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not yet travelled ; and left they should not hear and mind the call of his Spirit unto Sion, the holy mount of God, towards and unto which he leadech his people, in this day of the revelation and manifestation of his glorious love and power.
Oh! therefore, my friends, ye that long after the Lord, ye that desire to feel the power of his trụth, wait for the principle of life from him to be revealed in you, and the pure fear which is therefrom, that ye may feel the Lord thereby, and therein (even in and through that principle) writing his fear, his pure fear, his holy fear, his powerfully-preserving fear, in your hearts; that ye may know the way to him, the feed (which is the way) may come and join to him therein, and never depart from him. The fear of the Lord, from the principle of his life, will (without fail) effect this in you as ye receive it from the Lord; but the other fear, the fear which the enemy begets, will not do it; but will be a bar and fore stop in your way, till the Lord, by his holy power, through his tender mercy, remove it from you.
And now answer me one question uprightly, as in God's sight, from whom it is in my heart to propound it to you.
Are you come to Sion, or are ye travelling thitherward rightly and truly? Have ye ever known any of the travellers, that ye have been acquainted with, that could in truth say, that they were come to Sion? The Christians, in the primitive times, were come to Sion, and they were acquainted and dwelt with God and Christ there ; and knew Jerusalem, the heavenly building, the city of the living God. Oh! where are ye? Nay, are ye yet come out of Babylon? Do ye yet know the wilderness, the intricate passages therein, wherethrough God alone can lead the soul ? Oh! depart ye, depart ye from your present stations in the leadings of God's Spirit), unless ye can say, in the true unerring light, that they are your rest, your souls true rest, even the everlasting kingdom, which the primitive Christians received (and into which they found entrance), which could not be shaken.
And, friends, let me tell you one thing further (for my heart is at this present opened to you by the Lord), that as the soul in its travels) comes to Sion, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is witnessed, which makes free from the law of sin and death. And then there is no more such a crying out of the body of fin as there was before ; but a blessing of him who hath delivered, and daily doth deliver, from it: yea, the body of sin is known and felt to be put off, and Christ put on in the stead thereof. For, my friends, there are several states witnessed by the soul, in its true and senlible travels towards the Holy Land. As for instance :
1. There is a state of Egyptian darkness and bondage, in which the power of death reigns and rules in the heart, subjecting it to sin and death. And here the soul is in the grave, and under death, captivity, and bondage, in the midst of all its professions of religion, and talk of God and Chrift, and reading scriptures, and observing ordinances and duties, &c.
2. There is a wilderness-state, wherein the strength of captivity is fomewhat broken, and the heart drawn to mind the leadings of life, and to fol
w after the Lord through the trials, through the preparations, through the several exercises which the Lord feeth good to exercise it with.
And here the mercy and goodness of the Lord is experienced, and the deceitfulness and treachery of the heart. This is the place of humiliation and breaking weten muually cow woman wir and breaking, wherein the soul daily feels how untoward and unaccustomed it is to the yoke, which should break the spirit, and subdue it to God. Here the Lord shews the soul what its heart is, that he might humble it, and do it good in the latter end.. Here the very law of God appears weak, through the strength of the flesh, which is not yet fubdued. Now here is mourning, and groaning, and crying to the Lord night and day, both because of tie violence and multitude of the enemies, and because of the naughtiness, distrust, and unbelief of the heart.
3. There is a state of rest, a state of peace, a state of life, a state of power, a state of grace, a state of dominion, in the life, and through the power of the Lord, wherein the law of life is manifested in dominion in the heart over the law of fin and death. There is an everlasting kingdom, wherein God and Christ reign, in which God treads Satan down under the feet of the soul, and makes the soul a king and a priest in the Son of his love ; and the foul feels it is one with, and accepted in, the beloved.
