« AnteriorContinuar »
. Now the reason he gives why he denies man any rule, power, dominion, government, or authority, either given, or committed to him from the Lord, as pertaining to the conscience in things relating to the worship of God, is because it belongeth to Christ the light, the invisible power which dwells in men and women, &c.
Rem. All power in heaven and earth was given to Christ, and belongs to him; that is freely granted.. But the question is, whether he hath not given of this power to his children, and his servants and ministers, as his Father gave of it unto him? Doth not he give power to as many as believe in his name to become sons of God ? Did not he make his apostles able ministers of the new covenant, in the Spirit and power wich he gave them?
All power is given me in heaven and in earth, said Christ, Matt. xxviii. 18. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, &c. ver. 19.; but wait at Jerusalem for the power first, Aals i, 8. So when the power came upon them, it led them forth in their work, and they had power to gather, and power to build up, and power to govern and watch over the flock of God, over which the Holy Ghost had made them overseers, Aets xx. 28. And Paul speaks of the power the Lord had given him to use sharpness, even against those in that church of Corinth, who would not be subject to him in that which he had received from the Lord, 2 Cor. xiii, 10. But this power was to edifica
tion, but not to destruction. For though he had power from Christ the · Lord, and did by that Spirit, and in that power, deliver Hymeneus and
Alexander unto Satan; yet it was not that they should be destroyed by the Devil, but that, by feeling themselves out of the truth, and under the dominion of a wrong spirit, they might come to true sense and understanding, and learn not to blaspheme the truth, nor the dignities whom God hath made honourable in the truth, I Tim. i. 20. And not the apostle only, but the church of Corinth, had a share in the fame power; and therefore the apostle, knowing what was given and committed to them, exhorts them, that in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when they were gathered together, and his Spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one to Satan : but this was not for destruction, to destroy the soul; but to bring it back into a state of edification and salvation, which now, by departing from the truth, it was gone from. It was indeed for the destruction of the flesh, but not of the spirit; but that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, i Cor. v. 4, 5.
Secondly, The next thing I shall observe is this: he faith, There is no glory to be given to man, although he be born of the light..
Rem. That glory and honour is to be given to man, which God gives to man, who hath said, Them that bonour me, I will honour; and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemned, 1 Sam. ii. 30. He that brings his deeds to the light, they being justified and approved there, he hath honour in the light. His deeds being made manifest that they are wrought in God, that is honour enough for him, John iii. 21. The children of light seek VOL. II. A a a a
for for glory, and honour, and immortality, and eternal life ; and that glory and honour they have, and eternal life from God, Rom. ii. 7. They seek not the honour that is from men, but the honour that cometh from God only, John v. 44. the honour in the truth, in the life, in the power, which God gives them in the hearts of all that are truly sensible and living. For -honouring the Lord and his truth, how can I but honour those that are honourable in his eye, and who are glorious, in his truth! For indeed the children of light, the tender, the humble, the contrite and broken-hearted ones, are glorious in his eye, and the Lord doth exalt them in due time; for after the true humility, and in the true humility, they come to partake of the true honour, 1 Pet. v. 5, 6. And so every true Jew, every true fervant, every faithful steward, every true minister, that is faithful in the use of his gift and talent, hath praise of God, Rom. ii. 29.; and they that are of God, honour those whom God honours, glorifying the Lord for them, and honouring them in the Lord, 2 Cor. viii. 18. Oh! how could this man say, there is no glory to be given to man, though he be born of the light, when-as the king's daughter is all glorious within, and man in that birth is nothing but glorious in the eye of the Lord ! Man, having sinned, fell short of the glory of God; but coming out of sin, cometh into the glory again, and is daily more and more changed into the glorious image of the Son, from glory to glory, & c. 2 Cor. iii. 18. The aim of God is to bring many fons to glory, Heb. ii. 10.; and as they come out of darkness and fin into light and holiness, they come into the glory, and are in the glory. Is it not their glory in the Lord, and in his light, to be owned and acknowledged by them that are one with them in the same light? They who love God, and honour God, cannot but love them, and honour them, who are begotten by him, and who are in an especial manner made use of by hiin in his Service, for the good of fouls, and for the preservation and building up of the church. The apostle speaks of double honour to be given to the elders that rule well, especially they who labour in the Word and doctrine, and would (from the Spirit of God) have them counted worthy of it, i Tim. v. 17. How far is this man from the apostle's mind, who would have no glory given to any man, no not to the children of light, nor ministers in the light, who in the apostles days were the glory of Christ ! 2 Cor. viii. 23. Yea, the just that live by faith in Christ, and are gathered by him out of Satan's kingdom into his spiritual kingdom, and walk in the light, as God is in the light, there light doth shine in them, and they do shine as the sun in the firmament; and they that are honoured by the Lord to turn many to righteousness, do thine as stars : and though one star differs from another in glory; yet all that come into the true nature and heavenly image of the Son, do come into a measure of the true glory, and have some of the glory given them which God gave to Christ; and in that are glorious, partaking of his Spirit, king
dom, power, and holy dominion over sin and Satan, all which is truly glorious, John xvii. 22,
Thirdly, The third thing I shall observe is this: he saith, All is to be given to Christ, the light in man, unto whom alone it doth belong, who is the true minister, and bath power in himself to teach all the fons and daughters of men, &c.
