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(I H AT a day of distress, and revelation of the righteous judgment
W of God, is to come upon the wicked and ungodly world (even upon man, who was created in the image of God, but is now fallen from it, and found out of it, and in another image very unlike it); the eye which the god of this world hath blinded, and the heart which he hath hardened by lin and transgression, hath no sense of. .
What a day of distress and misery some in this nation (and in other parts of the world) have already met with ! how they have felt the weight of sin upon their spirits, and what a sore thing it hath been to them to feel their souls separated from that God that made them (who is the Husband and Father, King, and Preserver of fouls, that are found in his image and nature); how they have been inwardly captivated by a foreign power, and oppressed, and made to serve under sin, and could hear no effectual tidings of his appearance who was able to save, but their spirits were ready to sink, and their hope of redemption, from that which oppressed and captivated them, almost cut off; this being an inward state and condition, hath been altogether hid from the eye which is outward.
How the Lord at length appeared unto these (his bowels having long rolled over them, and he having long waited to be gracious to them, even till the full and acceptable fet time was come); how his light hath shined in and upon them ; how he gathered those dry bones together, and breathed life into them, and made them live: this also is altogether an hidden thing from the eye of the world.
How the Lord, who appeared to them, hath exercised and tried them; how he hath judged them, and how he hath saved them; what desolations he hath made inwardly in them, and what he hath built there : what an hammer, a sword, a fire, &c. his pure word of life hath been in them; how that birth which could live without God, without his inward life, or upon words and knowledge without life, hath been familhed, until, by the pain of the famine, its very life and breath hath been taken from it, and it crucified with Christ, by the pain of the cross of Chrift: and what birth hath been raised and crowned, afterwards, and beautified with the ornaments of righteousness and falvation; yea, with the endless love and mercy with its God; and how the Lord is with his people, and dwells and walks in them, and how he hath humbled them to walk with him; and how in fear and humility they do walk with him in the light of day everlaiting, even as God is Light, and walks in the light of his own day: these are very strange and unknown things to the wisest and most prudent in religion at this day, who are not gathered into the mystery of godliness (nor into the Spirit, power, and glory of the Father) where these things are revealed in and by the Son.
What faith the children of wisdom have in the wisdom and power which hath appeared : what confidence they have in the Lord their God; that he will stand by them in all their exercises and trials, both inward and outward; and what experiences they have had of the Lord's standing by them in both : how his faithfulness doch not fail; and how their faith in him is upheld and preserved by him, that it doth not fail in the stormy time, or hour of greatest distress; and how their eye is unto him, and their hearts with him in the calms; so that their God is all in all unto them continually : (and who knows this but they that have it!) Oh! who can utter or declare the sweetness and certainty of this, where it is enjoyed!
What love also the Lord sheds abroad in their hearts; and how he teacheth and causech them to love, by often circumcising their hearts, and cutting off that which hindereth the pure love from springing in them; and low they love others, in the love wherewith God (who is Love) hath loved them; and how natural it is to them to pray for their enemies, and to bless them that curse them, and do good for evil; but cannot requite evil for evil, being transplanted into, and growing up in, the root that is good; and sends up good fap and virtue into them, which nourisheth all that is good in them, but is death and destruction to the remainders of evil, as the Lord pursueth and findeth it out: Oh! how impossible is it for the heart of man to conceive and understand!
Now I also having tasted of the mercy and goodness of the Lord, and having been brought out of a state of great misery and forrow of heart into the redemption and joy of God's chofen; and having found the Lord faithful to me, and giving me faith in the appearance of his Spirit and power in me, and true love (tender love) not only to my brethren in the truth, but to all mankind springing in me, and divers fruits issuing forth from it; some of them at this time I cannot but publish, and the Lord open the hearts of those whom it concerns, that they may find some help, benefit, and furtherance by it. For it is the joy of my heart to receive good from God; to be filled with his blessings, to have my cup overflow; and that others may be helped, refreshed, and gladded therewith, and, by the sweet taste thereof, led to wait for the opening of the same root and fountain of life in themselves, to yield living sap, and send forth living streams in them day by day. VOL. II. .Na
Somewhat in the Love of GOD to the Jews - NATURAL, or
Seed of ABRAHAM after the Flesh.
H! the glory of your state outward, who were the people whom
among, above all people! whose land was the glory of all lands, to which God brought you out of Egypt by an out-stretched arm, through a dreadful wilderness, wherein ye were tempted, tried, and exercised, and the succeeding generation fitted to enter into. Oh! what laws and statutes, and righteous judgments, did God give you, such as no nation besides had! What a temple had ye to appear before God in, and the ark of the covenant, and holy priests, kings and prophets! and how nigh was God to you, to be enquired of by you, and how ready to hear your prayers, in all that you called upon him for! The eternal God was thy refuge, and underneath were the everlasting arms (the Lord was thy rock, and thou wast built upon him); and he did thrust out the enemy before thee, and did fay, Destroy. And when the arm of the Lord did destroy them before thee, thou didft' dwell in safety alone; and the Lord was a fountain of living waters to thee, and his heavens did drop down fatness upon thee. Happy walt thou, O Israel! who was like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord ! the shield of thy help, and who was the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies were found lyars unto thee, and thou didit tread upon their high places. And it might have been still so with thee, hadīt thou not been unmindful of the rock that begat thee, and forgotten God that formed thee. For thy glory should not have been taken from tbee, but swallowed up in a higher glory, wherein thou mighteft have had the first and chiefest share, hadft thou not, by thy almost constant rebellion and unbelief, provoked the Lord against thee; not only often to afflict, but at last utterly to cast thee off from being a people, and to chuse a people in thy stead, who should bring forth better fruits to the Lord of the vineyard, than thou in thy day hadít done.
