Henry Barrow

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Henry Barrow or Barrowe {1550? – 1593} was an early Non-Conformist, and Separatist from the Established Church of England, who cried out against her abominations, was consequently jailed, and after a long six year imprisonment, was then executed by hanging for his Faithful Confession of Christ.

Separation from False Churches Imperative

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Seeing that we have received a most sure Word of the Lord our God, it behooveth us to give heed thereunto, as unto a Light that shineth in dark places, whilst we travel in the dangerous wilderness of this world. In which Word, the whole Wisdom and Council of God for our direction and instruction in all things are fully revealed unto us; so that now we are not to say in our hearts, “who shall ascend into heaven; that is, to bring Christ down from above; or who shall descend into the deep; that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead;” or who shall go over the sea, and bring it us, and cause us to hear it, that we may obey it; for lo, “the word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart;” and set before our eyes for obedience to the faith; the sound of the Gospel having been long since carried forth through all the regions of the whole earth; so that no nation shall be excused, which will not serve and obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; which being proclaimed with his own blessed mouth, sealed with his own blood, written with the pen of the Holy Ghost, delivered and commanded by his holy Apostles and Prophets unto us as his Last Will and Testament; whereunto nothing may be added, nothing diminished, altered, or changed, violated, or willfully neglected according to the fleshly wisdom or worldly policy, without most heinous transgression, sacrilege, and impiety. Neither hath any angel in heaven, any mortal man, no nor the whole Church, power or prerogative to alter or neglect the least iota or tittle thereof; but God hath especially committed these Holy Oracles to the careful custody of the Church, there to be inviolably preserved, as inside of the ark of the covenant, purely taught, expounded and delivered without corrupting, mixing, hiding, obscuring, or wresting; there to be precisely observed with all reverence and fear, without any willing or known transgression, or swerving either to the right hand or to the left, of the whole Church or any member thereof. And hereunto is the whole Church, and every particular member thereof, both jointly and in unison as one, bound together, both because they have all of them interest in the Tree and River of Life, all being bound to the maintenance of the Faith which is given, and is common to all Saints, and because they are all of them the members of Christ, and together his body and each other’s members in Him; therefore are they so often by the Apostles charged and stirred up to exhort, edify, and admonish one another, to stand upon the watchtower of their faith, to scout, and observe them diligently which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which they have learned; to try the spirits, to examine the doctrine whether any man teach otherwise, and consent not unto the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness. Many weighty and grave reasons are added to induce them to be the more vigilant and careful; the doctrine being likened to the light of the eyes, to food; yea, to the life of the soul; as also error and corruption associated with darkness, leaven, poison, &c. Moreover, such teachers are compared to false and deceitful workmen, blind and unfaithful guides, to grievous and ravaging wolves, to thieves and murderers, &c., whatever counterfeit titles and sheep’s clothing they take unto themselves; yet the Holy Ghost speaks evidently and everywhere warns, that these builders shall seek to destroy the temple of God, whose house and building we are, &c., for these blind guides shall seduce and mislead us in the ways of death and destruction, these thieves and wolves shall spoil and murder us; {if the Lord delivers us into their cruel hands.} Now to what extent these poisons are the spiritual death of the soul, by so much are they more carefully to be avoided, shunned and eschewed. Therefore our Savior Christ and his Apostles, as they were most vigilant and faithful, did both present and foresee diverse dangers and great evils to come, so gave they very earnest, and often warnings hereof unto the disciples, unto the churches, commanding the porter; yea, every servant of the house to watch, to beware and to take heed, showing them that many false Christs and many false prophets should arise, showing great signs and wonders, whereby to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect. He foretold them of antichrists original increase and exaltation, how he should behave himself, what havoc he should cause in the Church of God; as also of the general defection, and even of the very beginnings thereof. How immediately after the tribulation of those days; namely the destruction and desolation of the earthly and material temple, the sun should be darkened, the moon should not give her light, the stars should fall from heaven and the powers of heaven should be shaken, and the beauty thereof wrapped up as a scroll; that the whole world should be drowned in sensuality and security, as in the days of Noah, because iniquity shall be increased, and true faith scarce found upon the earth at his coming. So that if those days should not be shortened, there should no flesh be saved. Yet, that all these things must and should undoubtably come to pass, he showed it by the nearer things; namely, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple; as also confirmed yet by the truth and steadfastness of his Word, showing how the heaven and the