EARLY SHAKER  wRITINGS
RELATING TO SEXUAL ABSTINENCE AND SELF DENIAL.  

     FILE  4  of  4  contains:
SIX AUTHENTIC SHAKER EXCERPTS regarding...
The Male and Female in ChristExamples from the Life of Jesus;  Requirement for Confession of Known Sins;
From what must each Soul be Cleansed;  Obedience works more than Warfare;   The End of the World is coming for each Soul.

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  Last update: May 30, 2013


 

Early Shaker Writings Relating to
Sexual Abstinence & Self Denial


Six Authentic Excerpts Regarding:

The Relation of the Male and Female in Christ;
Examples from the Life of Jesus: Our “Doctrine”;
Requirement for Confession of Known Sins by each Soul;
The Specifics:  from What must Each Soul be Cleansed?
Simple Obedience  Works more than Mighty Warfare;
The “End of the World coming for each Soul.


 

Excerpts from: Shakerism, Its Meaning and Message 1904
Chapter XV.


... as to the male and female in Christ

As the Gospel of Christ, revealed in the life and teachings of Mother Ann Lee, is based on the truth of an Eternal Father-Mother, those born of the Spirit are of one family, brothers and sisters, children of Divine Parentage.  The words of Jesus are no more strange, but natural, necessary and beautiful, with the beauty and love of the eternal home: “Who is my mother and who are my brethren?  Whoso doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother and sister and mother;” and again, “If any man come to me, and hateth not his father and mother and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.  And whosoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”  The generative life of man and all the works, thoughts, passions and feelings thereof are to be hated, that is, turned from, once and forever.  Whatever has grown out of the generative or natural life, its relationships, ties and associations, are to be broken and the new, spiritual life is to be adopted.

Husbands and wives were to cease living under natural marriage conditions.  They were henceforth brother and sister in Christ.  A complete separation was to be made from the old, natural way of living and thinking.  Believers well might use the expressive term, “taking up a full cross against the flesh.”  Before Believers were gathered into Gospel Order in community homes, and for a long time after for those who did not enter into communities, Shakers continued to live in the family relation, but they were required to follow a life of absolute continence, according to the law of Christ.   “You must forsake the marriage of the flesh,” said Mother Ann, “to partake of the marriage of the Lamb, which is to be united to Christ, or joined to the Lord in one spirit.”  After the community life was fully adopted, children of believing parents became children of the society and were subject to the control of the appointed leaders.

This renouncing of old relationships and voluntarily taking up the new and spiritual relationships, formed the basis of the charge against the Shakers of breaking up families.   Yet they never violently did this, often sending believing children back to unbelieving parents, wives to husbands, while the utmost care was taken to win by faithful humility in loving service the hearts of natural kindred to the life of faith.   Mother Ann and the Elders taught that the work of salvation was to be accomplished by families, and if but one out of a family connection were saved by the Gospel, that one must strive and labor for all his kindred.  Nevertheless, the foundation stone of the structure was the entering into a spiritual family and forgetting, casting aside as of the old earth and heavens, the natural ties of kindred.

With the passing of the years and the change of attitude of outside Christians, the absolute crucifixion of all natural ties and affections is no longer deemed necessary.   While a spiritual separation to the Gospel work and the union of life and heart to the spiritual family is essential, such complete absolution from all the bonds of natural kinship as was once inculcated is no longer demanded.  The duty of a child to an aged or feeble parent is recognized, and the union of Ministry and Elders is freely given to association and communication with relatives and friends, providing that it does not tend to distract the mind and divert the purpose from the spiritual calling upon which one has entered.

The promise of Jesus Christ in the first Christian dispensation was renewed and has been remarkably fulfilled under the second: “There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the Gospel's, but he shall receive an hundred fold, now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and fathers, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions, and in the world to come eternal life.”  An expounder of the early time was wont to call attention to the fact that Jesus promised an hundred fold of every relation but the wife.  No wife was promised under the Gospel.  Persecutions, he said, were given instead.  Since this latest coming of the Christ Spirit, Christians of the Shaker Order pray no more, “Thy Kingdom come.”  It has come, and their effort and prayer is that it may increase to its fullness in each individual.   As many as are called are made welcome, helped to find the new life and gathered into the warm heart of the family of Christ.


Two Orders. Celibacy.

Shakers have been charged with denouncing marriage, and the trite old question is sometimes raised “What would become of the world if all were to become Shakers?”  In view of the condition of a good part of the people in it, the thought has sometimes suggested itself that it might not be a bad idea to let the world run out.  But there is not the least danger of the world's population failing from religious motives, nor is there any fear that all mankind will become Shakers in this life.  The greater part could not, for they are not on the plane to hear the call of the Spirit.  “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,” is the prepared soul gathered from the world into the garners of the Lord.

