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 mans 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 mens 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.
CHARACTER OF THE PRIMITIVE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
1. Jesus Christ foretold two things of great importance. One was, that the Christian Church, which he originated, would not continue, but would be utterly destroyed. He said that himself and his disciples were the light of the world; and he counseled souls to walk in the light while they had it, because the night cometh wherein no man can work. That is, there would come a time when iniquity would abound, and the love of many would wax cold, and there would be no true Church on the earth. The same was confirmed by his Apostles, who said there would be falling away, and that that man of sin would be revealed, in place of a revelation of Christ.
2. The other was, that another appearing on earth of the same Christ (or second Adam and Eve) as had been manifested to him (Jesus) would take place, to establish a second and more perfect Christian Church, precisely according to the Pattern of the Christian Church in himself; for then Christ would come, not in one individual only, but in the clouds of [the fourth] heaven, with power and great glory; that is, in numbers of persons, or clouds of witnesses, in and among whom Christ would make his second appearing without sin unto salvation. Behold the Lord cometh in ten thousand of his saints.
3. For the Shaker idea is, that in Jesus alone were all the characteristics of a perfect Christian; that the Apostles stood upon a lower plane, and were children of God by adoption only, not really. This point is conclusively proved from the conjoint testimony of themselves and Jesus.
4. Jesus said he had many things to say unto them that they were not able to bear, and exclaimed of them, O ye of little faith! These expressions, with the mistaken conceptions the Apostles had formed of the nature of his kingdom and of the resurrection, demonstrate that they only knew in part, prophesied in part, and saw as through a glass darkly and imperfectly.
5. The Apostles were only a kind of first-fruits; not the kingdom itself. But they had the spirit of promise and of hope, that in the second appearing, when Christ should be manifested in the order of Mother, through a female, as he had been in the order of Father, through Jesus, they should sit down with Jesus on his throne rise to the same plane.
6. This was the condition and expectation of the Apostolic Church, whose members were all Hebrews. For, as Maria Childs remarks, Christianity was somewhat exclusive and national in its character, being preached only by Jesus, and addressed only to Hebrews.
7. The Church professed to live a virgin life; and those in it who waxed wanton against Christ, and married, had damnation, because they had cast off their first faith of celibacy. They had all things common. The 8,000 who were converted in two days sold all their possession: of houses and land, and formed a perfect community. They did not call the least thing their own. They took no part in the heathen governments, either in being officers or electing officers. They would not swear, or take oaths. They would not fight, or engage in war; and they suffered much persecution because they would not enlist in the armies of the Roman empire.
8. They bore a testimony against sin, saying, He who sinneth hath not seen Christ, neither known him. They had the gift of healing the sick. Is any sick among you? let him send for the elders of the Church, etc.; and often their shadow or their clothes imparted a healing power to the invalid. They looked for a second appearing of Christ, and hasted unto the coming of the day of the Lord.
9. This was the Jewish Christian Church, the temple of God, and was founded by the Apostles one degree below the Church in Jesus. And when Peter preached Christianity to the Gentiles, he founded the Gentile Christian Church on a plane still lower than that of the Jewish Christian Church.
10. The Gentile Christian Church did not introduce war or slavery, but it did introduce marriage and private property; yet both these institutions were under restrictions drawn from the Mosaic laws, to which the Gentiles had never been accustomed. They were restricted to one wife, and subjected to self-denial in many respects; that was all they were able to bear. But they were not saved from sin; and they looked for the second coming of Christ, when, as the Apostle told them, those who had wives would be just the same as if they were not married; and those who owned property, as though they possessed nothing; as then they would rise into the order of the Church above them.
11. The Shaker writers say that unless this distinction between the Jewish Christian Church and the Gentile Christian Church be observed, the various writings of the new Testament can not be understood, as all the Epistles to the Gentile Christian Churches contain very different doctrines to those addressed to the Hebrews, and as contained in the four Gospels. The Gentile Christians were fed with milk, and not with meat, because they were not able to bear it. They were written to as unto carnal, and not as unto spiritual.
12. The five most prominent practical principles of the Pentecost Church were, first, common property; second, a life of celibacy; third, non-resistance; fourth, a separate and distinct government; and fifth, power over physical disease.
FALL OF THE PRIMITIVE CHRISTAN CHURCH.