earth should pass away, but his words should not pass away, neither should this generation pass, until all these things were fulfilled; and as far off, and by diverse types as one finds in Is.14:13,14, Nahum 3:4-7, Dan.9:27; also Is.13:10-13, Ezek.32:7, Joel 2:31, 3:14,15. But the Apostles gave much more evident and plain warning of these things, chiefly they that lived longest, and came nearest to these times. As the Apostle Paul to the Elders of the Church at Ephesus, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears;” {Acts 20:28-31;} and in all his epistles plentifully. The Apostle Peter in his Second Epistle, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction; and many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” {II Pet.2:1-2} The Apostle Jude; and John in his Epistles; but especially in that Heavenly Book of the Revelation, wherein he most lucidly describes these things, even from the original, in several visions, according to the several ages which would ensue; wherein he shows the blessed state of the Church, whilst God’s glorious Throne was in the midst of the Elders, and whilst it was yet enlightened with the burning lamps of God’s Spirit, and whilst that the book was received and opened of the Lamb, and whilst Christ sat upon the white horse, his own holy Word, and whilst that they remained together in that heavenly order, wherein Christ had placed and bestowed every member, and the Apostles those excellent workmen had planted and left them, being fitly coupled and joined together by every joint, for the service and help of the whole, according to the effectual power that is in the measure of every part, until Satan I say, that ancient enemy of all righteousness, had that great sword given him, wherewith he made and still shall make bloody war, and raise up grievous persecution against the woman and her seed without, and within, even whilst they slept and were negligent, sowing his darnel of errors, and tares of discord amongst them, raising up sects through the ambition and vainglory of some, drawing others into schism through pride and hypocrisy, others into heresies, through their headstrong and unbridled affections; all into his snare, through the general default of all, who slacked their duties, and kept not their orderly watch one over another, and jointly over the whole, as they were commanded and prescribed by the Apostles. But as the age that arose after Joshua and those elders of his time, was soon corrupted, and soon forgot the ordinances of their God, and the great things the Lord had done for their forefathers; so these soon fell from the Apostolic Order, and left their primitive diligence and care. The people also rendered superstitious reverence and preposterous esteem unto their teachers and elders, resigned up all things, even their duty, interest, liberty and prerogatives into their hands; suffering them to alter and dispose of all things after their own lusts, without inquiry or controversy; whereupon the true pattern of Christ’s Testament, so highly and with so great charge commissioned by the apostles unto the fidelity of the whole Church, was soon neglected and cast aside, especially by these evil workmen, these unsent hirelings, who loved to have the preeminence, and sought to draw an absolute power into their own hands; procuring unto themselves, those positions in the church as servants of Christ, and turning them into swelling titles of fleshly pomp and worldly dignity. Thus wrought the mystery of iniquity; yea, so far were many of them carried away with a vain opinion and false estimation of the excellency of their gifts, as they under feigned pretenses of doing good unto others, sought also under this cloak a jurisdiction and regency over other congregations also, which was easily obtained, the people through the just judgments of God being now so bewitched and blinded with their sweet tongues, that they easily consented. - Thus Antichrist being now established and fortified in the midst of his strongholds, he now receives the grand charter of his prerogative, even the dragon, his power, throne, and authority. He now boldly opens his mouth against God, blaspheming the Tabernacle of Christ, and them that dwell therein; innovating and changing all things after his own lust, the ministry, government, order and worship; thus exalting himself against all that is called God, and sitting in the temple of God as God, showing himself that he is God, causing all men to worship his image, to receive his mark, to buy his wares, &c., bringing forth his harlot upon the stage of the world, stately mounted upon his beastly power, pompously arrayed, and gorgeously decked and adorned, the more to allure and entice; whose cup of fornications was carried far and near, to many nations, people, and tongues, so that the kings of the earth committed fornication with her, the inhabitants of the earth were drunk with the wine of her fornication, which she conveyed unto them by the hands of her proselyting merchants, who are waxen rich with the abundance of her pleasures. Yet in all this defection, corruption, and apostasy hath God still reserved a seed, a poor small remnant, who have been marked with the mark of God on their foreheads, and have been preserved from the sting of these scorpions, the plague of these locusts, which have had light in the midst of these hellish fogs, {“but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings;” Ex.10:23;} which have not bought, nor sold with the mark of the beast, neither drunk of the whore’s cup, neither have been defiled with her fornications; but have been the Lamb’s called, chosen, and faithful soldiers, following the Lamb in white array wheresoever he goeth, who leadeth them from faith to faith. These by the light of the Word, read the harlot’s misery written in her forehead, discover her skirts, and all her