The Forbidden Fruit

This post is a corrected OCR of a book on the interpretation of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, by Sebastian Franck aka Augustinus Eleutherius, who, according to Rufus Jones, was an influence on Jakob Boehme. Therefore, a line of influence may be drawn from Eckhart through Franck and Tauler to Boehme. This book was owned by George Fox.

Other works by Franck in German and Latin are available on archive.org.


Click to read "The Forbidden Fruit"



Of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evill, of which Adam at the first, & as yet all Mankind do eate death.

Moreover, How at this day it is forbidden to every one as well as to Adam; And how this Tree, that is the wisedome of the Serpent planted in Ada is that great Image, and that many headed Beast; mentioned in Daniel and the Apocalyps, whom the whole world doth worship.

LASTLY, Here is shewed what is the Tree of Life, contrary to the wisdom, righteousnesse, and knowledge of all mankind: With a description of the Majestie and nature of Gods Word.

By AUGUST: ELUTHENIUS. Translated out of Latine into English.

Printed in the yeare, 1640.

What is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evill.

I Will not much contend with them that would have the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evill, according as it is in the Scriptures to be a Naturall Tree, which being planted in Paradise, had that nature divinely given unto it, that who should eate thereof, their eyes should be opened to view themselves, and they be made Gods, and so know both Good and Evill: perhaps God would teach Adam both inwardly and outwardly, and what he forbad or taught him inwardly in his heart, that he would propose outwardly to his eyes for greater testimony: but yet I desire of them, that they would grant this unto me, that as the thing was done outwardly, so the same to have happened inwardly in the heart of Adam, that there he was tempted by the seed of the Serpent to have the guiding of his own will and nature, not to be so void of knowledge and action, as to be subordinate unto God. That I should so think, two reasons or causes do especially move me.

The first is, that the Seed of the Woman was to breake the head of the seed of the Serpent; but as a naturall and living Serpent, whose head was broken, of that Seed we do not reade of any: but as even then the Seed of the woman was spiritually in the heart of Adam, so in the same manner was the seed of the Serpent, for man at the first was created good, not of God but of nothing, and for that cause doth he turne himself alwayes from God, and bend downewards to his own nothing and vanity againe; which nothing I with the ancient Fathers, but especially Taulerus, do judge to be sinne, Satan, death, & hell; and this perhaps was that devill, inhabiting in Adam, as also in Lucifer.

The other reason is this, which the scripture doth testifie of the Citie of God and the Heavenly Jerusalem, that Paradise to be in us: but God alone and his omnipotent Word is our Paradise, the Tree of Life, and the Temple wherein we inhabit, walk, serve, pray, &c. as we are on the other part the Temple of God and his Paradise. In like manner the Beast (which even now the whole world both great and small) do worship in their hearts, of which the scriptures make mention in the Apocalyps, as also the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil is in us, for the exterior world, & whatsoever outwardly is to be seene or is done, is onely an accident and a certaine signifying figure of the true and interior nature: and there is nothing true in all those things which are seen with the eye, that is substantiall; for it behoveth that the forme of this World perish, because it is nothing else but an imaginary world, and a figure of the right true eternal and by it selfe the constant world; therefore it is expedient that all these things in their course be done over againe, which throughout all the Bible are related outwardly and significantly to have been done, and yet to this day after their manner, the Historie of the Bible, Moses, and the Prophets, are spiritually and truly of force, but all things are brought into the truth by Christ, and it it is expedient, that all the prophecies, which have been from the beginning of the world, which God hath spoken by the mouth of his Saints, be againe reiterated: Therefore that Tree was nothing else then the nature, will, knowledge, and life of Adam, whereof he ought not to eat. That is not to attribute any part of it to himself: But freely and willingly submitt himself to God; and know nothing but what God would know in him; do nothing but what God would do in him; speake nothing but what God would speake in him, &c. Whereby without any impediment God might exercise his Kingdom, will, nature, and power in him, that being void of will, wisdom, and knowledge, he might have nothing of his own, or arrogate any thing to himself, this God would, this was pleasing to him, and thus he commanded. To this opinion the German Divinity assents: Theologia Germanica, 3470. cap. Which saith that this tree is nothing else but our own will & knowledge, of which alone in the Earthly Paradise of the world of our hearts, we are not to eate, but account it as forbidden, unlesse we desire to dye, or eate death from it. And now when Adam was fallen, and had eaten of this tree, then was it planted in his heart, & the same was derived into all his boughes and fruit, so that the same case, word, precept, and interdict, is common to all his posterity, we all have eaten death, whosoever are in Adam, and this uncorrected poyson have we received from the Serpent, being evill Egges of an evill Bird.

Hence may every man easily perceive, how each man is the greatest enemy to himself, and what he ought to esteeme of himself, his will & understanding, wisdom and knowledge, since it is the Counsell, seed, wisdom, knowledge and head of the Serpent, which by Christ is to be broken in our hearts: it behoveth that all things (which Circumcision in the old, and Baptisme in the new Covenant doth signify) which are hereditary and naturall from Adam should dye in us: that we should labour to unlearne, and put off all things, as if they were death and the devill; that is our will, wisdom, and righteousnesse, &c. with which as with figleaves Adam strove to cover himself: for this is sinne, and the stinge of sinne and death, that is to eate of this forbidden Tree, and to arrogate any thing to a mans selfe, as his will, nature, and understanding, or himself; But alas, alas who knowes this, or beleeves this, who abandons or is weary of his own will, understanding, or knowledge, when will men give a farewell to them: Give a Farewll say I, why every one delights himself in his own imaginations, & sweetly slumbring recreats his soule in his own wisdom, knowledge, workes, &c. the Tree is fayre to the eye, and pleasant to the tast: Here all mankinde as Adam himself do taste death; But yet no man knowes, no man thinkes of this, but every man judgeth it to be right, and the flesh esteemeth it to be the Tree of Life. That is to follow its own pleasure and opinion of Good, which is false: To know much, to finde out much, to learn many sciences, and finally to become a God; Neither do any consider, that this was Adams estate and morsell, that bitter morsel of death.

How do we speake and talke of Adams misery, and yet not marke that the same is fresh in us; We can talke of his eating, and wonderfully detest it, when notwithstanding we do the same that he did.

O man, who art thou that thus preparest a staffe for thine own shoulders, and pronouncest a Sentence against thy selfe, while thou condemnest thy Father Adam, and yet considerest not that thou thy selfe art ensnared in his Nett.

Here propound and consider what our will is, our knowledge is, our wisdom is, &c. in which we so insolently boast our selves, yea and by which we imagine and suppose that we can come unto God, when notwithstanding it is nothing, nothing else but death it selfe, and the bitter Fruit of the forbidden Tree.

Is there any amongst all men who understand this? Who can away with this? To deny, put off, fearefull to rest in their own will, wisdom, knowledge, &c. No: do not most chuse and extoll them as true gold and Eternall Life, when notwithstanding they are nothing but Eternall death.

Why the Tree of knowledge of good and Evill is mortall & forbidden.

THIS may be easily answered by that which hath been before related. God (as right it is) would be in us both Lord and Master; and in the same, will, work, do, love, omit, think, &c. therfore should we be free from all these things of this kind: so that we should know, or do nothing, but what God himself would know and do in us. Which reason even against its will, doth confesse to be equity to him that concludes and proves it by truth; for what is more equall then that the Potter have so full a Dominion over his pots, that none of them challenge any the least authority to themselves, since they were not their own makers; the same is our condition: God alone is called the God of understanding, knowledge, wisdom, &c. wherefore he alone will know all things in us, and by consequence nothing but himself; if therefore any man will taste of the Forbidden Fruit, and so know himself, be made a God, be of himself, stand upon his own bottome, and so be his own God; it is necessary that together with Lucifer, he fall into the hell of death, and like the Dragon be cast downe from Heaven, because the Fruit of that Forbidden Tree is death. Wherefore God would know onely himself in us, and for that cause would have one to know no other science, esteeming this only necessary to life: and will teach the same to us, if so be we will obediently attend him: That is know onely God, praise him, pray to, and heare him, which things I say he himself would work in the obedient: For this cause the Wise Man saith:
(Wisdom 5.)

Lord to know thee and understand thee is all righteousnesse.
In which he justifies many, and by consequence much more his own:
Let not the Wise Man boast himself in his wisdom, nor the strong Man in his strength, but in this let every man boast that he knowes me,

Isa. 53. Jer. 9. Which thing God by the mouth of his own Christ, Joh. 17. calleth Eternall Life; For from this knowledge, roote, and Tree of Life, proceeds all whatsoever can be called good or is truly good; This is the onely and true Key of David, which so openeth that no man shutteth, &c.

Of the abuse of all things, how all things are unclean to the unclean flesh: yea those things which in themselves are cleane; and wherefore that curious flesh desireth to know much; and on the contrary, how men ought to know nothing but God, and for God, and use all things in God.

THAT lost nature of man, who in the Scripture is called the Flesh, is an instrument so impotent to all things, so vile, & obscure, that it knows neither to have, speak or do any thing, but abuseth and defileth it by touching, because he converts all things (which are from God, in whom truly they are) to himself as his proper own: although he ought never to be his own. No not in that which is his own, but therein to be subject to God. Neither ought he to challenge to himself that wisdom and knowledge that is in him; but to have all things free in his God, as if he himself had them nott. But this he doth not; but arrogates himself to himself, and will needs be, have, and know himself, and this is the fall and degeneration of Adam, and his posterity, in, and with all things with them.

Againe, the true and onely use with, and in all things, is thus: God would that Adam should know nothing but what he would know in him, should be nothing but what he would be in him; should do nothing but what he would do in him; should have nothing but what he would have in him; This would not Adam, but all those things he arrogated to himself, as his own, or rather he himself would be all these things; This is the fall of Adam, and the abuse of all things in all things, by all mankinde, to the end of the world.

The abuse is, I say, to arrogate any thing to mans selfe, as his own, & not to possesse the same freely, as though he had them not; but to steale and use them from God, in and to himself. As for Example: if having Money, Wife, Children, knowledge, life it selfe, yea my selfe, I challenge these to my selfe as my own.

But since God exacts them, if followes that I would therfore detaine them, and as much as in me is, not yeeld them unto God, but knitt my mind unto them, that I may keepe, defend, and never loose or forsake them (when notwithstanding they are Gods and not mine) this is the Fall of Adam and his theft, being the abuse of all things inbred in the flesh: until man be translated into new kinde of estate or condition, wherefore it is behoovefull that we be borne anew do vomitt up the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evill: And all these things which we having stolen from God as theeves, do challenge to our selves and so forgetting them restore them again to God; this truly is the resurrection and conversion of Adam; and by this meanes alone shall the Fall of Adam be repaired & amended.

Therefore the true and onely use of all things, known alone to the regenerate and new man is this: That I be altogether free from all things, and alone subject to God: and being void of name, will, and knowledge, &c, remaine nothing in my selfe, neither vindicate, deliver, or claime any thing to my selfe (because whatsoever I have, am, know, do, &c. all are of God,) no more then the Cow doth for her milke, the Tree for it fruit, the Bird for its song; but wholy referring all things to God, and have, know, do love, and be nothing but in him; Thus the redeemed, free, and perfect Christians, have, know, do, &c. all things they possesse, wife, children, life, knowledge, wisdom, substance, &c. yea and themselves altogether freely in the Lord: neither do they attribute any thing to themselves; even as if they were nothing, had nothing, knew nothing; for they know that God it is, who is, hath, knowes, and doth all those things which they are, know, or do; so the Christian hath his wife in the Lord, that is doth not challenge her to himself as his own, but freely designeth her to God, whose she is, and from whom she is lent unto him, whom he is willing to restore whensoever it shall please God to require her, & as he never challengeth her to himself as his own, even so he ever enjoyes her in God, and in, and for God, loves her; This Paul & David calls it, to sing, rejoyce, marie, & have in the Lord: that is to reduce all things unto God, in him, know, love, have, be, do all things, neither detract any thing from God as my proper own and right.

And whosoever have not thus their knowledge, Wife, Children, and themselves in the Lord, they offend in this: because they love them, it being a carnall Love out of God; And so far are all things unclean to the unclean, that even his prayers are sin unto him, yea his praises of God, Fasts, Orations, Supplications, God despiseth according to the Prophet: And although he be bountifull to the poore, yet he doth it in vaine. Briefly, what he doth, he doth it in vaine, it is not pleasing but displeasing unto God: Whether he love or hate his Wife, Children, and Neighbours, whether he chide or pray, all things are uncleane unto him, Wife, Children, Feilds, Lands, Money, povertie, riches, fame, infamy, life, death, knowledge, learning, yea God himself. And lastly, he is unfit for any thing that is good. By himself, he is evill, sinfull, and nothing. And what shew of goodnesse soever is in him, it is stained by an hypocriticall eye and affection; Therefore its no matter what he hath, knoweth, or doth, he is a Vessell of no price, an evill Tree; unprofitable for any good work, since both his mind and conscience is depraved.

Therfore before all things it is necessary, that with Nicodemus they be born again, that all things with them may become new unto them, the flesh must be changed into the spirit, & so cease to be flesh. For it is so impure and every way desirous of its own gaine, and so infected and depraved with the poyson of sinne, that it draweth all things to it selfe, seeketh it selfe in all things, and arrogateth that to it selfe as its own, which it knoweth, loveth, or doth, and hath all things under a false pretence, & out of a love to it selfe. Neither doth it love any thing but what is pleasant and profitable for it selfe. But a Christian loveth an unprofitable, sicke, and loathsome Wife for God, and hath her not for his pleasure or profit only, but for Gods will & pleasure.

The naturall and fleshly man doth nothing but out of a love to himself, and whatsoever he doth, he hath an eye and reflecteth upon himself, and in what he sees, he can finde to delite himself in, he is willing to meddle with that.

Hence it is that the house of sorrow, poverty, banishment, troubles, sicknesses and reprehensions, and whatsoever he sees harsh unto him, he hates no lesse then the Devill doth the crosse of Christ Jesus; But whatsoever is excellent, great, pleasant, beautifull, &c. to this he cleaves as fast as the clay to the wheele; Whereby he may enjoy what he saw and desired in them.

Briefly, he doth nothing but out of a love to himself, and in what he doth he challengeth the chiefe part to himself; I say, that in all his actions both with God and Man, he respects nothing but his own profit and pleasure, which if he be deprived off, he looseth his cheerfulnesse and alacrity of spirit, and becoms sorrowfull & desists to work any further, what therefore can be done by such a man as this but what is uncleane.

But the regenerate man being borne of God, doth quite contrary in all his actions, he is desirous of the common profit, being altogether so affected and disposed as God his Father; He doth nothing but most freely subjected unto God, suffreth him to do and care for all things in him; so that it followes that in this man is the meere nature & work of God; and he or rather God in him repaires to the humble poore, sicke, and to to those that are in the house of sorrow, to help and comfort them: by whatsoever God hath either given him, or doth work in him as his substance, milke, and consolation, and in all those things he lookes upon no other thing but only God; who rather in him only lookes upon himself; Neither is it the Man, but God in the Man, who communicateth to other necessities, loves, prayes, heares, worshipps, honours, wills, and possesseth.

Thirdly, Adam would know, and therefore labours for much knowledge, and so Eates of the forbidden Fruit, that he may live and become a great one, even God; and for this only end the whole World now a-dayes applies it selfe to all studies; because it desires not to dye in obscuritie and oblivion, but to live and florish, not in the lower degrees of estimation, but in the chiefest seate of reputation and honour, and with all to know all things that possible it can, that so it may be made famous, and thereby be glorified and delighted therein; wherefore every day he works more and more to encrease his knowledge, by which he may be more and more emminent, greater, and more like unto God; that if it were possible to know more then God, that with Lucifer be might be equall with him; But that this ambition was the fall of Lucifer no man will consider; but every man in those prosecutions, disputations and studies for knowledge seeketh for life, when indeed there is in them nothing but bitter death; which both in Lucifer, as also in Adam most manifestly doth appeare.

Truely it is a wonder that of this forbidden Tree of Death; every man should be so much desirous to eate; Gods will is that we know nothing, but what he will know, write, and teach in us; and that being void of all knowledge, prudence & wisdom in our selves, we become fools, we remaine under him as fools and babes; but we busie our selves about the obtaining of many thousands of Sciences, and treasure them up unto our selves, as if in them our life consisted, that like to God we are ignorant of nothing, and all flesh desireth rather to be like unto God then to Christ.

But on the contrary, Gods will it is, that before this be, we as Christ was, be deprived of every thing that is our own, and be wholy subject unto him: Have, know, do, love, be nothing, but what God hath, knowes, doth, loveth, is in us; For by this privation and denyall, will God draw us unto himself, make us like God, and teach all men wisdom in him, and not out of themselves.

Therefore the knowledge of Christ in Men is quite contrary unto this; For he hath known nothing, doth, or wills to know nothing, but onely God, this is his rejoycing, for this only cause doth he learn sciences, or rather doth God in him; And to this with all his endeavoure and strength doth he apply himself: that as in Adam he was made something, even so in Christ and with Christ he may be brought to nothing againe; and all his knowledge and sciences, even as it were foolishnes & deadly poyson, he may vomit up againe, & esteem as nothing; that he may wipe out of the tables of his heart all human arrogancie, having action, knowledge and science: to the end that nothing may remaine there, but only that which God teacheth and by his own finger writeth.