1. When Constantine was converted, he founded and became the heathen* head of the Roman Catholic Church, which was formed upon a very much lower plane than was even the Gentile Christian Church. [*Constantine, who was a heathen, was never converted to even Roman Catholic Christianity. Mosheim says of him: It is certain that he was not received by baptism into the number of the faithful until a few days before his death, and then only in order that he might ascend pure and spotless to the mansions of light and immortality; notwithstanding his having cruelly murdered his father-in-law, his wife, his son, his brother-in-law, his nephew, and others, besides his numerous other abominations. (See Mosheims Ecclesiastical History, by Dr. Maclaine, American edition, 1797, vol. i., cent.iv., part i., chap.i., pp.313, 314.)]
2. It was distinguished from that, first, by the union of church and state, the Church gradually assuming the supreme power and control of all civil as well as ecclesiastical matters; second, by the introduction of war as a permanent element of theology, using the sword not only against external enemies of the church and state, but as a means of conversion to Roman Catholic Christianity, and also turning the same sword against the internal enemies of this mongrel church and its theology, by the establishment of the inquisition, based upon the absurd idea that faith, or want of faith, is the result of the will, and not of evidence, or the absence thereof; by monopoly of the elements of existence, particularly of the earth and its produce; by slavery, which was also incorporated into the church as a part of its theological creeds; and by oaths.
3. The Roman Catholic Church is the beast that John saw, which combined the wild, destructive characteristics of the bear, the leopard, and the lion.
4. And John was commanded to rise and measure the temple of God [the Jewish Christian Church] and them that worship therein. But the court, which is without, measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles [the Gentile Christian Church]; and they shall tread down the holy city forty-and-two months 1,260 years.
5. That was the falling away and degenerating of the Gentile Christian Church into the Roman Catholic Church; and the union of church and state, with the adoption of war, possessed it of physical power, by which means it trod down liberty of conscience, requiring the Jewish Christian Church to come to its standard of orthodoxy, or endure physical torture, and the breaking up of their communities, by the operation of its oppressive organic laws.
6. John also saw a beast, great and terrible [as above described], rise out of the sea the spiritual elements of the Primitive Church. This beast [the Roman Catholic Church] made war with the saints, and overcame them; and all the world wondered [and wandered] after the beast. And he ruled over all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, and there was no power on earth able to wage war with this beast; therefore it is plain that that church is the beast of the Apocalypse.
7. And John saw another beast rise out of the earth [Rationalism and Materialism], having two horns like a lamb, but spoke with the mouth of a dragon. This was the image of the first beast; and it exercised all the power of the first beast, war, persecution, etc. This is Protestantism, in which Lutheranism and Calvinism are the two principal powers (or horns), for they divide the kingdom of the image of the beast between them.
8. In no one important practical principle of life did the Protestant Church differ from the Roman Catholic Church. Both of them hold to marriage, private property, union of church and state, ambition, oaths, persecution, war, slavery, monopoly of the life-elements in its most aggravated form; salvation, an unmeaning something to be possessed in some distant, unknown world, but gained and secured in this by means of water, bread, wine, blood, and belief in the cruel murder of the best man the earth ever produced, or faith in a wooden cross, the instrument of his crucifixion. And both alike inherit all the diseases of the Egyptians, and (as churches) are utterly destitute of the gift of healing, as well as of all the other gifts that were possessed by the Primitive Church.
9. Thus the beast which ruled over all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues, and the great Whore of Babylon, the Mother of Harlots and of abominations of the earth, who sitteth upon many waters (and the waters where the whore sitteth are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues), are the one and the same Roman Catholic Church. She is the woman, the great city that ruleth over the kings of the earth for forty-two months; and her endless brood of harlot daughters, hateful , and hating one another, are the divided, warring Protestant sects.
10. And the mother and her daughters, for want of a common enemy, bite, rend and devour each other; and, in their jarring creeds, they not only teach for doctrines the commandments of men, but they teach even the doctrines of devils, as before enumerated; and, by external laws, forbidding to marry the counterfeit of a virgin life; and commanding to abstain from meats the counterfeit of true temperance in all things, the legitimate fruit of the testimony of Jesus; preaching for hire, and divining for money a fictitious Gospel that is not without money and without price.
11. Therefore Christendom (Babylon) has become the habitation of devils [demons, or disorderly disembodied spirits, who are ministers of falsities and confusion], the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every hateful and unclean bird. For there is no form of human wickedness which can not be found within the pale of the theological organizations of Christendom.
12. That the Protestant Reformation effected a revolution for the better, the Shakers do not question; nor that even Roman Catholicism itself is an advance upon mere heathenism; for the laws of progress will assert their supremacy in all human affairs, and God can make (or overrule) even the wrath of man to praise Him.
13. Adjudged from the stand-point of the people and age upon whom, and in which, they operated, both Constantine, Luther, and Calvin were real reformers; but adjudged from the stand-point of Jesus and his seven principles (true Christianity), they were what Luther, in his last will and testament, subscribed himself as being, a damnable man, and as both Catholics and Protestants say of themselves, miserable sinners.
