EARLY SHAKER  wRITINGS
RELATING TO SEXUAL ABSTINENCE AND SELF DENIAL.  

     FILE  1  of  4  contains:
THREE AUTHENTIC SHAKER EXCERPTS regarding...A Virgin Life.
The Call from Scriptures Examined.
Bible Lessons on the the Virgin Life and Character.
Evidence given by the Savior as to its Necessity.

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Early Shaker Writings Relating to
Sexual Abstinence & Self Denial.


Three Authentic Excerpts Regarding:

A Virgin Life.


 

VII.  A Virgin Life.

48. THE term virgin implies purity, and when used literally to express the quality of anything, it signifies pure, unmixed, undefiled, unadulterated.   Hence the terms virgin gold, virgin copper, virgin snow, and the like, are used to represent those substances in a pure, unadulterated state.   A virgin life, therefore, means a life of purity, a life undefiled with sinful indulgences, unmixed with corrupt practices, unadulterated with carnal gratifications and impure desires and pursuits.  But the sense to which we more immediately confine it, and which is indeed the most obvious, is to express a life of continence, or a life of abstinence from the carnal gratifications of the flesh, from sexual coition, and from all lascivious indulgences.

49. This pure principle flows from the attribute of holiness, and is the genuine offspring of continence and innocence.  “God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Hence it is evident that, without purity and holiness, we cannot find acceptance in the sight of God.  And it is an immutable truth, that the heavenly sensations of purity and holiness, and the unclean passion of lechery can never abide together in any soul: for where the former are in operation the latter is effectually excluded; and where the latter is in operation it equally excludes the former.  Hence a virgin life is that which approaches the nearest to God, and partakes most of the Divine nature. This appears evident from the following well authenticated facts.

50. 1. Among the ancient heathens, whatever was esteemed sacred and pure, was committed to the care of virgins.  Their sacred fire was entrusted to virgins; their sacred oracles, prophetic warnings, and other divine manifestations were given to virgins.  So that notwithstanding their false religion, it is evident that on many important occasions, their virgins were honored with the prophetic gifts of the Spirit of God.

51. 2. The devout Jews esteemed the virgin life the most pure; and virgins were often honored with prophetic oracles and gifts of the Spirit, when such manifestations of Divine favor were almost entirely withdrawn from all other classes of people among them.  Josephus informs us that the Essenes, who maintained the virtue of continence, were many of them favored with Divine revelations.

52. 3. In the days of the apostles, virgins were particularly honored with the Spirit of God.  The daughters of Philip the evangelist were virgins, and were blest with prophetic gifts.  It is stated by Dr. Horneck, that in the days of the primitive Christians. “Thousands of their virgins freely dedicated themselves to God, and would be married to none but him; and though many times they were tempted by rich fortunes, yet nothing could alter their resolutions.”

53. 4. From the most authentic accounts we have of the Christian religion, in different ages, since the days of primitive Christianity, it appears evident that those people, under whatever name or sect they have been classed, who from a principle of devotion to God, have maintained a life of continence, notwithstanding they have been generally stigmatized as heretics, and have had their names cast out as evil, have been more highly favored, as a people, with the effusions of the Holy Spirit, and more particularly blessed, as individuals, with the heavenly gifts of God, than any other class of people whatever.  These things prove the purity of the virgin character in the sight of God.

54. The term virgin is often used, in the language of the prophets, to represent the Church of Christ, and to signify purity of character; and to that character the promises of God were given.  The prophet Jeremiah, in his predictions concerning the latter day of glory, three times in one chapter, applies the appellation of virgin to the millennial church, by which he evidently points out its purity.  “Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel!  thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.  Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together.  Turn again, O virgin of Israel! turn again to these thy cities.”

55. It will probably be contended by some, that the prophet has here used the term virgin merely as a figure, to represent the church in its pure and happy state; not with any particular allusion to the character of continence, but in allusion to its general purity.  This is, at least, admitting the purity of the virgin character.  But it is necessary to observe in the first place, that a figure must bear a true analogy to the substance; otherwise it cannot be a proper figure.   We would then ask, whether the selection of this term, as a figure of purity, does not clearly show that the character itself is more pure in the sight of God, than any other?  If so, then is not its opposite the most impure?  Again: If God has chosen to represent his people by a figure which implies the most pure character, does he not therefore require that they should support that character by the most pure life?   And if the virgin life is the most pure, did he not intend that they should live such a life?  If not, then where is the consistency of representing them by a figure which implies a pure character?

56. When all this is duly considered, we must conclude that the term virgin was designed, not only as a standing memorial of that life which is the most pure in the sight of God; but also as a most powerful evidence that God did design that a people of that character should build and inherit the church of the latter day.  This truth may be more fully confirmed and illustrated by the following remarks and observations.

57. 1. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin.  Thus a pure virgin character was chosen to receive the first seed of the New Creation; an incontestable evidence of the pure nature of that work which he was sent to introduce into the world, for the salvation and redemption of mankind from that impure nature in which they were begotten.  And as his conception was without sexual impurity, it teaches us that, at the first entrance of souls into the life of Christ, they must reject that very impurity which was first rejected in his conception.

58. The miraculous birth of Jesus Christ by a virgin, also shows that, in him, the work of natural generation ceased, and a new and spiritual Creation commenced.  Hence in the regeneration, all who are begotten of Christ, must necessarily cease from that work, or lose that spiritual life which they receive from him.  Though he was born into the world, yet he was not of the world.   The same remark will apply to all his true followers, according to his own testimony: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  It is readily admitted by all that it was not the work of Jesus Christ to propagate an earthly offspring; and the same is equally true of his followers also: for “if they are not of the world, even as he is not of the world,” they can have no more to do with its works of generation than he had; because that work belongs solely to the children of the world, and not to the followers of Christ: they have a very different work to do.

59. 2. The cross of Christ necessarily includes a virgin life, or a life of continence; because the carnal nature of man must die, before the soul can ever rise to God; and that nature, having its source and foundation in sexual coition, is fed and nourished by lascivious indulgences; therefore its death cannot be effected without this cross; and there is nothing in nature; nothing within the comprehension of the natural man, which can be more crossing to that carnal propensity than a life of continence.

60. The follower of Christ is indeed required to deny himself, and take up his cross against every evil propensity that pertains to man's fallen nature; but he finds none so powerful, in nature, as that which is directly opposed to a life of virgin purity; because that is the source of all others; and therefore a cross against that propensity, is necessarily included in the general, self-denying cross which, according to the testimony of Christ must be taken up in order to become his disciples; and indeed it is much the most weighty and important part of the cross of self-denial.

61. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”  Here we have the plain and positive declaration of Jesus Christ, that not only these natural relatives which stand in connection with the man, according to the order of natural generation, but even his own life also must be hated, or he cannot be a disciple of Christ.

62. But mankind are so prone to the indulgence of that fallen nature which binds them to the flesh, that they will exert every faculty to evade the force of truth and abolish the cross.  They are willing to apply any other meaning to Christ’s words, and to acknowledge faith in any other cross, except that which strikes at the very source of their carnal enjoyments — the very choicest of all their pleasures — the very life of the natural man.  Such a cross is too painful for a fallen and corrupted nature to endure; it is killing — it is death to such a nature.

63. But the painful excitement, the distressing opposition which man's carnal nature feels against such a cross, is a most powerful evidence of its necessity.  And were there no other argument in favor of it, this alone is sufficient to convince us that it is the very cross to which Christ had a particular reference: for that nature must be destroyed out of the soul of man before he can find his redemption; and this cross of Christ is purposely designed to effect its destruction, without which it never will be destroyed.

64. 3. The nature of fallen man is selfish, being wholly bent on selfish gratifications.  His desires are selfish; because they are directed solely to objects which tend to gratify his selfishness.  His love is selfish; because it is confined to those who indulge and please his selfishness.  In short, the gratification of self is the great object of all his pursuits.  This selfish nature is doomed to destruction, and it is this which Christ requires his followers to hate.  They are not required to hate the souls nor the bodies of their natural kindred, nor of any other creature: for this would be inconsistent with the whole tenor of Christ’s precepts and examples.  But the real object of hatred is that fallen, selfish nature, which is the very life and support of this carnal relation, which binds the soul of man to the earth, and which produces and strengthens all his carnal and earthly connections.

65. Carnal affections must die, that spiritual affections may live: for it is impossible for both to have an abiding residence in the soul.  Carnal affections are selfish; they cleave to natural kindred; they are chiefly confined to those narrow limits which circumscribe the connective ties of the flesh and blood, and seldom, if ever, extend further than to those who are excited by interest, or some other selfish motive, to indulge, flatter and exalt their selfishness.   And even here they are liable to be turned from one flattering object to another more flattering, and which can afford a higher gratification to self.  So contracted, selfish and fleeting are carnal affections.

66. But spiritual affections are not circumscribed within so small a compass.  They cannot be confined to such narrow limits; they embrace the whole creation of God; they shed abroad their benign love to all the human race; they extend the hand of kindness and charity according to the spirit of that Divine precept, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”  The most powerful operations and the most extensive stretch of natural affections are very feeble and limited, when compared with the widespread effusions and divine operations of spiritual and heavenly affections.  These heavenly affections are the rich and abiding treasure of every faithful believer; they are the treasures of a life of continence, the fruits of the cross of Christ, the genuine offspring of a virgin life.  As carnal affections have a natural tendency to produce selfishness; with all its consequences; so spiritual affections will bring forth the genuine fruits of peace, love and disinterested benevolence.

67. 4. Man is required to love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and to place his highest affections there.  He is at the same time, required to deny himself of all those carnal and earthly propensities, affections and lusts which bind him to the flesh, and which constitute the life of the natural man, in his fallen and depraved state; and in this sense, he is required to hate his own life.  It is the same fallen and depraved nature which he is required to hate in all his earthly kindred.  And when this nature is overcome and destroyed in himself, and in them, by the power of the gospel and a daily cross, then there is room for Christ to dwell in the soul, and the man can then love God in every such soul, whether they have been connected with him by the kindred ties of the flesh or not.  God is no respecter of persons; and those who have the Spirit of God dwelling in them, will love those best who possess the most of that spirit.

68. When therefore, this important work is effected in the soul, by subjection and obedience to the cross of Christ; when the soul has gained a complete victory over that carnal, selfish nature, which first led to a wife, and, in its effects, produced all those carnal connections which bound his affections to a carnal life; then he has obeyed the precepts of Christ, and fully proved his hatred of that life, with all its connections, by renouncing it and traveling out of it; and then also, is fulfilled to him, and in him, the promise of Christ: “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 hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”

69. Here then is the substance of the true virgin life; and this is its promised reward.  Here is the hatred which constitutes a true Christian disciple, and the blessing which follows it.  A full and final cross against the carnal nature of the flesh, and a hatred of that life, with all those affections and lusts which have a natural tendency to indulge and gratify it.   In the reward, the wife is not found; but persecutions supply her place.   Nothing will sooner kindle the fire of persecution than a cross against this carnal life; especially where a wife is irreconciled to bear a part in the cross which her husband has conscientiously taken up for Christ's sake and the gospel’s.

70. But, replies the objector, it cannot be that wives are to be hated and forsaken; for the apostle Paul says, “Husbands, love your wives.”  A very weak objection truly, after what has already been said on the subject.  But objectors generally omit the most important part of this passage, which shows in what manner the apostle taught the married Christians, of that day, to love their wives; we will therefore take the liberty to transcribe the passage in connection, and let modern Christians see whether they live up to the apostle's instructions.   “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it; — that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish: So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.”   Christ’s love to the church, according to this testimony, does not lead him to defile it, but to sanctify and cleanse it, that it may be holy, and without blemish.   “So ought men to love their wives;” not with a carnal love, but with the same pure virgin love; not defiling themselves and their wives with the impure gratifications of lust; but in living lives of continence — in maintaining a virgin life.

71. 5. The same apostle also says, in another place, “I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”   It was as a chaste virgin that they were to be presented to Christ; and he would accept them in no other character.  Knowing this, the holy zeal of the apostle was stirred up to admonish these Corinthian Christians; lest their minds should be led away from the purity and simplicity of the gospel, so that they would not preserve their bodies “in sanctification and honor”, by following the principles of purity and holiness, by living as Christ lived, and walking as he walked, which was evidently in a life of continence and chastity, — in a virgin life.   If then, this principle of a virgin life were of the world, the world would undoubtedly love its own.  But the very nature of man is wholly opposed to it, which is a sufficient evidence that it is not of the world, but of a superior origin.

