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THE NEW BIRTH FROM THE WORD OF GOD

HEAR my words, all people, and understand them, all you who imagine that you are Christians, and presumptuously boast of the grace, merits, flesh, blood, cross, kingdom and death of the Lord, notwithstanding we find among you neither Christian faith, brotherly love, repentance, the right use of the sacraments of Christ, the pure doctrine, nor the unblamable, godly life, which is out of God, to which the Scriptures admonish us; neither the true, divine service, evangelical disposition, nor obedience; but throughout, nothing else than abominable, dark unbelief, a lewd, carnal life, false doctrine, false, self-devised sacraments, a devilish heart and mind, an accursed, heathenish idolatry under the name of Christ, blind, blood-thirsty tyranny, envious and furious revengefulness against all the children of God; yea, open obstinacy, disobedience and rejection of the words of Christ and of his Holy Ghost, as may be very plainly perceived and seen throughout the world.
In order that you may comfort yourselves no longer with lying and vain hopes, contrary to all Scriptures, to your eternal damnation, and not glory in vain, in the aforementioned riches and glory of the children of God, namely of the kingdom, grace, merits, flesh, blood, cross, death and promises of Christ, &c., which do not yet pertain to you, because you are yet altogether earthly, carnally and devilishly minded, reject Christ, and do not keep to his Spirit, word and example, without which no one can be a christian; therefore I have undertaken through the merciful grace of the Lord, as much as is in my power, to inform you; briefly, by the infallible, powerful, saving word of the holy gospel of Christ, and out of the pure doctrine of his holy apostles, in this my epistle, who they are, or who they are not, that are endowed through the grace of God, and to whom pertain the aforementioned gifts, merits and promises of Christ.
Tell me, most beloved, where or when did you read in the Scriptures, which is the true witness of the Holy Ghost and the plummet of our consciences, that the unbelieving, disobedient, carnal adulterer, whoremonger, drunkard, avaricious, idolatrous or pompous had a single promise of the kingdom of Christ and his church, yea, part or communion in his merits, death and blood? I tell you the truth, nowhere do we read it in the Scriptures, nor ever will we; but thus it is written by Paul, "For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die." Adulterers, whoremongers, buggerers, effeminate, unclean, idolaters, drunkards, proud, avaricious, betrayers of the innocent,

 

and bloodshedders, thieves, murderers, backbites, perjurers, sorcerers, liars, unmerciful, the disobedient to God and Christ (if they repent not) will not inherit the kingdom of God, yea, their portion will be in the fiery lake which burns with fire and brimstone; which is the second death, Rom. 8:13; 1 Cor. 6:10; Eph. 5:5.
Behold, worthy reader, this is God's irrevocable sentence and judgment upon all who live after the flesh, whoever they be, emperor or king, duke or earl, knight or squire, noble or ignoble, priest or monk, learned or unlearned, rich or poor, male or female, bond or free. All, who live after the flesh, must forever remain under the just sentence and eternal wrath of God, otherwise the whole Scriptures are untrue.
Therefore, are the poor, ignorant people comforted in vain with masses, matins, vespers, confessions, pilgrimages and holy water, and what is more, with Christ's grace, death and blood. The word stands firm, "For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die; for to be carnally minded is death." Therefore, I advise and entreat you all in general, to hear Christ Jesus, who is sent to us as a witness of the truth from heaven; for thus says he, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." At another place, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Again, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
Faithful reader, take heed; these words are not invented or instituted of man, nor are they the resolution of any council; but they are the infallible, precious words, which the Son of God, Christ Jesus, brought to us from the mouth of his Father, and declared unto pious Nicodemus, the scribe, with a double affirmation. That word is powerful and clear, and has not only reference to Nicodemus, but to all the children of Adam, who have come to the years of maturity. But alas, it is so obscured by the offensive, leavenous mire of human commands, statutes and glossaries, that scarcely one or two is found in a thousand, who have the true sense and understanding of the heavenly birth, much less have they the active nature, power, properties and fruits of it. Yea, they have brought it so far, through their philosophy, wisdom and self-chosen holiness, that the eternal Wisdom of God, Christ Jesus, eternally blessed, is