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A few Words concerning the true Christ ; how it may be certainly and
infallibly known which is be. This question relates not to his outward appearance, in the days of his flesh; but to his inward and spiritual appearance, how it may be known. To which the answer on my heart is, Even after the same way, and by the fame means is he to be known in his inward appearance, as he was known in his outward; which was by the revealing of the Father. For none knows the Son but by the Father, and be to whom the Father reveals him. And when Simon Peter confessed him to be Chrift, e Son of the living God, Blessed (faid he) art thou, Simon Bar-Jona; for fliji and blood bath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven, Matth. xvi. 16, 17.
And if none could know Christ in his appearance in the flesh, notwithstanding so many manifest and express prophecies concerning him, but such only to whom the Father revealed him ; how shall any know his inward and spiritual appearance, unless they be taught of the Father, and hear and learn of him so to do?
But more particularly to shew how the Father revealed his Son, and how they came to know in that day that he was the Son of the living God, the Holy One, the anointed Saviour; and that the same way, and by the same means, people that will truly know him, must come to the knowledge of
First, They came to know him by the manifestation of the life that was in him, by the fullness of the grace and truth which dwelt in him, and put itself forth, so as to be discerned by the inward and spiritual eye in them. For the life was manifested, 1 John i. 2.
The life which was in him was manifested to the spiritual eye which was in them; and thus they came to know him.
Secondly, By his voice and knocks. Thus said he concerning his sheep in those days, that they knew his voice, John X. 4. Oh! he hath such a voice, as none hath but he ! He speaks in his Father's authority (not as the scribes, not as earthly-wise, learned men); he speaks in the evidence and demonstration of God's Spirit. The words which he speaks are Spirit and life; they that hear his voice live; and when he stands at the door and knocks, he pierceth deep.
Oh! the beatings of his hand upon the tender and sensible hearts and consciences! Oh! his secret reproofs, his secret instructions, his secret quickenings and enlightenings! How did they, and how do they, eternally make him manifeft in the hearts and consciences of his ?
Thirdly, By his baptism, or by his baptizing into his own Spirit and power. While people were in expectation, and mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or not, John answers the case, and tells them how they might discern and know the true Christ. It is not I, who
baptize baptize with water ; but he that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; whose fan is in bis band, &c. Luke iii. 15, 16, 17, Was not this then and is not this now, the way to know the true Chrift? He that knoweth him who inwardly and spiritually baptizeth, him who hath the fan, who inwardly fanneth and purgeth the floor, gathering in the wheat, and burning up the chaff, doth not he inwardly, truly, and spiritually know Christ? He that knoweth the word, which is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing afunder of foul and spirit
, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; doth not he know the word which was in the beginning, which was with God, yea, which was God? For he is the only. searcher of the heart, and trier of the reins.
Fourthly, By his mighty works. The works which the Father bath given me to finish, the same works that I do bear witness of me, that the Father bath fent me, John v. 36. And when John sent two of his disciples to Jesus with this question : Art thou be that should come, or look we for another? Christ bids them go, and tell John what things they had seen and heard ; bow that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf bear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached; and blessed is be whosoever shall not be offended in me, Luke vii. 22, 23: Why berein is a marvellous ibing (said the blind man) that ye know not from whence he is, and yet be hath opened my eyes, John ix. 10. He who hath the power, and putteth forth the power inwardly; who openeth the inward eye, the inward ear, looseth the inward tongue, causeth the inward feet to walk in the way of life, and the inward hands to work the works of God; he is the Messiah, the Saviour, the Word of life, the Son of the living God. They that believe in him, in his Spirit, in his power, in his inward appearance, have the witness in themselves, the living testimony, which none can put out, or take away from them. He hath opened mine eyes, he hath opened my heart, he hath raised me out of the grave, he hath given me. eternal life. He hath changed me inwardly, created me inwardly, by the working of his mighty, power; and I daily live, and 'am preserved, and grow by the same power. I feel his life, his virtue, his power, his presence day by day. He is with me, he lives in me; and I live not of myself, but by feeling him to live in me, finding life spring up from him into me, and through me; and therein lies all my ability and strength for evermore. A few Words in the Bowels of tender Love and Good-will to my
native Country. It is written, When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world shall learn righteousness. Oh! that this might be verified concerning thee, O England ! even that thou mightest learn righteousness, and that the days of thy unrighteousness might come to an end! Have not God's judgments been upon thee? Yea, are not God's judgments still upon thee! And can any thing divert them from coming more upon thee, but thy fpeedy returning unto the Lord, in breaking off thy sins by unfeigned repentance ? Oh! that thou mightest be sensible of the hand of the Lord, and mightest hear the rod, and him who hath appointed it! The Lord hath power over all nations, and can break them in pieces as a potter's vessel. They are but as the drop of a bucket, as the small dust of the balance ; they are before him as nothing, and are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.