abominations, and by that same light make her known to be that spiritual Babylon, where the servants of Christ are kept in servitude from the practice of his Word; where the true temple, his Church, and all the vessels and instruments thereof, are utterly ruinated, defaced, profaned and trodden underfoot. These also do show by the same light, even from the ancient prophecies, her, and all her synagogues, to become the very habitation of Devils, the hold of all foul and wicked spirits, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. - It behooveth us therefore, whilst yet God vouchsafeth us time, carefully by the light of God’s Word, to examine our ways, and to reflect upon our condition, whether we be in that broad way that leadeth to destruction, amongst those multitudes over whom the whore sitteth and reigneth; or in the straight and narrow way which leadeth unto everlasting life, with Christ’s little flock and marked soldiers, whom the Lamb leadeth and ruleth? Whether we be in that great defection, in that spiritual Babylon under Antichrist and the beast; or whether we be in Mount Zion, in the spiritual Jerusalem, where the commandments of God are kept, and the faith of Jesus? - Therefore let us, for the appeasing and assurance of our consciences, give heed to the Word of God, and by that golden reed measure our temple, our altar, and our worshipers, even by this Rule whereby the apostles, those excellent workmen, planted and built the first churches; {“Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord;” Eph.2:20,21;} for as there is but One Truth, so whatsoever is diverse more or less than that One Truth is false and to be repented of. Henry Barrow {Brief Discovery of the False Church, 1590}

Religious Holidays

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To come therefore to the holy days, I will begin with the Jewish feasts that they {Church of England} still retain, as their Easter and Pentecost. Of these solemnities and feasts we read of in Exodus 12, Leviticus 23, Numbers 28, and Deuteronomy 26; that they belonged and were enjoined to the Jews under the Law, that they were merely ceremonial and ritual, figuring Christ’s Person, and belonging to the Levitical Ministry, such as appertain not unto, neither are to be retained in the Church or Ministry of Christ, &c. But here perhaps they will have recourse to the Doctor’s aforesaid Catholic Distinction; namely, that they keep not these Feasts and Days after the Levitical manner, neither unto those ends, but rather in the one to celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior Christ, in the other the glorious miracle of his giving the Holy Ghost unto the Apostles, &c.; and this, their service upon these days shows plainly. For, with all these flourishes cannot I be satisfied concerning the very feasts and days of Easter and Whitsuntide, which still retain the same names of Pascha and Pentecost, the same times, solemnities, cessations, the same solemn Sabbaths or Sundays that the Jews did, keeping their Passover in the first month of the Jews, the First Day more solemn than the rest, numbering seven weeks just after the same unto their Pentecost, whose First Day they keep in like manner. All these Ceremonies, these Laws and Places above alleged, show evidently to be derived from the Jews. We find no such customs, no such commandments in the New Testament. We there read that, if we observe or be brought into bondage of such feasts, as days, &c., we turn from Christ and he profits us nothing. “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” {Gal.4:9-10} “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” {Gal.5:1} “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances.” {Col.2:20} But they observe these Feasts of Easter and Pentecost as our Savior Christ and his Apostles did, and so have a warrant sufficient for what they do. But is it so? Then they observe their Easter wholly after the Jewish manner, for so did our Savior Christ, being made under the Law; but our Savior Christ there instituted this feast to be kept, and that after another manner, as the institution of the Supper declared, how it ought to be kept in the Ministry of the Gospel, I never found any such thing in the text; neither did the Apostles, {who delivered as they had received, I Cor.11:2,} ever give any such commandment, or tied the celebrating of the Supper to that Feast or that Day, as the Church of England does, but left the day and the time to the liberty of the Church. If it is to be kept in that manner, then is it to be kept in the night after the Supper? If the feast and day still remain, then doth the Passover still remain, for both were alike by our Savior observed at that time; but, if the Passover be abrogated, and Christ our Passover be offered for this, then is that Feast and Day also abrogated, and we are to keep the feast even all the days of our life in sincerity and truth; and any other observation of the day I never found, in all the practice of the apostles or churches! “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” {I Cor.5:7,8} Furthermore, I am sure that they cannot show either Commandment or Example in the New Testament that this or any such feasts have been or are to be kept in the churches of Christ. It maketh nothing for their purpose, that Paul, {Acts 18,} departed from Ephesus to keep the ensuing feast in Jerusalem; for, what he did, {no doubt,} he did by a Revelation of the Spirit, unto the more easy winning of the Jews, to whom he, {for the time,} became and behaved himself as a Jew, {I Cor.9:20, Acts 16:3,} and this both by the special Revelation of the Spirit, and warrant of the Word. For, unto the Jews an allotted time was given for the shaking off and removing these ceremonies, from which they could not be so suddenly or easily removed, because they were given and delivered unto them by God