« PreviousContinue »
there is a Spirit illuminating, and that is oft vouchsafed to the wicked, as it was to Balaam.
Answ. The Spirit which illuminateth; and the Spirit which fanctifieth, is one and the fame Spirit ; and the illumination of the Spirit is in order unto sanctification. The same light which discovereth the darkness, also chaseth away the darkness, as it is received and subjected to, and purifieth the mind; for the light hath not only a property of enlightening, but also of cleansing and fanctifying. And the reason why men are not changed, justified, and fanctified, in and by the light, is because they love it not, and bring not their hearts and deeds to it; and so it is their reprover and condemner, and not their justifier and sanctifier. But the same Spirit, light, and life which enlighteneth, also fanctifieth, and there is not another.
III. Concerning the Holy Spirit of God, and the Holy Scriptures
Quest. Whether they be always joined; or some may have the Spirit, who have not the scriptures, and some may bave the scriptures who have not the Spirit ?
Answ. The Holy Spirit of God, and the holy fcriptures, are not always joined together; for some in the dark corners of the earth may be visited by the Spirit, become sensible of the Spirit, and receive the Spirit
, who never heard of the scriptures; and many may have the scriptures, and be very ignorant of, and strangers to, God's Holy Spirit; as the Jews were, who had them read in their fynagogues every fabbath-day, and
Christ told them, Ye neither know the scriptures, nor the power of God. IV. Concerning the Law of the Lord, which is perfect, and which
converts the Soul.
Quest, What is the law of the Lord, which is perfeet, and converts the soul? Is it the outward law or writing in the letter, or the inward law and writing in the Spirit ?
Anfw. No man is, or ever was, or ever can be, converted to God from the inward law of fin and death, but by the inward law of life and righteousness written in the heart; and I am sure that law is perfect, the new covenant is perfect, and the law thereof perfect; the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus perfect, which converts the mind to Christ, the righteousness of God, and lets 'it free from the law'of sin and death. And David was a spiritual man, and knew the inward covenant, and the inward creating of the heart anew, and God's holy and free Spirit, and the law and testimony thereof. I will grant a great deal to the letter and miniftration outward; but I must attribute more to the inward; or else God's light, and the holy experience which he hath given me, will condemn me. And as the Jew outward had the law, and testimony, and statutes outward ; so I am fure
the true Jew, the Jew inward, hath the law, and testimony, and statutes inward, written in his heart by the finger of God's Spirit; yea, and the fame Spirit put within him, to cause him to keep this law, and the holy testimony, statutes, and judgments of the Lord; and the spiritual Jacob, and Israel of God, in this the day of their redemption and salvation from on high, do follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes, and walk in the light of the Lord,
V. Concerning David's Longings, expressed in Psal. xlii. xliii. cxix.
and other places.
Quest. Were David's longings more after the law outward, or after the law and light of God's Spirit inward?
Answ. David was a man after God's own heart; a man that knew an inward and clean heart of God's creating, and knew the free Spirit of the Lord, and the fresh springing life thereof, and the leadings of the pure living truth inwardly in his heart, and this was it he most especially prized and longed after. Create in me a clean beart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me, &c. faith he (Psal. li. 10,11.) after his fall, shewing what he had been acquainted with before, and what he now (God having touched his fpirit afresh) began to long after again. And faith he, in another place, Oh! send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me unto thy hill, and to thy tabernacles, Psal. xliii. 3.
Oh! the sweetness of light within, truth within! Oh! the precious leadings and drawings thereof, which were once felt, upon a fresh and tender remembrance thereof, cannot but be longed after again!
VI. Concerning the Sun, or Fountain of spiritual Light. Quest. Whether the holy scriptures, or written testimonies, be the sun or fountain, and the light within but a ray or stream from them? (as is affirmed by my antagonist).
Answ. It is just quite contrary: for the holy men spake the holy words from the inward light and quickening life of God's Spirit within them; fo that that was the fountain in them, and is so still. With thee is the fountain of life ; and he that believeth, as the scriptures have said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This fpake. he of the Spirit (John vii. 39.) that is the fountain. The water that I shall give him, Mall be in him a well of water Springing up into everlasting life, John iv. 14. Who esteems and honours the scriptures aright? He that believes their testimony, comes to Christ, and makes his Spirit, light, and life all; or he that sets the scriptures in the stead of that Word of life which they came from, testify of, and point men , to, as the fountain and foundation of life and falvation to all mankind ?
VII. Concerning the Word's being a Fire and a Hammer, to burn up
the Chaff, and break the Rocks in Pieces. Quest. Is the Word, which is a fire and hammer, the testimonies and declarations of the holy scriptures without, or the Word nigh in the mouth and heart ?
Answ. That which I have felt hammering inwardly, that which I have felt burning inwardly (unquenchably, as the mind has been kept to it) has been the Word of life itself, from which the good words and holy testimonies proceed. That which does the work in the inward Jew, is the inward ministration of the inward covenant, the appearance of God there: he is the consuming fire; he is the Spirit of judgment and burning, who, by his holy flamings inwardly, burns up the filth of the daughter of Sion. may be exercised in the letter all his days, and yet witness nothing of this inwardly in truth and righteousness, but he whom the Spirit of judgment and burning inwardly comes nigh, and whose Aesh is kept in that holy furnace, it will be consumed there day by day, until it be quite wasted and destroyed, and so he come to be judged according to the fesh, and to live to God in
VIII. Concerning God's writing his Law in the Heart. Queft. How doth God write his law in the heart?
Answ. By his Spirit and power working there, whereby he both creates a new heart, and writes the new law, even the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, in the new heart. The isles shall wait for his law. Whose law? The law of the Messiah, the law of grace, which gives dominion ; the law of the anointing, the law of the new-birth, the law of the holy feed. His seed remaineth in him, i John iii. 9. In that seed is the new nature, and the new law both. What is the law of sin? What is the law of death? How is it written in the heart? How doth the enemy write it there, but by his corrupt fpirit and nature ? And doth not God, by his holy Spirit and nature, write the new law, the law of life, in the hearts of those that are renewed and made tender to the impressions of his holy quickening power? Every motion and drawing whereof is a law to them who are born of the Spirit, and taught of God to eye and walk after the quickening Spirit.