RISE OF THE TWO WITNESSES.
1. Next in order come the two witnesses, who were to prophesy [and mourn and repent] in sackcloth and ashes, during the forty-two months reign of the beast and his image.
2. Although the holy city, or Jewish Christian Church, was trodden down by the Roman Catholic, or fallen Gentile Christian Church (antichrist), yet God, by revelation, raised up in every age of the apostasy male and female witnesses, who, reviving the principles or testimony of the Jewish Christian Church, as already set forth, testified, or witnessed, against the beast and his image, by word and by their lives of innocence. They held no union with church or state; they took no oaths, bore no arms, held no slaves, lived a virgin life, and had all things common.
3. These were the holy people, whose power was continually scattered by the persecuting arm of antichrist. They were known to their enemies by the term heretics, and by historians as Marcionites, Therapeutics, Manicheans, Nestorians, Waldenses, Moravians, etc., and lastly, as Quakers, who, with the exception of a virgin life, embodied more of the principles of the Primitive Church than any other of the witnesses.
4. It has been estimated that fifty millions of these witnesses, or heretics, have been tortured to death by the Inquisition, and other instrumentalities of the terrible beast, or Roman Catholic Church; and by the image of the beast, a proportionate number.
5. The full history of the rise and fall of these witnesses, should such ever be impartially written, would prove a highly interesting record. Each of them began in the Spirit. They originated in a revelation to some man or woman, as Marcion, Manes, Priscillian, Fox, Joanna Southcott, Jemima Wilkinson, and others. When they had finished their testimony, the beast made war against them, and killed them; but they would not suffer the dead bodies to be put into graves, but left them lying in the streets of his city of Babylon; and thus the kingdom of the beast has become full of names (they are numbered by hundreds) of sects who have lost their spiritual life, finished their testimony against sin, and have given their power and influence unto the kingdom of the beast, by uniting with, and building up, the very things they formerly took up their cross against.
6. Persecution continued while their testimony lasted, and they grew in grace and truth. It was when the church and state began to favor and speak well of them that concessions became mutual then it was that they were killed spiritually, and not by persecution.
7. The monks and nuns are some of the dead bodies of the Roman Catholic Church; and the Dunkers, Waldenses, Baptists, Methodists, and Quakers (who may be taken as a type of all the witnesses) are some of the dead bodies of the Protestant Church.
8. It was this unbroken chain of witnesses that connected the first and second Christian Churches. At the end of the 1,260 years, the Spirit of life from God entered into some individual witnesses of that dead body called Quakers, and they stood upon their feet, or spiritual understandings, and they heard a voice from [the resurrection plane of the fourth] heaven, saying, Come up hither; and they obeyed it; and they ascended up to heaven in a cloud, or body; and they have dwelt in heaven more that 70 years; for the kingdom of heaven is formed within, or among, them. They have the testimony of Jesus, and they live in a more perfect Christian order, and possess a greater gift of salvation from sin, than did the Jewish Christian Church at Jerusalem.
9. As John preached repentance unto Moses, to prepare souls for Christs first appearing, so did Fox, and Jane and James Wardley preach repentance unto Christs first appearing, to prepare souls for the second coming of Christ, and the setting up of his final kingdom upon earth.
10. Thus, out of the last of the witnesses, the Quakers, the forty-and-two months having expired, arose Ann Lee and her little company, to whom Christ appeared the second time, without sin unto salvation, and made a new revelation to her of the seven principles, and of all the truths that had been revealed, in his first appearing, to Jesus; the practice of which constituted him the first Christian Church; and the same principles being reduced to practice by Ann Lee, constituted her the second Christian Church.
11. The marriage of the Lamb had come, for this wife had made herself ready [thus showing that she was not born ready]; and to her was given to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; the fine linen was the righteousness of saints, nothing more.
12. Ann, by strictly obeying the light revealed within her, became righteous even as Jesus was righteous. She acknowledged Jesus Christ as her Head and Lord, and formed the same character as a spiritual woman that he formed as a spiritual man.
13. Ann followed Jesus, not as an imitator, but through being baptized with, and led by, the same Christ Spirit that he was baptized with and led and guided by. She became a Mother in Israel, and was thenceforth known to her followers (or children) by the endearing name of Mother. Still it was the principles (before explained) that were the foundation of the second Christian Church, and not man or woman, whether Jesus or Ann. Their importance is derived from the fact of their being the first man and first woman perfectly identified with the principles and Spirit of Christ.