72. 6. But the most plain and pointed testimony of the apostle in favor of a virgin life, is given in the seventh chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, by which he clearly shows the wide difference between virgin purity, and sexual indulgence; and in which he prophetically points to a day of more perfect purity, when all such indulgences must come to an end.  And all the attempts of modern Christians to draw from the apostle's doctrine any license to indulge their lascivious propensities, are but so many evidences of the depraved state of their own minds, and their ignorance of the true nature of that gospel purity which the apostle is so careful to impress upon the minds of the Corinthian Christians.

73. “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me,” saith the apostle; “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”  Having laid down this principle at the beginning of the chapter, he could not reverse it without involving himself in a contradiction.   “For,” as he said on another occasion, “if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.”  Nor is there the least evidence to be found, in any of his writings, that he ever ceased to give the preference to a virgin life; although the time was not then come for a full manifestation of the truth on this subject.

74. “It is good for a man not to touch a wife.  But because of the fornications, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”  This is the extent of the apostle's toleration; and he affirms that he spoke this by permission, and not of commandment.  And why this permission?  Evidently because of the uncontrollable passions of many among these Corinthians, whom the apostle calls carnal, and who, previous to their conversion to Christianity, had been accustomed to a plurality of wives, and whose licentious habits, even after their conversion, could hardly be controlled within the bounds of moral decency, notwithstanding all the apostle's permissions and indulgences.  But all these indulgences, which modern Christians so readily arrogate to themselves, to justify their lascivious practices, cannot alter the nature of holiness, nor lessen our obligations to follow Christ's example.

75. It is contended by many, that the apostle gave his instructions in favor of a virgin life by permission only; but the fact is directly the reverse; nor is there any deviation, in all his writings, from the principle laid down in the first verse of this chapter; and every indulgence permitted to the Corinthians, was evidently on account of their weakness.  It would have been very extraordinary indeed, for the apostle to recommend continence and virgin purity by permission, or grant it as an indulgence, when every feeling of the carnal nature of man was wholly opposed to it.  Nor would ten thousand permissions ever induce one carnally minded soul to take up such a cross; nor would he ever take it up so long as he could find the least hope of salvation without it.

76. The apostle's permission, therefore, was not in behalf of those who were willing to take up their crosses; but in behalf of those who chose rather to indulge the flesh than to cross it.  And the plain reason why these permissions and indulgences were suffered in that day, was, that the day of full redemption was not then come; and therefore a full and final cross against those indulgences, could not then be absolutely required.  But the apostle told them plainly what was the best way; and those who had spiritual discernment enough to prize a life of purity, followed the apostle's advice.

77. Again it is said that, “the present distress,” mentioned by the apostle, alluded to outward afflictions, occasioned by persecution.  But this is not true; nor can any evidence be produced, either from sacred or profane history, to warrant such a conclusion; but on the contrary, the time when the apostle wrote this epistle, appears to have been a time of the greatest tranquility the primitive church ever enjoyed; nor has the apostle ever given the least hint that persecution was the cause of that precept.

78. The real cause was the uncontrollable passions of these carnal professors, which the apostle strove to keep within some bounds, by certain permissions and indulgences, in a lawful way; otherwise they would have been ensnared by the devil and their own lusts, and led into fornication and adultery.  That this was the real state of many among these Corinthians, will appear very evident on examining the third, fifth and sixth chapters of this same epistle.  Yet that there were some among them who were spiritually minded, appears certain by their writing to the apostle on this subject; and his answer is a clear proof that many evils had got in among them.

79. We do not disagree with the apostle, that those who cannot, or will not abstain from fornication, would do better to marry and confine themselves to one wife, and become orderly members of civil society, than to continue in the practice of promiscuous debauchery.  But a thousand indulgences to carnal men and women can never purify the nature of lust, nor purge it out of the soul.  The marriage of the world still belongs to the first Adam, and not to the second; to the kingdoms of this world, and not to the kingdom of Christ.  This appears evident from the apostle's own testimony in this same discourse, from which carnal Christians draw so much indulgence to please the flesh.  Why do they not see the distinction?

80. “He that is married, careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.”  Also, “she that is married, careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”  But the unmarried, or those who live a virgin life, “care for the things of the Lord, how they may be holy, both in body and in spirit.”  Here we see the principle of a holy life directly pointed out; therefore let those who desire holiness, follow it.   “I would that all men were even as I myself,” says the apostle, who himself was not married. “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.”

81. 7. But after all the apostle's permissions and indulgences to the Corinthians, whom he declares to be “carnal,” he points them to a future day in which all these indulgences must cease; when carnal gratifications, separate possessions, and whatever else among Christians pertained to the customs and manners of a selfish world, must be done away in the church of Christ; and a more inward and spiritual work be wrought in the soul, and a new order of things succeed in the church.  “But this I say, brethren, The time is short.  It remaineth, that both they that have wives, be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not: and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away.”

82. Some have supposed that the apostle alluded to a state beyond the grave; but a little reflection will show the inconsistency of this supposition.  To make it consistent, they must also suppose that the practice of buying and using this world is likewise to be carried beyond the grave.  But this they themselves would hardly believe.  The truth is, that passage points directly to the second coming of Christ, and the established order of his Kingdom on earth, in which the apostle evidently foresaw that a final cross against the carnal indulgence of the flesh, would put an end to that use which had hitherto been made of wives:  That those who had them, would enjoy them as sisters in Christ, and not as wives in Adam:   That the church of Christ, by being separated from the world, and united in spirit, would possess a united interest, which would preclude all buying and selling for individual and selfish purposes; and that thereby a right use of property would take place in the church, where the things of this world would be used without abuse:  And that, in this period, believers, under the operation of an inward, spiritual work of God upon the soul, would both weep and rejoice in spirit, without discovering the feelings and exercises of their souls to the view of an unbelieving world.

83. Having seen, felt and experienced all these things, we are able to testify that no other meaning can, with any consistency, be applied to the apostle's prediction.  So clearly indeed has he pointed out the millennial Church, in that short passage, that its faith and order could not be more completely described, in so few words, notwithstanding the work has actually taken place.  And we bless God that we have lived to see the day in which it is so clearly and amply fulfilled; that the true virgin life is made manifest in this our day, and we are called to be partakers of it; that we can “possess this world as though we possessed it not;” for we know that the “fashion of this world is passed away,” as it respects the lives which we live in it. 

84. 8. “And I looked, and lo! a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.”  This is not a mere external name, consisting of significant letters or characters; but the pure nature of God being formed in them, the very image of purity and holiness shines forth in their countenances, and displays itself in all their words and actions.  But who are those hundred and forty-four thousand?  “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.”

