of some Anoynting to reform the Church of Jesus Christ after the ordinan­ces are corrupted or changed, as is acknowledged; which if it can be produced, either by plain letter or by consequence, that when once the ordinances are changed or corrupted that they are to be restored in their purity, and that the people of the Lord Jesus are to gather themselves out of Babylon or the Antichristian state, wherin they lay in captivity among all sorts of men in visible bodies, with all those officers, as Apostles, Pastors, Teachers, and Elders, as they were in the first Gospel times be­fore the Lords appearing to restore his people; I shall by the help of God subscribe unto them, and confess my Errour; yet nevertheless there are some texts alledged for the maintenance of it, I shall name them, as I go, and examine them accor­ding to my understanding, and leave them to the men that alledged them to judg.

The first text which is aleadged for the raising of ordinances is from Psalm 75. 2. where the prophet speaking in the person of God, saith, when I shall receive the congre­gation, I will judg uprightly; whence is inferred, that when the Lord Jesus doth appear, there will be a congregation.

To which I answer, and do confess, that the Psalmist in that place speaks of the appearance of Jesus Christ, as is plain from verse the first, where it is said, for that thy name is neer, thy wondrous works declare; but touching that 2 verse from whence that inference is taken, I conceive the true sense is no other, but that before the Lord appeare, the congregation is judged unrighteously by the men of the world, or by such as Rule in the Church of Jesus Christ, having no commission from him, or as it is in Matthew the 24. 48. and Zechariah 11. 16. by that evill servant, which saith in his heart, my Lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; but when the Lord doth appear he will take the government of the congregation to himself, and will judg uprightly; Agreeable to those texts of Scriptures Isa. 11. 4. Micah 4. 3. The second text is from Isaiah 10. 27. where it is said, And it shall come to passe in that day, that his bur­den shall be taken away from off thy shoulders, and his yoake from off thy neck; and the yoake shall be destroyed because of the anyonting; from whence is inferred, that in the last dayes, the Lord will anoynt his people by his Spirit, so that they shall by degrees gather them­selves out of Babylon, or the antichristian state, into bodies or single fellowships, to meet the Lord in Sion.

For answer unto which, pray note the text it self; for it is not said, thou shalt de­liver thy self because of the anoynting; but it is said, In that day his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and the yoake from off thy neck, and the yoake shall be destroyed because of the annointing: which argueth thus much, that the Lord will deliver his people by the hand of some extraordinary messenger that he wil appoint for that purpose; which, I conceive, is the Lord Jesus; for he alludes unto the deliverance of his people out of Egypt, and to that deliverance from Midian at the rock Oreb, as it is in the foregoing verse, being the 26. Now it is known to all men that in those deliverances there was Moses and Gideon extraordinarily sent to deliver his people; and can it be thought that in that great deliverance of all the deliverances that have happened unto the people of God, that deliverance from sin and death only20 excepted, wherin Ephrahim shall no more envy Juda, nor yet Juda vex Ephrahim; and that from thenceforth the wolf and the lamb shall feed together; and that from thenceforth they shall hurt nor destroy no more in the mountain of Gods holinesse, that the Lord will deliver his people by themselves, contrary to his practice in all ages, as may be abundantly proved from Moses, Joshua, Jeptha, Deborah, Barak, unto Zorobabel, which were all types of that great deliverer of his people, as may be seen Haggai 2. 23. where Jesus Christ is set forth under the name of Zorobabel. Beside, pray mark the 33d verse of that 10. of Isaiah, where it is plainly said, Behold the Lord, the Lord of bosts shall lop the bough with terrour, and the high ones of stature shall be hewen down, and the mighty shall be humbled; and he shall cut down the thickets of the forrest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one: Now let any man judge, if this be meant his people by themselves, or else the deliverance to come by some extraordinary messenger.

The next two texts which are alleadged for the raising of ordinances, I put them both together, because I suppose they aime at one and the same thing, are the 2 Pet. 2. 11, 14. and the Epistle of Jude ver. 20, 21. where it is said, Wherefore, beloved, seeing you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of him in peace without spot, and blamelesse; And then in Jude it is said, But ye beloved, edifie your selves in your most holy faith, praying in the holy Ghost, and keep your selves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternall life. From whence is ga­thered, that in the last daies the people of the Lord Jesus Christ must walk in Gospel order, being baprized, and gather themselves into visible bodies to meet the Lord in Sion.

To which I answer, and desire all men to take notice of the scope of the Apostles in these two places; namely, to arme the Christians unto whom they wrote to take heed of false teachers which were crept in amonst them; to beware of them, and to be watchfull over themselves, and that they should build up themselves in their most holy faith; and therein they do admonish them, as is cleer from the second of Peter 2. 1. and from the Epistle of Jude the 4. and this I do acknowledge was writ unto such men as were in gospel order, and they are admonished to persevere and to conti­nue in love unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. But these Churches have since fallen asleep, Mathew 13. 15. the ordinances are corrupted or changed, as is acknow­ledged by these men: now let themselves judge, what is in these Epistles and verses aleadged for the restoring of them; these Churches have lost their power, the sun is gon down over the Prophers, Micah 3. 6. and I looke for some place of Scripture for their raising again before the Lord appear. And thus I hope I have fully answered to those Scriptures.

A fourth Scripture which is alledged is Revelation the 2. 23. where it is said, speak­ing of the woman Jezebel, which did teach and seduce his people, he saith, And I will kill her children with death, and all the Churches shall know; Thereby arguing, that when the Lord appears and destroys Jezebel, that then all the Churches that are in being shall know, and see his judgements upon her.

