« AnteriorContinuar »
Lord hath unveiled, nor attribute these sayings of his, and this his book, to the light within, which those whom the Lord hath unveiled, and keepeth unveiled, in his pure Spirit and quickening life, know to have come from the darkness within, and not from the true light; but the true eye, in the truly living, fees through it, and hath no union with it; but returns it back thither, from whence it came. Oh! how deeply doth antichrist blind and deceive men ; that that which is their own state, they cannot fee to be fo! But apply it to others, whose state it is not, and to justify themselves in that wherein God condemns them, and condemn others in that whereia God justifieth them! This is sad work, and will have a fad issue !
Seventbly, He saith, There is an invisible woman in every visible man, and there is an invisible man in every visible woman; and the man Christ Jesas, who is the light of the world, he is in them both, &c.
Rem. Is not he now in the notional and comprehending part, muddling himself and others (whole ears are open to him) about a woman in a man, and a man in a woman, and Christ in both? Whereas truth is a plain thing; which they that come to feel and abide in, feel and witness redemption, and preservation out of the comprehending part, and the dead notional knowledge thereof.
Eightbly, He faith, He doth not own the judgment and opinion of those ministers, nor yet their superiority, who say, be that is not justified by the witness of God in friends, is condemned by it in himself.
Rem. I shall not now argue that there are true ministers, and that there is a true superiority (some being greater and some less in the covenant and life of truth), which every one that heareth and learneth of the Father, and so is taught of God, will own: but to the thing itself. The witness of God is but one in all, and it condemns nothing but what is not of God; and what his witness in another condemns in me, his witness in me (whenever it ariseth and speaketh in me concerning that thing) cannot but condemn also.
It is true, as he faith, that justification is by Christ alone, who is the bead in every member, &c.
Rem. But Christ is in other members also, as well as in one; and his life hath power to judge and condemn; and it judgeth and condemneth nowhere, but that which is to be judged and condemned. So that where-ever Christ's life in any judgeth and condemneth any thing, that is judged and condemned by Christ. And the saints have power and authority in Chrift, not only to judge and condemn the world, but also to judge and condema fallen angels and spirits. To what end are they bid to try the spirits, 1 after they have tried them, they may not judge and condemn what they find life and truth judging and condemning?
Ninthly, He excepts against that passage in friends paper (as he recites it) that none are to minister, but those that are reconciled to the church, and bare tbe approbation of the elders,
Rem. What is the end of ministering, but to gather out of the world into the church, or to build up the church? And are they fit to do either, who are not reconciled to the church? Or whom the Spirit, life, and power in the church and elders hath not unity with ?
He further faith, That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, and noi to the church (faith be); be remembers no such fcripture.
Rem. God added to the church such as should be saved ; and were they not reconciled to it before they were added ? And Christ said, concerning that brother that would not hear the church, that he should be looked upon as an Fieaihen or a publican; and are such as will not be reconciled to the church, nor hear it, allowed by God to minister, either to gather into the church, or to build up in it? Ah! surely it cannot be. There can be no true ministering out of the life and Spirit of the body, or church that is in God. And all luch as have thus gone out from God, in whom the church is, have ministered against the life, Spirit, and power, but not in it; but in antichrif's ipirit and power, and against the truth.
Tenthly, He faith, Christ the light within, will not give his power and authority out of his own hand to any man or men; for unto him alone is all judgment in heaven and in earth committed in matters of conscience.
Rem. Is Christ's power given out of his hands, when his life and Spirit in one judgeth concerning that wbich is evil and out of the truth in another? Doch not the spiritual man judge all things? Doth not Christ teach and enable him so to do? Is there not such a gift of his to discern spirits ? Cannot the ear that is circuncised, and kept open by the Lord, try speeches and actions, and discern when they are out of the life, and when in the life? And doch he give the power and authority out of his own hands, in enabling them so to do? What dark expressions are these, and dead too; not so much as literally true ?
Eleventhly, He faith, Chrijt the light within is able to break, and he is also able to bind up that which he bath broken, and to beal that which he hath wounded, &c.