Humanity exists under two distinct orders and has so existed from the earliest times.   Man broke God's inborn rule of continence and thereby lost God's gift of natural, orderly reproduction, in holiness and purity, under law.  The act of generation became a lawless violation of the Holy of Holies in the temple of the human.  Lust destroyed pure, heaven-born Love, and the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in sin, passion and despair.  War, brutality and crime resulted.  But in darkest times, righteous men and women have made the law of God their guide and children of light have been born to bear witness to righteousness and purity.  Such were Enoch and Noah, and many more, unmentioned in the annals of their race.

There has also been an order of virgin souls, celibates, who have sought and lived the life of continence and purity.  To quote from a Shaker tract on this theme:

There is a law in our nature responding to a celibate, a virgin life.  It has cropped out in all ages from the earliest historic times.”

The Shakers of America are living respondents to the law that absolute purity of body and spirit is an essential preliminary to their happiness — the manifestation and growth of the life of God in the soul.  They believe that all may enter into a heavenly state by cultivating heavenly principles, and that it is their mission to keep an open door for all who live as Jesus did and walk as He did walk.  He was the first born of many brethren.  Having these abundant evidences in view, we say that Shakerism is not founded upon a lie, but on that law which when operative has in all ages brought forth the manifestation of God in humanity.  On this rock and with such materials, will Christ — the Elder Brother — found and build His Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.  And that the world may not run itself out by its own doings before the appointed time, we kindly advise all to draw a little nearer to the example of the Shakers, so that their offspring may not die off prematurely, and that a measure of the blessing of God, bodily health, peace and prosperity may be theirs.”


Celibacy Taught by Jesus and the Apostles.


Jesus and the apostles taught, both by precept and example, that the virgin life, for those “able to bear it,” was the foundation of a purer godliness than could be attained in marriage, “because she that is married careth for the things of this world how she may please her husband, and he that is married careth for the things of the world how he may please his wife, but the unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord that she may be holy both in body and spirit, and he that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord how he may please the Lord.”

In the shrewd and politic answer of Jesus to the logical snare laid for him by the wily Sadducees, he laid down the principle that was to be fully revealed in the second Christian dispensation: “Do ye not therefore greatly err, because ye know not the Scriptures neither the power of God?  For when they shall rise from the dead they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels which are in heaven.   And as touching the dead that they rise, have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?  He is not the God of the dead but of the living; ye do therefore greatly err.”  Always the teaching of the apostles was that if a man or woman were unable to live the life of chastity, to marry and live according to the law given by Moses, in orderly and righteous manner.  It was not, however, the highest type of Christian living.

Mother Ann received by revelation the same truths shadowed forth in earlier dispensations.   Now, in the fullness of time, the veil has been withdrawn from the face of nature; henceforth, those who would live the pure Christ life, as Jesus lived it, must crucify in the flesh the natural life of generation.  That all are not called to this life is admitted; but that any can live and walk as Jesus did, other than by crucifying the lower nature and leading the virgin life, is denied.

When one has come to the end of the world in himself or herself, is ready to abandon all self-seeking, pride, lust and sin of every kind, and will turn to the new life with its foundation principles of purity, peace, non-resistance and separation from the world, then the seeker may graduate from the old to the New Order, and the way of entrance lies through “the open door”.

  Published by the Shakers in their book, “Shakerism, Its Meaning and Message”,
1904 - Excerpts from Chapter XV

 


 

Excerpts from: “The Shakers Compendium” 1859



CHAPTER IV.


CHARACTERISTICS AND DOCTRINES OF JESUS CHRIST.


1. CHRIST was “the Author and Finisher of the faith” of Christianity; and in Jesus Christ was the first Christian Church, which was perfect and prolific spiritually just so far as Adam was perfect and prolific naturally, before Eve was brought forth.

2. Christ (dual) is a supermundane being, and was the Agent of the new revelation to Jesus, the truths of which were, first, the immortality of the soul, which Moses never taught; and, second, the resurrection of the soul - these being two distinct things; the former, the continuous existence of the soul after mere physical death; the latter, the quickening of the germ of a new and spiritual life in the soul, consequent upon, and succeeding to, the death of the first Adamic or generative life, which can only be effected by the faith and the cross of the second Adam — Christ.

3. As all the future powers and faculties of the natural man are germinal in the infant, so the life and faculties of the future spiritual man are germinal in the soul of the natural or “old” man; and these are never quickened, except by the same power that destroys the life of the “old man” — the desire of generation.  “I wound, and I heal; I kill, and I make alive.”   These are the two lives that Jesus alluded to when he said, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it, and keep it unto life eternal.”

4. The prophet Isaiah, speaking of Jesus, says “His life was cut off from the earth; and who shall declare his generation?”  Meaning that his earthly life, which supports the work of generation, was “cut off,” as must be also the earthly life of every true Christian.  And Jesus himself said: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life.  No man taketh it from me; but I lay it down of myself.”

