« AnteriorContinuar »
appeared; that which hath been tender, and begotten of God, fribbed, bowed down, curbed, and persecuted, and false devotion and worship sec up instead of the true?
Query 11. Must not antichrist be destroyed, the false church judged, the true church come out of the wilderness into which the Aed, the man-child appear again, conquering and to conquer all which hath risen up from the spirit of darkness since the first breaking forth of the gospel ? And is not the gospel to be preached again to them that dwell on earth; even to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people? Rev. xiv. 6.
Now who is wise to understand the appearance of the Lord, and the beginning of these things, which is in a way contrary to man's wisdom; and so he that will discern them, must come out from following of the man's own spirit, nature, and wisdom in himself, into the sense and leadings of him who giveth the true eye-light. The appearance of the Lord is inward and spiritual, and he must have an inward and spiritual eye who discerneth it. It was said of old, by mockers and scoffers, Where is the promise of his coming ? For all things continue as they were from the beginning. The same spirit will say so still, and yet, to that eye which the Lord hath opened, he is already come inwardly, spiritually, in his own pure eternal life and power; and the precious effects of his coming are made manifest in many hearts ; blessed be his name. Yea, he is further to appear in glory and pure brightness; and so we wait further for his appearance, both in our own hearts, and in the hearts of the children of men. We have met with our beloved ; our God, whom we waited for, hath appeared. The Sun of righteousness hath arisen, with healing under his wings, and we have felc virtue and healing from him, and cannot but rejoice and testify of his falvation.
And what further manifestations of himself he hath yet to give forth, we are sure to partake of, being formed by him in Spirit, and found in that wherein he appears, and from whence his glory shines. Oh! that all that love the Lord Jesus Christ in any measure of sincerity, did know the way of the gospel, which is in the Spirit, light, life, and power, which is eternal, even in the grace and truth which is in him! And his kingdom, which is spiritual, and not of this world, cannot be shaken by this world (nor his Mount Sion removed); but is able to shake all nations and kingdoms which kiss not the Son, but oppose him. Blessed are they who are turned to the light of his Spirit, and who therein kiss and obey him.
IX. Some QUERIES concerning the Spirit of Christ, or the Spirit of the
Father (it being one and the fame Spirit) for those who take ibemselves to be Christians ( and under the Gospel Dispensation) to confider and examine themselves by, that they may not be deceived, either concerning their present Estate here, or the eternal Estate of their Souls hereafter; seeing the Apostle fo exprefly faith, If any Man hath not
the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, Rom. viii. Query 1.N OST thou know the Holy Spirit of the Father? Thou mayest
have read somewhat concerning it, and have apprehensions in thy mind about it; but dost thou truly know what it is by its inward appearances and operations in thine own heart?
Query 2. Hast thou received God's Holy Spirit into thy heart? Hast thou let in Christ's Spirit, when he hath knocked at the door of thy heart, and received him? For he that is a true child, most naturally breathech and crieth for the Father's Spirit; and the Father also most naturally givech his Spirit to them that truly and rightly ask it of him, Luke xi. 13. and thou must thankfully receive the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, when the Father gives him.
Query 3. Doch the Spirit of Christ dwell in thee? Hath the stronger man cast the strong man out of thee, and taken poffeffion of thy heart, and doch he dwell therein? Then thou mayest truly fay, that thou art built up by God an habitation for him in the Spirit. Then thou are wahed and cleinsed by him from thy filchiness; and luits or vain thoughts do not lodge in thee. For the Holy Spirit of Christ will not dwell where fuch thing; lodg; but come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch nüt the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and be a father to you, and ye lhall be my fons and daughters, faith the Lord Almighty, in whom I will dwell and walk, 2 Cor. vi. 15, 16, 17.
Query 4. Doch God's Spirit lead thee into all truth that thou needest know and walk in? Art thou a true Child, depending upon, and guided by, the Spirit of the Father ? Canst thou not see thy way, but as he makech it known to thee? Art thou a follower of the spotless Lamb, in the same Spirit wherein he walked? If it be thus with thee, then art thou a child of God indeed.
Query 5. Dost thou live in the Spirit ? Dost thou feel the Spirit of God to be a fountain of life, from whence life lprings up into thee daily i Doft thou witness that scripture fulfilled in thee, He that believeth on me, as the fcripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water? Hast thou received the living water from Christ? And is that living water become a well of life in thee?
Query 6. Dost thou walk in the Spirit, in the life thereof, in the newness thereof springing up in thy heart? Dost thou know the difference between walking in the oldness of the letter, and in the newness of the Spirit ?
Query 7. Didst thou ever learn of the Father, to know Chrift? And didst thou ever learn of Christ, to know the Father? And hath the Father indeed revealed the Son to thee, and the Son indeed revealed the Father to thee? Or art thou yet only in the dead and dry notions, or barren comprehensions about these things ? · Query 8. Dost thou know how the letter killeth, and how the Spirit quickeneth and maketh alive? And art thou made alive by the Spirit, and born of the heavenly water and Spirit, and so become spiritual as the scripture testifieth? That which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit.
Query 9. Art thou come under the ministration of the Spirit? Dost thou know what the ministration of the Spirit is? Or dost thou only know what the letter faith concerning the ministration of the Spirit, but art altogether ignorant of the ministration itself?
Query 10. Doft thou know what the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus means? Haft chou ever received this law; the law of the new covenant; the holy law of life written in thy heart by the finger of God's Spirit?' For the fame Spirit that wrote the law of the letter in tables of stone, writeth the law of the Spirit in the Aeshly tables of the heart.