Rem. And hath not Christ put a spiritual rod and sword into the hands of his church and ministry, with which to smite and wound, as his Spirit guides and leads them? Have they not power both to bind and loose as Christ laith? And is not this a wounding and healing virtue and power ? After Christ had said, Tell the church; but if he negleEt to bear the church, let him be unto thee as an beatben man or a publican; doch he not immediately add, Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye fall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven : and whatsoever ye hall loofé on earth, hall be loosed in beaven? Matt. xviii. 17, 18.' Is not this power and authority necessary to the true church? What! a church, and not have power over her own members; but every one left to the dictates of what they shall call the light within, and not be fubject to the judgment of the true light, Spirit, and power of Chriít, the head in the living body? What a church was this? A mere Ba
bely Where there were
at itate is then ble state.
in it, thar
", as Paul
bel, and help of confusion, a body that would never be at unity in itself. But God is the God of the order of his own Spirit, life, and power; and not of such confusion. This doctrine may go for truth in Babylon, but can never be owned in God's Jerusalem, where his Spirit did build up and defends the buildings, and judgeth out all such sandy and windy doctrines, which are loole and airy, and have not a ground or bottom in the truth.
Tree!fehly, He faith, There is fallibility ottends all those, who are regenereted, and born of the Spirit of God, who is light, and that it is posible for them to err from the light again, &c.
Rem. He doth herein lay the state of the truly regenerate and born of God lower than the scripture lays it. The scripture faith, Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit fin; for his feed remaineth in him, and be cannot fin, be. cause he is born of God, i John iii. 9. And again, We know that whosociet is born of God finneih not ; but he that is begotten of God keepetb bimself, and that wicked one toucheth bim not, chap. v. 18.
There is a gathering into the seed, and an abiding in the feed ; and there the soul is in the strong tower, and munition of rocks, where the enemy cannot reach. Adam in the fall was in a fallible state. Is the renewed, the redeemed state as fallible? What state is that wherein truth is so natural, and the foul so one with it, that it can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth, as Paul speaks? What state is that, wherein men overcoming, shall become pillars in the house of God, and shall go no more out? Rev. iii. 12. But let men be ever so fallible, the infallible Spirit and power is given to the church of God, to guide them in true understanding and judgment, especially in all things that relate to and concern them as a body; and they that are of the truth, and in the truth, love the judgment of Christ the head in her; but they that are of another spirit, and would have liberty out of the truth, to the transforming nature and spirit, cannot abide it. What were my life in me, if it did not judge in me? And what were the church's life, if it did not judge in her, and condemn all that riseth up from a contrary spirit and nature? What means that promise, Ija. liv. 17. No weapon that is formed against thee Mall prosper, and every tongue that riseth egainst thee in judgment, shelt thou condemn?
Yet he confesseth, That God is infallible, and that no fallibility attends him; but denies the very regenerate and born of the Spirit to be infallible, and that it is possible for them to err from the light again; the enemy, which is the power of darkness, presenting to them the fruit of the tree of knowledge, &c.
Rem. If God be infallible, as he confefleth (though it is to be questioned, whether from any true knowledge of his nature, or only from the comprehenfion), and God beget children; into what doth he beget them? Whether into a fallible nature and spirit, or into his own nature and Spirit, the least degree whereof is infallible? When men are truly turned to God, there are great and precious promises made to them, which through faith, obedience, and diligence, they come to enjoy, whereby they are made partakers of the
divine nature, 2 Peter i. 4. And when they partake of the divine nature, do they partake of a nature that is fallible, or infallible? He that is joined to the Lord, is one Spirit, i Cor. vi. 17. And is that one Spirit a fallible, or infallible Spirit? There is one baptism, wherewith the truly living are bapcized; and doth that baptism wash away that which is fallible or no ? The church of Christ, the body of Christ, the spouse of Christ, the chaste virgin that is married to Christ, is one with Chrift: is it one with him in fallibility, or in infallibility ? Bear with me, for I am constrained to speak these things for truth's sake, for the church's fake; yea, for Christ's fake, and for the fakes of them who cry up the light within in words, and yet are deceived about it, and know it not; but are erred from it, and have set up the darkness of antichrist in their minds, instead of it, which with them goes for the true light, and in this they judge that which is true, as if it were false, and justify that which is false, as if it were true, both in themselves and others; both which are an abomination to the Lord.