85. Some suppose this to include that particular number only, who will attain to that honor.  Be this as it may, it is a striking evidence that none but those who live a virgin life can obtain so great a privilege; and therefore such a life must not only be the most acceptable in the sight of God and the Lamb, but is that alone which can stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion.

86. “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.”  That is, they walk in perfect obedience to the law of Christ, and follow his example in all purity and holiness; not defiling themselves with women, nor living in any uncleanness, or in any selfish gratification whatever.   “These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God, and to the Lamb.”  Having followed Christ in the regeneration; that is, having lived a life of virgin purity, after his example, by taking up their crosses against all those carnal indulgences of the flesh which pertain to the works of generation, they were redeemed from that nature by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.

87. “And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.”  They have taken up their crosses against all sin, and every evil word and work; and by their obedience to the law of Christ, have obtained a victory over the very nature of evil: for how could they be otherwise without fault?   Such, and such only, are with the Lamb.  And the song which they sing, is a song of praise and thanksgiving to God for their redemption, and which cannot be sung except by those who, through a life of virgin purity, have obtained complete redemption from the lost nature of the flesh.

88. In this vision of John, is a prophetic display of the true character of the work of God on earth, in the great millennial day of Christ, which is, as it were, but just commenced.  And these virgin characters, above described, are the subjects of it: and none will finally be able to stand the test of this great day, without becoming the subjects of this work, and attaining to this character.  Thus we have John's vision of the appearance of the Lamb on Mount Zion and the character of those with him; then follows his vision of the everlasting gospel.

89. “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of Heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.”  Here we find that the gospel is preached, after the appearance of the Lamb on Mount Zion.  This is an evidence, not only that the gospel is to be preached after the second coming of Christ, but also that those to whom it is to be preached had no previous knowledge of his having made his appearance; but are yet to be informed of it by the testimony of the preacher.   After this succeeds the fall of Babylon, and the judgment of God upon those who worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark.

90. These things show that, after the second coming of Christ, the gospel will be preached to all nations, kindreds and tongues; and that those who refuse to obey it, and still continue in the course and practice of the world, will inevitably fall under the judgment of God, both in this world and that which is to come.   For the loud voice of the angel alludes to the preaching of the gospel to a sinful world, by ministers sent of God, with angelic or heavenly power and authority.  After this follows the harvest of the world.

91. “And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.  And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap; for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

92. It will be proper to remark here, that the work of harvest, which is a progressive work, is a striking figure of the work of Christ's second appearing, which is called The harvest of the world.  As a field of wheat is not cut down with one stroke of the sickle; but that which is the ripest is first cut down and gathered, and the reaping continued, as the grain becomes ripe, till all is cut down, separated and gathered into the barn; so is the harvest of the world, in the day of Christ's second appearing.

93. The white cloud represents a cloud or multitude of pure witnesses, those who stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb.   The Spirit of Christ in these witnesses, is the sharp sickle, which goes forth by the word of their testimony, through the preaching of the everlasting gospel, which cuts off and separates souls from the life of the world; and thus they are harvested out of the world; so that their life is no longer of the world, but of Christ.  Thus the principle of a virgin life is implanted in them: “for they are virgins.”   Therefore they can, henceforth, no more propagate a natural offspring than the grain that is gathered into the barn, and devoted to be made into bread, for the use of the owner, can be again sown in the earth and bring forth fruit.

94. The progress of the work here described will fulfil the prediction of Christ; “This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations: and then shall the end come.”

  Published by the Shakers in their book,  “Millennial Church”, 1848 -Part VII, Chapter 2, Section 7.

 


 

 

Excerpts from: MORNING STAR PEARLY GATE BIBLE LESSONS

PART 2.
COMPILED BY 
A.G. HOLLISTER
1900


CHAPTER 1.

THE VIRGIN LIFE AND CHARACTER.

The pure in heart shall see God,
Yea they shall know and understand,
Because they keep His pure command.

 

1. Why do not Shakers marry and conform to the customs of the world?

Ans. — Because they are called out from the world, to be no more of it, even as Christ is not of the world; that they be not partakers of sin, but become heirs and ministers of eternal life. John 15:18, 19; 17:16.

2. Can you give any other reason for this singularity?

Ans. — Because to marry, is to become enslaved to the elements of the world, and often to baseness and corruption.  They who will overcome the world, as did Jesus and Ann, cannot consent to be its slaves. John 16:33.

3. What other reason have Believers in Christ for rejecting marriage?

Ans. — The marriage of the world is the marriage of the flesh, and is usually a provision for the flesh. Matt. 19:5.  Hence it is utterly incompatible with the free, pure, unselfish love, which binds the family or Church of Christ together, and of which Jesus said: A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another. John 13:34; 3:6. Rom. 13:14.

4. What is implied by the term virgin?

Ans. — Pure, unadulterated, undefiled, chaste.  A virgin is a continent person of either sex who has not married.

5. What is meant by the term, A Virgin Life?

Ans. — A life clean and free from the indulgence of any of the generative passions or affections, in deed, word, thought, or propensity. 1 Cor. 7:34. ELDER G. B. AVERY.

6. What eminent examples are there of characters formed by such a life?

Ans. — Jesus so lived. Thus also lived the apostles after they were called to follow Him.  Mother Ann and the elders with her, after they confessed their sins and were baptized with the Holy Spirit, did likewise.  It is believed that Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Daniel, and John the Baptist, among the Prophets, were also of this character. Mark 10:28, 29. Luke 14:33.

7. Why does the faith of Shakers require them to live the Virgin Life?

Ans. — Because this, and this only, is the Christ life.  It is the only way we can keep our innocence and self-respect, preserve a clean conscience and hearts free from guile.  Only upon this basis have we perfect confidence toward God, and ability to keep His commandments. Mark 12:30.

8. What other reason have we for maintaining the Virgin character?

Ans. — Because by thus living and serving one another in unselfish love, which shuts out all carnal affections, we become holy in body and spirit, and do write our names in the book of life of the Lamb, and are slain as he was, from the foundation of the world, which is natural generation. Rev. 13:8; 20:15.  We also thereby, draw nigh to God, who is infinitely pure, and the fountain of all happiness.

9. What is meant by the term holy?

Ans. — Consecrated; set apart for divine service.  Applied to persons or conduct, it means separated from sin and sinful desires; clean, pure, consecrated to religious service. 1Pet. 2:5.