5. The beginning of Christianity was the end of generation — of the world — in Jesus.  “Ye are they [said the Apostle] upon whom the ends of the world have come” already.  Thus the same Spirit that creates souls “anew in Christ Jesus”, causes them to “forsake and to hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, houses and land, and their own [generative] life also.”  This hitherto paradoxical and hard saying of Jesus, the Shakers simplify upon the above premises, affirming that all these characters can be hated without the least enmity against any human soul.

6. It is the generative life in man and woman that induces them to assume the character of husband and wife; the same life impels them to become father and mother; and hence result the children, who are brothers and sisters, all of whom require, desire, and (if they can) acquire houses and land, to support the earth-relation thus formed.  All these can be forsaken and hated without hating the persons of the original man and woman, or of the children.

7. It is the earthly, fleshly, relation that must be hated by all who would become followers of Jesus — Christians — “children of the resurrection,” of whom Jesus said, “They neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as angels of God in heaven.”

8. All who “marry and are given in marriage,” or who support that order, the Shakers term “the children of this world;” thus, on this ground, throwing heathens, Turks, Catholics, Protestants, infidels, etc., all into one general class, or company.  They quote Jesus: “Think not that I am come to bring peace on earth [to the earthly procreative relation]; for I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and to make a man's foes those of his own household.”

9. Yet the Shakers do not condemn marriage as an institution of “the world,” to whom only it belongs; but they say that the procreative powers should be used by them exclusively for offspring, and that all beyond that, however perfectly it may be covered by the mantle of human law, they call “the unfruitful works of darkness.”

10. “He that looks upon a woman to lust after her, has [in the sight of God] committed adultery with her” none the less because she is his legal wife.  God looks at the impelling motive, not the human legality, of the action.  “Blessed are [not the legal, but] the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

11. Those who will “crucify” the old man, with all his affections and lusts, shall see a greater manifestation of God than it is possible for a generative man to behold; to prove which, the Shakers adduce scientific no less than scriptural reasons.   “The natural man discerneth not the things of the Spirit; neither can he know them,” any more than fishes can see and know the things pertaining to land animals, or than the chrysalis can be cognizant of the fields and flowers of the future butterfly.

12. Second.  Another practical principle, in which Christ instructed Jesus, was Brotherhood — to love his neighbor as himself, and not to appropriate to his own selfish use, to the exclusion of those on the same plane, either of the life-elements — earth, air, fire or water.  Foxes had holes in the ground, and birds nests in the trees, but Jesus had no place or home to call his own.

13. And except a man forsook all that he had, he could not be a disciple of Jesus.   Hence the rich young man went sorrowful away, rather than sell and distribute his great possessions, and thus become a poor man, in order to join Jesus and his company.   This also explains why a cable could go through the eye of a needle easier than a rich man could enter into the kingdom of heaven, which was formed within, or among his disciples.

14. Five dollars of private, selfish property would exclude a man from the communion of a company who, as did Jesus and his Apostles, possessed their property in common, as effectually as would five millions; for the law of the Gospel is, “Except a man forsake all that he hath, he can not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  In addition to that, he must also follow the example of Jesus in “taking up the cross”, and living a virgin life.

15. The third principle exemplified in the life of Jesus, and which came from the same source as the preceding ones, is, “Resist not evil” — non-resistance.  “If any man smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.  Love your enemies.  Do good to them that hate you. Bless them that curse you.”  “He that taketh the sword shall perish by the sword.”  “The Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.”  So that, according to Shaker doctrines, there can be no such thing as a Christian warrior.  With them the time has come to beat the sword into a plowshare, and the spear into a pruning hook, and they will not practice or learn war any more.

16. Fourth.  Jesus took no part in earthly governments.   When he was offered all the kingdoms of the world for his possession, he utterly refused them, and thus crucified his ambition.  He also taught his disciples that, although “the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them, it shall not be so among you; for whosoever will be great and chief among you, let him be your minister — servant — least of all.”

17. Fifth.  Christ saved Jesus from sin; and “his name was called Jesus, because he should save his people from their sins.”  Hence the Shakers claim a present salvation from sin as essential to the Christian character.  They say that the Law of Moses (in respect to salvation) was “weak through the flesh” (generation), which it allowed at the same time that it condemned all who practiced it.

18. For it enjoined that “the man who shall lay with a woman . . . . was unclean;” that they were “both unclean”, — sinful: and “the bed whereon they lay was unclean,” or defiled; and they were separated from the camp of Israel therefor.  Nor could they be again admitted until they had been re-baptized (washed all over) with water.

19. Jesus escaped this only by living “separate from sin and sinners;” that is, by living a virgin life.  If he had married, and lived in generation, he must have been subject to the Law as above stated, and paid the penalty; for he “came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill” the righteousness thereof.

20. John the Baptist told the soldiers to “do violence to no man.”  And the Jewish Apostle said, “Marriage is honorable in all, if the bed be undefiled.”   The sin was not in being a soldier, but in doing violence; nor was the sin in the fact of marriage, but in the act of generation; for persons may have been married before being called to be Christians, as was the case with Peter and others.

