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his house, but hides himself from his own flesh, and clothes not the naked : such fasts and fasters the Lord doth not accept, neither hath he chosen them. But these appear to men with their disfigured faces, and hanging down their heads as a bull-rush for a day, like the hypocrites to fast, as Christ speaks of in Matth. vi.
And is it not the command of Christ, that in their fast they should not appear unto men to fast ? And now you that would force us to shut up our shops on fasting-days, or for a day, does not this fast appear to men ? and is not this the fast that the Lord saith in Isaiah, he doth not accept? for he saith, “ Is this the fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afllict his soul, and bow down his head as a bull-rush, &c. Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord ?” Isai. lviij.
And therefore all God's people are to keep the true fast of the Lord from debate and strife, and the fists of wickedness; and that fast that breaks the bands of wickedness, and undoes every heavy burden, and breaks every yoke, and lets the oppressed go free, and deals bread to the hungry, and clothes the naked, and brings the poor that are cast out to his own house. So every one that keeps this true fast, their health shall grow, and when they call, the Lord will hear them; and the Lord will be their guide continually, and satisfy their souls in drought, and make their bones fat, and shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. Now you, that keep not this true fast, when you call upon the Lord on your own fasting-days, does the Lord answer you, and say, Here I am ? doth the Lord guide you continually? and are your bones made fat by him, and your souls satisfied in drought? and are you like a watered garden, and like a spring, whose waters fail not? But you that keep not this true fast, do you not want these waters, which fail not? so your souls are not satisfied in drought, but your bones are lean, and you hear not the voice of the Lord, who saith, Here I am; and so you lose the heritage of Jacob, and ride not upon the high-places there, but come under. And therefore every man and woman, shut your hearts against all manner of evil whatsoever, and trade not with Babylon's merchants of confusion; but keep the supernatural day of Christ that is sprung from on high, that is, by believing and walking in the light of Christ, and being gratied into him; and this will bring you to the true fast, from feeding upon any evil, and to the true praying in the Spirit, as Christ and the apostles have taught; which fruit of the Spirit is love, &c. which birth of the Spirit is not a
persecuting birth; but he that is born of the flesh, will persecute him that is born of the Spirit, because he will not follow the birth of the flesh, with its weak beggarly elements, that entangles with its yoke of bondage, and its observing of days, months, times, fasts, feasts and years, which the birth of the Spirit is to stand fast against in the liberty, wherewith Christ hath made it free.
And do you not know, that the very Turks keep their sabbath on the sixth day, and the Jews upon the seventh day, and the Christians meet together on the first day of the week ? And that day which the Turks keep, the Jews' and Christians' shops are open ; and that day the Jews keep, Christians’and Turks'shops are open ; and the firstdays that the Christians keep, both Jews' and Turks' shops are open : and so the Turk does not force the Jews nor the Christians to shut up their shops on their meeting days, but lets them have their liberty in the Turks' country. And where do you read, that ever the Turks forced any Christians to observe any of their holy-days, or fasts, or feasts? And if not, should not Christians be beyond the Turks in giving Jiberty to all tender consciences to serve God, seeing Christ and the apostles con mand not, nor force people to observe holy-days, or times, or months, or years, but should
pray always in the Spirit, and fast always from strife and de bate, from all manner of sin and evil; and that will keep down the fist of wickedness and the bond of iniquity ? &c. And why should not people that be of a tender conscience, have their liberty to exercise their consciences towards God, that they may have a good conscience always towards God and man, to that which God requires, and to do unto all men, as they would have them to do unto them, and to love their neighbours as themselves; seeing that there are so many debauched, evil, and seared consciences, as with an hot iron, have the liberty in their loose lives and conversations, and in their loose words, whose tongues are at liberty to swear and curse, and their spirits are at liberty in drunkenness and uncleanness? So let the magistrates look and see, how this evil, seared conscience hath its liberty to be exercised in all manner of evil things, yea all Christendom over; which is a great shame and dishonour to God and Christ, and Christianity, yea and humanity. And therefore why should not God's people have their liberty to exercise their good and tender consciences towards God and man? For the mystery of faith, which Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of, is held in a pure conscience. And should not the work of the true Christian magistrate be to encourage the exercise of this pure con
science towards God and man, and to discourage the exercise of this evil, seared conscience, that dishonours both God and Christ, and true Christianity? If not, how are they a praise to them that do well, and a terror to evil. doers ?