Now, friends, that ye may know this kingdom, travel faithfully towards it; feel and come into the reign of Christ in it; sit down in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and inherit substance; know the gathering to Christ in the name, and sit down in the name, where the enemy cannot touch you; but feel the preservation and powerful life and dominion of that seed which is over the enemy, and wherein and whereby the Lord scatters the enemy, bruising the serpent's head, and anointing the foul with the oil of gladness, and cloathing it with the beautiful garments of his righteousness and salvation; and that ye may know the precious and glorious building of life in the Spirit, even of the holy house and city of God, where the walls are salvation, and the gates praise. For this end it is in my heart from the Lord to write these things unto you, and the Lord God of his mercy open the door of entrance to you into these things for there is but one door of life, and there is not another; which door is Christ the feed; which seed is revealed within, there to break the wisdom, strength, and head of the serpent, and so far as he breaks it there, redemption and freedom is witnessed from it, and no further. .
Oh! that ye might receive an understanding from the Lord, and be taught by him to deny and part with the understanding which is not of him, that ye might see things (from him, and in his light) which ye have not yet seen; and consider aright of that, which the enemy hitherto, by his subtilty, hath prejudiced you against.
And now as for us, who experience the truth as it is in Jesus, and with the Lord our God in his Light, and by virtue of his life and love lhed abroad in our hearts : I say, what is it to us to be judged by you in your day as persons that deny Christ, deny fcriptures, deny ordinances, deny duties, &c.? We are satisfied in our hearts as touching your judgment, knowing from the Lord what it is in you that thus judgeth of us, even the same thing that judged amiss of Christ in the Scribes, Pharisees, and profelling Jews) in the days of his flesh. And indeed that in you can never judge aright; but is to be judged, condemned, and destroyed by the life and power of the Lord.
And oh! that ye knew (sensibly knew) what' is to live, and what is to die in you, that ye might feel the rising of your souls out of the grave, through the immortal seed of God, and the bringing of all your wisdom and knowledge of the things of God (which ye hold, and make use of out of the compass and limits of his holy life and covenant) into death.
For, friends, let me tell you, that which hath been parted with (for the kingdom's fake, and the righteousness thereof) in fome, was more precious than what ye hold so stily, and so magnify in your own thoughts and rea. sonings against the truth. ' Yea, that which was once of high esteem, and very glorious in our eyes, is now become as dross and dung, for the excel. lency of the pure living knowledge of, and fellowship with, Jesus Christ, our Lord; and if ye had the true measure and balance to weigh things in, ye would acknowledge it: but the letter, and literal ordinances and duties, and apprehensions of things out of the life, kills you, and keeps you under the veil, and from the sight of the things which are within the veil.
Oh! that God would rend the veil in you! Oh! that God would give you the feeling of, and union with, that whereby he rends the veil! Oh! that he would humble you, and bring down the mighty from his seat of judgment in you, to be judged and abased, and exalt the meek and lowly into that which is his proper place!
Oh! that ye might feel the work of God, even the redemption of the soul, begun and carried on by him with power in your hearts! Then would ye know Christ indeed, the scriptures indeed, the ordinances indeed, the duties indeed, the everlasting fabbath, the everlasting worship; even the substance of all that was shadowed out under the law, and sit down under the wing of the Almighty, from whence the power, the life, the virtue, the healing, drops into the soul.
And now, to give a little touch at those things beforementioned, which ye so stumble at, a little to help to remove them from your spirits, if ic please the Lord.
1. We do not deny that Christ which died at Jerusalem; but own him, and no other: and own what he did, his obedience to the Father always, and in all things ; his sufferings in the virtue and power of the Father, and the value of them with the Father. This the Lord our God teacheth
us to own, and to bless the name of the Lord, for him who is the captain, and worker out of our salvation ; a measure of whose life and power we have received, and embrace in our hearts; and in this is He, the fulness, made manifest to us; and we, through this, and by this, and in this, ingrafted into him; and so come to partake of the sweetness and fatness of the olive-tree. Yea, this we certainly know, that Christ was not only made manifest in that body of flesh, but is also made manifest in our mortal felh, as we are gathered into his life, and his life brought forth in us. And he is not only antichrift, that denieth Christ's appearance in that body of Aeth; but he that denieth him (the hope of glory) in his faints, his fpiritual body. Yea, I beseech you consider, whether it hath been the work of antichrist all along the apostasy to deny the appearance of Christ in that body of Hesh, or to deny the appearance of his life and Spirit in the flesh of his faints? We know (faith the apostle John) that the Son of God is come, and bath given us an understanding to know bim that is true. How was he come? Was not he that was with them come in them? Did he not live in them, act in them, speak in them? And did not they that were of God hear the voice of Christ, the voice of the shepherd in them? But they which were not of God, which were not the fheep, could not hear the voice of Christ in his apostles and believers; could not own him come in their flesh, though they could preach the fame Christ in words, and own his coming in that body of Aesh which he had appeared in, i Yobu iv. 6.
