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yet men by their own imaginations, by the gift of learning, and by the natural wisdom of reason; will undertake to interpret scriptures, and to be preacliers to others, without a commission from God, and without any true knowledge of God. And so these men do come to add other interpretations of their own conceivings unto the scriptures, which is contrary to the mind of that spirit that writ them, and so they become capable to receive of those plagues that are written in this book, as aforesaid.
CHAP. LXXXII. ALSO I would have the reader to know, that
the same men that do add their conceivings unto this book, the same sort of men do take away from the words of this book of this prophesy. They may be said to take away from it, in that they will not suffer any true interpreter to expound the meaning of the words of the prophesy of that book of the Revelation, or any other scriptures; only this, some men's minds are acted out one way, and some another; some men so they may be suffered to speak their own phantasies upon the scriptures, so as to please themselves and their hearers ; that is, they care not how much they add to this book, not minding to take any thing from it. It is not their principles to take any thing from the scriptures, but their delight is altogether to add their vain conceptions, conceiving the meaning thus, and thus.
But he that taketh away from this book, is such a one that will not suffer the true interpretation of Ss
the scriptures, nor of this book of the Revelation; because the true interpretation of the scriptures overthroweth all the principles of religion in the world. So that if truth should be suffered to have freedom in the world, then all the old principles of religion that have been received in the world so many hundred years by the Pope and others, they would quite tail to the ground. So that there is a necessity that there should be a number of men to acid into this book, and a number of men to take away from it.
for true revelation always had some to add to it, and some to take from it; so that he that taketh tiroin it, God will take his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. The meaning is this, that as they would not suffer any true interpretation of the scriptures to abide in the world, but would take it quite a way, both the interpretation, and the interpreter also : So in like manner God will take his part out of the book of life, and out of the lioly city, so that he shall have no part in that glory and everlasting lile which is written of in this book of the Revelation. That is, he thought by taking away from the words of this book; that is, by his persecuting the true interpretation of it, that he did God good service, even as he did that added to it; for he that adds unto it, as aforesaid, dutb think he doth God good service ; so in like manner he that taketh from it, as aforesaid, that persecutes true revelation and true interpretation, De doth think he doth God good service in so doing ; and so he thinks to have a part in the book of life,
and to be one of the members of the holy city, and to have a right to that glory and happiness that is written in this book; when, alas, alas! he is one of them that hath taken from the prophesy of this book, by persecuting the true interpretation of it, so that God hath taken away that part be thouglit lie had in the book of life, and that confidence he had in being a mernber of the holy city, and of the glory hereafter.
I say all these things will God take away from those men, that do take away from the words of the prophesy of this book of the scriptures, and more especially this book of the Revelation of St. John. This is the true meaning of the spirit in adding and taking away from this book of John's Revelation.
Oh where is there a man bardly to be found, but he is guilty of one of these two, either to add, or to take away from this mysterious book of the Revelation of Jolin ; so that the reader may see what the spirit doth inean by adding and taking away, and who they are that do this ; for this is to be considered, that no man can interpret the scriptures but he that is chosen and sent of God, as Moses . and Aaron, Peter and Paul, and us the witnesses of the spirit.
Also none can interpret the scriptures truly, but those that have the same spirit as those had that spake the scriptures ; that spirit can trace the steps of God Almighty in those three paths which God hath walked in ; those three paths are God's three commissions, or three records on earth; to wit, water, blood, and spirit; so that no commissionated
man of God can be said either to add to, or diminisli from the word of God, for he is chosen of God to reveal the mysteries of the kingdom unto his chosen ones, which mysteries are hidden in that letter. So that the niessengers of God shall be punished of God if they wiil not go forth to declare llie mysteries of the kingdom ; but on the contrary, if men go and are not sent of God, they are punished of God for going before they were sent; and in going before they are sent, they do add and take away from the scriptures, and from this book of the revelation; for they being not chosen, nor sent of Cod, they do not know the true meaning of the scriptures; so they not knowing the truth of them, they add their own conceits and senses upon them, and diminish, and take away the true interpreter by persecution, and will not suffer it to abide in the world, least their own principles should fall by it; and this is the true meaning of the spirit, and what is meant by adding and taking away from the words of the prophesy of this book of the Revelation of St. Jolin.
I thought it something necessary to open these two verses, because it hath been a thing common in most people's mouths, when they have heard the interpretation of scriptures, with many deep secrets opened, and many beavenly mysteries revealed, which never were revealed before, or that have not been commonly known aningst religious people ; they have seemed hard sayings, so tliat mien have cryed out, O blasphemy, or else say I have added to the word of God; or if the interpretation doth
differ from the common received opinion or interpretation, then they will say, I take away from the word of God ; yet they know not what it is to add or to take from it; therefore I have opened these two last verses, in the last chapter, and the last verse but one of the Revelation of St. John, that the seed of faith may know what it is, and who they are, that add and diminish the words of the prophesy of this book aforesaid; and who it is that doth not add, nor diminish, but do give the true interpretation of all the deep secrets and hidden mysteries of the whole book of the Revelation; and now last of all what it is to add, and take away, with the joy and glory of them that do not add nor diminish thereunto; with the plagues, shame, and misery of all those that do add thereunto, or dimipish therefrom.
So much for the interpretation of all the chief heads and hard sayings in the whole book of the Revelation of St. John, and the conclusion of this epistle.
F IN IS,
Reeve and Morris, Printers,