Briefly, a true Christian is a certaine bare naked thing, who with Socrates knowes nothing but this, that he knowes nothing; In these blessed and unknowing fools, God will know all things, if so it be, man know how to empty himself, and to cast away the baseness of his old ragges; But the flesh for this onely cause doth learn that it may be something, or rather be all things, know, have, and do all things; wheras the spiritual man learnes only for this cause, that before God he may be made nothing to himself & all other creatures whatsoever, that thereby God may be all things in him: know, have, do, love, and live in him; this is behoovefull to be known; this is the true use of all things, and for this only end ought we to labour to know any thing.

But every fleshly minded man, who belongs to the Kingdom of Satan, and lyes captrivated under his power, thinkes farre otherwise; and defendeth quite contrary; and therefore is in the sight of God foolishnes, wickednes, sinne, and Satan; From whence it is that he esteemeth their wisdom to be foolishnes, their life to be death, and righteousnesse sinne, accounting their love no better then hatred.

Fourthly, the naturall man hath many goods, wife, Children, life, riches, knowledge, wisdom, will, glory, honour, name, and all things as his own proper, these he arrogates to himself; to these he applies his minde; these are pleasant, profitable, and deare unto him. But if they be taken from him, and God exact his own, then the theefe appeares, neither will he willingly send them againe: he turnes himself, and seeketh for all safegards and wayes of escape, and means whereby he may retaine them still, and award God the proper owner of them, who now exacts them of him: the whole World lyes sick in this misery, and those things that are Gods, are abused by men. And what is common to all, or rather accommodated from God, he labours as much as in him lyes to make it his own, and whensoever he is to restore it againe, he doth it very unwillingly.

But if it be so, that that which he hath stolen from God, is now no longer profitable or delitefull unto him, he then surrenders it of his own accord. And if it so be, God giveth it againe into his own bosome, and if it be Gods will, he shall retaine it longer, yet will he not retaine it, if he be able to resist it, by compulsion; if he have it, it is with great resistance, so that before God he rather wilfull casts them away, then retaines them.

So is it that the flesh, which hath all things out of God, offends in all; and because it apprehends all things out of God, it necessarily followes, that although it have all things, yet hath it nothing. For what can it have who wanteth God, the essence of all things, and in whom all things subsist: Surely they can be no other then like Tantilus Sicicus, & Medeas. Again, what can he want who hath God, and in him all things, since that God is all in all.

Hence it is, that often times those that seem to have all things, have truly nothing, and those that have nothing, may truly be said to have all things.

On the contrary, the new Man hath nothing but only God, wherein he can glory; neither doth he any way claime any thing to himself but God; As for that which God gives him, he useth it for Gods sake as his gift and reward, ready to render it every moment, as it shall please God to exact it; For he can willingly restore that which he did never claime as his own, but as God did give, or rather lend it unto him; so that he willingly permits God at his pleasure to assume it from him. Briefly, he useth all things as the traveller doth his Inne, or a friend money, committed to his custody, ready every houre to restore it back.

This Paul termes so to have any thing as not to have it, or as though thou hadst it not: (which in the eyes of the World is accounted meere folly) that is that thou arrogate nothing unto thy selfe; offend in nothing willingly, forsake all things and with God (as a true wife with her husband have all things common) Wife, Children, Money, life, and all things else he loveth in God, and for God; and therefore keeps them, loves them, hath them, and takes them as lent from God; ready to yeeld them to God againe, whensoever he requires them; all the gifts of God, as Wife, Children, and all other things he loveth only for the givers sake, & the giver above all his gifts; and although some things are contrary to his nature, as the Crosse, death, exyle, &c. yet he loveth all things alike, and this it is to have, know, love, and marie in the Lord.

But the world and worldly minded men, are carried headlong unto the gifts of God, as the Sow unto the Dunghill; Never do they any whitt respect the giver but the guift; with the which they committ adultery, challenging by right unto themselves; and so long as it is either pleasant or profitable unto them, so long they dearely esteeme it: and willingly will not permit God to have it againe; whatsoever is contrary unto them therin, that they unwillingly suffer, though it come by divine providence; unto them; for incontinently they looke about them which way they may pull their neckes out of the yoke: and therfore whatsoever they undertake, do, speake, &c. that they altogether abuse; and in the abuse it is altogether unfitt for any good: until they cease to be that which they are, and being translated into Christ, become in him new creatures.

Here it will availe nothing to patch up with God, for if thou stopp one hole, or fill up one crevise, an other will presently be made; therefore it is necessary that men be borne againe, and altogether forgett this Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evill. And briefly, be quite contrary to what he is or hath been. He is flesh born of flesh unto death, and therefore it is behoovefull, that he be made spirit borne of spirit unto life. Which before he be all things are uncleane unto him; as he is himself, although all things in themselves are very good; yet are they perverse & evill unto him, as all things seem blew to him that lookes upon them through a blew perspective: all things degenerates into the nature of the possessor, and therefore all things by Adam are made vanity, although by themselves (as ever they have been) they are good: For all foode is savory according to the pallet & temperature that receives it: even so is every thing according as he that possesseth and hath it, is cleane to the cleane, uncleane to the uncleane; it cannot be otherwise but that all things be unjustly done, loved, prayed for, known, and retained; which an unjust man doth love, pray for, know, and retaine, as the very words themselvs declare; For how can it be that a wicked man can do any thing justly, a foolish man speak any thing wisely, an unclean man do any thing purely, a lying man speak any thing truly.

Fiftly, the naturall man, as before hath been said, is Flesh, borne of the flesh, altogether of an uncleane nature, perverse, & adulterous, the servant of Satan sprong of the Seede of the Serpent, seduced and turned away by his word, and the tree of knowledge; & so infected with poyson, that betwixt Lucifer and Adam there is no difference: for as all true Christians are of Christ the sonnes of God, gods & God himself, so are all the Sonnes of the Devill, the Devill, being of the same kindred & offspring, appertaining to the same Kingdom and Covenant, as Princes and Subjects to the same, being all in the same estate of condemnation, neither is there any remedy to prevent this jayle; but that a man put off the old man, so as he be no longer man, but a new offspring & creature born of God. Hence we may easily gather what is the naturall prudence, justice & knowledge of man, to witt, foolishnes, sin and enmity unto God; because that all flesh is an enemy unto God, friends unto Satan, and altogether of the same witt, nature, will, & birth, & as it were his flesh & blood; In so much as he is nothing but an enemy unto God; can perceive nothing that is divine; would be nothing but with out God, or rather his own God.

Attributing all that is good to himself, as Adam and Lucifer did, the Father of the flesh; these are the Fruits of the forbidden Tree.

But the Christian is borne of God, is a spirit and life, altogether of divine nature, and nothing else but the Image of God; or if you will a visible and corporal God; who being made one with God, is of the same nature: rich in love, desirous of the common profit; attributing nothing to himself; like to God; free, strong, void of proprietie, ambition, and anger.

Briefly, or in a word, whatsoever can be said or may be said of God, may in its kinde be said of the true Christian, since now it is not, he that lives but Christ lives in him: Not now he is any thing, but God is all things in him: that is, whatsoever he speakes, teacheth, hath, wills, &c. and although they unwillingly carry the old man about them, yet never do they live unto him, but alwayes contrary, earnestly endevouring themselves against him, until they have quite put him out.

Therefore to conclude this chapter, the true use of all things is known only to the sincere Christians, and the abuse to the naturall man: Not yet justified, living in himself: who can neither use, speake, teach, do, love, know, have, or not have any thing truly; But with all hath a defiled, both conscience & minde.

Hence it is that he is altogether unfitt for any good work, like a black Collier; and in all his actions like a stage player, foolish, blinde, dumb, deafe, abscene, and wicked. In a word, whatsoever evill man hath, or title can be invented, it's proper unto him, until he returne from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evill; unto the Tree of Life, and eating thereof, and he be delivered from the Kingdom of Darknesse into the Kingdom of Light: Otherwise the flesh doth alwayes retaine its proper nature, and hath in all things a false and ungodly cause and end, for which it doth every thing that it doth. In a word, he altogether aimes at himself, yea under a pretence of God; although he think himself to know, love, and desire God only for God, without any respect had to himself. No man hath yet truly learned to know himself, the flesh being so cunning and craftie to excuse it selfe, no man knowes whether or no he sinnes in all his workes, so unsearchable is the craftines of the heart; yea no man truly understands, that in all his works, as in his loving, doing, speaking, knowing, praying, giving, willing, having, possessing, &c. he mortally sinnes, until he be redeemed and pulled out of the dregs of Adam, & translated into Christ, he become a new Creature; Of which things reade Paul & Bochius, de consolalatione Philosophiae, the third Booke and the tenth Proofe: How we must live unto God, and so be made blessed in him.

How Man being of God could sinne; and what it was that moved him to sinne.

ADAM was not taken out of God, or made of a Spirit, but of nothing of the Earth; if he had been taken out of God, he could never have fallen by sinne; as those that are borne of God cannot sinne, Jo. 3. but God created him of nothing, and then left him to himself and his own arbitrament whether he could returne to his own nothing againe, or according to the order of his kinde be drawen unto God. Sinne in Man and in the Devill is nothing else but that they do avert themselves from the condition of their creation, and that which they are unto their vanity and nothing againe; the essence of Man and Satan is very good, but this is their nature acquired in their fall, that they strive to be not that which they are, to wit, nothing, but that which they are not, & so do turn themselvs from God; As if it so were, that that nothing of theirs were something in it selfe.

This is sinne, this is that devill in all our hearts, which stirreth up all sinne in us: For as soone as Adam by the instinct of the Serpent fell away from God, and returned unto his nothing again, he was indeed made nothing: which thing Satan, who before had fallen into his nothing, did spinne and weave into the heart of Adam, by the externall object of the tree; and he made the Fruit of the Tree so pleasant to behold, that no sooner they beheld it, but they were inflamed with a desire to eate of that Fruit; For which cause it is written (Jer. 9.) that death enters in by the windowes, that is by the sight of the eyes.

And this moved the Schoolmen to define sinne to be nothing, that is, no Creature of God: Neither that death which it produced: both which came into the world by the malice of Satan; & for the same cause sinne brought man back againe into his first nothing; wherefore the Devill and Adam are run out of the sight of God; He not acknowledging them for his own: neither having any commerce or societie with them: So long as they do not acknowledge their vanity; therfore since man by sin is made nothing before God; and yet will not acknowledge himself to be nothing, but even then esteeme himself to be something, it is necessary that so long he be expelled out of the presence of God, till he be made nothing in his own heart: then doth God love his hand, and creates him againe of nothing: For God knows not how to create any thing of something, but of nothing, for that is his nature: He that yet is not nothing, he cannot hope that he shall be something; wherefore behave thy selfe to Godward quietly, like a livelesse trunke, as thou didst in thy creation: Suffer God to do; Fast, Feast, and Rest, and do thou nothing at all; lest it happen that thou be taken with a desire of the forbidden tree, or any other thing; or esteeme thy selfe to be something according as the Law commands, yet doth it not cease to curse and condemne us, until it hath brought us unto that spirituall Sabbath; that so forsaken in our selves, we do no more work to our new birth then we did to our first creation, but only suffer; So that our actions are only to do nothing, and be like a stone or trunke; For this desire to be somthing is alwayes that which brings to nothing.

Wherfore the Tree of the Knowledge of good & evill was created, then forbidden to Adam, and now to us, since God knew that both he & we should eat death from the same, and what is that tree.

Wherefore was Adam and Eve forbidden this Tree, seeing to know Evil is not Evill, but to do Evill. If Adam had not known good in himself, God had been alone good in him, and he had not arrogated any thing to himself, but had been as free from pride therein, as a bird is in her song, a horse in his strength, a Cow in her milke, and a Tree in its fruit; but as soone as he knew good, and considered it what it was; as a beautifull woman doth her beauty, he arrogated it to himself, and therein became a theef unto God.

This God foreknew, and therefore was unwilling that Adam should know good, that so he might walke in his innocencie, and be ignorant both of Good and Evill: For this cause God said unto him, thou shalt not eate of it, as if he had said beware, least thou thy selfe desire to know what is Good or Evill; but suffer me to be all things, and be thou quiet in all things, that that good which I am, and desire to work alone, I may work it in thee, to my own praise in thee, according as I do it in the rest of the Creatures; And thus he was forbidden to know Evill, for God knew, that as soone as Adam had smelt what Evill was, it being of its own nature, like to him nothing, would be pleasing to him, and so it would come to passe that he would desire and affect the same.

Besides this another evill hath risen from hence, that that evill which man according to his nature delighted to do he denyeth that he hath done it. Thus pulling his own necke out of the yoke, he accuseth the Serpent that it was done by it.

Againe, the good which God doth in him, and which is not his own, he falsly contendeth that he hath done it himself being deceived with a presumptious opinion of his own power and strength, this being the perverse estate and condition into which Adam did fall willingly; therfore after that Adam was fallen into this perverse wisdom, by eating of the forbidden Fruit, and his own arrogancie, he was so depraved, that whatsoever he thinkes, speakes, or doth, is displeasing unto God; and we all in him have eaten death, and fallen into the same estate and condition; but after we are raised from death, and redeemed from it againe, by means of Christ, there is the same reason that the Tree of knowledge of Good & Evill, should be also forbidden us, least afterward we fall into the same estate againe: wherefore the next way of coming unto God is this: that now Adam with all his Children abstaine from this tree, that is, deny it, vomitt up the Forbidden Fruit, and repent himself of his wit, as if it were foolishnes.

But when we eate of the Forbidden Fruit or Tree, God forgives us, but upon this condition, that for ever afterward we fast, and alwayes repent our selves of our first eating.

This tree is planted in every one of our hearts, & is nothing else but our own witt, reason, flesh, knowledge, and will, to which as long as we adhere, and are not made foolish in our selves, and as little Children, we can have no pardon from God; wherefore we must either abstaine from this wisdom, and become little Children againe, or else want God; and that prohibition of God, eate not of the tree: if thou do thou shalt dye; is the same with that saying of Christ, except ye renounce your selves, and hate your own life, ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of God; For what was spoken unto Adam, the same also was said unto us; neither is our estate to be amended any other wayes then that of Adams; the hearts of all are like to a vessel which smells of that matter and meate which Adam did first power into it.

Therefore as Adam declined from God and inclined towards himself, and made himself as it were a wise deaster, and admired himself like a little God, the same is also fresh in every carnall heart.

Now therfor, we must labour as it were to go backward, and that inbred witt of Adams is to be rejected & esteemed of us no otherwise then foolishnes.

Here many things are to be unlearned, and this we are to learn & know, that all our conceit & opinion of wit is foolishnes, and that which separates us from God, and hinders us so that we cannot attaine the true wisdom indeed; and we must labour to be freed from the bondage of our selves. And to this work we should all apply our selves; to wit, quietly to rest our selves, not in knowledge, but in God known; and so affect knowledge only as an Index, which only shews and paints out God unto us, and is of God; That is the Fruit of the Tree of Life, and not of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil; to wit, that we permit God to be, know, love, & have all things in us, so that he speake, work, know, and love in us nothing but himself, when, where, and wherefore he will.

Julian th' Apostate ignorant of this secret, against whom Cirill writes, was greatly offended at this: that God would have man to know neither good nor evil, or rather that he would have Man to have, teach, be; and will nothing at all, &c. He (I say) was offended at this.

But if the matter be brought unto the light of truth, we shall finde that all this happened because of us: even as a Father forbids and detaines a Sword from his Son, knowing that if he had it, he would hurt himself upon it, or otherwise abuse it; In the same manner God denyed unto Adam, and also unto us, that Tree of Knowledge, for our profit and good; Neither did he envy us therein, but only did it to prevent the future evill, into which he foresaw we should fall; For he knew that as soone as Adam, like God should know Good and Evill, he would challenge the same to himself, & desire to be his own God; otherwise God had not cared though Adam had eaten of that tree for satiety. For as soone as Adam had eaten of it, there followed thereupon selfelove, and arrogating all things to himself, praise, and all other vices.

So God in all his commandements hath respect not so much to himself as to us and our salvation, which not he but we enjoy: as Job himself doth manifestly confesse, that God is neither hurt by our sinns, nor profited by our righteousnesse, but still remaineth an eternall, perfect, and impassible God, to whom nothing can be added or any thing detracted; though we try, yet can we not make a Heaven, neither put the Sunne out of them; nor dry up a Fountaine; but all these things remaine in the same estate and condition wherein God hath placed them: He that assumes to throw a stone against Heaven, it will fall upon his own head.

Therefore we can make God neither richer nor poorer, greater nor lesser, no he is no way advantaged by us, though we all adhere unto him; only he hath a care on us to helpe us; we never deserve to be what we are, therefore we ought to attribute the cause of all our good to him only, and give him the glory: he hath an open hand more ready to give then we are to receive; rich to all those that call upon him; Neither doth he desire any thing at our hands but only this: that we quietly receive of him that which he is willingly pleased to give, for he that with quietness doth not receive, can have no hope that he shall receive; all our witt we ought only to imploy to this end, to the denying of our selves.