Query 11. Dost thou not grieve the Holy Spirit, nor quench it, nor derpise the prophesyings thereof in thine own heart? For Christ is a king, a priest, a prophet; and he ministers in his fanctuary, in his temple (which the holy renewed heart is), in and by his Spirit. · Query 12. Dost thou know what the anointing is ? Art thou anointed therewith? And doth thy whole ability lie therein, insomuch as that thou art daily sensible thou canit not do any thing of thyself, but still findest God working in thee, both to will and to do that which is right in his eyes, of his own good pleasure ?
Query 13. Did thy religion begin in the Spirit? In the living miniftration of the new covenant? Did thy knowledge begin so; to wit, in feeling God opening thy heart by his Spirit, and giving thee the understanding whereby thou mightest know him? Did thy faith begin in his power, and doth it Itand in the same power to this day? Oh! that men were sensible what is the right religion, and of the inward appearance of God's holy arm and power, which alone can redeem, and save the soul out of the hands of its. enemies?
Query 14. Doth thy worship stand in the Spirit, and inward life of truth in thy heart? Art thou Tuch a worshipper as the Father hath fought out and made fo? Or art thou a worshipper of thine own or other mens making? And dost thou keep within the limits of the living and spiritual worship, and not transgrels the law thereof?
Oh! who would be mistaken and deceived abou: such weighty things as thele, of so great necessity and concern? Who would miss of God's Spirit, and of the law and covenant of life in Christ Jesus, and be only in a dream concerning these things, without the true, demo::Itrative knowledge, poffeffion, and enjoyment of then ?
X. Of the true Way (the Way of Holiness, the Way of Life), and of
the true Teaching and Knowledge. WHRIST is the way, the only way to the Father, there is not another.
C Now every one that will truly know Christ, and come to Christ, must learn of the Father. It is written in the prophets, All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; every one therefore that hath beard and learned of the Father, cometh unto me, said Christ. Here are two things necessary for every one that would come to Christ. One is hearing of the Father; the other is, learning what he teacheth. For though a man do hear the living voice of the Father, yet if he do not learn and keep the instruction of life received from him, he may be drawn afide before he come to the Son. But he whole ears are opened to hear the voice, and who feels the instruction of life from the Father, to go to him in whom he hath placed life; here the Spirit of the Father secretly draws in the inwards of a man's mind and spirit, from that which is really dead, to that which is truly living.
Now, when a man is come to the Son, in whom the Father hath placed the fullness of life, then he shall witness him the way to the Father, and he will teach him daily of the Father. And here is the state of true subjection to the Son experienced, whom the soul must hear (and of whom he is to learn) in all things; who discovers the inward darkness in man's mind, and breaks down that in him which is contrary to God, having a daily cross ready for that which is to be crucified in him, whereby he shals die daily to himself. And as he dies to himself, Christ will reveal himself more and more in him, and he shall feel the pure seed of life springing more and more up in him, and living in him, and he in it; in and through which he shall come more and more into union and fellowship with the Father of fpirits, and the whole living body of his church and people.
But now, to learn of the Father to come to the Son, and to learn of the Son to know the Father, and to walk in the newness of spirit before him (and not in an old dead knowledge and fleshly understanding), these are great mysteries, which none can learn by a literal conception and comprehension of things, but as they are quickened, and their minds and understandings opened and kept open by the Lord. Therefore this is the great skill and true wisdom, to know the Shepherd and his voice; and his manner of appearing, and to what he appears; which is to his own sheep, to
the true birth. And his way and manner of appearing to that birth, is by visiting and reaching to it by his power opening it, thereby giving it to see, hear, and understand; but shutting up himself from the contrary nature, wisdom, and spirit in all men.
There is somewhat which maketh a fair shew in the Aeshly part, as if it were of God; but God knoweth what and who are his. Now it is for the true children, that the milk of the word, and the bread of life is ; and them the Lord is still gracious to, and heareth all the desires and breatheings of their hearts; them he preserveth and visiteth in Egypt, and also bringeth out, thence. Them he leadeth through the wilderness, dividing the Red-Sea before them; before them also he divideth Jordan (the river of judgment), causing them to pass through it also, that they may enter into the Holy Land. And their lot he defendeth in the Holy Land, in their subjection to the Spirit and law of life which rules there. But the contrary birth falleth short by the way, and cannot enter into, nor abide in, that which is pure and living of God.
Now in the lowly feed the whole mystery of life is learned, by those that come thither, and wait there, growing up into him who is the head; but no lesson of life, and of the truth as it is in Jesus, is learned out of it. Oh! how careful had men need be to know this seed in themselves, and to witness its daily springing up and growth in them.
N HERE is a necessity of separation from the spirit, ways, and wor
I fhips of the world, by those that will be the Lord's people. The Jews outward were to be a separated people from all other people (from their gods, from their worships) if they would enjoy the favour of the Lord, and the blessings of the good land. God had separated them from all other nations, and they were not to mingle with them ; neither in their worship, nor marriages, &c. So the Jews inward, who are God's gathering of spiritual worshippers, out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, are to be a separated and holy people to the Lord. For when God cast off the Jews, he fought out worshippers in their stead, even for a spiritual nation and holy people of inward Jews, instead of that outward people, outward place of worship, and outward land, which he cast off. Now those whom God seeks to be the new, inward, and spiritual worshippers (instead of the literal and outward) must come out of all other ways and gatherings, upon the many mountains, to the mountain of the Lord's house, and to the place of his gathering: the command is express, Come out from among them, and be ye separate; and touch not sbe unclean thing, and I will