Let no man condemn you, from an affectation of humility, in worshipping of Angels, boldly prying into matters which he knows nothing of, being vainly puft up with his Jewish conceits:
by which indeed they make a pretence to wisdom, by a worship of their own devising, by an air of humility, and self-denial, and a disregard to the gratifications of sense.
beware lest any one seduce you by the vain illusions of philosophy, founded upon human traditions, and meer shadows, and not upon Christ:
pretending to be doctors of the law, tho' they neither understand what they advance, nor upon what it is founded.
for there shall arise false Messiahs, and false prophets, and shall shew such astonishing miracles and prodigies, as to deceive, if that can do it, the very converts themselves.
they changed the true God for an idol, and adored and served the creature more than the creator, who is blessed for ever.
now sensual inclinations lead to death; but spiritual affections to a life of tranquillity.
for such as these serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own selfishness; and by flourish and flattery, deceive the open-hearted simple.
for you are still subject to your passions. since envy, and strife, and divisions are among you, are you not actuated by the vices of the animal part?
Now as to things offered to idols, 'tis certain that the knowledge you all pretend to have, swells you with pride, but 'tis charity that edifieth.
for tho' there are several titular deities, both in heaven and on earth: such as the whole crowd of gods, and lords among the Gentiles;
You know, that in a race, tho' all run, but one receives the prize: so run, that you may obtain.
Social affection is patient, is kind; is a stranger to envy; is not insolently vain, nor arrogant: does not behave indecently,
but I fear lest by some means or other, as Eve was beguiled by the subtilly of the serpent, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is due to Christ.
yet I fear when I do come I shall not find you such as I would, and that you will find me such as you least desire: I am afraid there are among you debates, envyings, animosities, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, arrogance, tumults:
now the effects of vicious passions are manifestly these, fornication, uncleanness,
let no man mislead you by vain reasonings: for it is for these vices, that the wrath of God lights upon the incredulous.
I press towards the mark for the prize to which God has called me from above by Jesus Christ.
Now the spirit says expresly, that in the latter times some shall abandon the faith, by giving credit to seducing spirits, and the doctrine concerning demons;
but if envy and contention imbitter your minds, don't think your false pretences can stand against the truth:
you breathe slaughter and revenge for what you cannot obtain.
their eyes are inflam'd with adultery, and unextinguishable vice: they insnare the souls of the inconstant. their minds are practis'd in the arts of avarice: an execrable race, who have deserted the right way,
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
For there are many impostors started up in the world, who will not own that Jesus Christ was incarnate. such a one is an impostor and an anti-christ.
the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, call'd the devil or satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were precipitated with him.
all that dwell upon the earth will worship him, whose names are not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the lamb, that was slain.
and he deceived the inhabitants of the earth, by the prodigys which he had power to effect by the influence of the beast, by telling the inhabitants of the earth, that he had made an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, but yet did revive.
then I fell at his seet to worship him: but he said to me, "forbear: I am the servant of God, as you and your brethren are, that bear testimony to Jesus: worship God: for to give testimony to Jesus, is the very design of prophecy."
I John saw these things, and heard them. and when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel, who shewed me these things.