21. The penal law was added because of transgression; the typical law, of baptism, circumcision, etc., to foreshadow things to come.  The latter was abolished by the substance — virgin life; and the former, by “ceasing to do evil, and learning to do well.”  There could be no sin-offering where there was no sin; no type, when the antetype had come; and no tithes, where there was no individual property, but “all things common.”

 

 

CHAPTER X,  PART IV.

JUDGMENT DAY, AND CONFESSION OF SINS.


54. A radical and most important principle in the Shaker, or second Christian Church, is the oral confession of sins to God, in the presence of one or two witnesses.

55. This rests upon the premises that the natural man never has seen, and never will see, God personally, either in this or any other world.  Therefore the judgment, as well as the mercy and goodness, of God, must necessarily be administered to souls through agencies appointed by a Divine revelation from God, for that express purpose, in all cycles and true Churches.  This was the law and practice under the three preceding Dispensations, in the respective Churches thereof, while standing in rectitude.

56. The Mosaic Law said: “If a man sin, and commit any of the things that are forbidden to be done, he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing; and he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, for his sin which he hath sinned; and the priests shall make an atonement for him.”

57. All those who came to John and were baptized of water, did it “confessing their sins,” as required by Moses.  And even Jesus found his spiritual relation and union to John in the same order.

58. In founding Christianity, Jesus declared there was “nothing covered that should not be revealed; or hid that should not be made known.”  And, in ministering the Holy Spirit to the apostles, after his crucifixion, he said: “Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained.”

59. The fallen Gentile Christian Church having abused this institution, in common with every Christian doctrine, does not invalidate the principle itself, nor render it nugatory (in the proper order) in the true Church, but confirms it, as really as does counterfeit coin prove that there is true money.  Had there not been convincing evidence of this principle in the primitive Church, the Catholic priesthood could never have enforced its practice upon their votaries.

60. In the second appearing of Christ, the confession of sins was again restored and established in perfect order.  Ann Lee confessed her sins to Jane and James Wardley; and she continually taught and enjoined it as the first act of a repentant soul, and as being absolutely essential to the reception of the power to forsake sin.

61. Mother Ann, and the elders with her, often revealed the most secret sins, that were purposely kept back by such as were opening their minds before them.  Mother said, “The first step in obedience that any of you can take, is to confess your sins to God, before his witnesses.  Herein Christ is to be found as a Savior, and a forgiver of sins, and nowhere else.  For herein is contained the promise of God, but not in any other way.”

62. Again, she said: “They that honestly confess all their sins, with a full determination to forsake them forever, will find strength of God to forsake them; and in taking up the cross against every known sin, and following Christ in the regeneration, in that life of obedience, they will be clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and become the sons and daughters of God; being heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.”

63. At another time Mother said: “When I confessed my sins, I labored to remember the time when, and the place where, I committed them.  And when I had confessed them, I cried to God to know if my confession was accepted; and by crying to God continually, I traveled out of my loss.”

64. The experience of more than 70 years, by the Church, of the operation and effect of this principle (and practice) has well established it in the understanding, and confirmed it in the affections, of the people called Shakers.


Published by the Shakers in their book, “The Shakers Compendium,
1859 - Excerpts from Chap
ters IV, & X, Part IV.

 


 

  Excerpts from: “The Divine Book of Holy and Eternal Wisdom”

 

The Specifics — from what must each Soul be cleansed?


PART V.    Chapter 7


An Angel of heaven is now flying through the earth, with the everlasting gospel, to be preached to all nations.  Those who disbelieve in this day, will be far more guilty than the Jews, who rejected Christ in his first appearing.

1 Again read and understand.   “And I saw another Angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him; for the hour of his judgment is come; and worship Him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

2 Read these things and understand; and no more make a mystery of the kingdom of heaven.  Know ye not that the Angel hath already flown through the heavens to earth, with the everlasting gospel, to preach to every nation, kindred and tongue; that word of God out of whose mouth goeth the sword, to slay all nations; and also the witness and testimony of his beloved Son?

3 O ye nations, ye kindreds and tongues, and all people of the earth!  Know ye that the kingdom of heaven hath come nigh unto you; although many, like the faithless Jews in Christ's first appearing, are willfully determined not to believe, and thereby bring upon themselves swift destruction.

4 But for the elect's sake, yea, for the sake of those who are sincerely seeking to know the will of God, and would do it, if made known to them, hath my Heavenly Father condescended to send the means of eternal life unto all flesh, dwelling upon the earth.  Yet many will despise and reject the offers of grace, and make war with the word which bringeth the testimony of eternal life.

5 But be it known unto all people, that ye who hear the word of eternal truth, sounded in your ears, and reject and crucify, in your own souls, that testimony which if obeyed, would set your souls at liberty, that ye might be the children of freedom, ye shall fall under deep condemnation and the horror of great darkness.

6 For it is the word of God, sent to preach deliverance to the captives, to open the eyes of the blind and unstop the deaf ear, and set at liberty the tongues which have never been loosed to praise God.   Therefore, if ye do reject that word, in your own souls, ye verily crucify unto yourselves the Son of God afresh, and become far more guilty in the sight of God, than the Jews, who rejected and slew their Lord.

