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grace, and the gift (the free gift) by grace, which is upon all to justification of life, that receive it, and follow the teachings of it.
Peter speaks of the more fure word of prophecy, to which men should take heed; and wait (in taking heed to that) for the dawning of the day, and the arising of the day-star in the heart, 2 Peter i. 19. Indeed, all men ought to wait for, and give heed to, the light of God's Holy Spirit, and the holy prophecies, warnings, and directions thereof in their hearts.
And John, at last, as I may say, in that book of the Revelation (closing up the testimony of that age and generation) speaks of walking in the light of the Lamb, chap. xxi. 23, 24. (which every one that comes to witness the true light ought to do, elfe there is no true fellowship with God, nor with his fanctifed ones, who are gathered into and walk in the light, even as God is in the light, 1 John i. 7.) And the angel that opened the prophecies and mysteries of that book to John, faid, that tbe testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy, chap. xix. 10. So then, he that hath this spirit of prophecy, he that hath this inward light, hath the testimony of Jesus; but he that hath it not, hath not the testimony itself, but only words concerning the testimony. For this is the distinction between the true believer and the false ; the true believer hath the spirit of prophecy, the witness in himself, 1 John v. 10. :, the false believer hath but the outward testimony or relation of things; but not the inward substance, the covenant and law of life within.
Q U E S T I ON II. What dotb this light do inwardly in the bearts of those that receive it, believe in it, and give up to it?
It doth all that is requisite to be done, from the soul's coming out of spiritual Egypt into the land of rest; and all that is needful for its growth and preservation there.
First, It enlighteneth. It sheweth what is evil, and also what is good, according to the measure and proportion of it, and according to God's causing it to shine in the heart. It discovers the mystery of darkness, the mystery of ungodliness, the mystery of iniquity, the mystery of deceit in all its mysterious workings; for nothing is hid from the light of him with whom we have to do. And it also discovers the mystery of godliness, the mystery of holiness, the pure way and commandment of life ; and gives all the believers (the true believers in Chrift) this experience, that bis commandment is life everlasting. There is nothing the heart needs desire to know of God, but this makes it manifest in the due season. It opens the very mystery of the scriptures, gives the right understanding and VOL. II.
application of the promises, and fulfils the prophecies thereof in-thie heart.
Secondly, It doth not only manifest the good and evil, but likewise inclines the mind to chuse the good, and refuse the evil. It draws from the evil, and towards the good; yea, and the soul is made willing in the day of him who is light, and who appears in the light, and reveals 'his power there. There is a way, an high-way, spoken of, Ifa. xxxv.: 8. called the way of holiness, which the unclean can neither discern nor pass over to ; but the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, the ineasure of grace and truth wherewith he enlightens men, so manifests and leads into this way, that they that are taught and guided by him, shall walk therein, and not err.
Thirdly, It scatters the darkness, breaks the power of the enemy; it makes one with him who is all power, and giveth to partake thereof; fo that power is given to become fons in the light, to the children of the light; power given to become kings and priests to God; power given to reign in the dominion of his life, in the dominion of his truth, over sin, over death, over deceit; and to offer up the holy living facrifices to God.
What shall I say? It is one with Christ, it is of his heavenly Spirit and nature, it makes way for him, it leads to him, it fills with him, it brings into unity and fellowship both with the Father and the Son, where the peace which paffeth understanding, and the joy unspeakable and full of glory, abounds. This is the gospel message, that God is light; and they that are gathered into and abide in this light, they are gathered into, and abide in unity and fellowship, both with the Father and the Son.
David had great sense, and great experience of this light of God's Holy Spirit, and of his truth sent forth, manifested, and revealed in his inward parts, as is signified, Psal. li. 6. and again, in that vehement prayer of his, Psal. xliii. 3. Ob! send out thy light and tby trutb ; let them lead me,
let them bring me unto thy holy bill, and to thy tabernacles. Then will I the altar of God, unto God the gladness of my joy; yea, upon the barp will I praise thee, O God, my God. Indeed when the light shines, and the truth springs up in the heart, it leads to him that is true, it leads to the holy hill and mountain of the Lord, and to the inward altar; which they have no right to, who serve and worship at the outward; and the harp is known whereon the Most High is praised, even that inward harp, whereof David's outward harp was but the figure. Therefore they that come to the holy hill of God, to the mountain of the Lord's house, and to that holy building which was reared there, they invite and encourage others to walk in that light which led them thither, wherein communion with God, and one with another, and the blessings of life and peace are enjoyed, Ifa. ii. 5.
But what should I speak of the fufficiency of the light and grace of the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, or of what it is able to do, and of what he is pleased to work by it? I shall only say this, that as the fullness was enough for Christ, and to fit him for the work which he had to do; fo the
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measure of grace, and truth which he bestows, is enough for every man. My grace is sufficient for thee, said God to Paul ; and fo it is for every man. There is no want of fufficiency in the grace of God; in the seed of the kingdom, in the pearl of price, in the holy leaven, in the heavenly falt; but the virtue and strength of it is greater than the enemy is able to withstand; and he that keeps to it, and departs not from it, shall feel life and power springing up in it, to quicken him and carry him through all that God requires of him. For the water which Christ gives is a well, springing up (in him to whom it is given) unto life eternal; and this water is able to wash, able to nourish, able to fill the soul with living virtue, which waiteth for it and partaketh of it. And all the nations of them that are saved, are to walk in the light of God's Spirit. To this men are to be turned, unto this they are to be gathered, inte this they are to be tranflated (even from the kingdom of darkness, into the Son's marvellous light); and being changed by it (into its nature) become light in the Lord, and ought to walk in the light, as God is in the light, i Jobn i. 7.
How doth the mind come to be enlightened, and the candle of the Lord come to be set up in the foul ?