This should make us nothing, children, Fooles, and prostrate low at the feete of God.

And to the effecting of this denying of our selves, all our knowledge ought to be directed; but that knowledge only which proceeds from God, can effect it; it can make a man nothing, a Child, a Foole, and casts him downe at the feete of God; But that knowledge that puffs up a Man, making him great and wise in his own conceit, such being the wisdom of the World, comes not from God, but is rather the Serpents Seed & forbidden fruit. Now every one that eateth of the forbidden Tree, for no other cause eateth he thereof, but only that he may obtaine a great name, honour, titles, and glory, that he may have preheminence to be counted the light of the World. And by this meanes he eateth death in stead of life. This the holy Scriptures testify unto us, for whereas we ought to know and learn nothing, every man learnes to know and be wise in all things.

Now here some man might enquire, why therefore did God create the Tree, if he foreknew that both Adam and we would eate death thereof, and not rather hinder our sinne?

I answer, that God at the first made us of earth, and assuredly did know that we would not constantly abide in the estate of our creation, and yet he suffred Adam to take his course, & make tryall of misery; that forced through sorrow & death he might hast to God again; for so it was to be that God would create him againe out of sorrow, and make him againe a new, not as before of nothing, but with grace of himself; this God foresaw from all eternity, and therefore suffred his fall, and gave way that man should first taste of the bitternes of death, before that he would give him the sweetenesse of eternall life, by which he might know the better what he hath in God, and what that life is compared with death, which before he tasted.

Besides it was meete that God suffered the freedome of sinne, rather then restrained it, as well for many other causes as more speciall for this, that otherwise it had been coaction and force, and not libertie, and also the goodnesse of God & his mercie, having no other object, could never have been manifested in his Creature: Therfore it behoved that things should come thus to passe by the providence of God, and yeeld without necessity or any fault in God; Read Brentius lib. 4. & Ambros. in Rom. 9.

Of the two kinds of knowledge, and Will, and how the one allwayes resists the other.

There is nothing under the Sunne but it may be said to be twofold, that is Just and wicked, Good and Evill. Now just, and also that which is evill and wicked, may in like manner be said to the twofold, the one according to the judgment of God, and the other according to the estimation and opinion of men.

And now seeing God is a spirit, and Men flesh, contrary to the spirit, it followes, that all their judgements, wills, knowledges, and actions, be contrary and repugnant one to the other. Whence it is, what man calleth good, right, sweete, light, life, knowledge, wisdom, justice, &c. God esteemes that to be evill, wicked, bitter, darkness, death, foolishnes, and sinne, according as the Scriptures testify of God and of the World.

Therefore there is nothing in the world but it may be called good or evil, according as the judgement of men are disposed, to whom it is proposed. What God is unto the world, the same is the Devill unto God; and so on the contrary; So that nothing can be called Evill, but all things are in their order right and good, and evill and wicked, according as the Touchstone is, by which they are examined.

If I say, that the Word of God is false, foolishnes and Heresie, the same is true in the judgement and opinion of the world; and thus all things are twofold, either good or evill; & good is twofold, as also evill: the one truly good or evill in the sight of God, the other apparantly good or evill in the sight of Men or their opinion; so that there is a twofold fasting, praying, willing, &c. to witt, one that is really good in the sight of God, so as is God himself, the author and teacher of all goodnesse; the other in the sight of the World good, but in truth evill and wicked; for what seems holy in the opinion of Men, is prophane in the sight of God.

So there is a twofold knowledge and witt, the one divine of the Tree of Life, the other humane of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evill. Humane wisdom is a Fruit of the Forbidden Tree, and the roote thereof is the Seede of the Serpent, and so is mortall.

These are all the arts which Naturall Men have found out, if not without God, yet surely not in God.

Briefly, all witt and arts, which God himself doth not plant in the hearts of Men, by the power of his spirit and Word, but acquired and gotten outwardly by the industry and helpe of men are death it selfe, or rather a deaster; if man do any manner of way, trust or hope in them, for they do make man no more acceptable to God, or any way more righteous before him, then do his meate, drinke, or cloathes, for all these things are out of man; and a certaine superstition and worshipping of a false God, if thou restest thy selfe in them; thou mayst seem to thy selfe to be nearer unto God, because thou knowes and understands many things, being more wise and accute then some simple good man, who cares only to know God; But in very truth, thou art no better then a foole, who art ignorant of these; For by how much thou art wiser then others hereby, by so much thou art worse; For since it is so, that all the knowledge of this World, and all the righteousnesse of the flesh is Devilish, according as Saint James giveth this and other more opprobrious names unto it.

It followes, that by how much a man offends and growes higher, and increaseth in this witt, by so much is he the worse and more Devilish, so that a good and simple man, who cares and desires to know nothing but God, if he be compared with him in respect of him, he may seem to be a Saint or God, and one of those is worth a thousand of others, as holy Scriptures do testify, one rightous man is more worth then a thousand wicked men.

The other wisdom, which in the eyes of the world is foolishnes, is that denying wisdom, the fruit of the Tree of Life, which whosoever hath, he shall never die.

This springeth up in man out of the seed of the Woman, and is given and taught of God alone, being in its own nature, full of love, working divine solace and is called in the holy Scriptures the Knowledge of God; because it knoweth nor acknowledgeth nothing but God; This teacheth and professeth only God in the hearts of his servants; it arrogateth nothing to it self, but as it meerly knoweth God; So it renders all it receives, to him againe; This renewes man, justifies him, enlives him, and makes him like unto God, but it is to be found in no mans heart, but only in his who hath given a farewell to all Earthly pleasures, arts, will, and witt, because that since it is so that these two knowledges are so contrary one to another, as fire is to water, it cannot be that they should live together in one heart, but the one will expell the other, as the day the night, and the night the day; wherefore all fleshly knowledge, will, and witt, must be quite unlearned, and we must become little Children and Fooles againe, according as the holy Scriptures testify unto us, if we would have the true knowledge & wisdom of God to dwell in our hearts; For God requires a free and empty soule, which he would fill with his knowledge and goodnesse, and imbrace as a pure & unspotted spouse, possessed with no other love but his: He would be the only Father of the Family, and cannot endure Satan in his Kingdom to be neare unto him, who is altogether light and void of all darkness.

Now this wisdom being humane, and a Fruit of the forbidden Tree, so is it fleshly puffing up the possessor of it, so as it makes him provide selfe-loving, desirous of his own profit, bold and wicked.

In a word, it makes a man a Lucifer, and so contrary and abominable to God, that he cannot or will not flow into his soule.

And indeed nothing so much hurts man as his own knowledge, witt, and righteousnes, &c. which makes the word of the everliving God to appeare foolishnes, and God himself, to seem Satan unto him.

Therefore as it hath already been said of witt and knowledge, the same may be said of the will of God and man.

The one cannot endure the other; No more then the spirit can endure the flesh, life death, fire water; Therefore the wisdom of God aymes at the utter destruction of Adams life, nature, will, and wisdom, labouring to plucke us from the duggs of humane wit, by which we are nourished.

We must therefore learn to forgett, and unlearne whatsoever Adam knew, or doth know, wils, loves, &c. and all things must be made a new in Christ, this is the wisdom of God.

Now let us see how farre we are from this, if a man have but onely a thought to learn his way presently, he thinkes it is well with him, and without any repentance he doth sweetly delite himself in his own knowledge, art, and will, and all men will be good Christians, and if God will, will compose whole bookes and volumes of Christ, which they neither do nor have known; and by this meanes they do so wearily imploy and vex their minds through Satans motion, with so many questions, arts, and idle disputations, that scarcely can they have so much time as to think of the knowledge of God; Whereas the true knowledge of God is not learned by prying into, running over, reading, or hearing a company of doubtfull questions; as the 1. Chapt. of the German Theologie & Taulerus in many places elegantly doth teach; but by patient and obedient remaining, hearkening and attending to that which God doth work in us; For he that would be divinely wise, and learn the knowledge of God, its needfull that he heare and learn the same from God himself, he having detained it to himself, so that it can by no meanes be taught of man; For as humane arts and sciences proceede from men, and is their work; so divine science is from God, and is the work of his onely word.

For as John Staupitius saith in a little booke of the love of God: that those things that cannot be known but by sence and experience, neither can they be taught by, or learned from others. As for Example:

No man can teach another to see, heare, taste, and touch; in like manner, and much lesse can any man teach another, to beleeve, love, hope, repent, so that divine truth and Theologie may rather be said to be experience then Arts: no man can learn of himself the knowledge of God, love of God, Faith, and such like, because the naturall man cannot perceive things divine; nay the Letter of the Scriptures is not able to do this: it doth not begett in man any new nature, it but shewes unto him what a one he ought to be, and what he ought to do; But yet he is, not such, neither can they make him such, but rather kill him and slay him by shewing unto him his want and misery.

Therefore is the position true, that faith & love cannot be conceived in the heart of man by the Letter of the word; Otherwise it would be that none should be more faithfull then the Learned; and yet for the most part none are more perverse.

The letter of the word indeed proposeth faith unto us, but cannot write it in our hearts, that being the work of the holy Ghost. Therefore that of Saint John is alwayes true: as the anoynting teacheth you; As also this, he that hath heard and learned of the Father commeth unto me; For faith and love commeth into no mans heart but his who is indued with the Holy Ghost. From whose inhabiting in our hearts, the light of faith and the knowledge of God deduce their originall; yea love it selfe is not begott or infused in us, but by the holy Ghost and an affect of the love of God towards us. Wherefore the conclusion is this: that whom the Holy Ghost doth not comfort, teach and direct, he cannot be comforted, taught, and directed to the obtaining of Life.

Now all men will say and confesse, that the world is darkness, mans wisdom is foolishnes: yet if so be you will indulge nothing unto him, but will tax his will, witt, and designes, and say they are all foolishnes and darkness, there is no man will confesse it of himself, or that it is earthly, but every man wil egerly and earnestly contend, that his witt is heavenly and divine, especially if it be any way exercised about Religion, when in very deed it is nothing else but the wisdom of the flesh; Yea even that use of the holy Scriptures, which is in the world, which are wrested and turned as every man likes to either hand; neither can these bare words, these words of God, containing in them the knowledge of God, which are common in every mans mouth, profit him any whitt: these must be tryed according to the will of God, and accordingly used. Otherwise these very words will become a very snare of Satan, and in stead of the word of God the word of Satan to him. It is not to say how well the wisdom of the flesh knowes how to change it selfe into each shape, and to flatter it selfe with a forme of the word of God; what cannot men pretend and undertake, to say in the name of God: pretending indeed nothing lesse then the meere honour, praise and righteousnesse of God.

The Testimony of the Scripture, how we ought to evacuate the Seed of the Serpent his counsell & word, and so vomitt up the Fruit of the forbidden Tree, and purge the same away as deadly poyson by the Fruit of the Tree of Life.

THis we oftentimes reade, that our wisdom is foolishnes with God. Which forme of speech we steale from Paul, & bable of it, when indeed we neither know our own nor Pauls meaning touching it. No man remembers to renounce & give a farewel to his own wisdom. This forsooth every man thinks is spoken of the wisdom of Turkes and infidels; As for his own wisdom, his reason being corrupted and houlding some tenents, gathered from the holy Scriptures (though he miserably wrest them to his own turn) yet he thinks his wisdom to be the wisdom of God, and divine.

This every man witnesseth in his own writings, in which for the most part he goes on securely, without any doubting upon the seeming approbation of the Scriptures, to his tenents and opinions; Not considering that this is the very presumption of the Turkes and infidels, with all Sects of false Christians, whom I have known every one hath, or would seem to have the Word of God to be the foundation of their tenets, as the Turkes and Jewes think at this day, their faith is grounded upon the Word of God.

Hence it comes to passe that every man is deceived in himself, and shutt up to himself, from the knowledge of himself. This being it which God foresaw, when he said that the serpent should bite the heele of the woman, that is secretly and craftily lay snares, and deceitfull ginns in the hearts of men.

Therefore know whatsoever naturall man, though wise man in the judgement of the World, yea Adam with all his ofspring the whole nature of men unregenerate knowes, speakes, doth, thinkes, lives, &c. all this is human, the wisdom of reason, and the counsell of the flesh, & the knowledge of that deadly and forbidden Tree: only that rare Phenix, which the Scriptures call the new man, or the regenerate that hath the knowledge and wisdom of God, being taught it from above; All other things are the inventions of men, the wisdom of the Serpent and Fruit of the forbidden Tree.

Now we have said before that the wisdom of man must be forgotten, and we must learn to unlearne it: For as the flesh, even so the wit of the flesh, and the righteousnesse thereof is nothing but foolishnes and wickednesse in the sight of God. And on the contrarie, the wisdom of God, and his righteousnesse, is foolishnes and wickednesse in the sight of the world and to the flesh. So that all arts and sciences, being only fleshly, are altogether vanity, filthines, and a Fruit of the forbidden Tree, from the which all men eate death.

It is no purpose for a man in word to deny his own witt, and yet in his heart to extoll the same as the wisdom of God; Or, secretly to be elevated therefrom, these are but the findings out of the deceived heart of man; outwardly sugred over by Satan with faire words; And whosoever rests and depends upon these faire pretences, he builds upon hell, which will all damne. For as meate, cloathes, time, place, person, and such like do make men neither lesse or more acceptable to God; So all humane arts and sciences do not make the possessour thereof one jot the better in the sight of God, if he looke at them, and (as Adam did) arrogate them to himself.

Therefore the most learned and wise of this world are in this respect in no better a condition then the foolish Idiot that is.

It is necessary therefore that those wise men go out of themselves, and learn to become fools, by going out of their witt, will, knowledge, &c. if they desire to be indued with divine knowledg from above:

Therefore even as the naturall man voluntarily for his own bellies sake doth torture himself day and night, in the finding out of so many covetous, curious, and with God unprofitable arts; Even so it is necessary that with the same paine and labour he learn to forgett and forgoe the same, and become a Childe and Foole againe; For it is a greater difficulty, and more labour by many degrees to unlearne his fleshly wisdom, and forsake that good he hath gott already, then from the beginning to learn it for his profit.

In so much that this is true, who once hath played the Asse, will scarcely learn to leave those doultish tricks.

O how difficult is it for them to become Fooles, who have grounded themselves in a presumption of their own witt.

And yet it is necessary that this they must be, or otherwise they shall be nothing lesse then that which they desire to be.

Therefore so requisite is this denyall, hatred & forgetfulnesse of himself, that without it no man can be the disciple of Christ; that is, no man can be indued with divine wisdom, unlesse in his affections he hath excluded, and given a farewell & adewe to his own.

Wherefore what wonder is it if the worldly Man, who is busied about the things of this life, be altogether ignorant of the knowledge of God; For since he is not obedient to that wisdom that is sprituall, neither can perceive any divine thing, nor receive the spirit of truth; nor for the wisdom of God exchange his own; For he neither cares to nourish that wisdom in his heart, neither desires to learn it, and because he desires it not, he cannot learn it.

And now it is requisite, that as Sainct Paul sayes, if any man will be wise, with God he must be a foole in the World, that thereby he may become truly wise: That is; he must cease to think, as the world doth labour to gett a new minde, and deliver over his sences & thoughts to be renewd by God.

The cause of which Paul immediately annexeth to the same: For the wisdom of the World (saith he) is foolishnes to God.

And in his Epistle to the Romans he calleth it death and enmity to God. And the same Paul bids adew to all his own witt which he had learned at the feete of Gamaliell, above all his equals and accounts, all his own righteousnes and knowledge as dung and drosse, in respect of the excellencie of the knowledge of Christ.

And elsewhere he glories in this that he had learned to unlearne and forget all things, and now desired to know nothing but Christ & him crucified.

In the same manner all the Apostles become little Children again.

Besides, Nichodemus, and all other whosoever, (as Christ had said unto them) unlesse they be changed, and become as little Children, they cannot see the Kingdom of God.

And a little after, Christ saith, that the Kingdom of God is of such little Children.

This is the reason why the Scriptures admonish us so often to beware of our own witt, least we do any thing that seemes good in our own eyes; As also that we resist our own wils, neither that we suffer our selvs to be led, and guided by our own affections and desires; and also those that trust in their own hearts & obey their own cogitations, are foolish and wicked, also that we seem not wise in our own conceits, nor magnify our selves but feare, and in feare and trembling work out our own salvation.

And lastly, that we trust not, nor leane not to our own witt; For what is or can be more wicked then what flesh and blood hath found out.

Truely the flesh cannot of its own nature seeke God, and have him in estimation, unlesse it renounce it selfe, and hate its own life and soule; that is all its own workes; though it gloze them over with a pretence of the word, honour and glory of God; for he cannot be beleeved, loved, prayed unto, or found but only in God.