7 For the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven had never been revealed to them; therefore were they less accountable than those who despise and reject the testimony, which opens the mystery of the kingdom of heaven, even to the capacity of a child, in language so simple and easy to be understood, that it is impossible for honest and simple souls to mistake the way, or be divided in their opinions concerning it.

8 God hath so marked out the way in this day of his power, which hath made the crooked places strait, and the rough places smooth, that it remains one even, plain highway, that the wayfaring man, though a fool for the gospel's sake, need not err therein, nor mistake the way; yet it is hid from those who are wise in their own conceit.

9 For these think they have a way which is sufficient for them, and wish not to trouble themselves about new things, as they call them, doctrines of devils and the like.  Unto such will the way of God ever remain hid.  These are they who are wise in their own eyes, and great in their own conceit; and consider not that old things shall all be done away, and all things become new, and all things of God.

10 Therefore, why think ye to stand out against new doctrines?  If ye judge thus, and continue thus in your old traditions, which are many and false, ye shall forever remain the subjects, either of the old earth or the old heavens, until ye sink into hell.  “And what profit have ye, if ye gain the whole world, and lose your own souls?”

11 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.”

12 “He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.  He that findeth his life, shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it.” For all those who lose their carnal lives for the gospel's sake, shall find life eternal.

13  “He that receiveth these my words, receiveth me, and he that receiveth me, receiveth Him that sent me.   Therefore, Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth?  I tell you, Nay; but rather division.  For a house shall be divided; one shall be taken, and others left.  Two shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, the other left.   Two shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”

14 They shall be taken who hear, understand and obey; but those shall be left that close their eyes, and turn a deaf ear, and refuse to understand with their hearts; “lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”  Thus and thus have I come to make division on earth; wheresoever my true body is, this division will take place.

15 But this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come; yea, the end of the world, in every soul that believeth, receiveth and willingly obeyeth it.

16 And now, O ye sons and daughters of men! What more shall I say to you, to cause you to know these to be my words, and that I have already come to make an end of sin in those who believe, and cast out of my kingdom all that offends.  For I will say unto my servants, my harvest men; Gather out first, all that offends, all the fruits of the seed of the enemy, the tares, and bind them in bundles, and cast them into the unquenchable fire.

17 This is the first work which souls can do, towards gathering out of my kingdom all that offends; to gather out of the soul, all that is of the fruits of the seed of the enemy, which are these; lying, hatred, strife and envy, evil speaking, evil communications, bearing false witness one against another, tale bearing, cheating and defrauding one another, taking undue advantage of your fellow beings, when circumstances permit, wronging the widow and the fatherless, and driving from your doors the suffering poor.

18 Yea and with-holding the wages of your laborers, whose infants are crying for bread; also all manner of wastefulness, using the things of this world as abusing them, and consider not that it is a command of your Lord to gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost; all manner of hard heartedness, and cruelty to your fellow beings, whether they be rich or poor, bond or free, black or white.

19 The same God is Father of all souls, and will not hold that soul guiltless, who with wanton cruelty, lifteth his finger to afflict even one of the least of the souls of the children of men.   And he that abuseth his ox, or his ass, or any of the animals which the Lord hath given as a blessing to man, and not to be abused, nor to suffer abuse at his hands, shall be answerable therefore.

20 For he that beateth, and with wanton cruelty layeth on more stripes than is really necessary to govern the beast, in a merciful manner, the same shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment: For a merciful man is merciful to his beasts; and he that hath no mercy on his beasts, nor repenteth of the same, on him will the Lord refuse to have mercy.

21 All manner of preaching for hire, making merchandise of what they call the gospel; and also all manner of making merchandise of the souls of the children of men, I do proclaim aloud to be the seed of the enemy, which shall be gathered out of the soul by an honest confession and true repentance; and the same shall be bound in bundles for the unquenchable fire of the refiner.

22 All manner of idleness, and all manner of excess, either in eating or drinking, or an extravagant use of any of the blessings of God, which are required to be used in their proper time and season, with temperance and discretion, shall men give an account for in the day of judgment.

23 For intemperance is a heinous sin, and brings more distress of body, and dissolution's of lives, than either famine, pestilence or the sword; therefore shall men render an account thereof in the judgment, before the wrath of God will be appeased, in this respect, and the guilty soul set at liberty.

24 Also all manner of idle and ungodly words, spoken with profane lips, and an unbridled tongue; these too must become subjects of the unquenchable fire, as being fruits of the enemy.

25 All manner of filthy and unchaste communications, one with another, are words which must meet the judgment; likewise all manner of foolish and vain imaginations of the heart, are as stubble in my sight, and will never stand the fire of my coming.

26 All manner of uncleanness, which was forbidden by God, in the law of Moses, shall surely meet the fire of my coming; or the soul that doeth these things, shall fall under the weight of sore and terrible judgments, from the hand of the Almighty.

