How A Man May Call Himself A Christian And How Not
Here therefore a Christian should considerwhy he calleth himself a Christian, and examine truly whetherhe be one or not. For surely my learning to know and confess that I am aSinner, and that Christ hath destroyed my Sins on theCross, and shed His Blood for me, doth not make me aChristian.
115. The Inheritance belongeth only to theChildren. A Maid Servant in a House knoweth well enough what the Mistresswould have to be done, and yet that maketh her not the Heiress ofher Mistress’ Goods. The very Devils know that there is a God, yetthat doth not change them into Angels again. But if the Maid Servantin the House shall be married to the Son of her Mistress, then she may cometo inherit her Mistress’ Goods. And so it is to be understood also in theMatter of being a Christian.
116. The Children of the Historyare not the Heirs of the Goods of Christ, but the legitimateChildren regenerated by the Spirit of Christ are the only trueHeirs. For God said to Abraham, Cast out the Son of the Bondwoman, heshall not inherit with the Son of the Free. For he was a Scorner,and but an Historical Son of the Faith and Spirit of Abraham; andso long as he continued such a one, he was not a true Inheritor ofthe Faith of Abraham, and therefore God commanded he should becast out from inheriting his Goods; which was a Type of theChristiandom which was to come.
117. For the Promise of Christendomwas made to Abraham; therefore the Type was then also set forth bytwo Brethren, Isaac and Ishmael, in order to show howChristiandom would behave itself, and that two Sorts of Men would bein it, viz., true Christianity would be but mockers, as Ishmaelwas and Esau, who also was a Type of the outward Adam, as Jacobwas a Type of Christ, and His true Christendom.
118. Thus every one who will call himself aChristian, must cast out from himself the Son of theBond-woman, that is, the earthly Will, and be evermore killingand destroying it, and not settle it in the Inheritance.
119. Nor give the Pearl to the BeastialMan, for him to sport himself with in the outward Light, in theLust of the Flesh; but we must with our Father Abraham being the Sonof the right Will to Mount Moriah and be ready in Obedience to Godto offer it up, ever in Will dying from Sin in the Death of Christ,giving no place to the Beast of Vanity in the Kingdom ofChrist, nor suffering it to grow wanton, proud, covetous, envious,and malicious. For all these are the Properties of Ishmael theSon of the Bond Woman whom Adam begat in his Vanity on thewanton Whore the false Bond Woman, by the Devil’s Imagination,out of the earthly Property in Flesh and Blood.
120. This Mocker and Titular Christianis the son of the false Bond Woman, and must be cast out; for he shallnot possess the Inheritance of Christ in the Kingdom of God. He isnot fit, he is but Babel, a Confusion of that one Language into many Languages.He is but a Talker and a Wrangler about the Inheritance; he meansto get it to himself by Talking and Wrangling, by the Hypocrisy of his Lipsand seeming Holiness, although he is no better than a blood-thirstyMurderer of his brother Abel, who is the right Heir.
121. Therefore we say what we know, that hethat will call himself a true Christian must try himself, and findwhat Kind of Properties drive and rule him, whether the Spiritof Christ moveth him to Truth and Righteousness, and to theLove of his Neighbor, so that he would willingly do what is right ifhe knew but how.
122. Now if he find that he hath a realHunger after such Virtue, then he may justly think that is isdrawn. And then he must begin to practice accordingly, and not be contentwith a Will only, without Doing. The drawing of the Fatherto Christ consisteth in the Will, but the true Life consistethin the Doing; for the right Spirit doeth that which is right.
123. But if there be the Will to do,and yet the Doing followeth not, then the true Man is still shut up in vainLust, which suppresseth the Doing. And therefore such a one is butan Hypocrite and an Ishmaelite; he speaketh one Thing and dothanother, and witnesseth thereby that his Mouth is a Liar; for he himselfdoth not that which he teacheth, and consequently only serveth theBeastial Man in Vanity.
124. For he that will say, I have a Will,and would willingly do good, but the earthly Flesh which I carry about me,keepeth me back, so that I cannot; yet I shall be saved by Grace, for theMerits of Christ. I comfort myself with His Merit and Sufferings; who willreceive me of mere Grace, without any Merit of my own, and forgive me mySins. Such a one I say, is like a Man that knoweth what Food is goodfor his health, yet will not eat of it, but eateth Poison instead thereof,from whence Sickness and Death, will certainly follow.
125. For what good doth it to the Soul to knowthe Way to God, if it will not walk therein, but go on in acontrary Path? What good will it do the Soul to comfort itself withthe Filiation of Christ, with His Passion and Death, and soflatter itself with the Hopes of getting the Patrimony thereby, ifit will not enter into the Filial Birth, that it may be a trueChild, born out of the Spirit of Christ, out of His Suffering,Death and Resurrection? Surely, the Tickling and Flattering itselfwith Christ’s Merits, without the true innate Childship, isFalsehood and a Lie, whosoever he be that teacheth it.
126. This Comfort belongeth only tothe penitent Sinner, who striveth against Sin and the Anger of God.When Temptations come, and the Devil assaulteth such a poorrepentant Soul, then it must wholly wrap itself up in the Merits andDeath of Christ, as its sole Armour of Defence.
127. Christ alone indeed hathmerited Redemption for us; but not in such a Way as that for His ownproper Merit’s Sake, He will freely grant us His Childship byan outward Adoption only, and so receive us for his Children,when we are none. No. He Himself is the Merit. He is the open Gatethat leadeth through Death; and through that Gate we must enter. Hereceiveth no Beast into his Merit, but those only that turn,and become as Children. Those Children that thus come to Him are HisReward, which he hath merited.
128. For thus he said, `Father, the Men werethine and thou hast given them to me (as my Reward)’ and I will give themeternal Life.’ But the life of Christ will be given to none, unlessthey come to Him in His Spirit, into His Humanity, Sufferings,and Merit, and therein be born true Children of the Merit.
129. We must be born of His Merit, andput on the Merit of Christ in his Passion and Death;not outwardly with verbal Flattery only, and barecomforting of ourselves therewith, while we still remain Aliens andstrange Children, of a strange Essence or Nature. No, the strangeEssence inheriteth not the Childship, but the innate Essenceinheriteth it.
130. This innate Essence is not ofthis World, but in Heaven, of which St Paul speaketh saying, OurConversation is in Heaven. The filial Essence walketh in Heaven,and Heaven is in Man.
131. But if Heaven in Man be not open, andthe Man stand without Heaven flattering himself, and say, I amstill without, but Christ will take me in through his grace; is not his Meritmine? Such a one is in Vanity and Sin with the outward Man,and with the Soul in Hell,viz., in the Anger of God.
132. Therefore learn to understand rightlywhat Christ hath taught us, and done for us. He is our Heaven;He must get a Form in us, or else we shall not be in Heaven. Thus thenthe Soul’s inward Man, with the Holy Body of Christ, viz.,in the New Birth, is in Heaven, and the outward mortal Manis in the World, of which Christ spake saying, `My Sheep are in myHand, and none shall pluck them away; the Father who gave them to me is greaterthan all.’