10. What do the Scriptures teach concerning our duty to be holy?

Ans. — “God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” 1Thess. 4:7.  “Pursue holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Heb. 12:14.  As He who hath called you is holy, be ye holy in all your behavior.  For it is written, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1Pet. 1:15.  “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.” Rev. 20:6. Isa. 35:8.

11. Who are the Saints or the Holy Ones to whom is given the final dominion of the world in the days of Messiah, which is the reign of the Anointed?

Ans. — They are those who have renounced the world and selfish propensities for Christ's sake and the gospel.  And have entered the purifying work of the Judgment, and consecrated themselves, time, talents and strength to do the will of God henceforth forever. Dan. 7:9, 10, 14, 22, 27. 1Cor. 6:2. Matt. 19:28. Luke 22:30. Rev. 2:26; 3:21; 20:4.

12. What was signified by the holy place of the Jewish temple, which none but those who served in the temple might enter, unless they were ceremonially clean, although animals were there killed for sacrifices.  And a holy of holies containing the Cherubim, the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy seat, where only the Chief Priest might enter, once a year, on the solemn Day of Atonement, not without blood? Lev. 16:2, 17, 34; 22:3, 4. Num. 17:13; 18:22. Heb, 9:1-16.

Ans. — It signified that there are degrees of holiness.  That the highest degree attainable under the law of types, which promoted marriage, permitted wars of conquest, and selfish ownership, was only an antechamber to a far higher, holier state, into which Christ opened the way by abolishing those institutions, and slaying the selfish animal man on the daily cross of self-denial.  We follow him by doing as he did. Heb. 10:5-9, 16-20. Gal. 3:24. Luke 16:16. Matt. 5:20. 1Pet. 2:21.

13. Can married people while living as husband and wife be holy as Christ and his people are holy?

Ans. — They cannot.  The most perfect natural marriage imaginable is governed and judged by the law of God through Moses and is in no wise a Christian institution.  True Christian holiness is of the heart.  The nature of lust is the same in all, whether in or out of wedlock.

14. What testimony of Jesus confirms this statement?

Ans. — The teaching and example of Christ went further than to cancel the outward ties of flesh,  for the axe is laid at the root of the tree in the unmistakable word: “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt. 5:28.

15. What does the Apostle say is the difference between the married and the unmarried with respect to holiness?

Ans. — He having married cares for the things of the world how he may please his wife. The unmarried cares for the things of the Lord how he shall please the Lord. 1Cor. 7:32-34. Rom. 8:8.

16. What discovery is made by those who are called to forsake the marriage relation for the Kingdom of God?

Ans. — Many learn that the wife or the husband had been given the place of highest preference in their hearts which properly belongs to God alone, and that this relation bound both parties by the strongest ties to the life and service of the world so long as it continued.  Experience proves that the carnal life alienates the faculties of the body and mind from God's service.

17. What more does the Apostle say on the subject?

Ans. — There is a difference also between the wife and the virgin.  She that is married cares for the things of the world how she may please her husband.   She that is unmarried, cares for the things of the Lord how she may be holy both in body and spirit.

18. What truism did Jesus utter about serving two masters?

Ans. — “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Matt. 6:24. Luke 16:13.

19. How is this manifested in daily practice?

Ans. — He who is mastered by the carnal life of the world hates the righteous Reprover whose doctrine requires him to forsake it.  He who loves righteousness and cleaves to truth as his Master, will despise the carnality which lords over the unclean.   “To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Rom. 8:6.

20. What does Jesus cite as the first and greatest commandment?

Ans. — “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” Matt. 22:37. Mark 12:29, 30.

21. What is the second?

Ans. — The second is like the first. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self.”  “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

22. What is implied in this last statement?

Ans. — That the Law and revealed instruction are developed from these as plants from seeds: Or that they are consequent and auxiliary.  This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. 1John 5:3; 2:3-6.

23. What does the Apostle say is the fulfilling of the law?

Ans. — The Law is fulfilled in this one word: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Gal. 5:14.

24. What is the doctrine taught in these Scriptures?

Ans. — That the married are bound to serve self and the world, and are therefore unable to love God perfectly with their whole heart.  But the unmarried, who abstain for Christ's sake and the gospel, are free to love and serve God perfectly, and reign victorious over all enemies, if they will.

25. What is the testimony of Jesus on this vital subject?

Ans. — “The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal to or like angels (in the heavens), and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” Luke 20:34-36. Matt. 22:30. Mark 12:25, 26.

26. What is meant by the phrase, “resurrection from the dead” ?

Ans. — It means to be born of the spirit from above. John 3:3.   Wherefore, Jesus, being the first to rise out of the spiritual death in Adam, to spiritual life in Christ, is called the firstborn from the dead, the firstborn of many brethren, the first fruits of them that slept. 1Cor. 15:20. Rom. 8:29. Col. 1:18.

27. Is the resurrection a spiritual or a physical process?

Ans. — It is wholly spiritual.  The defunct material body has no part in it.  Christ said, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” John 11:25.   Consequently all who are in him, who is the Life-giver, are in the resurrection, whether they be in material bodies or out of them. Rom. 6:3-13.

28. How, then, can married people become children of the resurrection?

Ans. — Only by forsaking that relation as Jesus has taught: “Whosoever there be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33.

29. When Peter said, “Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee,” how did Jesus reply to him?

Ans. — Jesus answered, “Verily, I say unto you, 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, but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions, (in lieu of wife or husband) and in the world to come eternal life.” Mark 10:28-30. Matt. 19:27-29.

30. In the parable of the supper, which one of the invited guests was unable to comply?

Ans. — One said, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”  Those detained by other interests begged merely to be excused. Luke 14:16-21.

31. What more on this subject did Jesus say to the multitudes that followed him?

Ans. — “If any man come to me and hate not his father, mother, wife, and children, brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own (sensual) life also, he cannot be my disciple.  And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26, 27, 33.

32. Are we to understand by this that Jesus taught his disciples to hate people or persons?

Ans. — Nay, nay, the farthest possible from that.  His life and ministration, and that of his true disciples, is wholly of love and tenderness to the good in all human beings, even enemies, but of hatred to carnal ties which link and bind individuals together in selfishness, lust and pride. Matt. 5:42-48. Luke 6:27-36.

33. Do Shakers desire to weaken the just obligations of marriage on those who populate the world?

Ans. — We do not.  It is the exclusive right of the children of this world who follow the first Adam, and is a wise provision for orderly generation. Luke 20:34, 35. 1Cor. 15:45-50.