27 For if it be a sin to commit adultery, and if he that looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart, how think ye to escape the fire of my coming, ye who wallow in fleshly defilement, even as the sow walloweth in the mire?

28 These being thus defiled, if they escape the judgment seat, and the fire of my coming, can never escape the wrath and indignation of God, which is against all workers of pollution in this way.

29 Yea, all ye who would become perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect, must forsake all for my sake, and reject the world in every form, and gather out of your hearts all that offends, and is of the fruit of the enemy's seed, and bind them in bundles for the unquenchable fire.

30 And in faithfully so doing, ye shall find mercy and forgiveness, and become clean in my sight.  But know ye, that there is nothing hid which shall not be revealed, nor spoken in secret, which shall not be proclaimed in the judgment, before that burning and shining light, which I have placed in my witnesses.

31 All men cannot receive this saying, to give up all for my sake; but it is given to all who receive a living faith in this gospel.  Therefore they that can receive these sayings of mine, and become eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake, shall receive a name in my kingdom better than of sons and daughters;” for the glory of God shall rest upon them, and the brightness of the eternal world shall be theirs.

32 So I leave these sayings of mine with you, O ye sons and daughters of men!  ye inhabitants of earth whom I love.   Would to God that all men would make that use of them, by which they could render an account in justification before Him.  But he that is wise, is wise for himself, and by his wisdom shall he escape the snares of death; but the foolish shall fall, and by their own folly be slain, and no one can hinder.

33 O that all men could know and understand that which belongs to their everlasting peace, and know the day of their visitation, and hearken to my call!  For I call, yea, I call aloud, and my voice of love and mercy is even unto the ends of the earth: Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest to your souls.

34 Gather near unto me, all ye ends of the earth, and be ye saved.  Gather to me, all ye that mourn, and ye shall be comforted; all ye that sorrow, and ye shall be filled with rejoicing: for my wells run over, and my grace shall not fail.  I will save, even to the uttermost, all that come unto me, and are willing and obedient subjects to my yoke and my cross, which I have purposed for all souls.

35 But if ye see aught laid down in the Book of the Lord, which ye cannot comprehend, and which appears contrary to the scriptures, or to the testimony of the gospel of my first coming, I would advise you to come to Zion, where I have placed my name in my witnesses.  Yea, come like candid and rational beings, in whom reason bears the sway, and seek to be enlightened by those whom I have proclaimed to be the light of the world.

36 Come not like devouring wolves, to chase my flock as sheep for the slaughter, who carry no weapons of defense to combat the carnal invader; but come peaceably, and ye shall receive all the information ye desire, if your desire is to know and believe the truth.

37 But if ye come filled with envy and hatred, seeking to cavil, and require undue and unjust returns, no power in heaven nor on earth is sufficient to satisfy the soul in this frame of bitter animosity; for it is an insatiable spirit, which can never be satisfied.   But sufficient knowledge and understanding are given in Zion, to satisfy and confirm every candid inquirer, and cause them to know of a truth, that the Lord reigneth therein.

38 Many things are laid down in the scriptures, which are blind sayings, designed to be so, at the time they were given; but my Father, in his everlasting mercy and condescension, hath opened the mysteries of his word, in so clear a light, that no souls need stumble, unless they choose to stumble, rather than to walk in smooth paths.

39 For the Lord hath cleared out of the way all stumbling blocks; yea, He hath cast up the highway, and gathered out the stones, and raised the standard for the people, even the ensign of obedience, hath He raised to all nations, kindreds and people.

40 And now, saith the Lord, the King of Zion, I seek to close my word, knowing that all hath been spoken, which is necessary to confound every soul, and cause them to be dumb before God, and speechless in the day of final reckoning, if they obey not the commandments of their God.

41 But they who will hearken, shall escape the wrath and fiery indignation of Divine Power: for the clusters of the vine of the earth are already ripe, and the wine press of the wrath of Almighty God, shall surely be trodden without the city, and no flesh shall be able to stand before God, in the day when his vengeance shall roll.

42 Yet his mercy goeth before, to warn all who will hearken, to flee and make their escape; for there will be such a day of terror as never was since man was created upon the earth, nay nor ever shall be again.   For the abominations of man have come up before the throne of the Most High, and sore judgments have been decreed against all flesh, both of man and beast, and all manner of creeping things, in whose nostrils is the breath of life.  These things have gone forth from the Almighty, whose decree altereth not.

43 And although the fulfillment may not come speedily, but be suspended, with the intent to try the integrity of every heart, and to prove whether souls will yield to serve God through fear, or through willing obedience, out of love; for if it be through fear, and not of good will and pleasure, they will begin to say in their hearts, The Lord delayeth his coming, and so will begin to use violence, and do that from which, through fear, they have been restrained for a season;

44 For this cause, and also for the purpose of giving all souls an offer of mercy, hath my Heavenly Father purposed to stay his hand for a short season, from the full display of his judgments, to try those who dwell upon the earth.  But far more tolerable will it be in the judgment, for the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, and for the inhabitants of the old world, than for the inhabitants of the earth in this day, if they continue in their abominations, and heed not the reproof of their God.