himself upon the Mount Sinai, &c.; but, seeing they never were given nor belonged to the Gentiles, the Apostle by no means would have them entangled with these ceremonies. Neither did Paul here enjoin the Church at Ephesus to keep this feast; nay, how sharply he hath dealt with those Jews or other false teachers that sought to trouble the churches with them, appears most clearly in all his Epistles; and how roundly, but for a little halting herein, he dealt with the Apostle Peter, appears out of Galatians. {Gal.2:14} Now, if the Apostle then at that first planting of the churches, when many Jews were mingled amongst the Gentiles, would not receive the least Ordinance with the Ministry of the Gospel, by way of “subjection, no, not for an hour; that the Truth of the Gospel might continue” {Gal.2:5} amongst them; what would he now say to these kind of apostles, who being no Jews, but Gentiles by nature, and having all these examples and documents before them; yet do without any warrant thrust the Jewish traditions upon the churches with a strong hand, when the Apostle saith, that but a little of such leaven doth leaven the whole lump. {Gal.5:9} But see, these not only retain the day and feast, but join to the Celebration of the One Day a principal article of our faith, the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Where have they learned to make such a set and special memorial of Christ’s Resurrection one day above all the days in the year? But here their answer is ready, because Christ arose that day of the year. Did he so? How shall we know that? The Pope having in a solemn General Counsel corrected his calendar saith, that he did rise ten days before, and keeps his Feast accordingly. But be it of their side; be it that Christ arose just on that particular day; yet what I feign know the mystery of the matter, why we should more especially remember and celebrate Christ’s Resurrection on that Lord’s day, than on the next Lord’s day; nay, than any other day of the year? Or why they should keep such a solemn double feast that Lord’s day more than on any other. I could never as yet find in Christ’s Testament any such prerogative of one day before or above another, neither that Christ’s Resurrection was to be celebrated with such pomp, that day making wholly to other days after it, and drawing both young and old, all these days from their lawful callings, wherein they are placed by God, to give attendance at Church, and to spend the time in idleness, follies and vanity. Is this to celebrate the resurrection of Christ a deliverance from dead works; and a renovation in knowledge and true holiness, after the image of Him that created them? {Col.3:10, Rom.6:4} Or is it not rather amongst these works, which God neither required nor commanded? For, I would fain learn of them, where they can likewise show any commandment to solemnize the very day of the apostles receiving those wonderful gifts of the Holy Ghost? That the Apostles did not then keep that feast in relation to this matter has already been showed, because they had not as yet then received these gifts, neither knew in what manner God would work; that ever after they kept or commanded to be kept any such set solemn Memorial thereof upon any one day more than another, I suppose cannot be showed in the New Testament. Paul they may allege, {Acts 20:16,} made haste out of Asia, to be, {if it were possible,} at Jerusalem at the feast of Pentecost; but this proves not that the Apostles or early Christians kept the feast in commemoration of the wonderful descent of the Holy Ghost, &c., which, until they can show, they do nothing. We doubt not but that the Jews a long time kept that and many other feasts; but they can be no example for us in this matter, no more than the ancient traditions, without a Definite Warrant from the Word of God. - I cannot see what warrant, commandment, or proof they have in the Word of God in this manner to solemnize the birth, circumcision, epiphany, resurrection and ascension of Christ upon their several days, with their set fasts, worship and feasts? Why do not they celebrate as well his baptism, temptation and victory over Satan in the wilderness, the calling of the woman of Samaria, the receiving the Syrophoenician woman, his famous miracles, casting out devils, raising the dead, walking upon the sea, transfiguration upon the mountain, giving the Holy Ghost unto his apostles, with his commission and message, &c. These are written in the New Testament and were done by Him as well as the rest, for our learning and comfort. Why then should not they as well have their peculiar days, fasts, worship, feasts, as the others have? But where have they thus learned Christ, to worship him by set days and eves, by such fasts and feasts? Is not this to draw the worship of God, {which is perpetual and spiritual,} into worldly ordinances and customs? “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.” {Acts 17:22} They celebrate the Nativity, Circumcision, Epiphany and Resurrection of Christ with gay clothes, clean houses and good cheer to stir up lust instead of devotion, eating and drinking, and rising up to play and dance, games, interludes, masks and wassail cups. So many of these traditions seem to be done after the mold and pattern of the Feast of the Jews in honor of the Golden Calf. “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” {Mt.15:9} In Christ’s Testament they never learned to divide thus Christ’s actions and life, making one a holy day of his birth, another of his circumcision, another of his epiphany, resurrection, &c. For, though these were distinct things, and done at several times, yet never read I that they ought {in this manner} upon peculiar days to be celebrated in the Church, more than at any other time or day of the year. Henry Barrow {Brief Discovery of the False Church, 1590}

Religious Tradesmen

