« PreviousContinue »
Rom. viii. 9.
Spirit of bis Son into their hearts to cry, Abba Father. And God cannot der ny his own Spirit to his children that afk it of him; he knoweth how absolutely necessary it is to the state of a son; and whosoever truly receiveth Christ, Christ doth give him power to become a son; which power is in, and with, and cannot be separated from, his Spirit. Yea, the Spirit of Christ is so neceffary and inseparable from him that is Christ's, that the apostle expresly affirms, that if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, be is none of his,
Fourthly, They tasted of the good Word of God.
Of that Word from which the gift comes ; of that Word which was in the beginning of the world, which is ingrafted into the hearts of those that truly believe, which Word is able to save the soul.
Fifthly, They tafted of the powers of the world to come.
Of the power of the endless life, whereof Christ is the minister, and according to which he ministers life, in that holy, true, living, inward, spi. ritual temple, which he pitcheth and reareth up for an habitation to God in his.own Spirit.
Now in the apoftasy and night of darkness, which hath come over the Christian state, these things have been greatly loft. For there have been none that have been found able to turn people to that light which the apostle directed to. None could tell men where the light is to shine, and where men were to expect it, and wait for it. None were able to direct men to the seed of the kingdom within, to the Word of faith, the Word of the kingdom, nigh in the heart and mouth; much less were they able to instruct men how they might know and distinguish it from all other feeds, and the voice of the shepherd from all other voices. Here it came to pass, that though at times God visited and opened mens hearts, a little warming them by the breath which came from himself; yet they not knowing how to turn to the Lord, and wait upon him for preservation in the gift and measure of his own grace, the good hath foon been stolen away from them, and the building which hath been raised up in them hath not been a building of life according to the Spirit, but a building of wisdom or knowledge concerning the things of God according to the. Aeth ; and so the building that hath been raised up in mens spirits hath been Babylon, instead of Sion.
But the Lord hath had a remnant all along the apostasy, who felt fome begettings of life, and had in measure some sense and taste of the heavenly things. These mourned after that state which was once enjoyed, and felt their want of it, travelling from mountain to hill, seeking their restingplace, which none could rightly inform them of. Now, for the fakes of. these, God hath at length appeared.
How appeared ? may some say. Why thụs: he who is light hath appeared inwardly, causing his light to hine inwardly, causing his life to spring inwardly; so that he who is light, who is life, who is truth, is felt and known in his own inward visits, breakings-forth, and appearances. For God, who is a Spirit, his appearance is spiritual, his day is spiritual, his kingdom is spiritual, his light is spiritual, his life is spiritual, his day-star is spiritual; and his day dawneth, and his day-ftar ariseth in the heart. Thus the day-Spring from on bigb did visit us, who sat in darkness, and in the region of the sadow of death. And here we have met with what the apostles met with, the very fame light of life, the very same enlightening Spirit and power, and have been enlightened by it, and tasted of the same gift.
The very same grace that appeared to them, and taught them, hath appeared to us, and taught us; and of it we have learned the same lessons, in the same covenant of life wherein they learned, and now can we feal to their testimony in the same Spirit wherein they gave it forth, and witness to the fame eternal life, and the same holy oil and anointing, our eyes having been opened and kept open by it. And though there be great disputes about our testimony in this our day (and the present professors rise up against us, as the former profeffors did against them); yet let but any man come rightly to distinguish in himself between that which God begets in the heart, and all other births, and let that speak and judge in them, that will foon confess that our testimony is of God, and given forth in the authority and by the commission of his own Spirit. True wisdom is justified by the children that are born of her; it is the other birth that doth not, nor can own her. The other birth can own former dispensations (according to the letter of them); but not the life and power of the present.
I have known the breaking down of much in me by the powerful hand of the Lord, and a parting with much (though not too much) for Christ's fake. The Lord hath brought the day of distress and inward judgment over my heart; he hath arisen to shake terribly the earthly part in me (yea, what if I should say that the powers of heaven have been shaken also), that he might make me capable to receive and bring me into that kingdom which cannot be shaken. And now that which God hath shaken, and removed in me, I see others build upon, and they think it shall never be shaken in them; but such know not the day of the Lord, nor the terrible searching of his pure light, nor the operation of his power, which will not spare in one, what he hath reproved, condemned, Ihaken, and certurned in another. He that knows the living stone within, and comes to him as to a living stone, and is built upon the revelation of his Spirit, life, and power (revealed inwardly against the power of darkness) is not deceived. All that otherwise build (I mean upon an outward knowledge concerning Chrilt, and not upon his inward life) their building will not be able to stand in the day of the Lord. I wish they might have a sense of it in time, that they might not perish for ever; but experience that life and power of our Lord Jesus Christ, which redeemeth and preserveth out of the perishing state for ever and ever. Amen.