IX. Concerning the inward Light of God's Spirit. Quest. What is it which the mind is to be turned to, to enlighten it, and to work the darkness and corruption out of it?
Answ. It is no less than the light of God's Spirit; nothing else can do it. The day-spring must arise from on high in the heart, or there will be night for ever there. All notions or apprehensions concerning the light will not do it; it is the shining of the light alone inwardly which is able to expel the darkness there. It was not for nothing that Christ came a light to enlighten men, and directed men to follow him the light, that they might not abide in darkness, and that he sent his apostles with this message, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all; and so gave his apostles wisdom, authority, and power to turn men from the darkness to the light. And if the darkness was within, which they were to be turned from, surely the light must shine within, to discover the darkness, and to that light must they be turned. And in this light the Holy Spirit is received, and dwells there'; but out of this light, and the limits thereof, in every heart, dwells the unclean and dark spirit, and hath power and rule there ; for nothing but the light and strength of God's Spirit is able to break his kingdom and dominion inwardly in the heart.
X. Concerning the Ministers and Ministry of the Gospel. I Quest. Who are the ministers, and what is the ministry of the gospel?
Answ. They are the ministers of the gospel who have received the Spirit and power wherein the ministry of the gospel stands. For Christ came in the Spirit and power of the Father, and he fends his apostles and ministers in the fame Spirit and power, that they might be able to beget, and reach to that birth which is to be begotten and ministered to. It is one thing to be a minister of the law, and to minister letter ; and another thing to be a minister of the gospel, and to minister Spirit. The apostles were able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit; and so are all in a degree, who succeed them in any measure or proportion of their ministry. For the ministry of the gospel is in the light, Spirit, and power of the Most High, to turn peoples minds to a proportion of the same light, Spirit, and power in themselves, and fo to come to the manifestation and quickening of the same life in themselves, that so they may walk in the fame light. For the life is the light; and he can never have light, or fee light, who comes not first to feel some virtue from the quickening power. Oh! how precious is this miniftry! Blessed be the Lord for his renewing of it in these our days! And this ministry is not to be confined to an outward order of men, as the ministry of the law was; but whoever hath received the gift, fo he is to minister, as the Lord guides, leads, and orders him in the use of that gift which he hath bestowed upon him for that end. And what if he be an herdsman, a fisherman, a teni-maker, or the like? Yet if God hath poured out his Spirit upon him, and openeth his mouth, he hath not only liberty, but more, even authority, from the Lord God Almighty to speak in his name, either for turning men unto Christ, the light and life of men, or for building men up in their holy faith in him, whose Spirit and power was and is the resurrection in the life for evermore,
XI. Concerning trying of Spirits, and searching the Heart. Quest. What is it which searcheth the heart, and infallibly tries spirits?
Answ. God's Spirit, God's word nigh in the heart and mouth, feparateth and giveth true discerning and judgment there, to all whose ears are circumcised and inclined to it. God's Spirit is the spirit of judgment; and where he is given, the Spirit of judgment is given, and he judgeth in his children by the quickening life and sense he bestoweth on them, which diftinguisheth between life and death, between truth and deceit; yea, between the same words, when they come from the dead spirit, and when they are spoken in his living power : Christ gives his Spirit to his sheep, which gives them to know his voice, to know when life speaks, and when words are living, and food for the living; and in what mouth they are dead, and cannot yield living nourishment.
XII. Concerning things necessary to Salvation. Quest
. Whether all things necessary to salvation be contained in the scriptures?
Answ. The scriptures give testimony concerning the one thing necessary to falvation ; but the thing itself, Christ himself, the feed itself, is not contained in the scriptures, but revealed in the shinings of the true light, and so received or rejected inwardly in the heart. Behold I stand at the door and knock. Blessed are they that hear his voice, and believe him knocking, and open to him, and receive him, who gives eternal life and power to become sons of God to as many as receive him, and believe in, and give up to, the inward revealings of his redeeming arm and power therein. To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? To them in whom, and to whom, this arm is revealed, Christ is revealed; and they in whom, and to whom, Christ is revealed, know the one thing necessary, even him who is life eternal, in whom all other necessary things are wrapped up, and by whom they are conveyed to the soul, according to its need, by him who is faithful in all his house, and takes care of every Theep which the Father committeth to him.
XIII. Concerning the true Gospel-Church, or Society. Quest. What is the true gospel-church, or society?
Answ. A company of true believers in the Spirit and power of the Lord Jesus Christ. A company of true Jews, inward Jews, Jews in Spirit, of the true circumcision, whom the Father hath fought out, and made true inward worshippers ; such as are gathered to the name, and gathered together in the name of the Lord Jesus, to offer up fpiritual facrifices to God through him. A company of living stones, who have received life from him, the