What the sons of the Prophets were, is already showed; namely godly men that repaired to the cities where these famous Prophets were most resident, to be instructed in the law of God. But the persons that resort to these universities are the children of all the profane in the land, that repair thither to be instructed in heathen & vain arts, whereby they may get their living; or if they study divinity (as they call it) they make an occupation of it. It is but for their belly, for worldly promotion, and not for the glory of God, as the greedy seeking after their ecclesiastical livings by the one sort, the selling of their cunning and letting forth their tongues for hire. --- Neither are they more like unto the Churches of Christ, then unto the schools of the Prophets; the Church of Christ is no cage of such unclean & hateful birds, of their sire & offspring; the churches of Christ have no such colleges, societies, fellowships; the Churches of Christ have no such heathenish & idolatrous customs, exercises, usages, oaths, vows, ceremonies; they have no such profane arts, vain education & literature; they have no such degrees & ostentations of learning, neither are there found either Bachelors or Doctors of Divinity; having no such fatuous & blasphemous titles, but are called to a labor and a charge; for the faithful performance whereof, they rather desire to be commended, then to be thus greeted in the market place. --- And therefore once more I conclude; that both these ungodly assemblies, as also the Cathedral Deans and Colleges, ought by as good right to be abolished, as their other brethren and sisters of a birth. The monasteries & nunneries are, seeing they all want foundation in the Word, had one and the same hellish original, and still retain the same blasphemous incurable abuses, which can by no way be reformed, but by their utter dissolution. --- The Lord is not pleased with any voluntary religion. That building that hath not the Word of God for the foundation, though it be daubed with never so great cunning {“Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall; there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.” Ez.13:11} and learning, and underscored with never so great policy and power, though it be built as high as Babel, yet shall it assuredly fall, and great shall be the fall thereof. As there is no building without the Word of God for the foundation; so is there no fellowship or communion out of the Church of God; and therefore no such confused colleges, no such idolatrous assemblies, being not gathered unto Christ but unto Antichrist, who live not in that Christian order & fellowship which Christ hath appointed to all his servants in his Church, but lead their lives in antichristian disorder, in Babylonish, if not Sodomitish confusion; no such heathen schools wherein youth are not trained up in the fear, knowledge, and order of Christ; but in vain arts, superstition, idolatry, disorder &c. have any foundation in the Word of God, any fellowship with or allowance in the Church of God. --- And surely I marvel and wonder, how these men can be so blinded, to compare these wicked idolatrous societies to the assemblies of the Prophets, or unto the Church of Christ, when you see that they have nothing in common with them or like unto them, either in the people assembled, doctrine taught, manner of teaching & learning, or order of life; as they utterly lack warrant in the Word of God for such kind of Colleges, Societies and Schools, these having been derived either from the Heathens, Egyptians, Greeks, or Persians that had their peculiar colleges and schools for their peculiar sects, or else have issued out of the smoke of Antichrists inventions out of the bottomless pit. They always have been & still are the very hives & nurseries of these armed poisoned Locusts & venomous Scorpions, I mean either that false ministry of Antichrist, even all the governing & teaching Priests, as Cardinals, Archbishops, Archdeacons, Chancellors, Doctors, Advocates, Proctors, vagrant roving Ministers & Preachers, parish Priests &c., or those counterfeit religious hypocrites, Monks, Friars, Nuns, Clerks, or {as we now of late call them} scholars. All which have in innumerable multitudes from time to time and at all times swarmed and issued out of their hives into the face of the whole earth, corrupting and destroying every green thing, poisoning the pure fountains of God’s Word with their accursed glosses, deep learning, subtle & figurative interpretations, darkening the sun and infecting the air therewith; as also with the blasphemous traditions of their king Apollyon, that angel of the bottomless pit. They have always most pestilently fought under this their captain against the Lamb, his Gospel & Church, plentifully furnishing and continually supplying all the offices & rooms belonging to that huge Midianitish host of Antichrist; the leaders, captains, and officers whereof, are & ever have been wholly taken out of these societies, even from the Popes person to the lowest Priest. --- As for this title of Doctor of Divinity, I know not how to give it unto any man without blasphemy, Christ only excepted, in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwelleth bodily; for this English Romish abstract of divinity, I am assured came from the same forge that their title of the supreme head of the Church of Rome did, and cannot with all the glosses & learned interpretations they can devise, be made other than most high blasphemy against the sacred Person of Christ, who is the only universal Doctor of all his disciples & of all true religion. Henry Barrow {The Pollution of University Learning or Sciences Falsely So-Called,” 1590}


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Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle
and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. Hebrews 3:1