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hearted bound up? And what hath nor the Lord done inwardly and fpiritually for his people, who have been sensible of his appearance, and gathered by his Spirit and power to the true Shiloh, who is the true Shepherd, the land of the living, the holy city and temple, the light of the city, the life of the city, the gates and wall of the city, the king and kingdom both? For his life, his nature, his Spirit is All, and in All. Ah! what do we desire to have, but Christ the feed, and this feed sown in our hearts and abiding in us, and his life, righteousness and glory, his holy power, dominion, and kingdom, springing up in it? And as, in the apostles days, there was the seal to their testimony in peoples hearts, where their ministry was ordered by the Lord, and was received ; even so it is now. Oh! how doth the witness answer in mens hearts and consciences ! And they that keep to the witness, and its testimony, not hearkening after words to the wisdom of the flesh; how do they become living epistles, to be seen and read of all men, as the Lord pleaseth to open that eye in any, which can see and read. . · Now, to be often testifying of this light (which the Lord hath visited us with, and wherein we experience the knowledge of his Son, and redemption by him), to us it is not grievous; and it is good and safe for others. Therefore, -it arising in my heart, in the springings of life, and lying upon me (as in the fight of the Lord) to give forth this further short testimony, for the fakes of such as have any desire to know and experience the truth, as it is in Jesus; I am given up in spirit to serve my God therein ; and do give it forth in humility, in fear, in tenderness of spirit, in true love, with breathings to my God, that he would please to open the hearts of those that shall be inclined to read it, that they may feel somewhat of that in themselves, from which the testimony came; and so there-fron may hear, in true sense and understanding, the true and good report of the sound of life and salvation in this our age, and may learn so to turn inwardly from the darkness to the light, from the power of Satan to God's Spirit and appearance inwardly, that the arm of the Lord may be revealed in them, and powerfully stretched out for them.
And this is the precious knowledge of Christ indeed, even to know Chrift the power of God, Christ the wisdom of God, inwardly revealed and working in the heart, destroying fin there, and building up the holy building, wherein he himself will dwell and reign. Oh! that all that truly breathe after him, might not be with-held from him (and his living testimony, and inward appearance) by the power of darkness and deceit, which works subtilly in the heart against the appearance, power, and work of the Lord there, but might thus come to know him! Amen.
Τ Η Ε ANCIENT PRINCIPLE of TRUTH;
· The Light WITHIN Afferted, &c.
QUESTION I. (T H AT is this Light, which we so earnestly testify of, and whereof we
affirm, That all men are (or bave been) in some measure enlightened by it? And what is the nature of it?. .
A NSWER It is that which shineth from God in the heart, wherein God is near to men; and wherein and whereby men may, seek after God, and find him.
God is a Spirit; and his Spirit and presence is near to all men. Whither ball I go from thy Spirit? Or wbither pall I flee from thy presence? Pfal. cxxxix. 7, &c. It is impossible. for any fo to do. For God, who is a Spirit (and the Father of spirits), is nigh to every spirit. Every spirit depends upon him the fountain of spirits; and hath its being, life, and motion from him, and in him, after a sense; though not after such a sense, as. they who are quickened by him experience.
Now God, who is light, being so near every man, doch he never shine upon them? They are darkness; but doth he never appear in the darkness ? He who is light, loveth mankind ; doth he never visit them with his love? He knoweth what and how great inward and spiritual enemies mankind have; doth he never make any discoveries of their enemies to them? Yes; the light is near all mankind, to discover to them, and help them against the darkness; and the love is near to help them against the enmity which destroyeth, and so to save them. For whosoever joineth to the light of God's Spirit, cannot but witness salvation thereby; for it is of a saving nature, and bringeth salvation with it to all that receive it. Christ is in it, and is known by it (inwardly, spiritually, livingly known), and he is not, nor can be known without it. He that knoweth the light of God's Spirit, knoweth Christ; and he that believeth in it, believeth in him; and he that knoweth not, nor believeth therein, neither knoweth nor believeth in Chrift. So that as the Jews circumcision outward, and their knowledge and thinking to be justified by the righteousness and works of the law (which most of them brake, and were transgreffors of; though Paul said, he was, touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless); I say, as this was disowned, and denied by Christ and his apostles; and the circumcision, and work of God on the hearts of the Gentiles set over it, and exalted above it, as Rom. ii. fo is it now also. Lah wad hoidinhoice
The knowledge of those, and belief of those who own the light, and believe in the light, is owned by God's Spirit (in
with construir this our day) for the true believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, and for that knowledge which is life eternal; and the knowing, and believing on him, as men account it, according to their apprehensions of the letter, without this, is reckoned with God for ignorance and unbelief.
So that in this is God known, in this is Christ believed in. Here God draws nigh to every man, and is a God not afar off, but nigh at hand; and his salvation is nigh, and his righteousness ready to be revealed here; and here every man may seek after and obtain the knowledge of him, the saving knowledge, the knowledge of the grace, of the gift of grace which brings falvation. In this is the Son killed, in this is he drawn nigh to, and come to by the soul, and not out of it. Here are the drawings of the Father felt. Let any man feel this, he feels that which begets to God; he feels that which comes from the Son, is of the nature of the Son, wherein the Father draws the heart of the child whom he begets, to the Son. And in this as the foul comes, it comes out of the darkness wherein Chrift is not nor dwells, into the light wherein Christ is with the Father; and fo in this the soul is ever near, and out of it still afar off In this is the holy root witnessed, and the ingrafting thereinto; out of this the holy root is not known, nor can men understand what it is to be ingrafted into him, and how he is an olive-tree, a vine, a door, a shepherd, a leader, a captain, a redeemer. Nor can men possibly know the voice of the true fhepherd from the voice of a stranger, till they come hither; nor how the true shepherd walks before his sheep, and what it is to follow him out of that which destroys, into that which regenerates, makes new and living, till they come hither.