34. Does the Apostle testify that marriage is honorable in all?

Ans. — It is so written, and taking into consideration the two kinds of marriage taught in Scripture, we deem it true.  But that does not make the marriage of the world, Christian nor Christlike.  Even in its worthiest state, it carries an exclusiveness and an ownership which is abolished in Christ.

35. Of what is orderly natural marriage regarded as a type?

Ans. — It is alluded to as a type of the marriage of the Lamb, which is to be joined to Christ, — or joined to the Lord in one spirit. Eph. 5:22-32. Isa. 54:5, 6. Rev. 19:7.  See B-L., verse 62 following.  The type foreshadows the coming of the substance, and must pass away to give it place.

36. Does the same Apostle testify that the gospel preached by him, is not according to man, and he did not receive it from man, nor was he taught it but by a revelation of Jesus Christ? Gal. 1:11, 12.

Ans. — Yea. Also when about to make concessions to weakness, he testifies, It is good for a man not to touch a woman. That is, carnally.  After he had said, To avoid fornication let every man have his own wife and every woman her own husband, he adds this preceptive rule — They that have wives should be as those not having, and they that buy, as though they possessed not, and they that use this world as not abusing it.  For the fashion of this world passes away, [marriage included.] 1Cor. 7:1, 29-31.

37. What is the purport of Let each have his own wife, and her own husband?

Ans. — It indicates that preaching the gospel, had caused a separation between husbands and wives which some had not faith strong enough to bear. 1Cor. 7:7, 8.  It seems unlikely that many would wish to marry under the foregoing restrictive rules, which illustrate the true christian practice.

38. What was the Apostle's instruction to Timothy about receiving widows under 60 years of age, into the select, faithful number?

Ans. — After describing the character of those to be admitted, he says, Younger widows refuse, for when they begin to grow wanton against Christ, they will (or wish to) marry, having condemnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 1Tim. 5:11.

39. What is the inevitable deduction from this statement?

Ans. — That their first faith required them to abstain from marriage.   That the wish to marry after having received the faith, is the effect of wantonness against Christ.   And therefore that the marriage of the world is utterly opposed to Christ, as flesh is to Spirit. Gal. 5:13, 17, 24. Rom. 8:5-8.

40. Why then did the Apostle counsel such to marry and guide the house, etc.?

Ans. — If the Apostles gave that counsel, it should be ascribed to their lack of faith, and to the backwardness of the age.  For those who rejected the pure, chaste, virgin rule of Christ, it may have been the best that could be given.

41. Is an orderly, moral course in nature, better than an idle, lawless course of self-indulgence under the cloak of a religious or Shaker profession?

Ans. — It is truly so.  It is on this principle that even a christian Apostle could say, It is better to marry than to burn, or commit fornication, or than practice open or secret vice of any kind. 1Cor. 7:9; 6:9, 10. 2Tim. 3:5, 7.

42. What is the lesson conveyed in the saying of Jesus; My kingdom is not of this world; and concerning his disciples; They are not of the world even as I am not of the world; I have chosen you out of the world. John 18:36; 17:16; 15:19.

Ans. — We understand by this, that as true Christians are not of the world, they cannot propagate it without turning away from Christ.  Hence that marriage on the worldly plane, is abolished by the law of Christ, in all who forsake the world and do his commandments. Luke 14:26, 27, 33. Matt. 19:12, 27, 29; 13:44-46.

43. What is the effect of that impartial love which rules his kingdom?

Ans. — It dissolves all flesh and blood ties and enables souls to rise in dominion over the carnal, partial and contracted affections of nature, to the boundless resurrection plane of eternal life. Luke 14:26. Matt. 10:36-39.

44. Did Paul write The Bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, — Let Deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well?

Ans. — It is so recorded in 1Tim. 3:2, 12.  But as wife and husband are abolished in Christ, and the same Apostle elsewhere tells us that They that have wives should be as those not having, we infer that they lived with them as sisters. 1Cor. 7:1, 29.  A sister might enter and give spiritual instruction in private apartments of women, where no man but the husband was allowed to go, as is still the custom in some eastern countries.

45. Did the Apostle write to Timothy that The woman having been deceived and fallen into transgression shall be saved through child bearing?

Ans. — It may reasonably be doubted that Paul ever wrote this. The Syriac reads, “She shall be saved by means of her children if they continue in the faith and in love and sanctity and chastity. 1Tim. 2:15.  This agrees better with the context, and with the general teaching of the Apostle.  Elder Henry Clough, Chief Messenger of Father Joseph Meacham, said “The prayer of a child for the parent is more [availing] than all the Angels in heaven.” Children may become the Saviors and therefore spiritual Parents of their natural progenitors.

46. Do Shakers forbid to marry?

Ans. — We do not.  Only volunteers count in our ranks. But the New Testament record proves and experience confirms that the marriage, which makes of twain one flesh, is opposed to the command of Christ, which is the law of the New Covenant written in the heart, as flesh is opposed to spirit, error to truth and darkness to light.

47. How then, is forbidding to marry a sign of departure from the faith?

Ans. — Because when the people departed from obedience to the internal commandment, enforced by conscience, their rulers resorted to an external commandment, enforced by state authority, to preserve an outward semblance of the christian profession.

48. What did Mother Ann say to Daniel Moseley referring to this real or supposed mark of apostasy?

Ans. — She said to him, “Do not go and report that we forbid to marry, for we do not.  But all who cannot or will not take up their crosses for the Kingdom of Christ's sake, and that only, I would advise them to marry and live after the flesh in a lawful manner, and be servants to their families; for that is natural and less sinful in the sight of God than any other way of gratifying that nature.” 1827 Test. page 73, 74.

49. When Jesus explained the law of marriage and divorce to the crafty Pharisees, what impression did he make on the minds of his disciples?

Ans. — His disciples said, “If the case be so, the man with the wife, it is not good to marry.” Matt. 19:10, 12.

50. What reply did Jesus make to this conclusion of theirs?

Ans. — “Not all men receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.   There are eunuchs which were so born.  Others were made eunuchs by men.   Some made themselves eunuchs on account [Gr. dia, through or by means] of the kingdom of heaven.  He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

51. What lesson is contained in these statements?

Ans. — Inasmuch as the terms of the Gospel are equal and alike to all, we are here taught that those who would rise to eternal life in the everlasting dominion of the Saints, or become enrolled with the Lamb on Mt. Zion, must, in order to do so, be wholly divested of that nature which leads people to marry and multiply carnally.