Therefore all the endeavour, study, art, & diligence of is altogether void of God, and want his grace and spirit. For the word of God requires an humble, submissive trembling, and abiected mind; and a soule poore in spirit, & free from the bondag of the creatures; & like to tender wax or clay, plyable in the finger of God to receive the figure and stamp of his image imprinted upon it.

To these Fooles and Children, such as feare God, and are seperated from the Dugges of the World, doth he open his secrets, and teach his divine wisdom & knowledg; if there be any man that fears God, to him the Lord will shew the way that he may choose, and he walke in the truth, and his posterity shall inhabit the Land: He sayes not to the Learned, and to the wise of the World; as also in an other place; the Lord reveales his secrets to the righteous. For this cause Christ the Sonne of God gives thankes to his Father, that he had hidden his secrets from the prudent and wise of the World, and had revealed unto Children and Babes; That as we have already spoken out of the mouths of sucking Babes; Such as were Moses, Ieremias, Amos, and the Apostles, &c. he might speake his praise, and extoll his Kingdom and Glory.

Againe, the rich & proud he sends away emptie, and filleth only the hungrie with good things.

Now, no Money-master nor rich covetous Churle is more swollen up with the vaine confidence of his riches; nor any woman more proud of her bewtie, then these wise men pride and boast themselvs of their wisdom and knowledge; perswading themselvs that this is the divine wisdom and riches of the soule, which neither theevs can steale, nor rust canker it, nor moath corrupt it, when notwithstanding it is nothing but meere death, foolishnes, and enmity against God, and in a word the knowledg of the forbidden Tree.

Therefore the holy Scriptures speake expresly of the wise of the world, these righteous men, famous for their arts, priding themselves in their own hearts, who are arrogant and proud, and are indued with nothing lesse then the spirit of God, who abides onely in simple Doves.

By this it appeares that no kinde of men are farther from the Kingdom of God, and do lesse square and agree with his word, and more disagree from his will, then those who leane and trust to their own wisdom, knowledge, reason, and will.

Christ in the holy Scriptures speaketh not so much against Publicans and common sinners as these, who being puft up with a conceit of their own righteousnes, reflect upon themselves with a selfe pleasingnes; with these can Christ least accord, & unto them doth so often threaten woes in the Scripture, and sayes that adulterers and Publicans shall enter before them into the Kingdom of Heaven.

These are those wicked men against whom David so fervently and often prayes, and of whom Christ hath so little hope, and unto whom he with his Apostles and Steuen give so cutting language; who being men of a wicked mind, would seem nothing lesse; But those things which are written concerning wicked men, they ignorantly interpret of others, these are such whom the whole world esteeme and accounts to be the shining lights thereof; Such were Nichodemus and Paul before his conversion; these are those who in David, Moses, Christs, and all other times of the church have been the righteous Scribes & Pharises with the people; who having a shew of piety, have so lived, as that they were esteemed Patrons and Examples for others to imitate; These righteous men of the world, the Scriptures call wicked; who want nothing but onely this that they have wicked minds, void of Faith and grace; yet they so cloake their wickednesse with a forme of godlines, that they seem nothing lesse.

Neither think we that the times of Christ and David were onely pestered with these kinde of people; But we may rather conceive, that if those goulden dayes of theirs were full of such, these Iron ages of ours are much more abundant.

All times and ages have had their Dissemblers, Pharises and Scribes, these our last ages since are the worst, for seldome comes best things last; For the world as it growes more aged, so it growes more wicked, as both the Scripture and experience do testify.

Wherefore it is behovefull that every man endeavour that he be not of the number of those men, who wresting the word of the Scriptures apply and interpret them on others, as most men do; but in them behould himself as in a glasse, if he desire to see a wicked man, and one that is a capitall enimy against God; And let him but question with his own conscience, it is as good as ten thousand witnesses, and then he shall easily knowe what a one he is.

For this cause the Scriptures are so fyerie against these Godly Wise Men of the World; Yea denying all good to them, God in his just judgement striking them with blindnesse; So that they erre in their own way, hiding himself and his word from their understanding.

Besides, the Scriptures do brand them with a thousand infamous names; Calling them Wolvs, a generation of vipers, Beares, Bulls, Sonnes of Beliall, painted Sepulchres, who are glorious in shew in the sight of men, and set forth themselves as righteous before men by their sage manners, modest habits, and graue gestures, when in the sight of God they have their hearts full of nothing but filthines and sinne. Of whom Christ saith, that unlesse we be more righteous then they, and exceede them, we shall never enter into the Kingdom of God. Neverthelesse they would not seem to be what they are indeed, but cover themselves with a shew of Sanctity. Wherefore it pleaseth the spirit of God to checke and rebuke them to the discouering of their secret houlds, and vizards of their faces; But he who accuseth himself, and denyeth himself before God, and in his presence, shall obtaine pardon, as the Scriptures testify; which reprehend those carnall spirituall spirits, or men, who place their state with God, and will be ignorant of nothing, and they are admonished by God in Solomons Proverbs, that they would desist from this their arrogancie; Otherwise they shall be so oppressed with the glorie and Majesty of God, that they shall not be able to endure and stand; But those who humbly submitt themselves, and creepe unto God, and willingly know nothing, nor are nothing but what God knowes and is in them, they in not seeking finde that which the other seeking with great auxiety of minde shall never obtaine; For all things are theirs, and they know what God is, hath or knowes, because they in God and God in them inhabits and dwels:

Hence it is that Paul saith, the spirituall man searcheth all things, yea the secret things of God; which is denyed to the foolish flesh, according as we may reade in the Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, for in counsell of the wicked there is no health, no word of God, knowledge, or love.

To the same purpose is that saying of Solomon, God made man at the first upright, but he found out to himself many inventions, many difficults, many labours, with which he doth weary and vex himself; God that is good, simple, & just, commandeth him that he should know nothing but him, and follow and be obedient to him as all the rest of the Creatures; He should (I say) be so obedient to him, as to do, know, will, love, omit, and speake nothing but onely what God doth know, will, love, omitt, and speake in him, by which as in all other Creaturs so in the heart of man he might enioy a plenary Kingdom, and ruling and governing him according to his own will, neither should man have any title, claime, power, or priviledge over himself.

Satan suggestion it was that man found out so many ambushes & curious questions, with frivilous difficulties, by which he is degenerated from that simplicity wherein God created him, and subordinated him, being transported with an ambitious desire, to become a Lord & God to himself; and so remained in the power of his own will; but how just this is, let man that hath reason judge, that the clay should desire to know or be any thing contrary or besides that which the maker thereof would have it, know, or be; such similitudes doth not yet fully expresse the matter.

Therefore it happens deservedly unto us, that our wisdom, knowledge, and will, should bring upon us all punishment due unto sinne, and also make us utterly disquieted, bringing unto us nothing but torture and vexation, since besides and contrary to the will of God we have deserved them.

Hence it necessarily followeth, that sinne is the punishment of it selfe, and Fooles are destroyed by their own wisdom and knowledge.

This is that which Solomon experimently complaines off, when he sayes: where there is much knowledge, there is much vexation; And he that increaseth learning sorrowes. And these wise men are Fooles, for whosoever endeavoureth to be wise above measure, this man shall endure greiffes and sorrowes; and by how much they become more wise, by so much they are more disquieted: For God will have us to finde rest in him onely.

Neither must we rise, come, go, or do any thing before him; For whosoever commeth before him is a theefe, and whosoever speaketh or doth any thing of his own accord, without him, is a Devill.

Therefore it is that all men are deluded, deceived, and fooled by their own witt; yea even because they professe themselves to be wise, therefore they are foolish.

And as God did the Caldean, Philosophers, and wise men, so he suffers those to be seduced by their own knowledge, and to be wearied with their own inventions, actions, and arts.

Hence it is that Christ would not have his disciples desire to be esteemed some bodies, or couett that men should call them Masters, Lords, Doctors, or Rabbins, but onely Ministers, Brethren, and witnesses of him, Ioh. 15. Ye are my witnesses.

Of the great Deaster of humane wisdom and knowledge; and how all men do kisse their own hand, and all the World adores it selfe, and its own work; that is, inventions, actions, and deliberations of Fleshly reason and wisdom.

What other thing is the worshipping of Images, Superstition, and the Institutions of men, then the reason, witt, art, invention, and prudence of man.

Therfore the worshipping of Deasters is nothing but the adoring of the images of God, not according to his Word as he doth teach, figure and forme it to us, but according to our own opinion and selfe conceit.

Againe, what other thing is sinne then our own will, witt, and counsell, sowne unto us with the Seeds of the Serpent. Consider the institutions, practice, and Life of all Mankind, when and how you will, you shall finde it nothing else then humane wisdom; here every man would be his own God, guide, governe, teach move, revenge, defend, excuse, and enrich himself; and every man sets his own braine, will, and reason in the place of his God, so that sinne & the fall of Adam is nothing else but the humane affectation of the art, reason, & knowledge of the flesh; and therfore deservedly is tearmed foolishnesse and enmity, deadly and Devilish.

All men ought with Christ to become nothing, and with a continuall decrease & depression of soule, become asses, fools & children; but now it is quite contrary: every man labours that he may be wise, great, illustrious and mightie; so many arts and sciences are learned of men, that they may be great, famous, and excellent in the eyes of the world; and may obtaine titles of honour, & names of respect.

Hence it is that yong men are inflamed with a desire of glory, & labour not only to be famous in Schooles, but to be admired in the pulpitt also; and for that end they seeke out learned Tutors, who may make them expert, quick, and acute in all kind of Literall deceits and exercises of arts. By which it is as cleare as the Sunne that the whole world is contrary and enmity to God. Here every man kissing his own hand and adoring his own witt, esteeming it to be his light & his God; Even it that was the only sinne of Adam; and it from whence other sinnes came & have their originall, as Job confesseth; (Job. 33. 31.) For to admire & worship himself, and to be led by his own will; In a word, to stand on his own bottom, & to desire to be something of himself without God, is that one mortall sinne, which is the fountaine of all other; for the lusts of the flesh, and the witt thereof is very dead.

And man like a Logg, is no better then dead; but while he doth nothing, knowes & desires nothing, but keeping a holy Sabbath or rest; dyes wholy unto himself; and being void of will or witt, resignes himself over unto God, and permits him to know and do in him, what, when, and how he will.

And now the whole world lyes overwhelmed with this sinne; in so much that it doth no other but adore the work of its own hand, that is its own invention, counsels, comments, and wisdom. To this purpose all things are directed, intented, and wrested; yea the very Scriptures themselves, the word of God; that it may be agreable to our corrupt reason, and not hinder the course of our carnall and fleshly witt, and knowledge, but all these things must be unlearned and cast away if we will see God. And therefore the Scriptures urge so often times, that we should become Fooles, little Children, and purge ourselves with the Fruit of the Tree of Life, that we may vomit up that poysonfull witt and knowledge of the Forbidden Fruit.

That the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evill, planted in the heart of Adam, is the Seed, word, and spirit of the Serpent and that great Daster, Antichrist, sinne, death, the Devill, & that Beast, which is mentioned in Daniell, and the Apocalyps, which is the greatest and commonest Idolatry.

1. What is that Beast of which Daniell writeth, which speaketh against the highest, and slayeth the Saints of God?

2. What is that Serpent who deceived Adam & Eva?

3. What is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evill?

4. What is that impudent King and Antichrist, of whom Daniell and Paul speaketh, 1 Thes. 2?

5. What is that many headed Monster, mentioned in the Apocalyps, whom the whole World doth worship?

6. What is sinne? What death? What the Devill?

I answer: it is every mans own carnall wit and reason, righteousnesse, and the like; For which cause Paul calleth it death, enmity, & foolishnesse unto God; and Saint Iames calls it earthly, humane, and devilish, because these three are one; For whatsoever is humane, is worldly, & Devilish; and whatsoever is Devilish, is Earthly. For the Devill and Man, Adam and the Serpent, are sworne Brethren, yea both one; For the Serpent hath so shed his wisdom, and fained righteousnesse into the heart of Adam, that the Seed of the Serpent and his word are incorporated and made man, so that now the same thing may be said of both.

And even as those that are borne of God, and in whom the Word of God is incorporated, are called God, or one spirit with God: So all men borne of flesh and blood, before they be regenerate & planted into Christ, may be called Devils; and so whatsoever is Earthly, may be said to be Devilish, and whatsoever is Devilish, may be said to be Earthly.

Againe, what is the Fall of Adam but only the wisdom of the Serpent and Fruit of the forbidden Tree? What is that old Dragon, who ascends out of hell? and with his tayle drawes a great part of the Starres of Heaven after him? But onely the wisdom of the Flesh, which doth extoll it selfe against God, and desires to become a God unto it selfe?

What are the thoughts of the Flesh? What is sinne? what pride? But the wisdom and Fruit of the Forbidden Tree.

What are the Decrees of Men? The workes of reason against God? Mens inventions, knowledge, and bookes? But onely the are of the Devill, Eaten of the Tree.

What is all the worship of Images and all false Religions? as of Jewes, Turkes, infidels, and all false Christians. What are all Sacraments, Assemblies, and Ceremonies? But an apple of this Forbidden Tree: which bearing a shew to be of the Tree of Life, offers unto Men, pleasant Fruit to his eye, that is, reason which whosoever eates, he shall finde to be deadly.

No man can fully expresse that idolatry, with which all the corners of the world and hearts of men are stuffed up; and who is it that doth not adore himself, and sayes to his hand, wisdom, and reason, his art and his knowledge, thou art my God, in thee I trust, in thee I hope.

Indeed men say not this with their mouth, but surely in their lives, workes, and hearts, they plainly testifie as much.

Hence all men deny that there is a God, and testify the same by their works; For if they think there is a God, wherefore do they not resigne vengeance unto him? Wherefore are they so doubtfully distracted? Wherefore do they forge such wicked deceits, to deceive one another? Wherefore do they so warre upon one another (whether with right or injustice it matters not) and contend together for mine and thine? Why do they lye, cogg, and flatter one another? Wherefore do they labour night and day to gett and heape up riches? Wherfore are they so forgetfull of the word of God, and so little esteeme his precepts and commandements? But that they think God cares not for them, or that he cannot or will not revenge them; therefore it is necessary that they helpe and revenge themselves; or that they think that while to long to wait and expect the helpe of God, before that he take vengeance and punishment they themselves shall be overthrowen; And because they think that nothing but povertie comes upon them, if they have any commerce and communion with the truth of God; therefore it is necessary that they helpe themselves, and labour for their living, by lying, cogging, deceiving, and usury, and the like; this makes a man rich and honourable. As for the word of God that is but a late helpe, and deficient in adversitie; it stands us in hand, therefore to adore our selves, speake bigge & swelling words; elevate our selves as much as we can. Who but my selfe is God? saith the world in the course of her Life.

An answer to certaine objections, that we ought to be wise, and not fools; and how we ought to be wise, and how foolish.

But you will say, that the learned shall shine as the Starres or Sunne in Heaven, and in a thousand places we are commanded to apply our hearts unto wisdom, as in the Proverbs and Eccles. wise men are commended?

To which I answer, that it is rightly spoken, if it be rightly understood, to wit, of the tree divine & heavenly knowledge, which God himself doth work & teach in those that are poore in spirit; I say, it is understood of the wisdom of the tree of life; and not of the deadly and foolish wisdom of the Flesh, which is the knowledge of good and evill; and the Scriptures will have us to acknowledge our folly, and to be made fools in our own judgement, (and indeed we are so, but we would not be accounted so) and forget all things whereby we may become truly wise, and receive the influence of divine knowledge into our souls; For we are all foolish & wicked, and we will not see and perceive it, nor beleeve it; and therfore God would have us by confessing our folly in true simplicity, to give a farewell unto it, & by submitting our selves over unto God, be made truly wise and learned by him.

Hereupon it is that Solomon calls them fools, whom Paul calls wise & prudent; Solomon calls them what they are indeed in the sight of God; but Paul calls them what they seem to be in their own eyes, and in the sight of men: We must unlearne, and therein strive to be fools in that wherein we learn and strive to be wise in; But as it is given us of God, so it can be learned from none but God; and as the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, begets a mutuall love of him againe; Even so Gods knowing of us, begets in us a knowledge of him, as Paul witnesseth to the Gal: after that ye knew God, or rather are known of him.

As also to the Phill. I desire to know as I am known. And also 1. Joh. 3. He first loved us. Also in another place: if any man love God, he is borne of God. Out of all these places I gather, that God is never known, loved, sought, or found of us, until we be known, loved, sought and found of God; as Christ saith to the Pharisees: the Kingdom of God is in you; and Paul to the Athenians: He is not far off from every one of us; for in him we live, move, & have our being. But this is most miserable and lamentable, that those who professe themselves to know God, know him not as they ought; as Paul testifies of the world: If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. And againe: if any man seem to know any thing, he knoweth nothing as he ought.

We should know this, that by nature we know nothing, but are altogether blind, dead, and foolish in spirituall things; and ths knowledge should make us nothing, foolish and Children in our own eyes; But we desire to know, and seem wise, whereby it comes to passe that we know not how, or for what end we ought to learn knowledge, for wisdom is not given unto us for this purpose, that thereby being puffed with pride, we extoll our selves, and become something in the eyes of the world, but on the contrary to make us nothing. This is the knowledge of God, that makes us Fooles and Children to our selves and the world: it doth not puffe us up, making us seem wise in our own opinion; Noe, for that is the knowledge of the Serpent, both most devilish and deadly.