Rem. That Christ is the true minister, that is not denied; but doth not Christ, who is the true minister in the power of the endless life, fend forth disciples and ambassadors in the same power, and make them, through his Spirit and power, able ministers of the New Testament? And they that hear them, do they not hear Christ? And they that despise or deny them, do they not despise or deny Christ? And doth not Christ say to the seventy disciples, He that beareth you, beareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me? Luke x. 16. It is antichrist that so vainly pretends to set up Christ, or his light, or Spirit, or power, as to deny those that are sent of him, and minister in his name. As man is in the fall, he is corrupt, and his works are out of God, and he is there to be denied, ceased from, and not accounted of; but in the restoration, in union and fellowship with the Lord, he is a worker together with God, and is there to be owned, and hath a share in ministring out of the heavenly treasure that dwells in him. So Christ was the great Minister, who had the fullness; and they that have gifts from him for the work of the ministry, and who minister in and from the gift, and in that are able and faithful, are esteemed and accounted as ministers by him. So faith the apostle, As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever, Amen, i Pet. iv, 10, II. And Paul faith, he was made a minister of the gospel according to the gift of the grace of God given unto himn, by the effectual working of his power, Ephef. iii. 7. Now the gift is given, not to those that are wise after the flesh (unless that wisdom is first broken); but to such as are mean, poor, weak, low, or some way or other contemptible in the eye of man's wisdom, and easy to be disregarded and despised by men. Yea, it is hard to despise the man whom God fends, without despising his gift in him; and the gift cannot be despised or rejected, without despising or rejecting him that gave it; as the apostle told the church of the Thessalonians, he that despited or rejected, despised or rejected not man, but God (who gives his Holy Spirit to them whom he sends forth to minister in his name), 1 Thes, iv, 8. He had been beseeching and exhorting the brethren by the Lord Jesus Christ, that as they had received of them how they ought to walk, and to please God, fo they would abound more and more. For ye know, said he, what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus Chrift. Mark: the apostle did not only turn them to the Word of life and power in themselves; but did give them A aa a 2
commandments from the Word of life in him, and they received of them whom Christ sent forth, how they ought to walk, &c. ver. 1, 2. And life hath not lost any of its authority; but the power may teach and command others through any vesel when it pleaseth; and they that are the true lheep, know the voice of the true Shepherd, speaking either in their own hearts, or through any other instrument unto them. And the voice of wisdom in any, is in every age still heard and justified of her children, and he that is of God heareth his voice, in those whom he sends in this age, as well as in former ages; and he that is not of God heareth not his voice; and hereby the Spirit of truth and spirit of error is known in this, as well as in former ages, i John iv, 6..
Fourthly, The fourth passage I shall take notice of, is in these words: Wherefore, said lie, whosoever doth exalt Christ the light, who is the true Minisier, before themselves, by Christ the light within hall those be exalted.