45 And thus is my word closed: and with this word receive my solemn, yea, my solemn and timely warning, in the name of your ever blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

46 Revealed through an innocent child of Zion's King and Queen, for the benefit of all mankind, even from the king upon his throne, down to the meanest servile dependent that walks your streets.  The end of the Savior's word in his own name.

47 Thus saith the holy Angel to the writer; I have attentively read the preceding communication, in the name of the ever blessed Savior of man; and as I have read, so in like manner hath it been written. And of all which the Savior gave me, I have reserved nothing. And if there is any further word, in the name of the Son of God, to be revealed in this place, to go with this Book, it is unknown to me the holy Angel.

48 And now I bid you kindly farewell. I go hence to meet your blessed Lord, and carry the good tidings that all is safely written by a mortal hand, and brought to mortal view. So kindly farewell.
From the
HOLY ANGEL.

 

The “Giant” within each man;   the “Man of Sin” defined

PART  V.   Chapter 9.

The apostle's warning to hasten and fulfill the requirements of God.  The strong enemy of souls is not conquered by great and mighty displays, but by simple obedience.  His fervent exhortation.  Witness of the Angel.

1 Therefore, saith the apostle, I solemnly warn all, who may ever become hearers of these my words, that ye hasten to fulfill the requirements of God, which are not in great and hidden mysteries, but in little simple requirements; such as an honest confession of all known sin; rectifying and making restitution for all known wrongs, and then quietly asking to know the will of God, in all points, of those who are called to teach in the name of Christ, rendering strict obedience to them as doing it to God.

2 What can be more easy and plain, and more rational to the candid mind?  But a terrible way to those who seek to hide their counsel from the Lord, and remain covered before his Anointed.

3 Ye must always remember that it is not in great and mighty displays, that the man of sin is to be subdued; for in this, souls would meet him on his own ground, and combat him on his own terms.

4 The great and terrible Goliah, in the days of Israel, was an emblem of the man of sin, which every soul must combat and slay, before their redemption draweth nigh.  Yet frightful as was the appearance of the terrible Goliah, which caused the armies of Israel to fear and tremble, the simple child David, a keeper of his father's sheep, a stripling of no fame, with a smooth stone cast from a leather sling, gave the death blow, and brought the hero to the ground.

5 And thus the stripling David, a man whom God had chosen to be a man of war, to prefigure the warfare which is not carnal, but mighty in power, to the pulling down of the strong holds of Satan, subdued his mighty antagonist, and placed him beneath his feet.

6 And thus shall every soul conquer their strong enemy, the giant which defieth the simplicity of the children of Zion, and boasteth himself above God and all that is of God.  Those that desire to conquer, cannot be too simple to undermine the tyrant of their souls, and conquer and slay in themselves, the man of sin, the only enemy souls ever need to dread.

7 And if ye believe not these my words, come and prove them for yourselves; and if ye can do anything better calculated to punish and afflict the man of sin, who seeks to be great and exalted, than to come strictly to the simplicity of the gospel, like a little child, then have I spoken falsely at this time.

8 But the moment the soul enters the self-denying path of Christ, which brings all souls into childlike obedience, that moment does the nature of enmity and opposition within begin to squirm.  And the more the little simple weapons of childlike obedience, and the little simple requirements of the gospel are applied, the more the tyrant will rage, until subdued and brought beneath the feet of the conqueror.  Thus simple are the weapons by which this is effected.

9 But mighty is the conflict after this, even after the soul has placed his feet upon the neck of his strong enemy; for unless he continues to trample all evil under his feet, by disarming his enemy of all his weapons, and applying them to the utter destruction of the same, by guarding against them in his own soul; I say, even then, will there be danger of the soul's losing power, and the enemy's again renewing his hold and his influence.

10 And for this reason, do I speak thus plain upon this subject, knowing the danger of souls falling, even after they have gained sufficient power to triumph over their strong enemy, and feel as though the work was accomplished, and so begin to feel at ease in Zion; and ere they are aware their enemy suddenly returns upon them, and they fall victims to their mighty foe.

11 These things, saith the apostle, I speak as one having had great experience in the work of God, and in the travel of souls.   I have seen the rising and falling of many souls, and therefore do I speak these things from my own experience.

12 Souls, after traveling to a comfortable state in the gospel, and feeling their inbred cravings pretty well subdued and brought under mortification, are apt to feel as though the warfare was accomplished; and Satan is willing that they should think so; but this is not a safe way.

13 Souls never ought to be at ease in Zion.  Although the power of their strong passions have become measurably abated; yet always remember, that the valiant David never ceased his work with his strong enemy, until he had disarmed that enemy, and, by the sword of the giant, had severed his head from his body.