Thus you see that the whole world knowes not what, how, and for what end they should desire to know, but alwayes strives against God in their knowledge; and know not of what things they ought to be ignorant off, but cheifly are desirous to know those things they ought to be ignorant off; and so by their own art and knowledge make themselves Fooles.

Briefly, that which they do know and do desire to know, that they should learn to unknow; and what they resist to know that they should learn to know, otherwise God will never acknowledge them for his own, because God hath determined never to acknowledge, crown or reward any thing in us, but his own gifts and workes, that is never to love or accept any thing in us but himself: For he alone is the Light, Life, the way, and the truth, so that whosoever is not in him, or he in them, they alwayes wander in the pathes of errour and shadow of death. Now every man knows what it is to walk in darkness. The walls of Jerusalem were not to be opened before the Sunne did rise; even so should no man intend to go forth before the Sonne of righteousnesse arose in his heart; since all things depends upon him, and be should be our Teacher and Example, by whose instruction we should learn, and by whose Example we should walke, as the Scriptures testify.

It is an easie thing to say, that the world is in darkness, and uncapable of the spirit of truth: but no man will either acknowledge or beleeve himself to be the world, or that the whole world to God is all Fleshe as the Sonnes of Adam all were naturall men, with the universall righteousnesse, reason, and wisdom therein; but by the world men think to be understood, the Turkes, Gentiles, & Heathens; and I know not what people of the farthest parts of the world, attributing so much to arts, tongues & Scriptures, which they almost preferre above the spirit; and if a man do reade and have a Bible, they think it enough, and that by which they may easily obtaine the Holy Ghost; not considering that either the Holy Ghost must be their guide, and enlighten them in the knowledge of the Word, or otherwise it is but a dead Letter; and is so farre from bringing Life with it, that it mortifies & kills the Reader: as Paul implies, where he sayth, the spirit quickens and not the Letter.

The Iewes in ancient times, and so men in these dayes do boast themselves of the word of God, & are strongly perswaded, that out of it they are able to gather Life to their souls; but they are farre deceived.

Wherefore Christ sayes: In whom think ye to have Life. As for the Scriptures his testimony of them is this, that they are them which testify of him.

Therefore all arts and knowledges are no wayes the cause of Life; but the knowledge of Life to know him in and with God; wicked nature hath alwayes a perverse end, proposed to it selfe, and therefore it desires to know all things, not for God but for its own sake; therefore all things are to the flesh (as it is its self) vaine and perverse, if the learning of so many arts had been necessary to salvation, God had created and taught them in the beginning; Neither would be have suffered that men should so long have wanted that, without which they were not able to attaine to Life; but because they were formed out by men, and still are found out by them, though no man be any whitt the more unhappie, if so be he never know any thing of them; Yea he were more happie if he could unlearne them, though with greater difficulty then he learned them; you may by the Tree conjecture what the Fruit is, what humane arts and sciences are: to witt, the Fruit of the forbidden Tree; How then can they conduce any thing unto Life, being the only precepts & inventions of men.

Therefore very well in praise of that word of God doth Cornelius Agrippa call all arts and actions of men meere ignorant fables and foolishnes, in his Booke De vanitate Scientiarum. The beginning and end whereof we have putt in this Booke, that we may not seem alone with Ernestinus to contemne Arts and praise folly.

Wherefore if thou leane unto arts, please and boast thy selfe in them, having any hope or accounting thy selfe any thing better for them, they will prove death unto thee, for they do no more conduce to thy happines then garments, time, place, or such like circumstances: But as they are the inventions of the flesh, so do they produce no other thing in thee then the workes and Fruits of the flesh, to witt, selfe-love, pride of spirit, contempt, disdaine, security, & such like; And this is verified by experience, for no men are more perverse, craftie, & covetous, then these wordly wise and learned men be, being men drowned in their own selfe-love, esteemed of themselves worthy to be beloved and reverenced of all; full of rash judgement, lovers of all pleasures, and so full of all vices: that the whole world gives credit to no men lesse, speakes worse of no men more: being full of taunting & reproaching proverbs against them; such as these, the better learned, the worser mannered, the better scholler the worser Christian. No man scapes scotfree out of the clawes of a preist. He that wil have an honest house, must keepe it free from Preists, Apes, & Doves. A Monk dare do as much as he dare think. These & such like proverbs are common in every mans mouth; which arise from this that they are so swollen with the poyson of the fruit of the forbidden tree, so puft up with the false opinion of their own wisdom and righteousnesse, that no rich man is more insolent by reason of his riches, then these perverse wise men are by reason of their arts & knowledge; So that it is as easie to remove Cyrus out of his Kingdom, as one of these wise men out of his opinion and tenent; And truly it cannot be but by how much a man is more wise in the art of the forbidden tree, by so much he is more miserable, as Christ witnesseth in the Gospel: that the multitude of their arts and knowledge is an impediment why they come not into the Kingdom of God, and publicans and harlots enter in before them.

Therfore these men are to perish with their arts, & to depart empty, and so far is any of them from leaving his art, wisdom, knowledge, & righteousnesse, that he esteemeth these to be the good and riches of the soule, which neither theevs can steale, nor moathes corrupt, when in very deed they are nothing but the inventions of Satan, fruits of the forbidden tree, and the death of the soule; For the life of the soule is the true knowledge of God, which himself doth work & teach in us, to wit, the fruit of the Tree of life, whose fruit is that it makes a man gentle, loving, humble, lowly, meeke, &c. By this let a man examine himself, with what witt and righteouseesse he is endued; For if day by day, he be lesse in his own eyes and in the judgement of the world; if he seem still more foolish in himself, and a Child in his own thoughts, his knowledge is divine the Seede of the Woman, a Fruit of the Tree of Life; but if he finde contrary effects in himself, then is all his wisdom Devilish, the Seede of the Serpent and Fruit of the Forbidden Tree, and so the death of the soule.

Of the Tree of Life, what it is? why Adam was excluded from it, and not permitted to eate thereof.

I also grant thus much, that this Tree was visible in Paradise, and had this divine vertue bestowed upon it, that whosoever eate thereof, should live for ever; But whereas Adam before had eaten of the Forbidden Tree, and had incurred death, therefore he should not eate of this Tree of Life, least otherwise he should have lived for ever; and in a word, God should have been false in his word, which was that he should dye the death, but God who is Life it selfe, would not for ever be angrie with his Creature, but was unwilling that man should for ever live in that misery, into which he had cast himself, and therefore drove him out of Paradise, and afterwards shewed him the way by which he should returne into Paradise againe, and eating of this Tree live for ever; and then gaurded the Tree of Life with a Cherub and a flamming sword, least man in his exile should have presumed to have come to this Tree, and have eaten thereof.

The will and counsell of God was that it was better that man should dye in the flesh, and so putt of this miserable life, and change it for a better, then live in it for ever.

Therefore God who cannot nor will not hate us, delt every way most mercifull with us, if so be we would truly consider of it.

Now do I think that the same also happened in the true Paradise of Adam's heart, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evill, is the Seed, Knowledge, and wisdom of the Serpent: And the tree of Life, is the Seed of the Woman, and the wisdom of God; and these two Trees are, as God and Satan; so contrary one to another, that the one brings Life unto us, and the other death.

Therefore he that eates of the one, its impossible he should eate of the other, because they are divided by a flying Cherub and a flaming sword; which I interpret, sinne and disobedience, which sometimes in the Scriptures is called a partition wall.

For he that eates of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evill, that is he that is possessed with a Diabolicall wisdom of the Flesh, he cannot eate the Tree of Life; that is, he is departed from divine knowledge and wisdom that proceeds from God: For these two wisdomes are incompitable, they cannot be in one and the selfe-same heart, being as contrary one to the other, as heaven to hell; He that eateth of the Tree of Life, and is pertaker of divine knowledge, he cannot dye, neither sinne; For this Fruit eates the eater of it, and changeth him into its own nature, into Life, as the Scriptures do testify of those that do eate the flesh of Christ.

For it is one and the same thing, to eate Christ, to live in his word, to eate of the Tree of Life, to beleeve in God, &c. as it is also the same thing to be in Adam, to live in Adam, to eate of the Tree of Knowledge, of Good & Evill, to obey the word of Satan, and be God.

Therfore those that eate of this deadly Tree, and adhere to the word and wisdom of the Serpent, and are borne of Satan, these cannot do any thing that is pleasing unto God. As on the contrary the other doth not any thing that is displeasing unto him.

Therefore he that would be the one, must bidd adew to the other: He must putt off the wisdom of the Serpent, and vomitt up the Fruit of the Forbidden Tree, who would eate of the Tree of Life.

Adam must dye in us, and the witt of the Flesh must be unlearned of us, if we would have Jesus Christ to live in us, and obtaine the direction of the holy spirit; For the death of the one is the life of the other; the infirmity of the one is the strength of the other.

No man can serve two Masters, neither is it possible to unite Adam, God, & the Devill together.

The praise of the Word of God, on which alone man ought to build, rest, reside, and it onely know, if he will remain unshaken in adversity, have his Faith manifest and approved, and finde quietnesse to his Soule.

Indeed there be many arts profitable to the body, which God the belly hath created, and yet doth dayly finde out, which truly bring much profit to the kitchin; and onely serve, worship, & obey their God the belly most zealously, as it is expedient they should. But as the common proverbe is, that which is profitable to the body: doth often hurt the soule, and that which is the bellies and flesh, as life, foode, and plentie, is often times the death of the soule, and a meere poyson unto it, because the spirit is contrary to the flesh.

Hence it comes to passe that table or belly arts, because they be the Fruit, off-spring, and witt of the flesh, are altogether vaine, famine, and death unto the soule. And on the contrary, that onely art, the end whereof, was not for God bellies advantage; which the whole world doth so much sleight and little regard, that onely true wisdom and Theologie, to witt, God and the knowledge of his Word in him; together with the knowledge of him divinely infused into our souls, is the sole art onely necessary to mans salvation.

Therfore the true, heavenly, & divine art, the true tree of Life, of which whosoever eateth hath everlasting life.

Furthermore I say, this art is the Foode, Wine, Milke, excellencie, defence and all whether the profit, pleasure or advancement of Soules; All other arts being vaine, doubtfull, and the poyson of the Soule, hurtfull and deadly to the Spirit of Man, if he leane upon them, rest in them, glory in them, or build his happinesse upon their sandy foundation. In a word, they are the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & evill, of which whosoever eates, as I have amply proved, he shall dye the death.

Therefore I desire that we would not be to righteous nor wise in our own eyes; As Solomon (Eccles. 8. as also Proverbs 3.) doth faithfully instruct us: that we should esteeme nothing to be our wisdom, righteousnesse, or any other vertue in us, but onely to know God in and with himself, and love, praise, worshipp, feare, honour, and understand him as we ought. Which thing must necessarily proceede from God himself, beeing the work of his eternall, and in it selfe everlasting and immutable word, which without spokesman from him proceeds out of his mouth: that he speakes in our hearts, teacheth himself in our souls, imprinting and engraving his Image in us, thereby enlightning so our understanding, that to speake in a word, he so teach, love, know, understand, pray unto, heare, guide, governe and worshipp himself in us.

All other things whatsoever are to dull, and all the vertue of things are to base, that they should be able to teach us God, and give us everlasting felicity; or that God by them should give it unto us.

God will be himself, teach himself, give, and convay himself into our hearts: Neither will he suffer his honour to be given to any Creature, that by it we should be saved or sanctified; but he that heareth and learneth it of the Father commeth unto him.

He will himself be the Master of spirits; and so a spirit shall be taught of a spirit. And all those that are divinely instructed of the all-knowing and understanding God, shall be said truly to be learned and wise.

The flesh hath teachers, who belonging to the old Covenant, have commerce with the flesh. The new Covenant, because it is spirit and Life, and in like manner hath a spirituall and new birth of God to be instructed, hath also a spiritual word and Master to instruct it, which is the word and spirit of Life.

Therefore if any man would know himself, submitt himself quietly to the direction, and permitt himself to be spoken too, sought and found in him; He surely should be elevated to a wonderfull Light; if any man I say doth follow the instruction and Doctrine of the Father in himself, he verily should finde God in God and with God. But the world busied and accupied in the Creatures passeth away in a confusion, and not considering the hidden and secret treasure that is closed in his heart; Neither seekes for this precious Pearle, but covered all over with the earth of the Creatures, remaineth in darkness with the multitude of his arts and sciences; weary, ignorant, and void of all true arts and sciences; yet doth he in the meane space learn art after art, further and further searcheth into the mystery of knowledge.

And to use the words of Saint Paul, is alwayes learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth; but the more he learneth, the more perverse he is; and to such a madnesse doth he come at last, through his overmuch wisdom, that he quite forgets what to say, babble, determine, beleeve, and what opinion to hold; and so he together with his fraile foundation and fickle arts, staggers here and there, slides out of one errour into another, until he become vaine in all his imaginations, and like to Foxes, caught with all their trickes and turnings; is thereby miserably ensnared in the Netts and snares of his own arts and sciences. But the Christian like to the Catt, hath but one way, knowes but one art, whereby he is able to save himself, yea that a chiefe one, viz. his God, in whom he hath all things, knowes, loves, and comprehends all things; And therefore he scapeth, when the Fox though he know many sleights, & those craftie ones indeed; yet often together with his sleights, he falleth into the power of the Gods and the hands of the hunter.

Therefore thou canst boast of nothing, nor build upon any other thing whatsoever, but onely that sure foundation and art, which is God himself, & his holy word: For all other things forsake man in adversitie, except the hope and confession of God; this is the true preacher in our hearts, if any man will attend and hearken to what he shall speake in him, he hath planted in us the Seede of the woman neere unto the Seede of the Serpent, for opposition unto the same; yea he hath confirmed his Spirit, finger, word, and Image in us; His Spirit he hath cloathed in us with Flesh, and hath placed it captive in the midst of its enimies in the Tabernacle of the Flesh, that it may prevaile and overcome, and subduing the Flesh may with it selfe carie it unto God, deify it, engraffe it, & unite it unto God; For this is the fight betweene the Flesh & the Spirit in us, of which Paul speaketh off.

Therefore if any will yeeld himself over in the midst of his enimies to the holy Spirit, & glory in God, as in a most fortified Campe in him: God would (without doubt) once come and vanquish his enimies, and so he should know all things to eternall Life.

But the World doth not attend unto God in himself, alwayes occupied with the sound or noyse of the Creatures, passeth on with tumult and confusion, and so knowes nothing, heares nothing, learnes nothing, though in the meane time it compasseth, searcheth, and inquireth out a thousand unprofitable arts, and continually learnes, and the longer it learnes, it is the more unlearned, until sliding into errour at last, it falls quite downe.

But if men as Christians do, would abide with God privately in the Schoole of their hearts; and with Marie would sitt attentively at the feete of their Lord, and would both heare and learn what God would be pleased to speake, teach, & interprise in them, verily they divinely instructed, would at last vomitt up all their arts, as ignorant and folly. And with Paul would forgett them, deny them, and account them as drosse and dung.

Standing water is easily made bright with the beames of the Sunne; and a rolling stone gathereth no mosse; but the roaring Rivers of this world must necessarily be either lukewarme or cold.

Therefore it is behovefull, that before all things we turn unto God in our souls, and compose our selves with him in quietnesse; dayly talking with him, heare him, and learn of him. Which thing the whole world is ignorant off; it knoweth not how to heare the word, the Master, the teacher, and how to learn of him in himself; but alwayes it flyes out of its own heart into the mouth of man; who when they be altogether lyers, filthie, vaine, it comes to passe that they are allwayes deceived; are alwayes learning, and heaping many arts; when notwithstanding with all their arts they are ignorant and foolish, because that which they know, is but meerely surreptions, theevish, untried, taken upon trust from others, of which they themselves never had experience; but if any to please the people have profunctorily beleeved, yet together with the people they beleeve some other thing.

Then truly like Bees they fly out in swarming sometimes, prosecuting a poor Wesell, making deare enquiry into a matter of little moment, and fall into some matter of dispute, upon whose, foundation and ground they are altogether ignorant off, until they be satiated with it, then they fall upon some other thing.

So in times past all Israell (in whom all the whole world is figured) together with their Kings and Preists did fall, until they wholy erred from the Faith, and once taken were led away captive.

Read the people painted in my booke of the World.

Now I call with Paul the word of God: that foolish and offensive speech, which to wit doth bring with it the crosse, greefe, and death of the flesh, and maketh all things which seem somthing to be nothing, and only looketh upon & regardeth those men who are nothing in themselves, which in the eyes of the world seem the greatest folly that can be. Neither can it be perswaded, that letting passe that which it sees, it should embrace that which it neither hath not sees; for it would rather have one bird in hand then two in a bush. Neither doth it doubt so it might keepe it to preferre a temporarie life before a thousand eternall lives.

And therefore the Word and the preachers of the word have been persecuted for fools.