Rem. This is very different from what went before: for before he denied all glory and exaltation at all to man, although he be born of the light; here he speaks of exalting Christ, the true minister, before themselves ; which doubtless every true minister, and every child of light, cannot but do; and herein he confesseth they shall be exalted by Christ the light. Then glory is given to them; and he that sees them thus exalted by the light, cannot but esteem them, as so honoured and exalted by Christ, and give them that glory which Christ hath given them. And happy would it be with this man, could he see the true church, which God hath brought out of the Wilderness, and beautified and gloriously built up to a great height; and the elders and ministers whom he preserveth, and is with, and makes use of in his service, and give them in his heart the honour and glory which God had glorified them with. But that he cannot do, till he come out of Babylon, and out of that dark and confused spirit wherein he wrote these things, into that light and holy Spirit of truth, which discovers what they are (to those that are in the truth), and condemns the ground and root out of which they sprang.
Fifthly, The next thing to be observed by me is this : He layeth it down as bis judgment, faith, and belief, that whatever is written to the churches, ought to be written from God's infallible Spirit, and the Word of eternal life; wherein I am one with him: for what good can any thing do the living, but what comes from life, and from God's infallible Spirit, which alone is able rightly to exhort, advise, admonish, warn, and build up the spiritual ? But his inference thereupon is that which is before me to take notice of. Wherefore, faith he, your paper to the churches is not to be owned by the churches, inasmuch as it was written from a fight, or a sense, and from the sensible part, and not in and from the Spirit of Revelation.
Rem. God hath, in his holy church and living people, opened the eye that was once blind, and daily anointech that eye, giving a true fight, and in the springings of life giveth a true sense ; and that which giveth this, is the
Spirit of revelation; and what is written in this fight and sense, is written from the Spirit of revelation. And the called people of the Lord wait upon the Lord, that they may be kept in this fight, sense, and Spirit, in what they do at all times; but more especially when they consider of things relating to the churches, even to the welfare, holy order, and peace thereof, that God's Spirit may have its Icope every-where, and nothing else have place in the churches of Christ. And though every one be not an eye and ear-witness of what is to be considered of for the good of the churches; yet every one waits to feel things in the opening and springing life, and in that to speak, consider, or write. I have often seen the carriage of things after this manner, to the joy of my heart, and causing of my soul livingly to bless the Lord for it; and therefore may I, yea ought I, now thus to speak this tettiinony, which the Lord hath livingly given me, being at this time required of me. Oh! that men knew the seriousness and folemnity of our spirits before the Lord, in our considering things relating to his church, and how we retire out of man's wisdom (affectionate part, and comprehending part, as he speaks) to feel the springing life, and God's holy guidance there, and how the Lord doth satisfy and bless us with it! So that we can say, in truth and uprightness of heart, not we (as men) of ourselves do things on truth's account; but he on whose shoulders God hath laid the government rules and reigns among us; and things are ordered by his counsel and wisdom to his praise. And the peace and comfort of God's Spirit remains with us, in the midst of all the reproaches and oppositions we meet with from that evil spirit, which envieth and oppofeth us many ways. This one word more is with me, as to this particular : God hath given believers, his church, senses exercised to discern both good and evil; and those senses are not without the true life and Spirit, and every motion and action of them is in that life, and in that Spirit.
And whereas he further faith: Whatsoever is written, declared, or given forth, in the fight, or in the sense, or from the sensible part, it is not to be owned; for the sensible part is that which hath been in the transgresion with the woman, &c.
Rem. Herein he is greatly mistaken: for friends in truth do not speak, or write, or admonish, or reprove, or give warning from that part; but from the fight and sense which God gives to his own birth; and it is the Spirit of God that gives both the light and sense, and speaks through them ; and those whose ears are circumcised and opened know the voice, and give glory to God, and are obedient to his Spirit, when it gives advice and warning through any; which those that are in the comprehending part, and consider and judge in that, cannot have the sense of.
Sixthiy, He faith, Antichrist will bring a veil over the understanding of meie and women, and yet they, for the present, cannot perceive it. :
Rem. This is very true. I would he and others, who are veiled by an. tichrift, did see it; for then he would not esteem those veiled whom the
rakam is in that life, and in that Spiri.