1. i 2.
Read Isai. xxiv. see how God will plead with nations, and consider whether he be not dealing thus with thee? Oh! hath not that been found in thee, and is not that found in thee, which provoketh the Lord exceedingly? Oh! that the weighty tense of thy sins were upon thee, and that thou mightest truly repent, and turn from them; that thou mightest reap the benefit of God's judgments, and learn righteousness, and his indignation might be removed from thee, and his tender bowels of compassion move towards . thee.
But perhaps some may fay, What is the righteousness we should learn?
Answ. Oh! learn to know God; that is a righteous thing. Learn to fear God ; learn to worship him aright. How is that? Why in his own Spirit and truth, in which he seeks to be worshipped. Learn humility towards God; learn justice and mercy towards men ; learn to love thy enemies. If ye will be Christians, that is the law of Christ; but that which is called the Christian world, many of them have not yet learned so much as to love their friends : but hate and persecute such as fear the Lord, and seek their good, and stand in the gap to keep back the wrath of the Lord from breaking in upon them, and are wrestling mightily with him, with strong cries, that he would stay the sharpness thereof, that it might not break forth to their destruction.
Learn to do to others as ye would be done to. Do not do to any, because of their religion and tender consciences towards the Lord, what ye would not have done to yourselves because of your religion. How long will it be ere ye learn this ? How many judgments and distresses shall come upon you, before ye bow in spirit under the mighty hand of God, and yield yourselves in submission to him, to learn these things of him?
Quest. But how shall we learn righteousness?
Answ. Retire inwardly to that, and hearken inwardly to that, which gives the sense of judgments, and learn of that; and that will wean you inwardly from all your unrighteousness, and teach you righteousness. There is that inwardly in the unregenerate which hardens and misleads; there is also that inwardly which tenders, melts, teacheth, and leadeth aright, as it is believed in and obeyed.
Oh! that men knew the difference between these two, and how to turt from the one to the other! For out of the heart proceeds all that is evil and
vain, and out of the heart are the issues of life also. The well or puddle of the muddy waters, of the waters of Egypt, of the wine of Sodom, and waters of Babylon, is there ; and the well and cistern of the pure waters is there also.
Oh! my native country, that thou mightest be the first nation in this age of the world that might pass through the judgments of God, and be cleansed thereby, and be happy! Oh! that thy rulers and governors were weaned from the spirit and wisdom of this world, and might receive of God's holy Spirit and wisdom, and judge and govern themselves and the people thereby! When the Jew outward was chosen to be the people of God, did not he pour out of his Spirit to govern them by ? Were the judges, kings, and leaders thereof only anointed with outward oil ? Were they not also anointed with God's Spirit ? And can any Christian magistrate govern aright any Christian nation without the assistance and guidance of the fame Spirit? And oh! that all the people were anointed also, that they might be inwardly kings and priests to the Lord, and the kingdom of Christ might be inwardly set up in all their hearts, and every man might reign, in and through him, over the enemies of his own soul! Oh! that the power and glory of the Lord might cover thy governors and inhabitants, O England! Oh! the prayers that have been long put up in bowels of tenderness for thee! Oh! the besom of the Lord, the besom of his righteous judgments, that it might sweep the hearts of men inwardly, that this nation might be prepared for the glory of the Lord (for the glory which he reveals in his heavenly birth) to break forth outwardly, to the admiration and magnifying of the work of his power in the eyes of all beholders ! Amere, Amen.