Now the word of God is of such a nature and force, that though it hath a vulgar stile so simple in the language of truth, yet it overthroweth all things whatsoever rise against it, it dulleth the edge of all witt, and these entysing and corrupt contemplations, together with the more eloquent kinde of lying, it doth bring into such straight, that it maketh them to blush for shame; although (as it is alwayes the properties of lyes and ungodlinesse) they will not confesse themselves to be overcome; For the word of God doth say such strait seege to the heart of Man, that every one, if he do not speake against his own conscience, is forced thus to think, and so to determine as the word doth speake, that so it is, and otherwise it cannot be but a lye.

On the contrarye bursts in with a long Circumlocution, and one lye doth almost waigh ten lyes, that it may seem to be true and have a shaddow thereof.

But the word of God, as I have already said, doth proceed after a most simple manner, but it doth so gird a man, that will he or not, he becommeth, amazed, and with admiration astonished & affrighted, doth say, this is the finger of God.

No man ever spake thus; for this word hath such a sharpnes, sting, and strength, that it pearseth even into the heart, and seperateth the flesh from the spirit, so as the minde beeing captivated without all controversie, assents to the same, and confirmes the truth thereof with all assurance; not so craftie subtiltie can be objected against the truth, but that may be battered, weakened, and refuted with one word; neither can any thing so accute be produced, which weakened with the like accute, may not be overthrowne, onely the word of God overcommeth with such force, that even the minde of the enemy is overcome and taken with it; the outward man alone, and the face of the flesh, which would not be bridled, seekes out all kinde of ambushes, trickes and turnings, to escape this thunderclapp. And falshood, for shame covers its face with its hands, and thereby thinks that the whole body is covered, that it cannot be seene.

Moreover, it is behovefull, that all other traditions of arts, words, and spirits, be examined by the word of God, as by an index, golden rule, and touch-stone.

I call that the word of God, which is the Spirit and Life, (not the Letter) written without Inke and paper in the hearts of beleevers, which speakes unto the souls of all those that are obedient unto it. This I call the Word of God; Not the Scriptures. For if we speake properly, the Scriptures or Letters are not the word of God, but the minde, spirit, and that true divine meaning, which Paul calleth the sence of Christ and mind of the Spirit, and Christ the Word of God.

This I say is the word of God, as St. Paul doth testify: The Letter (sayth he) doth kill, but the Spirit, that is the true and spirituall meaning thereof, which onely spirituall men are indued with, which doth quicken.

These alone have the Key of David, for the opening of all the Seales of this closed booke; to all other the booke is Sealed with seven Seales; Of which mention is made in Dan. 7. Apoc. 5. and Mat. 13. by way of parable; and the vaile of the Letter doth hang before their eyes, until they turne unto God, and seriously will obey his will.

The spirit of understanding entreth into no froward scorner, who in the letter only desireth to shew his nicitie and Clarkeship. For the truth is, that word of God, and his secrets, are made manifest to them that feare him.

Therefore many in our times are snared, who betwixt the writings and the word of God do know no difference, and so do they esteeme the Scriptures for the word of God, so as beside it they know no other.

But it appeares by the Testimony of many divinely taught, that the scriptures are nothing but the huskes, the shell, the sheath, the Lanthorne, the shrine, the letter, the cave, the vaile of the word of God. From whence it ariseth that they appeare so sinister, and in shew often repugnant, and are hidden from wicked men.

But the Word of God placed in and under them, is the kernell, the life, fulnes, and thing it selfe, or substance: For otherwise those learned men the Scribes and Pharisees had been blessed and happy, if the Letter had been the word of God, viz. the light, &c. because they had so well conned the Scriptures, that most part of them they could say by heart, yet were they for all that most miserably to perish with this Art; and so death is eaten by the Tree of good and evill, while yet men think thereby to have Life.

But Christ doth more ingenuously testify, that they know not the Scriptures, that is what in the Scriptures is the word of God; for what otherwise belonged to the Letter and grammaticall sence they writt, but knew not the mind of Christ, which was the force and meaning of the Letters; and the Letters in my judgment are of sett purpose, so sinister and darkly dictated by the Holy Ghost, comprehended and declared, that those impious Swine and Dogges may not understand them, according as Christ out of Esay. doth alleadge them, and giveth this reason, why he speaketh so obscurely by similitudes, and demonstrateth the same thing more significantly in Iohn, least we should make an idoll of the Letter; And that we should think some other thing more necessarie to salvation then Bibles: to weet, that of God we should desire the Light of his word, which is hidden in this Lanthorn; and also that true teacher the Holy Spirit, which may direct, lead, and instruct us in the holy Scriptures, and may open the Seales thereof, declaring unto us the mysterie of this shrine, that is his divine word, Law pleasure, will, and meaning, hidden under the dead Letter.

Many think it enough that they have Bibles, and know how to reade; Here forsooth they find the Holy Ghost, the word of God, that double Sword of the Spirit; yet wrapped up, and closed in the sheath.

But who can understand, gaine, finde, and brandish the same? He answers by the Prophet Esay: Yong Children, who will be affrayd at this killing Letter, they are sore out of heart, tremble and dye for feare.

Therefore it is not enough, although it is good, to have Bibles. What to have Bibles? All the Pharises had the same, could say them by heart, and yet they lived no lesse blinde and dead.

These very Bibles are the Tree of Good and Evill, of which they did eate death, although to the godly who consult with God about the meaning of them, and renouncing themselves, pray unto him for the obtaining of his Spirit, they be the Tree of Life; God will give his glory to none other, no not to the Scriptures, but hath made them darke unto us, and hath reserved the interpretation to himself, that he may teach, enlighten, rule, and guide, how, when, and as he will; and his will is, that we alwayes wax stronger, and by degrees come nearer to the knowledge of the truth, if so be we would do the same by his helpe; but he hath not sowen his word by the way side for dogges and swines, but hath covered it, the same beeing hiding in the Letter, that we may not rest our selves contented in the Letter, but digg up the hidden treasure; and with all Religion pray for grace and understanding, and consult with his Holy Spirit, that he may take us into his tuition, guide us, teach us, leade us unto the Tree of Life, the Fruit whereof may feed us up unto eternall Life.

And this is the tryall of all Arts, Doctrines, and Spirits, that they be compared and agree with the word of God, that that which is divinely unto us, we finde to be true by his word in our hearts. In a word, that our spirits may confirme the same so to be by its testimony, as we have divinely learned the same, and that we sustaine for the defence thereof to dye.

Therefore it is likely and so it shal be indeed, what Doctrine soever commeth from God, the same is not repugnant to the word, which divinely taught, we have in our hearts, but agreeable, thereunto giveth testimony that we know his word, as we are known of God, and comprehended as we are comprehended of him, otherwise how could we say Amen, and assent if the contrarie should be fall in us.

Therefore they are much deceived who think that nothing is the word of God, but what altogether differeth from our minds; and therefore compell themselves only to beleeve those things which in their inward man they can perceive, feel, & comprehend to be far wanting in them, and contrary to them.

Indeed the word of God invadeth our hearts with an exceeding force, because it is spirit, our hearts are flesh; but where the beleeving heart addicts it selfe to the worship of God, the word is soone incorporated in us, and our heart made one with it, is converted into spirit; so as now the truth it feeleth, yea and what more it witnesseth that to be true, which the spirit doth speake unto it; and is so bound that it necessarily must assent unto it; Neither doth it so compell or force it selfe to beleeve, but it is so compelled, that it cannot but beleeve, and would a thousand times make a losse of its body rather then beleeve otherwise.

So again the mind cannot be beleeved, and as long as the minde doth not assent, it is a sure argument, that as yet it hath not comprehended, nor as yet is the word incorporated in thee, nor the Sonne of God borne.

For he who comprehendeth the word as he is comprehended, feeleth the same, yea testifieth, & knoweth that the same is true.

Wherefore compare, or examine all learning with the testimony of the spirit. For if thou art a beleever, God dwelleth in thee, and thou art sealed with his word and Spirit, but if thou dost not beleeve, this examination nothing belongeth unto thee; For it is spoken to the beleeving Thessalonians, try the Spirits.

If in a wicked man the spirit were to be compared with his heart and with the letters, he could never rightly judge how he doth understand them, because he taketh that to be the word of God whatsoever pleaseth his wicked and perverse heart and eyes.

On the contrary, it is commanded to the Saints, that they try and prove all Spirits and Doctrines by the word of God, which divinely taught, they have approved in their souls; not to the wicked who are unfitt to every good work, and whose judgement God doth not approve off.

But if they say, they are to be brought to the touch-stone of the word the holy Scriptures. I willingly grant the same, so that you understand that of the minde of the Scriptures, which is the onely word of God; which also onely those who are of God do understand, but if the Doctrine and Spirit be compared with the Letter of the Scriptures, it will be compared diversly, every one according to his own understanding, in which they are deceived; neither is this the true trial, as more cleare then Light we may see it; Since all desire the Letter to be this judge, and think them of themselves to be the same.

Therfore that which hath not the examination I speake off, which I but now spake off, is as easily confuted as it is admitted, as Gregory sayth.

Here are casheered all the arts, explanations, orations, and comments of men, which are boughes and fruits of the forbidden Tree, in the Paradise of this World, from which as yet all men do eate death, and yet neverthelesse with Adam and Eva think themselves to eate life, and hope to be Gods. Therefore all mens arts are no other then a plant of the Devill, who thinketh by this meanes to change men into Gods, & from hence promiseth life & immortality, when neverthelesse death is before their eyes, so soone as they have eaten of this fruit.

Now that Sentence standeth firme: Every plant that my Heavenly Father hath not planted shall be cutt downe.

Therefore all those Arts must againe in their original be brought to nothing.

That I confesse is the only Scope of the holy scripturs, which is the word of God, known of them who are of God; But that the literall and grammaticall sence is, this I do not think, which wicked men do understand, and also follow, and yet by Christ are denyed to understand the Scriptures, but as they expound themselves in the Godly, out of the Doctrine of the Holy Ghost; And this meaning cannot be comprehended in open Commentaries and rules, but the Holy Ghost will have this book & mistery reserved to himself, neither wil he have it imprinted but will shew, teach, & open to all, according to the measure of every mans faith, as much as is necessarie, neither will he have it so committed, that one may teach another, and so incroch upon the priviledge of God, but will teach it himself, that all and every one of us may be divinely taught, and may glory that we have learned the Word of God from God, and not from men, with pleasant docility, yet so as men ought, and every one may one to another give that testimony which he hath learned from God.

So it commeth to passe, that with Christ and his Apostles we are witnesses of the Word, not Ministers of the Spirit; For who hath commaunded the Wind but onely the Master of the Winde.

To this belongs that which Job, Jeremie, and Esayas say, that we shall all be taught of God, so as it shall not be necessary for us to be taught of any other, but that so its true as the holie unction shall teach us.

And whereas God is onely true, and all men are lyars, it cannot be but it must be a lye and errour whatsoever commeth not from God; and that cannot come from God which all wicked know and understand. Since they are not of God, but are seperated from him by the partition wall of sinne.

Now what commeth not from God is sinne, and not good; and what shineth not from his Light, is altogether darkness, although it seem to be Light and wisdom, as Esay. upbraideth the Caldean Philosophers, their own witt hath deceived them, and they were wearied with the multitude of their own inventions, &c.

God speaketh this against all arts, except the art of God, formed in us by his word; which exhibits unto us nothing to be meditated upon, and viewed in the Light but onely God, to know and understand God, because that word is verily God, without any distinction of nature; there as God cannot be defined, described, or divided; but if we speake properly, God is all in all things, and yet nothing of all these things which can be felt, conceived, or comprehended by sence, reason, or understanding, spoken, written, or heard; so is the Word of God infinite, infallible, incomprehensible, eternall, by it selfe existing, and farre exceeding all the writings and words of men, because it, as God cannot properly be written, read, or spoken. Since it is God, and was before writing or man was, and shalbe when man is deceased & writing are ceased.

Therefore all things are subject unto vanity; For which cause the nature of all things are called vaine and vast, by reason of the accident of vanity, although in it selfe it be good; onely the word of God, which in it selfe is perpetuall and semperternall, can neither be written in Letters, nor expressed in word, endureth for ever.

Hence it comes to passe, that whatsoever is spoken or written of it, as that which is not of God himself, remaines but as a shadow, a figure, and testimony thereof, and is not properly God and his word.

Now no man can speake or utter this word, therefore it is necessary that it speake it selfe, in an obedient and willing heart; and for this cause it is required of every man, that he submitt himself under the potent hand of God, void of his own will, free and cleare from his own heart, and subordinate to the will of God, that God or his word may speake, teach, seeke, love, finde, acknowledge, beseech, hear, praise, honour, feare, and adore it selfe.

This alone is the art of God, which he himself doth teach in us, without this all other arts are nothing; For besides this to know all things, is to be ignorant of all things. All arts without this art is vanity, which yet is better conceived in hearr then it can be uttered in word; yea it cannot be expressed or declared in worde, therefore no man can teach the same to an other, but it is to be taught and manifested by God, to the teaching of which whosoever are sent, they are not Doctors or Masters, but onely witnesses of that word, which by the vertue of God is before in our hearts.

Therefore it hath many names, which oftentimes are used one for an other; so that as sometimes the Father, sometime the Sonne, and sometimes the Holy Ghost is called the Fountaine of Life or Truth; So the word of God is sometimes called the Seed of God, sometimes his soule, sometimes his sonne, sometime his arme, sometimes his hand, sometime his right hand, sometime his Law, sometime his will, sometime his image, sometime his inspiration.

And hither may be referred all the names which the Scriptures give to the Father, Sonne, and Holie Ghost, and the word of God, which are all one, and referred unto one, serve to the signification of the same thing.

And this Word which in the New Covenant is called Christ, is the essence of all things which are, and all things are created by it, and also are preserved, nourished, and sustained by it, and in it.

So that all things have their beeing rather in the Word then in themselves.

And if God should withdraw this word to himself, as was the estate of them before the beginning of the world, while yet the world was not made of him, so should all things necessarily in the same moment be turned to nothing againe.

Therefore doth God even to this day preach this word unto us, and yet it is ineffable, as Taulerus saith, though in him all things have their essence and being in & from God.

Wherefore to committ and consecrate a mans selfe to this living word of God, is the onely life eternall; and that true one art and part of Mary which cannot be taken from her; all other arts are vaine and must perish with the inventors and professors, only to know God, & obey his word, which the Scriptures calls to eate Christ, to beleeve in him, to putt on the new man, to adhere unto God, to be born a new, to live to the spirit, to heare and receive the word of God, to be baptized, to be ingrafted into Christ, to receive Christ, and many other tearmes: is not onely of it selfe immortal, but preserveth all from death, who are indued with the same. No man can consume this bread, but it preserves him the eater thereof, from eternall death, and hunger unto eternall life.

This treasure can no theefe take away, no rust or moath corrupt. In a word, this eternall word is to a Christian all things: in adversitie a Sword & Weapon against all dangers, meate to him that starves, cloathing to the cold, for want of divine grace, and a sure sanctuary to every fugitive.

But he that knoweth all things, and is ignorant of this, knoweth nothing; even as he who knoweth and hath all things, and wanteth God, possesseth nothing; and if it could be, that any man could know all arts, which all men at any time have known and understood; if he were a Pandora, or a Hippias, knowing all things, yet were he not therefore any whitt better in the sight of God; yea I dare say, he should be so much the worse, by how much he had glutted himself of the tree of knowledge & eaten death; for the more poyson is received, the speedier will the destruction be.

And even as this was the fall & death of Adam, viz. to become a god, & to arrogate to be something in himself, & to know, I will not say to be ignorant of nothing. That fal cannot be forgiven, or repaired, unlesse thou vomitt up all that Diabolicall art and curious knowledge; and besides eate of the Tree of Life, which shall work in thee an utter forgetfulnesse of all those arts, and make thee a Childe, a Foole, and reduce thee to innocencie under God, that at length thou mayst know that which God would know in thee; so he himself should teach and suggest in thee by his word, according as it is said; otherwise all things are unprofitable, yea though a man know all things, they are not onely unprofitable, but also a hinderance to this art of God. He that is ignorant of this, in vaine hath he learned & known all things else besides.

In the word of God alone, which proceedeth out of the mouth of god, is seated the rule of all things, the Scope, Doctrine, art, life, and truth, teaching what is to be done, what not to be done, what to be spoken, what not to be spoken, whether to enter, from whence to depart and come out.

All other arts they be variable whatsoever they be to time, fortune, vanitie, death, and oblivion; and not onely these arts, but also the Letters, bookes, formes, masters, tongues, which we use, do perish, and others after them, which succeed in their places, so that nothing is constant & of long continuance in the earth, but all things according to their visible nature, are frayle, mutable, and momentary. How often are the tongues themselves changed; how often the formes being removed, do new succeed in their place (as I have said before). Orthography is not ever like it selfe, and the same with all people in all times; yea the true pronounciation of the Latin tongue (as Cornelius Agrippa in his booke, called De vanitate scientiarum, formerly alleadged by us) is perished, and no where extant. Moreover, the ancient Letters of the Hebrews are gone, so that there is no memorie left thereof, but onely those which Esdras in their place invented.