“And now concerning the not putting off hats, for which many that go under the name of Christians, have taken offence at us, because we could not put off our bats, and bow down to them ; for which we find no such command from Christ or his apostles, but rather to the contrary. For Christ saith, “ I receive not honour of men (mark, he did not receive honour of men ;) and further Christ saith, “ How can ye believe which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that comes from God only?” Now Christ declares it to be a mark of unbelievers, that seek honour one of another, and seek not that honour that comes from God only; and is not the putting off the hat and bowing with it, an honour of men, which they seek one of another, and are offended if they have it not? Nay, have they not fined, persecuted and imprisoned some, because they did not put off their hats to them? Nay, do not the very Turks mock at the Christians in their proverb, saying that the Christians spend much of their time in putting off their hats, and shewing their bare head to one another? But should not the Christians be beyond the Turks, that bear that noble name of Christian, of seeking honour one of another, and persecuting them that will not give it them, when all true believing Christians should seek'the honour that comes from God only? which is the duty of all true believers in Christ Jesus, for he would not receive honour of men. And " He that believeth on the Son of God, hath everlasting life ; and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth upon him.” John ii. 26. And now, is not the Turks' proverb a reproach to the Christians, who say that the Christians spend much of their time in putting off their hats, and shewing their bare head one to another? Nay, have you not fined and imprisoned many, because they would not put off their hats to you, and shew you their bare heads? Nay, in many of your courts they shall not have right and justice, nor liberty and freedom in cities or states, though they have truly served their time, and are honest and civil men, unless they will put off their hats and shew their bare heads? And have you not made a law againt such, as will not put off their hats and shew you their bare heads; and that they must forfeit two gilders if they did not? Yea, and to compel and force them to do
it, and fine such as do not, as at Lansmeer in Waterland ? And is not this the honour that you seek one of another? Did not the pharisees and Jews do the same?
• Now as for your saying, the apostle commands to honour all men; and such as rule well are worthy of double honour: now, if this honouring all men, were to put off their hats to all men, and shew all men their bare heads, then this command you break yourselves; for you do not do this to all men generally : and if they that rule well must have double hat-honour, then they must put off their hats twice, and shew them their bare heads. Now, if this hat-honour and shewing the bare head, be an invention of men and not from God, and ye cannot prove it by scripture, and yet say it is your rule; then you act beside the rule and compel people to act contrary to your rule. For where did ever the prophets, Christ, or the apostles' command any such thing? Let us see a command, a practice, and an example for it. Nebuchadnezzar, whó was a persecutor, and cast the three children of Israel into the fire with their hose, cloaks and hats, we do not read that he was offended at them, because they did not put off their hats, and shew him their bare heads, but because that they would not bow to his image. And is it not said in the margin of the bible, where it is said honour all men, (it is said) have all men in esteem ? then they that rule well are worthy of double esteem; and this esteem must be truly in the heart, without any envy, malice or hatred. As all men are the workmanship of God, they are to be esteemed in the heart with the Spirit of God, and they that rule well are worthy of double esteem: and here is true honour from the heart both to God, and man, his workmanship. For people may put off their hats, and shew their bare heads one to another once, or twice to the officers and magistrates, and yet be full of envy, and malice, and hatred, and murder in their hearts one against another, and give them that honour, as you call it, and yet speak or wish bad things of them, when they have turned their backs on them; which the true honour or esteem in the heart to all men, as they are God's creation, is without any evil wish or thought in the heart to all men, and to them that rule well, which have the double esteem, whom God hath placed over people. There is no evil in the heart that gives this respect, esteem or honour, and brings them to love their neighbours as themselves, and to do unto all men, as they would have them do unto them, in that they esteem all men, and they have a double esteem to them that rule well; and this is beyond all the honour
of putting off the hats once to all men, and twice to them that are worthy of the double honour, as you may call it. But we would ask the Christians that practise ihis hat.. honour, and shewing one another their bare heads, who did invent this single honour and double honour, that they should put off their hats one to another, and shew their bare heads, seeing that they cannot prove, that ever Christ or the apostles did command or practise any such thing, or Moses in the time of the law ? Now, do not say or think, that we had this practice of not putting off the hats from the Turk; for we were moved by the Spirit of the Lord to it, before ever we heard of the Turks' proverb and practice; to leave the honour that is below, and seek the honour that comes from above, when we came to be true believers in Christ Jesus.
Now concerning persecuting, imprisoning, and banishing God's people, in whom Christ is manifest, and dwells in their hearts ; doth not Christ tell you that you imprison bim ? and then do you not banish him, and persecute him out of your cities and corporations ? And how can you enter into his kingdom, and have a share of his kingdom, though you may profess him in words ? And do not they go into everlasting punishment, that did not visit Christ in prison ? Then what will become of you that do banish and imprison him, where he is manifest in his members, nor suffer them to meet together to enjoy him amongst them, according to his promise ? And therefore you, that will not let Christ reign in his people, and have his liberty in them in your cities and countries, to exercise his offices, you will not have your liberty in heaven ; and you that will not let Christ reign in your hearts, nor suffer him to reign in his people here upon the earth in this world, in your kingdoms; you will not reign with Christ in heaven in his kingdom, nor in the world without end.
* And so you, that banish the truth out of your cities or countries, or his people for its sake, you do banish the truth and Christ out of your hearts from ruling there ; and so you yourselves are not the temples of God. And then, when you have banished Christ and his truth out of your own hearts, then you do banish such, in whom he rules, out of your estates and country: and then see what judgments the Lord doth bring upon you, when you are left to yourselves; yea, fears and troubles, and one judgment after another, that come upon you; you are even filled with them. But the banished and sufferers for truth and Christ's sake have a peaceable habitation in the truth, which the devil is out of a..! copin ; which habita