14. A part of the curse pronounced upon woman was, that man should rule over her, which has been fully accomplished; for, from the fall to the present time, all human governments have claimed it to be the sole right of the man to rule, whether in religious or political organizations, and Christian churches and governments (so called) have been no real exception to this rule.
15. As Christs first appearing was only to and in the male part of humanity, the Jewish as well as the Gentile Christian Churches were governed almost entirely by men. The Roman Catholic and Protestant world know only male rulers; woman is ignored. The Quakers, the last of the witnesses, began to include the female element in their system; but not until Christ had made his second appearance in and to the female, was woman ever allowed a full and equal share in any civil or religious government, or established in the possession of her just and equal rights*.[*The fact that females sometimes reign over nations as queens, is only an apparent exception to the above rule and practice, it being so only in case of default of male issue; for they do not reign as women, and over females only, but as men, instead of men, and over men, which, as women, is not their right.]
16. Naturalists state that the larvae of the common working bee, by simply feeding it upon superior food, can be progressed to a queen bee. This, if true, proves that every such bee possesses the undeveloped germ of a queen bee, and is a beautiful figure of the spiritual life that is hid with every natural man and woman, hid with Christ in God, waiting the second advent of Christ, to feed and quicken it into being, on a plane above that of the earthly animal order of generative reproduction.
17. This is the true resurrection state in which Jesus stood when he said, I am the resurrection. To this state Paul desired to arrive when he said, I follow after, if that by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. This could not mean the re-animation of the physical body, as that (if true) would be as independent of the will as was its physical birth or death. A physical resurrection, the Shakers hold to be utterly repugnant to both science, reason, and Scripture.
CHARACTER OF THE CHURCH OF CHRISTS SECOND APPEARING.
1. In the fourteenth chapter of the book of the Revelation, the second appearing of Christ is described as already past. The hundred and forty-four thousand mentioned are not a particular number; it is a Hebraism, denoting a perfect character by numbers 12 x 12, a perfect square: they are virgins; they are redeemed from the earth, from among men; they follow the Lamb [Jesus] whithersoever he goeth; they are without fault or sin, and they have the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell upon the earth.
2. An angel proclaims the fall of Babylon, as the effect of the preaching of the Gospel. Another angel denounces a woe upon those who have the mark of the beast the seal of authority placed upon the organ of causality preventing the action of the reasoning faculties.
3. There is the white cloud a sinless innocent company upon which one sat like unto the Son of man; for as Eve was like unto Adam bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh so was Mother Ann like unto Jesus of the human race, of the same origin, life, character, and principles.
4. The sharp sickle with which another angel reaped the ripe harvest of the earth, is the testimony of Jesus the everlasting Gospel which cuts souls off from the field of generation, and thus (in them) brings the world to an end.
5. The angel alluded to in the eighteenth chapter, who came down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory, and who proclaimed the fall of Babylon, is Spiritualism. The physical manifestations exhibit the power of the invisible over the visible world, the light of which is to enlighten the earth materialists by leading them to a knowledge of the immortality of the soul, of the existence of a spirit world, of the fact of the intercommunication between the two worlds, and of the rights of man.
6. Spiritualism can minister physical power and spiritual light, but not a knowledge of the way of salvation from sin. It can confound earthly and religious materialists, and reveal the false doctrines of antichrist, of which itself is an integral part, and thus accelerate her fall; but it is not able to re-arrange society.
7. The Spirit is indeed being poured out upon all flesh, without distinction of age, sex, party, or even moral condition. But it comes to pass that only such as call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Jerusalem, and in Mount Zion alone, is deliverance from the power of sin.
8. And the one sitting upon the white cloud, from whose face the heavens and the earth the old religious and civil systems of Babylon fled away, and who is like Jesus, she possesses that power, and utters a voice to those in falling Babylon: Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
9. And those who hear the voice of the Spirit (Christ Jesus) and of the Bride (Mother Ann) form the new heaven and the new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. And they build the tabernacle of God, which is with men; and God Himself shall dwell with them, and shall be their God, and they shall be his people. All this the Shakers believe, and hold is fulfilled, or being fulfilled, in their order its faith, principles, and communities.
10. For now has come salvation and strength, the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ. For the tyrant, lust, the accuser of the brethren in all the three preceding Dispensations, is now cast out; and the ransomed of the Lord have come to Zion, with singing, and with everlasting joy upon their heads.
MODE OF WORSHIP.
1. It is pretty generally known that the Shakers serve God by singing and dancing; but why they practise this mode of worship is not so generally understood.