Adde moreover, that the tongue is made verie lame by the Caldeans, which also hath been incident to perish of other tongues; So that no man there is who can finde out their ancient forme and dialects; Besides this new words do allwayes creepe in the old word, beeing growen out of use. And againe, the old words are received, the new being thrust out; so farre forth, that nothing is durable or constant in this life. And if any man would observe, he shall finde that our mother Tongue in England is dayly changed: that at this day they speake otherwise then they did a few yeares since; yea and such a curiositie & nicenesses there is in the word and tongues, that what men have a while made use off, suddenly they cast away, as disdaining the same; Every man endevouring to bring out some new and rare thing, that he seem not to imitate the words of any other: insomuch that the cheife inventour of words do now obtaine the chief praise and estimation of Art. And by this meanes all things are confounded in the earth; and what now is new, is presently growen old, and anone become new againe; and the hearts of men, the Kingdomes, peoples, and Languages of the World, like to the course of the yeare.

In times past France spoke the Dutch language (as Beatus Rhenamis writing of the Germaine affaires, most elegantly proves) but now it hath gathered a proper speech to it selfe out of Italie, Germaine, & Spaine, but most specially from Italie; which thing of the tongue was caused, perhaps by their warre, because divers people being mixed together, they made and used a mixed kind of Speech.

Hence it came to passe, that as yet they retaine some of the Germain words: as Suppen Sacken kushen, which they almost according to the Nether Germains pronounce, after the bastard Germaine Souper, Sacen, Cuysten.

This I speake that we may see, that nothing is constant or new in the earth, and that is true which Terence writt: Nothing is spoke now which was not spoke before; So nothing is done which was not done before. So that Cornelius Agrippa thinkes the invention of Gunpowder, and guns was no new invention; of which opinion in the Historian Volatiramis; and this may be gathered out of the sixt of Virgils Eneads, where thus he writes of Salmon:

I Salmon saw with paine & torment late
Who would loves flame & thunder imitate,
For carried by 4. steeds, with torch in hand
Through Elis City & all Grecian Land
Did ride in triumph, and command that all
Shuld give him honour and a dietie call;
O mad man, he who with his Chariots noise
Would imitate the mightie thunders voice,

And Solomon shewes the same all along in the 3. chapt. of Eccles. as also to the first: that what hath been that shall be, what hath been done, the same shall be done, neither is there any thing new under the Sunne.

There is something which is as if it were new, yet was that in ancient times which hath been before us. There is no memory of former ages, neither shall there be of those that are to come; amongst who are to be; and a little after things past, and things to come, are all forgotten, and the wise together with the fool do dye. In which words what other thing would the preacher show then that all arts are subject to oblivion and death; Neither can they alwayes remaine in the soule, but together with the body departs or perisheth by death. For nothing (I say) can adhere unto the Image of God, (I meane the Soule which is like unto God) and consist in death and fire; but what is onely God and his word, this is the onely endure able creature, and the meate of Eternall Life: Not that opinion and Art of Philosophers, but the true good of the minde and Soule, which can happen to no other thing but the word; although I do not denye but that word appeared to some of the Gentils, and taught them; because God is no respector of Persons, but as a common Light of souls, as the Sunne is the Light of the whole world; neither is the hand of God shortned, nor his eye envyous, that he should not looke upon the whole World. With the same love, eye, and grace since we are all alike the same workmanshipp of God, all of the same love, estimation, and authoritie with him.

Hence thou mayst collect, that all arts (invented by men) are death, and fruits of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evill. For as soone as Adam had eaten of that Tree, the same day he dyed in the eyes of God; as the historie declares; although afterwards according to the flesh he lived many yeares; as from heavenly matters the same day was his eyes shutt up, and he eat death, although in his own judgement his eyes were opened, and he seemed to himself to be a living God, knowing Good and Evill: Then began he to exercise his art, his cunning to expound, dispute and seeke out a malitious sutle and captious meaning in all things, and also to deale deceitfully with God, and in all things to hide himself, to cover himself with Figge leaves, to kisse his own hand; in a word, to worship himself, by inventing many arts amongst his posterity.

And out of this Roote spring up all the precepts of men, their expositions, their arts; and so excellent a foundation have they, as both the inventour and the authour of them was the Devill; and the first Scoller that learned them, did eate death therefrom.

And this Science and Art is utterly to be abhorred, being no other then a Diabolicall perswasion, conceived in Adam, formed and hid in the Seede of the Serpent; And yet all the World, as Adam did, thinkes that Life is placed in it; neither doth it receive any instruction from Adam, neither indeed understand the historie of Adams fall, or his rising againe; and that whole matter at this day doth live yet, accounting it but a Historie long since acted & done, and afterwards dare say the word of God endureth for ever.

Therefore we must needs confesse that nothing is past which in its kinde is not yet extant.

Whole Moses is urged upon Christians, neither is one jott of the word of God lost, which shall not be fulfilled in every moment in spirit & truth.

Therefore the fall of Adam happeneth dayly; dayly doth Adam in his posterity eate of the forbidden fruit; And therfore his Sonnes in Adam, as in the roote, are damned & dead.

Now this our fall as Adams, is amended and repaired, if we spit out and vomitt up this knowledge of good and Evill as poyson, and become as Adam was before his fall, Children, Fooles, and innocent Turttles, that we may eate of the Tree of Life, and suffer the Seed of the woman to be ingrafted in us. This is not the Seede, the art, witt, and counsell of the Serpent; but the Seede, word, will, the minde of God, the Tree of Life, which whosoever eateth, and suffreth himself to be fedd therewith, is indowed with Eternall Life.

Now in us there is a Medicine with poyson; For as by sinne the Tree of knowledge of good and Evill was planted into the heart of Adam, so by his conversion, rising againe, and Seede of the Woman, the Tree of Life is planted by the Tree of death in the heart of Adam. From these two Seeds & trees so different, do spring different Fruits, so as one is poyson and death, the other is Medicine & Life; and if any man would know that plant, which is called Man, he may easily know what he ought to think of his own art, knowledge, wisdom, and righteousnesse, how that this pleaseth all men, and is of great respect with them; For what is current with the world but its own coyne? What but the wisdom, art, and righteousnesse of the Flesh, seemeth holie in the sight of men: onely the Holy Ghost can reprehend the world of sinne, righteousnesse, and judgement.

It is wonderfull to behould how the world doth dayly yet eate death of the forbidden Tree; which tree you may call (as the Germaine Theologie doth) our own will; and although God do dayly cry aloud in them, and moreover provideth by the witnesses whom he sendeth to teach them externally, that they abstain therefrom, or otherwise they shall reape death therefrom, yet none beleeveth but all follow that Serpent, which secretly in our heart doth speake thus: Not death shal you reape by any meanes, but if you know many arts, you shall be like unto God, and live for ever; (this the whole historie of the Bible remaines in force at this day;) & from hence ariseth a certaine art and curiositie, enquiring & searching out; Neither will any submitt himself docibly and simplie unto God, and obey his word.

But every man will be his own, yea Gods Master too, and teach both himself and God, bring him into the Schoole, and there prescribe unto him, with whom, where, what, wherefore he shall do, speake, permitt, or omitt.

Hence it commeth to passe that wisdom is justified alwayes of her Children; and those men skilled in a thousand arts, and above measure craftie, God cannot satisfie, neither can he obtaine his Kingdom, or gett any love or right at their hands. Since they will be altogether Gods, and kisse their own hands, will, wisdom, prudence, and reason.

The art of the Devill, which is sucked out of the Duggs of the Serpent, hereupon we compose many bookes, desiring to teach the whole world, not knowing how to teach our selves.

From hence it comes that the proud Devill, alas! is buried deepe in Learned men, whom their deadly knowledge doth so dangerously puffe up, that they think themselves worthie all honour, both from God and men, and oftentimes if not in word, yet indeed they make their estate as Lucifer and Adam did.

No man understandeth how we dayly become Lucifers and Adams, but think that to be the relation of a thing long since done in Adam, and condemne his wicked pride and fal, when neverthelesse we all sticke fast over head and eares in the same, and yet deride others who in this kinde are foolish.

Divines preach much the word and his precepts, but when they are to be kept, indeed they are wanting in this; yea what themselves do sometimes teach they will not suffer others to practise, but contented meerly in the bare words, so making the word of God nothing but a meere Art, a matter of talke and disputation, & had rather be called knowers and fearers of God, then lovers of him, that not in vaine is the proverbe, which is verified by experience, teaching and confirming the same: The greater Scoller the worser Christian.

The Gramarian is carefull that he erre not in his speaking, but little regardeth the errour of his life.

In like manner the Poets had rather be lame in their lives then halting in their Verses. Philosophers would know all things, but not themselves. The Historian describeth all peoples, but neglecteth himself. The Orator is more sollicitous that he speake not rudely, then that he beleeve not, or live wickedly. The Logitian will sooner forsake the truth, then leave his opinion and conclusion. They that have any thing to do with Geometrie, do sooner measure the Earth then their wayes. The Musician taketh more care that his Song be not dissonant then that his cariage be consonant. Astrologers travell over the whole Heavens, and foretell things to come, but see not the ditch under their feete.

The Cosmographer relates of all Mountaines, Valleyes, Woods, and Rivers, but that makes him not one haire better in the sight of God. The Phisician healeth sick mens bodies, but neglecteth the healing of his own soule. Lawers are alone expert in the precepts of men, but negligently violate the Lawes of God, so as the proverb from hence hath risen. Neither doth the Phisician live, nor the Civillian dye well, because Phisitians of all men are most intemperate, and Civillians the worst Christians; and for that cause (as Baldus being an expounder of the Law himself doth say) the most part of them are taken away by sudden death.

Other Arts-men I will not here mention, but referre you to Cornelius Agrippa, chap. 100.

So the Devill doth compasse us about with the rope of folly; insomuch that sometime with one question, sometime with another art, we be so amazed; in the meane time we neglect the onely science of God, in which all things consist, even as the Adulteresse Medea when her husband Jason pursued her, cutt her Children in peeces, & dispersed their members in the way, that Jason might be busied in the gathering of them up, while shee escaped out of the Countrie.

Alas, shall death, sinne, and the Devill thus please us? shall we alwayes thus seeke God in hell with the Devill? Light with darkenesse? The living among the dead?

One thing is necessary, and this no man will desire; many things are unprofitable and unhealthfull, yea deadly; yet these are greedily desired off, and devoured by all men.

In the word of God alone, and no other thing, are all things placed, neither therefore will it profit thee to have all things, to know, will, speake, surpasse in measure, dispute off, number, paint, adorn, judge, teach all things, &c. To know all things, is nothing else then to know the arts of the Devill, eaten by his counsell of the forbidden tree; Onely to know the word and will of God, and to live according unto it; to be fruitfull in good workes, is the true art and eternall Life, eaten of the tree of Life; in vaine, it is to know all things, yea rather it is bitter death, as hath been sufficiently spoken off before.

Since therefore all the arts, witt, and righteousnesse of men, springeth from the tree of knowledge of good & evill, or rather from the Devill; and therefore is the fall and death of Adam; it necessarily followeth, that the more any man is learned therein, and experienced, the higher he hath ascended, the worse and more perverse he is; as he who hath made the greatest proficiencie in the wisdom and knowledge of the Devill.

And againe, the more foolish a man is in this art, and in the wisdom of the flesh and the Serpent, and the more be hath unlearned, forgotten, and emptied himself thereof, the more righteous he is, and wise before God: For we must altogether forget and unlearne this fleshly art, this curious sagacitie, this Devilish righteousnesse; And in steed thereof must learn the onely new, contrarie, and divine art, wisdom, and righteousnesse, by the eternall word, by the Seed of the woman of the Tree of Life, of which whosoever eateth, shall have eternall Life. For this cause the Scriptures do so vehemently urge new birth, Childishnes, Foolishnes, hate of a mans Life, deny all of himself; which would not be, if there were any thing that is good or acceptable to God in man before.

No man thinkes of this, but all men being puffed up with their own arts, witt, righteousnesse, goodnesse, &c. beeing secure and without conscience or Religion, and yet do eate death of this forbidden tree, that is of their own will, witt, reason, knowledge, goodnesse, and art, by that Seed of the Serpent, implanted in them. But God doth exact nothing but the knowledge of himself, and that we would be obedient to his word, and submitt our selves to be taught by him, which the Scriptures do sometimes call faith, which bringeth us unto God, begets us anew, and regenerates us, that thence do flow the waters of Life, the fruits of the spirit, love, peace, joy, a guiltlesse minde, and all other good things, which the Spirit of God effecteth and powreth into us.

Therfore Theologie is the true Magick, the worship, & science of God, which God doth equally exact from us all. And this is the same which God doth exact, teach, and effect by his Word in them, who offer and submitt themselves to that his word and clemency to be taught.

Therefore doth he so frequently and often admonish us, that he might make it known, that in him alone is Life and all other things to be found, and that he threatneth and inflicteth great punishment on them that despise him, as many places of the Scriptures do witnesse, though the word of God is not tyed or bound unto them, as we will prove anone; yet they give good direction and testimony to the mind, if any man can have the same & use it aright; and yet do much more, abuse the Scriptures then rightly use them. Neverthelesse they are not to be forsaken any more then a mans wife, Children, meate, drinke, &c. all which may be abused, but yet we must learn to use them rightly.

Of the Maiestie, of the free, constant and eternall Word of God, how it can be bound to nothing, included in nothing, nor buried in the Letter; and also the difference betwixt the internall and the externall Word.

THE word of God is as God, infinite, invisible, ineffiable, a Spirit and Life, which no mortall man can speake, see, or heare, but as farre as is Lawfull to speake of it after the manner of men, and by similitude.

The word of God is nothing else then the glistering, the essence, the Image, the forme and splendor, as well imprinted like a Seale into all Creatures, as more specially into the hearts of the faithfull, which in all things is the cause of their being, in all beleevers teacheth, in all wicked men reproveth, exhorteth, and contendeth and reprehendeth the world of sinne, and which in the beginning did enlighten & informe the hearts of Adam, Abell, Noah, Lot, Abraham, Job, Mercurie, Termigestus, Plotinus, Cornelius, and all other upright-hearted Gentils.

For though God giveth beeing, in, above, below, without, and beyond all Creatures, and is the essence of all things that be; yet in nothing is he so clearly to be seene as in Man, whom therefore he created after his own image, and perfected in Christ.

Therefore as brightnesse doth so proceed from the Light of the Sunne, as yet it is not seperated from the Sunne, but for all that remaines in the Sunne, though it fill the whole world, and enlighten the same; So is the Sonne in like manner whole in the Father, and in all the Creatures, as the Light is in the Sunne and in the whole World:

Therefore it is called the brightnesse of his Majestie, and the image or figure of his divine essence; Of the same nature, substance, and essence with God; So as nothing can be spoken of the Father, which may not also be verified of the word: God is no where and every where, in all places, in all things, and yet incomprehensible above and beyond all things; Limited to nothing, so farre forth that the heavens and earth are not able to containe him, nor all the Creatures. So is the word.

Even as the Light of the Sunne hath an originall, from whence it proceedeth, and a force & action into which it tendeth, which originall is the Sunne it selfe, and which externall active force is the heating or enlightning of the whole world, or as the word of every man hath originall force and spirit, which originall is man, whose expression and image the word is, and of the same essence with him.

And thirdly, it hath an active force or spirit, which qualifieth this word, and makes it either cheerefull, or angrie, or sorrowfull or displeased. So the originall of this divine word is the Father, or the action, or active force, or vertue of it is called the Holy Ghost.

As therefore the Sunne, is light, and that active force of that Light, is the same; and as man his word, and the active force of that word, is the same; So the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, are one God. Wherefore nothing that appertaines to their essence can be spoken of one, which cannot also be verified of all, that is all three; and as they are of the same essence, so of the same condition, disposition, and nature.

As therefore God is in nothing, and yet in all things; so also is his almightie word, which is the same: as God is so in all things, yet that he can be included in nothing, and so above all Creatures, as the Earth, Heaven, or any other Creature is not able to conceive or circumscribe him. And so in all Creatures, as nothing is without him, or rather nothing there is that is not full of him. So is also his Word.

As God can neither be spoken or written, nor any man is able to declare what God is, but all things which are said of him, are but Images & shadows. I will not say as Taulerus and Dr. Eickarius say, seeing if we speake truly and properly, the whole nature of God is farre otherwise then man doth or is able to speake of him.

Lastly, as God is a thing opposite, and contrary to humane cogitation, and farre otherwise then he is conceived to be in the thoughts of man; So also is the divine word of God.

As there is nothing so little in which there is not God; and againe, nothing so great that can receive or circumscribe God. As nothing is so little but God is lesse, and nothing so great but God is greater, beyond, without, below, & above all Creatures; So also is his divine word.