By God's causing it to shine there, and the mind's being turned to it, and given up to be exercised by it, as it pleasech the Lord to cause it to shine. The power
of the Lord reacheth to the pure principle of life and light in the heart, in the seasons of his good pleasure. This being reached to and touched by the Lord, answers his touch, his visit, his call; and the mind being turned to it, sensible of it, and willing to let it into its nature and spirit, and to become one with it (suffering with it, and bearing its cross); the seed cometh to grow there, the light which was hid and overwhelmed under the earth (under the earthly wisdom, the earthly will, the earthly knowledge, the earthly desires, the earthly delights, &c.), cometh to be lighted up there ;, yea, the life cometh to be quickened more and more, and the holy leaven to spread more and more there. And this fenfible plant of God's renown being thus entertained, and being not after-. wards grieved, despised, quenched, or hurt, by the giving way to, and letting in of that which is contrary to it, it shooteth up into a kingdom of righteousness, into a tree of righteousness, within the compass whereof, and under the shadow whereof; the foul fittech down in peace and rest, and is defended and nourished with that which is pure and living, and full of the pure fap and virtue, and so becomes strong in the Lord, and in the
power of his might, against the power and strength of darkness. Now this all men may experience (at first in some low measure and degree, and afterwards more and more), as they come to feel after, and have a sense of that which is of God, and good in the heart, and come to join and give up to it. For then it will be working against, and purging out, that which is of a contrary nature, and overspreading the heart with its own nature; infomuch as that which was the least will become the greatest; and that which was the lowest of all (and indeed trampled under foot) will rise up into dominion and power over all, and bring all under. So that the lofty city, the lofty building of Aeshly wisdom, and of sin and iniquity in the heart, will be laid low, and the feet of the seed shall tread it down ; even the feet of that which was once poor and needy, until it was anointed, and its horn exalted by the Lord.
E STION IV. How is the light or candle of the Lord diminished, and at length extinguished or put out in fome? Or how cometh that about ?
N S W E R. By their neglecting, despising, quenching it; hearkening and giveing way to the contrary spirit in its motions and temptations. For as the good let in, stops and works out the evil; so the evil let in, stops and works out the good : fo the Philistine nature given way to, stops the inward well which Jacob had digged and opened. There is a time when life is a mystery, a fountain sealed; and there is a time wherein God unseals the fountain, and opens the mystery in the heart. Oh! then great care is to be had, and the soul is to lie very low in the pure fear, that it may continue in his goodness, and walk worthy of his love, that the fountain may be kept open, and the pure springs of the Holy Land now, and not be sealed and shut up again. For there are some that rebel against the light, and they dwell in a dry land. There were some that did always relift and vex God's Spirit, and the Lord's Spirit ceased striving with them, and gave them up to a reprobate sense and judgment concerning the things of God. There are some that do not improve God's good talent, and from them that which was once given is again taken away. Yea, the candle of the wicked shall one time or other be put out, and they shall be silent in darkness, and their mouth stopped from having any thing to say against God, his truth, and people, for evermore. And all men had need to take heed how they be wanton with the grace of God, or despise the day of their visitation by the holy light of God's Spirit; for if Göd take away the talent, if God put out the inward candle, who can light it again? Oh! how did poor David, the man after God's own heart, suffer by letting the enemy's temptations in upon him! Cast me not away from thy presence, faid he, and take not tby Holy Spirit from me. Indeed he did lose his condiness again.
tion at the present, and he speaks as a man in danger of being quite undone though afterwards he came to comfort and assurance that God would restore him to the joy of his falvation, and light his candle, and enlighten his dark
But I am not insensible of what doubts and disputes there are in mens minds about this testimony which we give (from certain knowledge and true experience) concerning the light wherewith God enlighteneth fouls. At first, when the testimony first came forth, men would not grant such a thing as a light from God in men, which convinced of and reproved for sin; but now there are many will assent to that, who yet cannot believe it to be a measure of the grace and truth which comes by Jesus Christ, and that in it the fufficiency and power of God is revealed, against the strength and power of Satan.' But let fuch seriously consider,
First, Who they are that have testified, and testify, of this light. They áre persons who generally have been deeply exercised in religion : persons who have read the scriptures very diligently, with much praying and waiting upon God, for the true, certain, and clear understanding of them: persons who (several of them) have had experience of moft (if not all other) separated ways, but could never meet with the answer of the cry of their souls, nor with satisfaction to that birth which breathed in them after the Lord night and day.
Secondly, What their testimony is ; which is manifold. As first, that they were by the Lord (even by his Holy Spirit, and the shinings and springings of his precious seed in them) turned to this light, and shewn it to be of God. Secondly, That in turning to it, they still meer with the presence, appearance, and power of the Lord working in their hearts. Thirdly, That it did not only discover fin to them, but also powerfully resist it, fight against it, and bring it under ; which no light and power besides the light and power of God's Spirit can do. Fourthly, That the life of the Son is manifested and revealed in it, and they come therein truly to see, and taste, and handle the Word of eternal life. Fifthly, That in this light they come to witness cleansing by the blood of the Lamb, and the everlafting covenant made with them (even the sure mercies of David), and the holy precious promises fulfilled in them, whereby they are made partakers of the divine nature, and come to witness an entrance into the holy city, and drink of the streams of the pure crystal river, which refresh and make glad the city of our God, and all the tabernacles wherein he dwells. Lastly, To mention no more, the Lord hath shewn them how this had been formerly with them, even in the days of their former profession; and how God had wrought by this in them in former times, though they then knew it not; and that all their ability then to understand any thing of God aright, or to pray unto him, or reap any true benefit from the scriptures, was through the stirring of this in them, whereby God even then, in some meafure, enlightened and quickened their minds. For there being such a prin