2. It should be recollected that God is a Spirit, and can be worshipped only in spirit and in truth. Without the presence of the Spirit there can be no true worship. Conviction of sin, godly sorrow, and repentance, are the first effects of the Spirit of God upon the conscience of a sinner. And when sin is fully removed, by confessing and forsaking it, the cause of heaviness, gloom and sorrow is gone; and joy and rejoicing, and thanksgiving and praise, are then spontaneous effects of a true spirit of devotion. And whatever manner the Spirit may dictate, or whatever the form into which the spirit may lead, it is acceptable to Him from whom the Spirit proceeds.
3. All the sabbaths among the Jews as hereafter set forth, were joyous festivals times for men to do good to each other, by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc.; for all to make each other happy, and thus rejoice before the Lord, with music and dancing.
4. Dancing was a national custom among the Hebrews upon all extraordinary occasions of some great good, as a victory, etc. They expressed their satisfaction and happiness by dancing, as the Americans do by the abnegation of temperance, and the explosion of gunpowder.
5. When Israel had escaped the Egyptians, all the women went after Miriam with timbrels, and with dances. The virgins of Israel held a yearly feast at Shiloh, with dances. When David killed Goliah there was dancing. And David danced with all his might before the ark of the Lord.
6. Dancing is often mentioned by the seers, prophets, and prophetesses. Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing. Praise his name in the dance. Praise him with the timbrel and dance. When the prophets spoke of the Millennial period and Church, it was with expressions such as, Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both old men and young together. O virgin of Israel, thou shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. And Jesus, in speaking of the return of the prodigal son, included music and dancing as a part of the proceedings and rejoicing.
7. But so plain and simple a subject does not require much extension or amplification. Suffice it to say, that the Shakers believe the great sabbatical year of the world has come, wherein the long captive sinner is released; the poor have the Gospel preached to them, without money and without price, perpetual and universal brotherhood is established and proclaimed, each one (as Jesus said) going back to his inheritance in the earth: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth, and all things else, in common, as an everlasting Jubilee, of jubilees, where the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the bond and the free, male and female, all become one in Christ Jesus; and love is the bond of their union.
DOCTRINES OF THE CHURCH OF CHRISTS SECOND APPEARING.
MOSAIC SABBATHS, AND HIGHER AND LOWER LAW.
1. As a common schoolmaster teaches the rudiments which form the basis of the knowledge to be acquired in the higher seminaries of learning, so was Moses to Christ.
2. Moses, as did all the other Prophets, announced the higher law of abstract principle, but administered the lower law of expediency. In the wilderness, the law of Brotherhood love thy neighbor as thyself was declared and enforced. Their property and food (manna) was in common for forty years.
3. In Canaan, the land is mine, saith the Lord; ye are stewards. Six days the people might buy and sell, and trade and traffic, and see who should get and keep the most. The seventh day was the Lords, a sabbath to be kept by each one loving his neighbor as himself, the rich feeding and ministering to the wants of the poor all rejoicing together before the Lord, and each other as brethren.
4. Six months also they had for me and mine. The seventh was a holy convocation, during which the higher law the law of love was the supreme law of the land. Again, six years were allotted for selfhood to develop itself, the legitimate fruit whereof brought forth debtor and creditor, and master and slave; and these relations were sustained and consummated. But the seventh year was the sabbatical year; and when the trumpet of this jubilee sounded, all debts were canceled, and all slaves were restored to freedom. Equality of person was established, and the Lord reigned triumphant for one whole year.
5. All the spontaneous produce of the land was free food for the Lords people the wheat, the grapes, the figs, etc., were gathered and eaten where they grew, by the poor and the fatherless, the widow and the orphan, the Levite and the stranger; and even the beasts of the field were not forgotten they rested from their labors, and roamed the fields in peace.
6. The fiftieth year was the Sabbath of sabbaths, and there were concentrated in it all the equalizing elements and fraternal relations of the three preceding sabbaths; and, to crown the whole, the land itself, the foundation of all selfish property, was restored to its original and rightful owners. Thus the last grasp of the monopolizer and selfish speculator on the means of subsistence was loosened, and his selfish, unrighteous accumulations were divided and scattered; society became again resolved into its original elements, as in the wilderness, and a condition of universal brotherhood was established.
7. These four orders of sabbaths corresponded to the four Dispensations, or cycles. The last of them, the great Jubilee of jubilees, typified, in a very perfect manner, the sabbath of the world, the fourth and last Dispensation, or cycle, wherein self being destroyed, property is common; lust being crucified, a virgin life remains; the lion, war, being overcome by the lamb of peace and non-resistance, gentleness and tranquillity prevail; and, finally, the principle of hate being supplanted by love to God and man, we have the non-counterfeited seal of the second Christian Church.