To this I answer, and desire all men to take notice of the contents of this second chapter, which is to approve and to reprove sundry matters among the Churches unto whom St. John wrote; and amongst the rest, the Church of Thyatira is reproved for suffering the woman Jezebel, which calleth her selfe a Prophetesse, to teach and se­duce his people: and having spoken of the judgements which he will bring upon her, he saith, and all the Churches shall know; that is, say they, al the Churches that are in being when the Lord doth appear shall know how he will punish this woman: now pray21 take notice, in the first chapter and 11 verse, St John is commanded to write this Re­velation in a book, and send it to the seven Churches that are in Asia; and so fulfilling his commission in his exhortation unto the severall Churches, he still concludes with this admonition, Let him that hath an ear hear what the spirit saith unto the Churches; now what Churches are those that are exhorted to hear, the Churches which shall be at the end of the world, or those that St. John wrote unto? I think it is unlikely that St John should write unto Churches in being then, admonithing them to hear, and this to be applied for the raising of Churches at the end of the world or neer that time; and in this verse it is said, and all the Churches shall know: now what shall they know? Why, they shall know, that if this Church of Thyatira will not restaine this woman Jezebel by her power while they have it, that the Lord will execute his power himself, and they shall know it. And where it is aledged that those Churches here spoken of, are those Churches that are in being when the Lord doth appear, I answer, where is the least colour for it in the text? for these Churches are no other but those Churches which are writ unto, which are the seven Churches of Asia, which still are admonished; Let him that hath an ear hear what the spirit saith unto the Churches.

Moreover he doth admonish this Church of Thyatira, that if she did not exercise her power, that then all the Churches should know, that I am he that searcheth the reines and the heart, and will give unto every one of you according to your works; that is, as I conceive, if you do your duty, while you have power, and if you ne­glect your duty having power, the time will come when you shall know that I will reward every one of you according to your works: moreover, experience teacheth us, that those Churches have the candlestick removed from them, and have no be­ing, and therefore in my judgment it is but a weake foundation to raise ordi­nances upon, and to gather Churches upon, when once they have lost their power, and are polluted, and Antichrist seated in them. And so much for this Scrip­ture.

A fist and last Scripture which is alledged is from Rev. 18. 20. where the de­struction of Babylon is set forth, and an exhortation given unto his people, in these words, Rejoyce over her thou heaven, and ye holy Apostles and Prophets, for God hath avenged you on her; from whence is inferred, that when the Lord doth destroy Baby­lon, that then his people being in Church order, having Apostles and Prophets, shall rejoyce for the destruction thereof,

To which I answer. First, it is not said heavens, that is, Churches; but heaven, that is, as I conceive, the Church of God in all ages, being now a triumphant Church, their enemies being destroyed, and is exhorted to rejoyce. Secondly, pray mind what the people of the Lord are incited unto; namely to rejoyce, which is fulfilled in the 11. chapter and 16, 17, 18 verses, and in the 15. chapter 2, 3, 4 verses, and 19 chapter 2, 3, 4 verses, compared with Isaiah the 12. chapter: In Rev. 11. 16. you have the foure and twenty elders mentioned, and in ver 19. you have the four and twenty Elders and the foure beasts mentioned, which cannot well be expounded the Churches, and Apostles, and Prophets which shall be in being when the Lord doth appear; now let themselves judge whether here be any thing towards the raising of ordinances or gathering of Churches, for which these Scriptures are brought; for I professe with reverence to all just wayes of God, that to me these Scripturs seem to be a weak foundation to build such a structure upon as is pretended, namely, that the raising of ordinances, as is practised in these daies, is the onely way by which the Lord will by degrees draw and deliver his people out of Babylon to meet him in Sion.


It is yet objected, that is it the Lords own precept, mentioned Matth. 28. saying, Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Ghost; and the promise is annexed, and lo I am with you unto the end of the world; whereupon is concluded, that his people are to practise the ordinances in their purity untill the Lord appear.

To which I answer, first, that it is acknowledged by these men, that there hath been an interruption both in the succession of the Ministry, and in the corrupting the purity of the ordinances, and I look for some proof from Scripture Rule for their raising, Secondly, it is affirmed by Mr John Saltmarch, who had knowledg in the Greek copies, that the words, unto the end of the world, if truely translated, is but to the end of that age, or administration; and he quotes the Greek text in his book called, some beames of the morning starr, in the margent of the same book, page 134. But thirdly, it is usuall in Scripture phrase, that for End is meant but length of time, and not to the end of the world, or of all ages; as is plain by those places, Lev. 6. 22. and 7, 34, 35. Jer. 33. 21. and 35, 19. But fourthly, if all these considerations fail; then let this answer suffice, namely, by these mens judgments confessed, that whereas there is a promise annexed to the commission, that they, meaning his Apostles and their successors, that if they failed not to do their duty in going and teaching all nations, baptizing them in the purity of the ordinances; that the Lord would not fail to be with them unto the end of the world; but they having failed, as is acknowledged by all our reformers, therefore the Lord is not ingaged to his promise; and is not with his people, as must be acknowledged by all men, as he was in the first Gospel times, in respect of the purity of the ordinances.

It is yet further objected, that if the ordinances are polluted or changed, some of them, then it is likely they are all corrupted, and then watching and prayer being also ordinances of Jesus Christ are also corrupted.

To this I answer, and shall make a distinction between the ordinances, as first there are ordinances which for the performance of them, there were officers appoin­ted to the dispensation of them; and these officers had a peculiar charge given them, and had more then an ordinary Spirit given them for the performance of that worke, as may be seen Acts the 2. 4. and their office was to preach, baptize, lay on hands, and administer the Sacrament, and these also were to chuse able men, and to appoint ministers from hand to hand to after times by way of succession; which is cleer from the