Now this inward light is abundantly testified of in the scriptures.
As first by Moses, who speaking of the other covenant, the new covenant, the covenant of circumcising the heart, turneth or directeth the mind to this word or commandment nigh, whereby alone it can be done, as
Deut. XXX. And this was the reason why God fo often commanded the Jews to circumcise their hearts, and to walh them and make them clean from their wicked ways and vain thoughts; because Mofes had directed their minds to that, and that was near to them, wherein and whereby it might be done. In another place, he bids them make them a new heart, Ezek. xviü. 31. How could that be done? Why, by turning to God's Spirit which strove with them, his power would effect it in them; and men are said to purify their hearts, through the Spirit, in loving and obeying the truth which doth it, i Peter i. 22. John xvii. 17.
Secondly, By Job, who speaks of God's candle shining upon his head, and of walking through darkness by his light, chap. xxix. 30. He speaks likewise of those that rebel against the light, that know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof, chap. xxiv. 13.
Thirdly, By David, who by it saw through the types and shadows to the substance, and grew wiser than his teachers, he knowing the word within, and having his candle lighted by it, so that he knew the inward law which converts the soul, and was led by God's light and truth shining in his inward parts, Psal. xliii. 3. · Fourthly, By Solomon, The commandment is a lamp, and the law light, and the reproofs of instruction the way of life, Prov. vi. 23. Every one that experienceth the light, the law, the commandment within, knoweth it to be thus. Again faith he, The path of the juft is a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfe&t day, chap. iv. 18. Just as a light, which shines outwardly, is to the outward man; such is the inward light to the inward man; yea more: for inwardly the light and the way is all one. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, which are three names of one and the same thing. And he that walks in the light, walks in the way of life and holiness, which he that walks in the darkness walks out of. I shall mention but one place more, which is very differently rendered, it is chap. XX. 27. The new translation renders it thus, The Spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly. The old thus, The light of the Lord is the breath of man, and searcheth all the bowels of the belly. The heart of man (the unregenerate mind, the unregenerate fpirit), is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; that whereby God fearcheth it, is his light, his candle, his own Holy Spirit.
Fifthly, By the prophets, as Ifaiah, Jeremy, Ezekiel, Micah, &c. who faid, He' batb faewed thee, o man, what is, good. And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy; and to humble thyself to walk with thy God? chap. vi. 8. How doth God shew this to mankind, but by the inward light of his Spirit.
Sixthly, By John Baptist, who was the fore-runner, and testified of Christ as of the inward and spiritual baptizer, who had his fan in his hand. What is that? What doth Christ fan with? What doth he fan, and with what ? The light within is a fan, the Spirit within is a spirit of judgment and burning; it scatters the darkness; yea, it consumes and burns up the dross and stubble there.
Seventhly, By Christ himself, who said, This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than ligbt, because their deeds were evil, John iii. 19. Mark how Christ preached the light "(the feed, the kingdom, the leaven), and bid men bring their deeds to it, and blamed them that did not, ver, 20, 21. How can there be an inward Jew, an inward circumcision, without an inward law, inward light, and inward testimony? And to this inward law and testimony, muft the inward Jew daily have recourse, and bring his deeds thither, to be judged and scanned there. • Again, Christ saith, I am the light of the world : be that followeth me fall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life, chap. viii. 12. How is Christ the light of the world? Or how was Christ the light of the world? Was he only so, as he appeared in that body of Aesh? Is he not so in his inward and spiritual appearance? Is he not the universal light, the Sun of righteousness, which enlighteneth the whole dark world ? Yet again he faith, ret a little while is the light with you; walk while ye bave the light, left darkness come upon you; for be that walketh in darkness, knoweth not whither be goeth. While ye bave the light believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light, chap. xii. 33, 36. This is Christ's direction to men how they may become true believers; to wit, by believing in the light. The light shines in the darkness (ye were darkness), and by believing in it, men become children of it.
Eighthly, By the apostles and evangelifts. They were sent to turn men from darkness to light, AEls xxvi. 18. and they teftified of the light they were to turn men to; delivered their message that God was light, and that in him was no darkness at all. They preached Christ the light, the life, the way, the truth; they turned men from Satan's spirit which is darkness, to God's Spirit which is light.
John the evangelist testified of the word which was in the beginning, and said, In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light pineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not, chap. i. 4, 5. And again faith, speaking of him, That was the true light, which lightetb every man that cometh into the world, ver. 9.
Paul faith, Whatsoever doth make manifest is light, Ephef. v. 3. Wherefore awake thou that seepest, and arise from the dead, ver. 14. for God hath sent forth the light of his Son to rouse thee. Again, he professedly averreth, that the word nigh in the mouth and heart, was that word of faith which he preached, Rom. x. 8. If so, then that is the word of faith which is to be believed in, if men would believe in Christ, and be saved by him.
James speaketh of God as the Father of Lights, from whom every good and perfect gift proceedeth, chap. i. 17. Then surely from him is the