8. In Jesus (as a perfect Jew) the promise of God through Moses, that he would take all sickness away from the midst of thee, was fulfilled. This was the ultimate of the Mosaic Dispensation to save the body from sickness, and all the diseases of the Egyptians, or Gentiles, as perfectly as the Gospel of Jesus Christ will save the soul from all sin and spiritual infirmity.
9. Jesus was free from bodily disease; and he went about doing good, by healing those Jews who were sick, lame, blind, or who had leprosy, or were possessed of demons. And when multitudes of invalids were brought to him, he healed them all. This power he transmitted to his disciples, and established it as one of the signs of a Christian, and of a Christian Church, saying, These signs shall follow them that believe: they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall be healed, etc.
PROBATION, AND HEAVENS AND HELLS.
10. The four successive cycles into which the Shakers divide the religious history of mankind are not confined to this earth, but extend into, and are operative in, the spirit world, where also a state of probation still continues, as upon this earth. Every human being that has ever existed upon this globe is within one or other of these cycles.
11. Each cycle has its appropriate heaven and hell first, second, third, and fourth. No soul will be finally lost until it has rejected the greatest spiritual light of the fourth cycle.
12. The wicked antediluvians, who rejected the preaching of Noah, went to the first hell; the good went to the first heaven. The wicked Jews go to the second hell, which Jews call gehenna; the righteous Jews, such as Abraham, Daniel, David, and others, went to the second heaven, which is called Paradise.
13. Paul was caught up to the third heaven, that is, to the heaven of the cycle in which he lived, namely, the third, or the first Christian Church. Jesus said, No man hath ascended up to [the third] heaven but the Son of man, who is [already] in heaven. Even David had not ascended into [the third] heaven.
14. Of the righteous within the second cycle, it is said, These all died in faith, not having received the promises, God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should be made perfect. That is, the Jews out of the body, who had died hundreds of years before, would have the same Gospel of the kingdom preached to them that was preached to the inhabitants of Jerusalem who were then in the body.
15. Jesus himself did not ascend into the fourth heaven till after his departure from earth. He said to Mary, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended, etc.; and again, it is said, Jesus was not yet glorified.
16. Heaven or hell is first formed within every individual soul; then the law of affinity draws together, in the spirit world, those whose states are homogeneous, and who internally are in the same heaven or hell, who happify or torment each other, as the case may be.
17. When Jesus had finished his work on earth that is, organized a Church, and commissioned it to preach the Gospel to every creature in all nations he gave up the ghost, and descended into hell the first hell and preached the Gospel unto them who for many ages had been bound with chains of mental and spiritual darkness, and who were held by the cords of their own wicked and unbridled lusts, without either the knowledge, the will, or the power to break them; and he organized a Church, and commissioned those in it to freely give, as they had freely received.
18. For this cause, said Peter, was the Gospel preached to them that were dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God, in the spirit, but, on his descent to this antediluvian hell, he must have passed through Paradise, the second heaven; for he said to the thief, This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.
19. When Jesus had laid the foundation for a Church among them, he ascended to his own proper sphere, or heaven. He informed his disciples that in his Fathers house there were many mansions (or heavens) for them; that where he was, there they also might be.
20. In the Scripture, mention is made of heavens, and heaven of heavens, of the new heavens, and of the old heavens passing away with a great noise, of the former heavens not being remembered, nor coming into mind any more; and of the powers of the heavens being shaken. These and kindred passages possess no meaning, except upon the principle that each cycle or Dispensation has its own heaven and hell, as before stated.
21. The heaven of the fourth and last Dispensation and Church is now in process of formation, and will finally supersede the three previous heavens; for the principles, the ruling authority, and the governing powers of these heavens, and the heavens themselves, will be shaken and will pass away.
22. The kingdom of heaven of the fourth cycle is a state of purgation and final separation between the good and the evil, the true and the false. Souls in this kingdom are only begotten of God, and they need to watch themselves, that they do not commit sin, and so fail of coming to the new birth.
23. But when souls are born of God, they can not sin, for they have resisted temptation until their evil propensities and lusts are all destroyed, and the life of nature of the generative natural man is dead in them; as Jesus said of himself, before he left the body, The prince of this world cometh, but hath nothing in me. He was born again.
24. This is the state that no other person could ever attain to, until Christ had made his second appearing, and the Mother Spirit was revealed; for the man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord, any more than in nature. And but few, while in the body, attain to the new birth, which is the end of the travail of the regeneration, the same as the birth of the natural infant is the end of the travail in generation. And as the mother is the bearing spirit with natural children, until they come to the natural birth, and begin to see and learn the things of the natural world, so also is the spiritual mother the bearing spirit, until the new birth, after which the spiritual child begins to learn the pure things of God on the highest and most spiritual plane. Then it is in the heaven of heavens.