PRINCIPLE of TRUTH:
The LIGHT WITHIN Afferted,
A N D
Held forth 'according to true Experience, and
faithful Testimony of the SCRIPTURES:
In the ANSWERS to FOUR QUESTIONS.
I. What this Light is which we tef- || III. How it cometh to be lighted, tify of, and what is the nature of it? set up, and increased there
II. What it doth inwardly in the || IV. How it cometh to be diminished Heart?
or extinguished in any ?
The Testimony of the SCRIPTURES without, or the Voice and Testimony
of the Light and Spirit of GOD within, in the Heart.
By one once greatly distressed, but now at length, in the tender Mercy of the Lord, effectually Visited and Redeemed by the Light and Power of Truth,
ISAAC PEN I'NG TO N..
P R E F A CE.
HE true, ministers of the gospel, the ministers of the new cove
nant, were ordained and appointed by God to be ministers of light, ministers of righteousness, minifters of the Spirit
, Matt. v. 14. 2 Cor. xi. 15. chap. iii. 6. And this was their work and fervice, even to preach the light, to deliver their meffage concerning the light, which they heard of Christ
, and were sent by him to preach, as is recorded 1 John i. 5. So that they were to tell men what the light was, and where it was to be found; and to turn men from darkness to light, from sin and unrighteousness to purity and righteousness, from the spirit and power of Satan to the Spirit and power of the living God (Dan. xii. 3. Afts xxvi. 18.) that so they might come from under Satan's authority, power, and kingdom of darkness
, into the light, wherein Christ reigns as king, priest, and prophet, unto and over all his; who is faithful in all his house, and Son and Lord of all, distributing life, righteousness, mercy, and peace to his whole family, as they abide in him, and walk in subjection to his Spirit. So that there is no condemnation to them that are gathered unto Christ
, ingrafted into him, and who abide in him (walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit), who is the quickener, guide, and rule of all the children of the new covenant. For Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, in and to them all, and is made by God all in all unto them. He is their shepherd, their king, their captain, their vine, their olive-tree, their leader, their door, their path, their rule, their righteousness, their holiness, their wisdom, their redemption, their altar, their facrifice, their priest, their prophet, their fabbath, their light, their day-spring, their bright and morning-ftar, their sun, their shield, their rock, and their high tower.
What shall I say ? God hath gathered together all things into One, even in him, whose Spirit
, life, and light eternal is the One substance, which answers all the figures and shadows of the law, and they are all comprehended, and fulfilled, and end in him. So that he is the end of the! aw
or righteousness, to all that believe in him. And he ministers righteousness, he ministers truth, he ministers life, he ministers salvation, he ministers power, he ministers pure heavenly wisdom; and no good thing will he with-hold from them that come unto him in the drawings of his father, and follow him whithersoever he leads, and obey his gospel, which is everlastingly new and living.
Now, this precious ministry hath been withdrawn, and hid from ages and generations, in the long night of the great apoftafy and thick darkness. And how could it be otherwise ? For men being in the dark, and having erred from the true Spirit, and let in a wrong spirit, and built up wrong churches, and having not known the true wilderness (nor being willing to flee into it) whither the true church fled, and was nourished by God with the true food, even with the true living virtue and nourishment, all this dark night of the apoftasy; I say, how could they come at the true light, the true Spirit, the true power (from which the true ministry is), which did not visibly now appear, but was with the true church in the wilderness ? So that there hath been a true church all this while, which the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against, as to her inward temple and altar (nor over the worshippers which have worshipped cherein), although they have gained the outward court; God having severed it from his inward building, and given it to the Gentiles in fpirit; who are not true Jews, who are not worshippers in the Spirit, and in the truth, Rev.
But now, at length, bleffed be the Lord, the long night of darknefs draws towards an end; yea, is come to an end in many spirits ; and the true light is broken forth again (and shineth again inwardly in many), and the true ministry is revived again, and the everlafting gospel (the everlasting covenant of life, mercy, and falvation, in and through Chrift Jesus, the light and life of men) preached again. For now it is not only outwardly read, that God is light; but the meffage hath been received, and persons chosen, and sent forth by God to publish it ; and to turn men from darknefs to light, and from Satan's power to God. And, bleffed be the Lord, the publishing of this precious testimony (in the power and authority of the Most High) hath not been in vain. But the captivity of many hath been broken by the power of light, and the power and ftrength of darkness (inwardly) overturned by it. Oh! how hath the strong man, which kept the house, before the stronger than he appeared in the name and authority of his Father ; I say, how hath he trembled at the inward and spiritual appear. ance of him that was stronger than he ? And how have the pillars of the old building been shaken ? How hath the witness of God been reached to in mens spirits ? How have the dead been raised, the blind eye opened, the deaf ear unstopped, the dumb tongue loosed, the lame caused to leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb to sing, the inward spiritual leprosy cleansed, and done away for ever, the wounded healed, the broken
xxi. 1, 2.