As the free, almightie, eternall, immutable, omniscient, incomprehensible, invisible, and unconceivable God is the beeing of all things; So as all things consist rather in him then in, and by themselves (as Taulerus and the Germain Theologie in a 1000 places do avouch) and is none of these things which can be seene or comprehended by sence or expressed by word; So his divine word is free in all, and beyond all, bound unto nothing, neither tyed to the prison, or letters, or cover of the Letter, concluded, included, and so tyed unto it, that otherwise it is no where; even as the following Position and Sentence of a Learned man divinely instructed do show.

As the word is covered and hidden by the Letter, so it is opened and revealed by the spirit.

Hence it commeth to passe that the Letters be as a closed or sealed Booke; so as the dark Letter, except it be opened, doth slay; but the Spirit doth quicken, and the Letters are as a certaine Image, void of Life and Spirit: that is a printed and dead expression of the Spirit; therefore they want Life, (except the soule of the spirit be present) and do erre.

Therefore the Letters cannot be the word of God. Since the word is farre otherwise an other thing then the letters; For it is a spirit, truth, & life; but the letters are contrary: flesh the letter & death; yea the letters if they want the Light of the word, are an offence; & if they want the soule of the spirit, are a stumbling block.

Therfore the Letters are an otherwise thing then the word; that is, they are not the Sword of the Spirit, but a sheath; For as the womb of the virgin conceived the word, so the Letters.

For the word is clothed both with flesh & with the Letters, that Seede of Abrahem layeth hold of the Scriptures or Letters, (for they are both one,) and againe is apprehended by them; but the spirit is not apprehended in the flesh or Letter of the Scriptures.

The cause thereof is this: the flesh or Letter cannot containe, conceive, or comprehend the Majestie of the word; yet even as it was so in the flesh, that the Majestie thereof did not appeare; so it is in the Letter, that true neither to all, or to any one that reads, is it obvious and apparent.

This is witnessed by all Learned men in the meere Letter, since the world began, who neither could know, finde, or comprehend Christ in the flesh, nor the word in the Letter; which they should have done, if Christ in the flesh, or under the miserie of the flesh had been known unto all, not hidden but manifested; and the Letter had been not the covering mysterie, but the true living and enlightning word of God it selfe.

As therefore the flesh was not the word, but the cover thereof, and a certaine great mysterie; So the Letters are not the word properly, but the shell, the barke and cover thereof.

The word was made fleshly assumption, not mixture, and so the same word is made Letters, yet not so as the same can be said of the Letters, as of the word, but as in a certaine Seale.

Therfore so farre are the Letters from being the word of God, that they onely be the figure and barke thereof.

For the word is not that which is spoken by the Letter, but that which is expounded by the Holy Ghost, and understood onely of the Faithfull.

Therefore the Letters do paint out, & shadow out; and after a certaine manner set forth unto us the word, and expresse something, but are not the word, although they be spoken and expressed.

For the word did not assume the flesh that it is not out of the flesh. So it did not so fall into the Letter, that it is not out of the Letter; For there was the word when there was no Letters; and the same will remaine after the Letters are perished.

Therefore as the word was never included and circumscribed in the flesh, neither is it in the Letters.

For so it was in the bodie, as it never yet left heaven, and in the same manner it is so in the Letter as yet it is every where.

Therefore the word is in the Letter altogether, but not all. Hereupon we see that the letters have been exercised with a continuall encrease and addition.

Therefore the Letters are the Image of the word, and not the word it selfe; And if they be, they are altogether a written, and a dead, & not a living word; For there is a twofold word, one that quickneth, viz. the Spirit, another the Letter, which is said to kill and slay.

The living word is that which inwardly teacheth, and maketh us to fructifie; the dead word is that which in the Flesh and Letter is proposed unto us.

The living word is a true Light, which enlightneth all men, and therefore a regenerating spirit, because it reneweth all things. In a word, it is the power and might of God, which giveth unto us that knowledge, sence, soule, and Life, which is from God. A certaine brightnesse of the face of God, which enlightneth us from above, & imprints in us the unction of the Holy Ghost, by which it teacheth and instructeth us in all things; But the dead word are the Letters, that sealed booke, and dead Letter, sence, and will, which is the word of the flesh, not of the Spirit of God.

The true and living word is that which God begetteth in us, and the spirit of God effecteth in us; But the dead and Litterall word is that which the Letters show unto us and men propound.

Therefore he doth not alwayes want the word who hath not the Letters: For he may have the interior who wants the exterior word, to witt, the Law of God written in our hearts.

Hence it comes to passe, that no man hath absolute neede to be taught of an other, or to admonish his brother concerning the knowledge of God.

For all these shall know, from the least to the greatest, and are all the Disciples of Christ divinely taught.

This writing is not printed with inke and paper, but written with the finger of God in the tables of our hearts.

This is the Doctrine of the truth, and the inspiration of the Spirit, to wit, the propheticall breathing, the inspiration of the Spirit, and the true art of God.

Moreover, he may have the living word of God who wants the dead of the Letter; and the thing it selfe who wants the signe, that is the Life of the word, though he wants the dead Letter; For two things are cheifly to be considered in the word.

The first is the disposition and nature of the word, which is a certaine Light intended for the enlightning of men.

The other is the action of it, that is the spirit, which giveth action and operation to the word. For the word hath not onely a knowledge, but also a certaine action, it is not onely a Light and splendor in us given from above but also Life.

The interior word containeth both of these which sometimes is called the Kingdom of God, sometimes the Spirit, sometimes Christ dwelling in us. For it is not onely a Light, way, and guide, but also Spirit, truth, and Life; that is, which not onely teacheth man that he may understand, but also moves him that he workes.

But the exterior word is farre from this priviledge, and hath far a different nature; For it is nothing else but a certaine forme & figure of the interior, I will not say a shadow. Therefore the interior words, as it is the onely lively, so it is the onely true word, as being the truth and life.

But on the contrary the exterior is nothing but a killing Letter, and a deceitfull figure of the word.

Hence it ariseth, the Letter, (as Christ) becomes a certaine snare to wicked men, a stone of offence, darkenesse, not Light, death, and not Life.

Therefore it is necessarie, that beside the exterior word, the interior be sought after and known: Since the exterior deceiveth a man with its shape, is death and darkness, unlesse the Light & Life of the spirit be together present with it.

Moreover, the exterior suffereth a man to be sluggously and idle, except the power of the interiour be present with it. Therefore the interiour word may be without the exterior, as the exteriour without the interior.

Therfore it doth not necessarily follow that a man hath the word of God, because he pretends and hath the letter; as on the other side it followeth not, that he who wanteth the exterior word or letter, wanteth also the interior, true, and heavenly word, which is God himself. For he doth not alwayes want the word who hath not the Letter; For the Letters doth onely give a testimony of the word, so farre are they from being the word it selfe; yea they are scarce the Image of the living word; Much lesse are they it, which neither can be written nor expressed by words both which is incident to the Letters.

Therefore the Letters are farre from being the word of God, yea all the word, though sometimes they be called the word of God; as the image and picture of a man is called sometimes by his name, even as God is sometimes called man, & the word flesh: not that God is man, or the word or spirit is made flesh, by imitation, appellattion, and permixion; So as what is said of one, may be verified of the other, or so as God cease to be God, and to be truly changed into man, as that water in Cana Galilee was changed into wine.

Or so as the word is so flesh, as not now it is not the spirit, or the word but flesh, in no wise.

The word is not so in the Letter, that they be one and the selfe same thing, or so as the word should have changed it selfe into the Letter; and yet well and rightly the Letters are called the Word of God; so as God is called Man, and the Word flesh; although to speake properly, neither is the word of God changed into Letters, nor God into Man, nor the word into flesh.

Therefore both these may be true, the Letters are the word of God, and the Letters are not the word of God.

Now although the Letters are sometimes in some respect the word of God, yet truly are they not the sole, nor altogether, nor all the Word of God; yea if we speak properly, they are not the word of God, which either can be spoken or written; and that the Letters are not the sole word of God, may be made known by this: That many things besides the Scriptures are revealed & inspired unto many, and many things are spoken and written by them which are not contained openly in the letters, yea which somtimes are contrarie to the dead Letters.

The Prophets, & Moses, & Christ, and his Appostles, whose words seem to be contrary to the Prophets, what they have written of the Temple, the Sacrifice, Circumcision, and of the vision of God.

Moreover, the true word of God hath been from all eternitie; yea even before any scripture was, (as I have said before) & it will be hereafter when the scriptures are perished. Therefore the word is improperly in the Letter and flesh, and therefore it is improperly called flesh or the Letter; For my word (saith Christ) is Spirit and Life.

Therefore the word cannot be that word which is flesh or dead letter; wherefore though the word truly and indeed is onely in spirit, as in which it onely liveth, yet it is also in the flesh, but yet weake if there it be alone without the Spirit and Life.

It is also in the Letter, but altogether dead, unlesse the Spirit do quicken it, as the soule doth the bodie; and it is in both, and yet not truly, and if truly, yet not all, and onely, and lively.

Now, although the word is in the Spirit lively and true, yet after a more peculiar & excellent manner it is in the flesh then in the Letter, although the Spirit be present with the Letter, and lend a hand, it teacheth nothing, but when the spirit dwelleth with the flesh, it not onely teacheth, but also maketh alive, and bursteth out into workes.

So the letter of the Law brings men to no perfection, although it be the word of God, as also the Scriptures spoken by the mouth of God, and written by his finger; For the word of the Law did teach the knowledge of the precept, but did not give man a will and strength to fulfill the same, but the word which is made flesh giveth life to beleevers.

Hence it commeth to passe, that the flesh inspired with the word and spirit of God, wills and doth keepe the Commandement of God.

Therefore the word in the flesh doth onely give an Example of life, when on the contrarie it leaveth in the letter all things idle and sleepie.

But in the Spirit it truly stirrs up the heart and affections towards the Law, for the Spirit is the life and soule of the word, and therefore the word it selfe; but the flesh is a certaine imitation of the word, the letters a certaine printed picture and Copie of the word. Wherefore the written word is not the true word, but a certaine image thereof; yea the Scriptures pronounced in words are not the true word of God, but onely a testimony thereof: For the Scriptures had beginning in time by occasion, but the word was from all eternitie. Adde to which the Scriptures do lead men into errour, except the interpreter, viz. the Spirit be present.

And they are a sealed booke, and a perplexed Laborinth, unlesse the Spirit be present, as the Treede of Thesius, to to guide us, and as the Key of David to open unto us.

Hence it comes to passe, that many men seeing see not, and hearing heare not, and as who know the Scriptures, and yet neither know nor understand.

Therefore we confesse that the letters are a certaine image and figure of the word, yet they are not truly the very word, because they are but onely an image & figure thereof.

This is the reason wherefore we admitt no other word but what is answerable to this Image or Example of the Scriptures, and to the true and spirituall sence.

Therefore the Scriptures are as the Index or golden Scales of the word, so they be understood not according to the dead letter, but according to the minde of Christ and will of the Spirit.

Therefore we reject not what is agreable to the true meaning of the Scriptures, so we do not deny what is not contrary unto them; For whosoever is not against us is of us.

Therefore we deny not the exterior word, written or spoken, so do we confirme the interior or living, so it is we grant the maistery and unction of the Spirit, and do not deny the guift of Prophecye and interpretation of the Scriptures.

For the word hath something to come and something obscure & difficult to the flesh. That which is to come, the Spirit taketh it of the word, and declareth it unto us, that which is obscure & hard to be understood, it dayly teacheth unto us, and leadeth us into all truth. Therefore under the name of the word of God, the Letters are not onely understood, but all prophecies, visions, dreames, unctions, inward speakings, Doctrins of the Spirit & revelations if they be from God; also whatsoever holie men by the instinct of the spirit have either spoken or done.

Therefore no man must adhere peremptorily to the onely letter; where the Holy Ghost is, there is libertie, and the free word is bound to none. Moreover, the Holy Ghost suffereth no rule or limit to be prefixed to it in its own; therefore to nothing it is tyed but to it selfe, that is, be not contrarie and disagreeing to it selfe, as therefore many things come and are spoken from God; all which (nay not the thousand part) are written in the scripturs; So many things at this day happen & are spoken by God, which are not written; And yet neverthelesse they are the word of God, and wrought by him.

Add to which that many things there are not written, nor expressed in words, which we yet receive for the word of God, and onely by hand as it were, have received them from our Forefathers, of which kinde are the abrogation of the precepts of the first counsell, renewed after by the Holy Ghost to the Church; So as the Church was freed from the same; Of which things we notwithstanding have no written or expresse word.

Christ himself taught all in word, and writt nothing, and commanded his Apostles to preach, not to write.

And the Church is begotten rather by word then by writing.

Moreover, the Doctors & preachers of the new Covenant were called and indeed are the Ministers of the Spirit, not of the Letter.

By all these it is manifest, that the free and swift Spirit is not tyed unto letters, nor the Doctrine of the Spirit can be included into the Jayle, prison and corner of the Scriptures.

Therefore although there be many bookes of the Law, something sometimes may change to come in handling of which there is no expresse Canon or Law to be found, but it is to be excogitated and ruled by reason.

So oftentimes such a rare thing happeneth, the letters do universall forsake a man, that they cannot teach, comfort, guide, or appease him; but a man must necessarily repaire unto God, and consult with the peculiar word of the Spirit by prayer, to comfort and strengthen his weakned conscience; For it is not sufficient to have the common call and word, except a man have speciall, proper, and inward call, which yet is not contrary unto the common.

And although the word of God is altogether one, and undivided, yet how much thereof a man hath received by faith, so much of it is his; and this is his word; His issue the Word of God is, as God himself, must be made every ones by faith.

No otherwise then whereas the Light of the Sunne is common; yet as much as every one is enlightned thereby, so much is the Sunne his, and no more; So as much as every one hath of God and his word, so farre is he his God, and so farre hath he God and his word, which are common to all, peculiar to himself.

Therfore the letters are farre weaker then to satisfie a troubled conscience in the offences thereof, and to make quiet againe; the lively word of God must do this, and this honour hath God reserved onely to himself, neither will he permitt it to the letters, or any Creatures whatsoever. Moreover, the Holy Ghost will not be bound or captivated in those that are his, nor be subject to the masterie of any one, nor suffer that it should be taught by any writing or mouth of man, but will it selfe be the light, the Doctor, master, captaine, and in a word all in all things.

Moreover, he who useth the Scriptures for a testimony of that work & spirit, so he do it according to the minde of Christ; not interpreting them according to the interpretation of the Scribes and Pharisees, doth onely use the Scriptures aright, according to the will of God, according as he ought; all others are meere abuses, and the worship of images, as the whole world busies it selfe in the Scriptures, and esteeme them to be their Apollo, as if the Holy Ghost & God were no longer to be consulted with, concerning any affaires, but onely the letters.

In a word, here they enquire and have all things; here with the Pharisees they think to have life; neither will they grow by an others mans harme, nor will they see how blinde, impious, ignorant, and dead they ever have been in all ages, in divine things, and in the word of God, who have been the most Learned, and could all the Bible at their fingers ends, having for all that neede to heare and learn the truth from Christ; So darke and deadly are the Letters, which they make their Idols.

Paul calleth the Letters death, but they life; but indeed they are eternall darkness, death, aenigma, allegorie, and a sealed booke.

Unlesse thou have the living word of God unto the Light, and in them relie upon the Holy Ghost; For thy teacher, inspirer, interpreter, guide, and master; and yet many of them dare make the booke to be open when as yet they cannot agree in the exposition of it. And from thence do as many Sects and Heresies arise, as Readers and Heads do attempt to reade it.

But know thou, and have it as a thing most true, that they are cleane onely to the cleane, Spirituall to the Spirituall, the Word of God to them who are of God, and Religiously studie them by the direction and guidance of the Holy Ghost, whom they carie alwayes with them, and put as a Light into this, otherwise darke Lanthorne; so as by the the doctrine of the Spirit & direction of it they bring more light unto them; then they receive therfrom; what they receive therefrom is nothing else or no other but a certaine Testimonie of the Spirit of them and all Doctrine.

The Bereans used the Scriptures as Christ would have them to be used: (Acts 17.) Search the Scriptures, (saith he,) in which yee think yee have Eternall life, Joh. 5. But he thinkes otherwise; For it followes, they are they which testifie of me, that I am the Life and Word which speaketh unto you, John 8.

As therefore we graunt that the Scriptures are the rule of the word & judge of spirituall things; So in no wise will we remove out of the Church, the word of God, and unction of the Spirit.

For even as we defend the Majestie and authoritie of the word of God against the dead Letter, so will we maintaine the masterie of the Spirit against the executioner of the Letter.

And so do we grant the fulfilling of the swift and short word, as in the onely precept of love all is contayned, both the Law and Prophets be comprehended therein, we ingenuously confesse.

Wherefore as we do not take away the word of the Law, but confirm it: So we do think that something is yet dayly to be opened in the Church, by the unction of the Doctors thereof; the signe and earnest not of that which is necessary to salvation, but to the guift of Prophecying, and the hidden interpretation of the Scriptures.

Since Christ never forsaketh his Spouse, but is alwayes present with her unto the end, Math. 28. and being ever in the midst of her, doth guide & direct her, 2 Cor. 9.

This is the reason wherefore we do not force or include the Majestie of the word of God within the narrow prison of the Letters.


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