52. To whom is this exalted boon given?

Ans. — To whomsoever hears and obeys the voice of the Son of God in the gospel of virgin purity, self-crucifixion and mutual serving, proclaimed by his Messengers.  He that hath ears to hear let him hear; and let him that heareth, say Come. Rev. 22:17.

53. What promise in the Prophets was made to eunuchs that could not be fulfilled under the Old Covenant, but which is here explained and fulfilled in the New?

Ans. — “Neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.” Isa. 56:3-5

54. Does the Apostle, referring to the law of a carnal commandment, say the wife is bound by the husband so long as the husband liveth?  And is not the husband also bound by the wife?

Ans. — Yea, it is even so.  And the same Apostle (Rom. 10:4) declares that Christ is the end of the law [of types and justifications of flesh (Heb. 9:10, critical translation) but not of the law eternal], for righteousness in all that obey him.  Selfish affections vanish before the free, self-abnegating love of Christian relationship.  Wife and husband die with the old life, and the old covenant is annulled, that the little child may live in the New Kingdom.

55. Did Jesus say, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth?” Matt. 28:18. John 3:35.

Ans. — It is so written.  “All power” incontestably implies power to remove all opposing barriers, whether of law, custom, bond or contract, annulling even the marital bond between husband and wife, as the virgin life requires.  Also to open every prison cell and free every captive that will hear and obey his commandments.

56. What is the character of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion?

Ans. — These are redeemed from the earth and from among men, the first fruits unto God and the Lamb.  They are not defiled with women, [that is with carnal sex relations, nor was the Lamb Jesus], for they are virgins, who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.  And in their mouth is found no guile, for they are without fault. Rev. 14:4, 5. 1Cor. 7:34. Lev. 22:3, 4. Lev. chapter 15.   All works offensive to the Divine presence under the Law of Moses, are abolished in the gospel of Christ the Lamb.

57. What promise is made to the virgin character when the Lord shall gather Israel and keep him as a Shepherd does his flock, evidently alluding to the reign of Messiah?

Ans. — “They shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of Jehovah.  Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together.  And my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith Jehovah.” Jer. 31:4, 10-13.

58. Will you sing or repeat the words of their song?

Ans. —

“This is the place where virgins meet,
To worship God with music sweet,
To join in dances all complete,
It fills my soul with pleasure:
This is the day of Jubilee,
A day of gospel liberty,
'Tis Mother's love that makes us free,
O glory, halleluia!”

59. Will you sing or repeat another psalm ?

Ans. —

“Behold the pure as they advance,
One in their desire,
We now can worship in the dance,
As once said Jeremiah:
O what joy inexpressible
Have the meek and lowly,
They've a God who is accessible,
Just, pure and holy.”

60. What was Mother Ann's testimony to married people?

Ans. — “You must forsake the marriage of the flesh, or you cannot be married to the Lamb, nor share in the resurrection of Christ.  For those who are accounted worthy to have part in the resurrection of Christ, neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like unto the Angels.” Luke 20:35, 36. Mark 12:25. Prec. chapter 3, verse 6; chap 7, verse 15.

 

61. What did Mother Ann say to liberate a young man who was bound in his affections?

Ans. — “The marriage of the flesh, is a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell.  Forsake your lust and that woman, and you shall be my son”. Prec. 223, chapter 32, verse 10. Isa. 28:15-18.

62. What did Mother Lucy Wright witness to Mother Ann’s testimony on this subject?

Ans. — “You must forsake the marriage of the flesh and travel out of it in order to be married to the Lamb, which is to be married to Christ, or joined to the Lord in one spirit.” Prec. 240, chapter 34, verse 10.

63. What did Mother Ann say was her relation to Christ?

Ans. — “I have often seen and conversed with the Apostles, and with Christ Jesus, my Lord and head.  No man is my head, but Christ Jesus, he is my Lord and head.  I have walked hand in hand with him in heaven.  Christ is ever with me, both in sitting down and rising up; in going out and coming in.  If I walk in groves and valleys, there he is with me, and I converse with him as one friend converses with another, face to face.” She often said “I feel the blood of Christ running through my soul and body, washing me.  Him do I acknowledge as my head and Lord.” She spake with great power in presence of many, saying, “I am married to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is my head and my husband, and I have no other.” Prec., chapter 23, verses 7, 13, 16, 20.

64. Did Mother Ann revive the testimony of Jesus and the cross of Christ, and administer to those who received her teaching, power to live without sin, which, according to their own confession, no church of married people or married preacher is able to do?

Ans. — Yea, truly she did.  Fruits are the test.  An evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit.  When we see souls abstaining from all evil in their knowledge, — overcoming and putting an end to the world instead of yielding to it, — holding their possessions in a united and consecrated interest, and loving one another in that love by which Jesus said, all men should know they are his disciples, we know that these fruits proceed from the same Christ that taught the primitive disciples at Jerusalem. Matt. 7:15-20. John 13:35. Acts, 4:32.

65. How do we regard the Messenger who brought the testimony that convicted us of a sinful nature, — of a judgment that cleanses, — of righteousness to be gained, and compassed us with wisdom and knowledge to so apply the one as to make sure of the other?

Ans. — We revere that Messenger as our Mother in Christ.  She administered to us, the Holy Spirit of Truth, the Comforter which Jesus promised, should guide his children into all Truth, and abide with them forever. John 14:16-18; 16:7-14.

66. If any who are called to this Virgin Order, by the hearing of faith, refuse to comply, what follows?

Ans. — Whoever rejects the call of the Gospel, for carnal pleasure, which is worship of the Beast described in Revelations, he shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God against sin, mixed undiluted [without mitigation] in the cup of His anger, and be tormented with fire and sulphur, before the holy Messengers and before the Lamb, till he is willing to accept mercy on any terms. Rev. 14:9-11. Matt. 22:12, 13. Prec., chapter 34, verse 6.

67. What is taught in the parable of the great supper, which those who were invited, refused to attend on account of selfish, worldly interests?

Ans. — That the most precious and delightful things of God and the reign of the heavens, have less attraction for the natural man, and are less desired by him, than are the selfish ties, and transient, shadowy pursuits of the world, which blind souls from seeing the good things of the Spirit, and hide from them the true and lasting inheritance. Luke 14:15-24, 8:14. Matt. 13:22. Mark 4:19.