14 Had the youthful David, after bringing the mighty Goliah to the ground, then returned in safety to his brethren, ere he had severed the giant's head from his body, would not the stunned Philistine, after recovering his senses, (for though apparently slain, he was not dead, but merely stunned by the force of the stone,) would he not then have returned, with twofold vengeance, upon the stripling David?  Undoubtedly he would, if possible, and perhaps unawares have taken his life.

15 And thus hath it been with many souls; and will continue to be with every soul, that undertakes in the warfare of combating his strong enemy, — his own evil and carnal nature, which is in direct enmity to God, if he stops short of its full destruction; for that nature “is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be;” therefore must it be slain, before the soul can go to God and become one with Him.

16 For this cause hath God, in his everlasting wisdom, framed the most easy and ready way to accomplish the work by the little simple requirements of the gospel, which are so simple and plain, that a child can perform them with ease; yea, with as much ease as to cast stones with a sling.   Children cannot go forth to war with mighty armor; but they can cast stones with a sling; and all that the Lord requires of his children is to be so small, as to comply with such simple means as He directs for waging war, which is the most ready way to gain the victory.

17 But souls are apt to make a great display and bustle in the power of man, in the warfare which is not carnal, quite as much as in the warfare which is carnal, and which requires a great display of might and power; but the warfare of souls is not to be effected in that way; the still small voice must bear the sway in order to accomplish this work.

18 Satan had much rather be combated with many mighty words and strong arguments, contending for the faith, and much of that which is of a bustling nature, or doing anything which God hath not called them to do, than to be met with the still small voice of childlike obedience, to all the commands of God, seeking not only to become little, but the least of all.  This is more than he can bear.

19 Far more agreeable would it be to his feelings, to be roared at, by a mighty voice of man's power; so far from being offended at this, it is the very way to please him.  For Satan, being subtile, knoweth that by this means, the soul will be decoyed from performing that internal work which will finally accomplish the victory; yet the power of God is mighty in the obedient soul.

20 I have now spoken freely on this subject, with the good intent to give understanding to those who seek to gain the victory over their strong enemy, and become crowned with everlasting life.  And if I could say anything further that would in any way serve to benefit any soul, I would be willing and thankful to speak much longer; but I think sufficient hath been spoken at this time, to give a full idea of the work and requirement of God, upon all souls who will be profited thereby; therefore I add no more.

21 And may the blessing and the prosperity of my God, and also his Son Jesus Christ, attend these my words.  And may the blessing and prosperity of the whole eternal world, go and continue with this word in the name of the Lord of hosts, the eternal God of Israel; and may it spread prosperously through the land, and smite such of the nations as desire to be saved.

22 And for this gospel will I contend to the laying down of all that is near and dear to me; and had I a hundred more lives to live on earth, I would live them all to God, in fulfilling the requirements of this gospel, even to the giving up not only of my carnal life by the cross, but to the giving up of my animal life, if it were required of me.

23 For I count nothing too dear, if I can do the will of that God who hath dealt so mercifully with all souls, and hath prepared that rest for those that overcome, which hath never entered the heart of man to conceive, or frame any just idea of.

24 This is my word, to go with this book, as a strong witness in my own name, in favor of the present work of God, which hath wrought deliverance in me, that I am no more a servant, but a conqueror, yea more than a conqueror; for I inherit all things.  Thus ends my word and my witness.

From the beloved apostle PETER.

 

Thus saith the Angel of eternal truth; I the holy Angel, do bear witness that as the beloved apostle Peter sounded his word to the writer; so in like manner was it also written; and with great joy doth the beloved apostle view his words faithfully written by a mortal hand.

And with great joy do I the holy Angel view the things of God brought to mortal view, knowing that it is the will of God that it should be so.  And this is my word and my witness at this time.

From the Angel of Eternal Truth.

 

The “Fashion of this World” passing away

PART  V.    Chapter 12, 

22 And what is more fashionable in this day, than for men to have wives?  Can ye imagine any thing more common and fashionable?  Also that every man should be head of his own household, and that the woman should guide and direct as helper meet to her husband, holding selfish gain and selfish kindred: and what can be more fashionable and more agreeable than this, to the carnal lusts of man?

23 But in the second coming of Christ, in his glory, to make an end of the world, which springs from the lusts of men, these things which are so fashionable among men, must pass away and the lusts thereof;   for they that have wives must be as though they had none, and they that have possessions, as though they possessed not, having all things common, in a united capacity;   and no name heard but father and mother, brethren and sisters.

24 O what a killing thing this must be to the fashions and lusts of man, who hath gloried in a woman to his shame, and not according to the command and will of God!


Published by the Shakers in their prophetical book of revelations, entitled: 
“The Divine Book of Holy and Eternal Wisdom”  
1849 - Excerpts from   Part V.  Chap
ters 7, 9, & 12.

 

Other Early Shaker Writings on Self Denial & Sexual Abstinence:
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File 2 of 4  ~  File 3 of 4


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