Yet when thy state was thus glorious, it was not a state of the truly substantial, lasting glory, but a shadowy state or representative thereof.' Thy day of glory was not the day of the Messiah, the day of everlasting light inwardly, wherein the Lord alone is exalted inwardly in the hearts of all, in whom he breaks down all that is contrary to the light of his day. Thy day was but the day of the outward shadows of the heavenly substance; but when that day (the day of the inward substance and glory) shined, thy shadows or shadowy state was to fly away, and to be swallowed up in the pure substance and spiritual kingdom of the Messiah.
Thy birth from Abraham after the flesh, was not the birth which was to inherit the promise in the kingdom of the Messiah ; but there is a birth inwardly born of the Spirit, born after Abraham in his faith, who travels inwardly, as Abraham did outwardly, and seeks an inward country and city, whose builder and maker is God: to these the spiritual kingdom and promises belong
Thy circumcision was but the circumcision outward, the circumcision of the flesh; it was not the circumcision of the heart: that is the circumcision of the inward Jew, which indeed the scripture called for from you, because there was somewhat near you, which would have so circumcised you, had ye hearkened and given up to it. But ye, as a people, were not so circumcised, but were a stiff-necked people (as Moses and the prophets were still complaining of you) uncircumcised in heart and ears, resisting God's Spirit both in your own hearts and in the prophets, until the Lord was provoked to take away both vision and prophet from you.
The Egypt in which your fathers were in bondage, and Pharaoh who oppressed them, was but the Egypt outward, and Pharaoh outward. There is an inward Egypt, wherein the spiritual seed, the inward man, the soul is in bondage, and there is a spiritual Pharaoh, that opprefseth the spiritual seed, in spiritual Egypt: and there is a stretching out the arm of the Almighty inwardly, to break the strength of the inward Pharaoh, to pierce Leviathan the crooked serpent, and to deliver the foul from under his captivity. · The wilderness also your fathers were led through, was but the outward wilderness, where they were tempted and tried by the Lord many ways, that he might do them good in the latter end. But the inward Israel, after they are led out of the inward Egypt, are tried in the inward wilderness ; where they are judged after the fielh, and that wasted in them, which is not to enter into and inherit the good land, where they are tried in the furnace Nn 2
of affliction, and their filth purged away by the spirit of judgment and burning; that the righteous nation, which hath received the holy inward law, and keeps the truth, may enter into the good land,.city, and kingdom of the Messiah, and inherit the bleffed promises of life and salvation there.
Mofes, your great prophet, was a type of the great, lafting, standing prophet, whom God would raise up like unto Moses, who was to give his inward law as Moses did the outward, and to lead all the fpiritual Israel as Moses did the outward Israel; and his word was to be heard and stand in all things whatsoever he shall say unto his people: and whosoever will not hear and obey this prophet, shall be cut off from among the holy, spiritual, and inwardly-living people.
:Joshua who succeeded Moses, led but into the figurative rest: he was but a figure of him that inwardly leads into the inward and spiritual reft; which the true Jews, which are inwardly created and formed by God, and made a willing people, in the day of his power, enter into.
The pillar of cloud, and pillar of fire in the wilderness; were but figures. of the spiritual pillar of cloud and fire, by which the spiritual Israel are led and defended in the glorious gospel-day of God's Spirit and power. Read Isaiah, ch. iv, which speaketh of the gospel-day, and the pillar and cloud of fire to be created therein, and of the defence which is to be on all the inward and spiritual glory.
The land of Canaan, the outward good and kingdom of Israel, was but a figure of the inward land, and kingdom of the inward Israel, in the days of the Messiah. This is the land of Judah in which the song is sung, because of the inward strong city where God appoints falvation for walls and bulwarks, which the righteous nation, which keepeth the truth, enter into, Isaiah xxvi.
Their outward kings in that land, and particularly David, were but types of the spiritual king, the spiritual David, whom God will raise up to the spiritual people, who should seek the Lord their God, and David their king; who shall be their spiritual shepherd and ruler, whom God hath appointed to feed them in the integrity of his heart, and to guide them by the skilfulness of his hands, who is King of righteousness and peace inwardly, and who ministers righteousness and peace to the sheep and lambs of his pastures.
Their outward priests (even their high-priests) were but a representation of the great high-priest. of God, who was to be a priest. for ever, after the order of Melchizedeck, Psal, cx.
Their outward covenant (made with them from the outward mount Sinai, upon the giving of the law, and holy statutes and ordinances, by which they were to live and enjoy God in their outward state) was but a shadow of the inward and spiritual covenant, the new and everlasting covenant, which God makes with his inward and spiritual people in the latter days.