GOD DUAL FATHER AND MOTHER
25. An all-important, sublime, and foundational doctrine of the Shakers is the Existence of an Eternal Father and an Eternal Mother in Deity the Heavenly Parents of all angelical and human beings. They claim that the knowledge of God has been progressive from age to age, and from Dispensation to Dispensation.
26. In the first cycle, when spirituality in man was as the waters to the ankles, God was known only as a great Spirit. In the second cycle, when spirituality was as the waters to the knees, men began to inquire who and what God was, and received for answer, I am that I am. You are not prepared to comprehend me further.
27. In the third cycle, when spirituality in the soul was as the waters to the loins, God, for the first time, was revealed to man as Father.
28. In the fourth cycle, when spirituality is becoming as a deep and broad expanse of waters, that can not be measured(see Ezek.xlvii.), God is also revealed in the character of Mother an Eternal Mother the bearing spirit of all the creation of God, to whom the Shakers think reference is made in the Scriptures, particularly in the following extracts from the book of Proverbs, under the appellation of Wisdom:
29. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths I was brought forth: when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet He had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
30. When He prepared the heavens, I was there: when He set a compass upon the face of the depth: when He established the clouds above: when He strengthened the fountains of the deep: when He gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when He appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by Him, as One brought up with Him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before Him.
31. As Father, God is the infinite Fountain of intelligence, and the Source of all power the Almighty, great and terrible in majesty; the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, dwelling in the high and holy place; and a consuming fire.
32. But, as Mother, God is love and tenderness! If all the maternal affections of all the female or bearing spirits in animated nature were combined together, and then concentered in one individual human female, that person would be but as a type or image of our Eternal Heavenly Mother.
33. The duality of God is expressed in the book of Genesis as follows: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. So God created man in his own image; male and female created He them; and called their name Adam.
34. From which, the Shakers insist, that it is the male and female in man that is peculiarly the image of God. In this conclusion they further strengthen themselves from the Apostle Paul, who affirms that the order of the Godhead, and the eternal creative power of God, which would otherwise be invisible to man, are clearly seen, by, through and in, the things that are made.
35. Consequently, if this be admitted, it follows, from the undeniable fact that all the things which God has made are dual; beginning with the mineral kingdom, which, from the old red sandstone to the very latest geological formation, exhibit the action of two forces, the positive and negative, which forms, in the vegetable kingdom, gradually resolve themselves into male and female types, from the fern to the polypus; and, in the animal kingdom, they are progressively developed from the polypus up to the simia tribes; and ultimately they culminate in man and woman, the image of God their Creator.
36. It seems scarcely possible to resist this evidence of a dual order, so clearly seen throughout all the domains of nature; or to admit it, without proving that God also is DUAL, Father and Mother, the image and likeness of man, whom He has made male and female.
37. No carnal man hath seen God at any time, or witnessed an act of arbitrary, sovereign creative power. The eternal [creative ] power of God is only known to man through the perpetual operation of the originating and reproducing powers of male and female principles.
38. The Shakers believe that the distinction of sex is eternal; that it inheres in the soul itself; and that no angels or spirits exist who are not male and female.
39. From the fact that Adam (and Eve) was the figure of him that was to come, they argue that the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, a quickening Spirit, was also dual, male and female; and that they were the spiritual Father and Mother of Jesus, begetting, watching over, and bearing him in the regeneration towards the new birth, into their own quickening spiritual element.
40. Every thing is begotten, travails, and is born into the elements of its parents, That which is [begotten and] born of the Spirit, is spirit.
41. Jesus, being a male, could only reveal and manifest the Father in Christ and God. But when the second Adam appeared to Ann, and became her spiritual Parents, she, being a female, revealed and manifested the Mother Spirit in Christ and in Deity.
42. The affectional nature in man seeks its Source and Parent the Maternal Spirit in Deity. Ignorance, or a perverted theology, may divert it into wrong channels, as in the worshipers of female gods in the heathen nations, which are known to be more numerous than all others; or the Roman Catholic adoration of the Virgin Mary the Mother of God. But nothing can destroy the intuitive reverence of the human soul for a Heavenly Mother. It is as innate and universal as is the belief in Deity.