68. What doom was pronounced on those who declined the invitation?

Ans. — None of those who were bidden shall taste of my supper.  To be called to the marriage feast of the Lamb, is a favor conferring opportunity to win highest honor, conjoined with imperishable delight.  To reject it, is to treat the best gift of the Creator with unpardonable slight. Rev. 19:7-9.

69. Mother Ann said, They who finally reject this gospel, will never have another day.  How is this to be understood?

Ans. — This gospel of confessing and forsaking sin and all uncleanness, and following Christ in the regeneration, is the open door of God's mercy to man, and is the only means of salvation that will ever be offered to a lost world.  This is the Perfect work alluded to by the Apostle in his brilliant discourse on love, for redeeming and perfecting all souls: and establishing on earth, Christ's universal and everlasting Dominion.  The work of God in all previous Days or Dispensations, was only in parts, preliminary to this, as we learn from the Prophets.   This being the Perfect work, its requirements and judgments are final and cannot be evaded; and as it is the Day everlasting, there can be none after it. 1Cor. 13:9, 10. Dan. 7:13, 14. Ps. 2:7-9. Rev. 2:26, 27; 11:15; 21:25; 22:5. Micah 4:1-4. Isa. 2:2-4. Millennial Church, chapter 4. Prec., chapter 20, verse 5; chapter 31, verse 7 & 8. John 6:39, 40, 44, 54.

70. What did Mother Ann say concerning loss of souls?

Ans. — It is written that she said Better ten souls be lost that never heard the gospel, than one that has.  Interpreted by the occasion which caused this speech, It means; Better ten souls remain in Nature's darkness, unawakened, which would be only for a time, than for one who has been awakened, to lose sight of the work of God and fall back into things behind.  The same as to say The last state is ten times worse than the former.

71. Did Jesus utter anything of similar purport? Matt. 12:43-45. Luke 11:24-26.

Ans. — “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it wanders through dry places seeking rest and finding none.  It then says I will go back into my house whence I came.  Finding it empty, swept and garnished; it goeth and taketh seven other evil spirits worse than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that man is at least, sevenfold worse than the first.” 2Pet. 2:20, 21. Heb. 6:4-8. Matt. 6:23.

72. Will you name some of the promises given those who receive and obey unto final victory and redemption from evil?

Ans. — He that overcometh, I will make a pillar in the Temple of my God, and he shall go no more out. Rev. 3:2, 21.   They shall be Kings and Priests unto God, and rule over nations. Rev. 1:6; 2:26, 27. 1 Pet. 2:9.  They will be more bright and glorious than Angels that never were so severely tested. Prec., chapter 31, verse 8.  They will be the flower of heaven and glory of Paradise. Prec., chapter 41, verse 22.   God will wipe away all tears from their eyes and all sorrow from their hearts, and will lead them to fountains of living waters. Rev. 7:16, 17.  No adversity shall smite them, nor affliction come nigh them any more forever.  Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. 1Cor. 2:9.  “No human mind, fertile in imagination as it is, can picture to its wildest fancy, the overpowering and transcendent beauty of the progressed and elevated soul.” SPIRIT TEACHING.

When all the affections, desires, willpower and action of the spirit are controlled by the earnest wish to do everything in unison with the will and law of the Great First Cause, Ye can ask what ye will and it shall be done for you.

Published by the Shakers in their book,   “Morning Star Pearly Gate Bible Lessons”,
1900
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Part II Chapter 1

 


 

The Most Plain and Conclusive Evidences given by the Savior,
of the Necessity of a Virgin Life in order to be his True Followers.

by Calvin Green,
Shaker Minister, Writer, Teacher & Elder

First:    Jesus Christ was born of a virgin without the generative cooperation of man, showing that the generative process in the works of God ended in him, and that the regenerative work which is the reverse of generation and requires perfect virgin purity, commenced in him to produce a heavenly and new creation, forever to increase until the whole works of God with the race of man was completed. (See Matt. 24:14.)

Second:   It is indisputable that Jesus Christ lived a perfect virgin life, and according to his positive precepts no one can be his disciple unless, “they deny themselves and take up their cross and follow him.”  We cannot follow him where he never went, therefore we cannot follow him in any connection, nor work of the flesh, for he never went into it in any manner whatever.  It follows then conclusively that all such as marry in the flesh, or live in the works of the fleshly propensity, in any manner are not his disciples.

Third:   Jesus Christ who was the beginning of the new and spiritual creation of God among the human race, said to his followers, “ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  If ye were of the world the world would love its own.”  The works of the flesh are indisputably the life of the world, and there is nothing the children of the world love so well;  nor is there anything the world hates so much as that superior life of Christ which supplants this fleshly life of the world.  Therefore said the Savior; “because ye are not of the world, for I have chosen you out of the world, the world hateth you.”  Hence it is indisputable, that none are the subjects or possessors of this heavenly kingdom, unless they are called out from, and have utterly forsaken this beloved life of the world, even as he did!  Therefore it is evident that such as truly do this work, are those who constitute the kingdom of heaven upon earth, and are the true heirs of the kingdom of God in the eternal world.

Fourth:   Christ testifies that, “The children of this world marry and are given in marriage: but they which shall be (or are) accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection, neither marry nor are given in marriage — but are equal to the angels — or are as the angels of God in heaven.”
(See Luke 20:34-35, & Matt. 22:30.)  Certainly this cannot with any propriety be applied to any, except such as have “risen with Christ from the life of the world into the life of his heavenly kingdom.” (See Col. 1:4.)  Nay, all such “being equal to the angels of God in heaven,” cannot possibly apply to the resurrection or reanimation of dead bodies of both the righteous and wicked, according to the orthodox idea of the resurrection.

Fifth:   “I am the resurrection and the life,” said Christ.  If then that divine spirit is the resurrection and the true life, all such as come into Christ are in the resurrection and heavenly life, hence can no more marry and be given in the marriage of the flesh than the angels in heaven.  This is verified by St Paul's words: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; all things are become new. And all things are of God through Christ.”
(See 2Cor. 5:17.)  If then all old things are passed away in those who come into Christ the resurrection; certainly the oldest of all nature's works in man, the generative works, i.e. the works and life of the flesh must be done away.  It follows then conclusively, that all who live in the generative life in any manner, are not in Christ.


Many other positive precepts of the Savior, might be advanced, but it appears evident that these are sufficient to convince any reasonable mind, that it is incontestably impossible to follow Christ — be his disciple, or possess his kingdom, without the effect of a life of perfect virgin purity.

 

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


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