He faith, There is a fallibility attends all those that are regenerate, and born of the Spirit of God.
Rem. What all? Those that come to the highest pitch, and greatest growth, can they not pass fallibility, and arrive at infallibility in a measure, and abide in it? To be regenerated and born of God, is an high state ; it is not for every notionist and comprehender to be talking what is experienced there. There is a regenerating, and a being regenerated. There is a following Christ in the regeneration, and there is a conformity to him in his death, and in his life too. It is not good for him to be speaking much concerning that state, but rather to wait to be led into it, and to arrive at it in the true travel. But how he that is regenerated is one with Christ (and is in the measure as he is) is hard to be known, and harder to be uttered. But he that is in this state, hath witnessed the holy calling, and faithfulness to him that called, and the election, and is one of the chosen, or elect of God; and Christ saith, such are beyond fallibility; for speaking of false Chrifts, he saith, If it were possible, they should deceive the very Elekt, Matt. xxiv. 24. plainly signifying, that it is impossible.
Now their possibility of erring he lays upon the enemy's presenting to them the fruit of the tree of knowledge, whilst they are in Eden, p. 6.
Rem. The enemy's presenting temptations, doth not imply a possibility of letting in the temptation, and so of erring, in all to whom he doth prefent things. For he presented things to Christ, and yet it was impossible for thar Spirit and nature that Christ was of, to let in liis temptations.
*But then, immediately in the next words he sheweth, How this posibility of falling is upon the enemy's presenting to them the fruit of the tree of knowledge ; namely thus, Their minds taking delight in it, and they feeding upon it, the enemy bath power to draw their minds out of Eden again.
Rem. The regenerate and born of God, are partakers of the divine nature, and wait on God for living food, and receive it of him, and live by VOL. II.
it, and cannot abide dead, dry, notional food, nor feed upon it. Blefed be the Lord, there is that birth known, which can feed on nothing but life itself. And let the power of darkness present the fruit of the dead tree ever so often; the living babe will nor meddle with it, but hungers and thirsts after righteousness, and desires the sincere milk of the pure living word, that it may grow thereby. And if this holy nature be put into the babe, how much stronger is it in those that are grown in truth, and who come to be naturalized into it, the contrary nature being crucified, and slain in them by the cross of Christ, and the new and holy nature ruling in them?
Thirteenthly. He faith, Wherefore I do believe that I ought not to subječt myself to what the church imposeth.
Rem. The church of God under the law, walking in that outward covenant, was a glorious camp or body; and had outward power, according to the outward law, appertaining to it. And the church of God under the gospel, walking with God according to the covenant of the gospel, is a glorious, spiritual body, and hath inward power belonging to it, and though not the church merely as men, yet that Spirit and power in the church, ought to be obeyed by every member thereof, in things pertaining to God. So it was in the apostles days; they that were not disorderly and unruly, were obedient to the Spirit and power of God in the apostles and churches then, 2 Cor. vii. 15. and chap. xxix, who had power to judge those that were within, i Cor. v. 12. And those that are indeed of God, will be obedient and subject to his Spirit and power in his church now. And there is nothing else desired, but obedience to the Lord, as he moves, guides, leads and orders, both in the particular, and in che general.
His reasons why he doth not believe that he ought to subject himself to what the church imposeth, are these: For then, faith he, I must believe that it is God in them, which doth impose those yokes of bondage upon their brethren.
Rem. The church is called into the liberty of the goípel, and her children are born of the word immortal, and of the truth which makes free; and it is not the church's nature, either to receive or impose yokes of bondage, but to stand fast, and to exhort all her members to stand fast, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free. But where there is any thing unruly, or contrary to the power, that is to be yoked down by the power.
And the particular waiting upon God in his Holy Spirit, light, and power ; the Spirit, light, and power, will discover what is disorderly, and pomen unruly, and not of God in the particular, and lay a yoke upon it. The dhe me
was ." The church also waiting upon God, in their meetings together in his name, the Lord will discover what is hurtful to the body, and contrary to the life of the body, and lay yokes upon it; and he that refuseth this yoke, keeps alive that which is impure and felhly, and keeps down the just in himself.