2. We do indeed really, heartily, singly, as in God's sight, own the scripe tures; the scriptures written by the prophets and holy men of God under the law; the scriptures written by the evangelists and apostles in the time of the gospel; and we read them with delight and joy, and would draw no man from a right reading of them to the benefit of his soul; but only from giving their own judgments on them without the Spirit of God; lelt, in so doing, they wrest them to their own destruction.
This is that which the Lord hath drawn us from, and which we know it would also be profitable to others to be drawn from too; to wit, from imagining and guessing at the meaning of Scriptures, and interpreting them without the opening of thar Spirit from which they were given forth; for they who fo do, feed that part (with a gathered knowledge) which fhould be famished, die, and perish, that another thing might come to live in them, and they in it.
Now to us, being taught of God, and led by him into the things and through the conditions the scriptures speak of, the scriptures are very precious, the relation of things under the law precious, the instructions, promises, and comforts precious, yea, the very reproofs and denunciations of judgment to that part, nature and fpirit which the judgments are to, precious; and it is impossible for any heart to conceive (who hath not the experience of the thing) how life springs in us; and how sweet, pleafant, and profitable the words of life in the writings of the holy men of · VOL. II.
God are to our spirits; and in reading them we often meet with refreinment, comfort, hope, and joy, from the working of the same Spirit in us, which gave forth the good words through them.
3. As touching ordinances, we own all the ordinances and appointments of God to the Jews under the law, and God's presence with them, walking with the Lord, and worshipping him in the faith according thereto. Yea, what if I should say, that we know and are exercised in the same worship in Spirit towards the Lord our God, who hath called and taught us to worship him in spirit and truth, so as he taught them, according to the shadow and letter? What if I should say that we worship the Lord in spirit on the Lord's-day (which is inward and spiritual, the true rest, the substantial sabbath), and that we offer up to him the living facrifices, which the high-priest of our profession prepares in us for the most excellent majesty and glory of our God therein ? Were not the sacrifices under the law, which they offered up according to the letter, types and shadows of what the Lord teachech us, and giveth us to offer up to him in spirit, when we appear before him in his house built on his holy mountain? For, friends, the house wherein we appear is spiritual (an house of God's own building); the worship spiritual, the sacrifices fpiritual, the day of worship spiritual, even the day which the Lord hath made. And here we know and enjoy the things shadowed out under the law spiritually, eating that which is meat indeed, and drinking that which is drink indeed, even the flesh and blood of the Son of man; in which we feel and partake of his nature, his virtue, his life, his substance, and both take it in into us, and put it upon us; so that we have Christ both to be our food and cloathing; and in the birth, nature and Spirit which is of him, cannot be deceived concerning him.
But the great matter ye seem to have against us as to ordinances, is about the baptism of water, and breaking outward bread, and drinking outward wine; concerning which I have two or three weighty queries to propound to be seriously considered of.
Query 1. Were these things themselves the things of the kingdom, or significations of somewhat relating to the kingdom, as the shadows under the law were? And so, though they might have a use and service in the passage from the law, yet could they have an absolute place in the day? For as the day dawns and breaks, the shadows fly away. What should the shadow do, when that which the shadow signified is come? What place is there for shadows in the substance, in the everlasting kingdom ?
Now though the apostle condescended so as to circumcise for the sake of the Jews, yet circumcision was not to abide. So he condescended also as to John's baptism; to wit, the baptism of water (for that was not Christ's baptism, but his baptism was that of the Holy Ghost and fire); yet he blessed God he did not make use of it, and said, he was not sent to baptize. What was he not fent to baptize with? Why not with water, not with John's baptism; but he was sent to baptize with Christ's baptism; to bap