43. From what has been said in the preceding pages, it will be readily inferred that the Shakers do not believe that God ever has appeared, or does now appear, to human beings, except through spiritual agencies. These have often personated Deity, and men have mistaken them for the Supreme Being; as in the case of John, who fell down to worship a being who proved to be one of his own brethren, the prophets; of Manoah and his wife, who thought they should die because they had seen an angel, whom they mistook for God; and of Moses, who called the angel that appeared to him, and ministered the Law on Mount Sinai, God. Whereas the Apostle said, The Law was ordained [ministered] by angels, in the hand of a mediator, Moses. And John declared that no man had seen God at any time.
44. Christ was the highest and most purely spiritual being that ever visited the earth. All the preceding ministering spirits who spoke in the name of God (and that were "called gods, because, as Jesus said, the word of God came to and through them), in every cycle, were inferior to Christ, and to his order and sphere, being mediators between him and the earths inhabitants in every nation.
45. Thus, previous to the personal appearing of Christ to Jesus and to Ann, he revealed himself through messengers inferior spiritual agents, existing in the intermediate spheres of the spirit world, earthward; and these revealed themselves to man, from sphere to sphere.
46. Hence it is said, God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake to the fathers, by the prophets [in the spirit world], hath, in these last days, spoken unto us by his Son. That is, the communication is now more direct than it was before; there are fewer intervening spheres and mediators between those who are in the fourth cycle and God.
47. Every cycle, or Dispensation, had its true Church, both in the spirit world and on earth. These existed in a state of rapport with each other. The earth Church received its spiritual ministrations from the corresponding Church in the spirit world. (See Heb.xii.22 and 29.) It was the spiritual influx from that Church that was the Holy Ghost, or (as it ought to be rendered Holy Spirit; for in the original languages, the Holy Spirit is always designated by the neuter gender, it. It is the anointing, blessing, or unction, of the appointed lead in the spirit Church.
48. Every Church had its own Holy Spirit; and when it is said that holy men of old wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, it implies that it was the Holy Spirit of their Dispensation, and of its Church in the spirit sphere; which Holy Ghost would sanction and bless such things as were appropriate to that degree of the work of God, and to that cycle, or Dispensation.
49. Unless this idea of a plurality of Holy Spirits, as well as a plurality of cycles and Churches, be received and borne in mind, in reading the Scriptures, darkness and confusion of mind must ensue.
50. Jesus, in speaking of John the Baptist, said: Of all that had been born of women, there had not arisen a greater than John, as a spiritual man, up to that time. John was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mothers womb. If there were but one Holy Spirit, this would place John very high. But the fact is, John never became a Christian at all on earth; he lived and died a Jew. Consequently, John was not baptized with any higher spiritual influence than the Holy Spirit of the Jewish Church. And Jesus said, He that is least in the kingdom of heaven, is greater than he John.
51. Jesus promised that, when he should come into the spirit world, he would send his disciples the Comforter, or Holy Spirit. In my Fathers house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you. Jesus had first to establish the Church of the third Dispensation in the spirit world, before he could send them its Holy Spirit, or that there could be a pentecostal day.
52. I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit. Thus Jesus promised plainly to send them another Holy Ghost, distinct from any they had theretofore received, being the Holy Ghost of the first Christian Church.
53. The second Christian Church has also its Holy Spirit, and is the Church of the last Dispensation or cycle. The Holy Spirit and influence proceeding from this Church in the spirit world, is the fire with which John said Jesus would baptize souls; which fire will burn up the generative nature, while ( at the same time ) it is the spiritual food, and creates souls anew in the resurrection, or regenerative state. Under its guidance, they seek and find those things that are above the earthly order, where Jesus and Christ exist.
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.
65. The Shakers hold the Bible to be a record of the most Divine Angelic ministrations to man, and more or less an imperfect record of the spiritual and religious experience and history of the most highly progressed portion or branch of the human family.
66. They also believe that the state and condition of the seers, prophets, and prophetesses, or mediums, determined the quantity, and affected the quality, of every Divine revelation. The same may be said of the translators and translations of the Bible.
67. It is thought by the Shakers that the book of the Revelation has suffered less from interpolations and mistranslations than any other; partly by reason of the anathema it contains against all who should add to, or take from, its contents; but still more because the Spirit has clothed it with such a complexity of tropes, symbols, and figures, that it is utterly unintelligible to the generative man, and could not be comprehended until the central event the second appearing of Christ had transpired; that being the only key by which to unlock its mysteries, break its seals, and unfold its treasures of wisdom and truth, by baptizing souls with the Spirit that dictated it, and forming in them the character of the Lion of the tribe of Judah; during which process, all the events described in that book would be accomplished in them as individuals. And, indeed, it is a chart of ecclesiastical history.
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