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Thirdly, The knowledge of thefe, without the knowledge of the mystery, is not fufficient to bring them unto God; for many fet up that which they gather and comprehend from the relation concerning the thing, inftead of the thing itself, and fo never come to a fenfe of their need of the thing itself, nay, not fo far as rightly to feek after it. And so many are builders, and many are built up very high in religion, in a way of notion and practice, without acquaintance with the rock of ages, without the true knowledge and understanding of the foundation and corner-ftone. My meaning is, they have a notion of Christ to be the rock, a notion of him to be the foundation-ftone; but never come livingly to feel him the rock, to feel him the foundation-ftone, inwardly laid in their hearts, and themselves made living stones in him, and built upon him, the main and fundamental ftone. Where is this to be felt but within? And they that feel this within, do they not feel Chrift within? And can any that feel him within, deny him to be within the strength of life, the hope of glory? Well, it is true once again (fpiritually now, as well as formerly literally) the ftone which the builders refufed (Chrift within, the builders of this age refuse) is become the head of the corner, who knits together his fanctified body, his living body, the church, in this our day, more gloriously than in the former ages and generations, bleffed be the name of our God.
Fourthly, The mystery, the hidden life, the appearance of Chrift in Spirit, comprehends the other: and the other is not loft or denied, but found in it, and there difcerned or acknowledged more clearly and abundantly. It was to be after it, and comprehends that which went before it. Paul did not lofe any thing of the excellent knowledge of Chrift, when he said, Henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Chrift after the flesh, yet henceforth know we him no more. If he did not know Chrift after the flefh, how did he know him? Why as the Father inwardly revealed him. He knew him in his Spirit and power. He knew his death inwardly, he knew his refurrection inwardly, he knew the Spirit, the virtue, the power of it inwardly; he knew the thing in the mystery in his own heart. Oh! precious knowledge! Oh! the excellency of this knowledge of my Lord and Saviour Jefus Chrift! What is the outwardly most exact literal knowledge without this? But what then? Do I now deny or flight the outward? No; I have it here, and I have the inward feeling of the Spirit of life, how it dwelt in him, how it wrought in him, and of what wonderful value all his actions and obedience were, in and through the virtue of this Spirit. Was Abraham's offering his fon fo precious in God's eye? Oh! then what is this! Never was fuch a body so sanctified, fo prepared; never fuch a facrifice offered. Oh! the infinite worth and value of it! For by the inward life and teachings of God's Spirit am I taught and made able to value that glorious outward appearance and manifeftation of the life and power of God in that heavenly flesh (as in my heart I have often called it) for the life so to dwell in it, that it was even one with it. Yet
ftill it was a veil, and the mystery was the thing; and the eye of life looks through the veil into the mystery, and paffes through it, as I may fay, as to the outward, that it may behold its glory in the inward. And here the flesh of Christ, the veil, is not loft, but is found and known in its glory in the inward. Be not offended at me, O tender-hearted reader! for I write in love things true, according to the inward feeling and demonstration of God's Spirit, though not easy perhaps to be understood at prefent by thee; but in due time the Lord can make them manifeft to thee, if thou in uprightness and tenderness of heart, and in the filence of the fleshly part, wait upon him.
A few WORDS concerning the WAY of PEACE..
The way of peace they have not known, Rom. iii. 17.
HERE is a way of peace, of true peace with God, who is an adversary to all that is unholy and unrighteous. Those who have been unholy and unrighteous, who have been awakened, troubled, and could find no reft, but the fevere and righteous judgments and wrath of the Lord lying upon their spirits night and day, having at length-had their ears opened by him, and being led by him out of the unholy, and unrighteous, way, into the holy and righteous way, have felt both life and peace therein.
Now there are two forts which the apostle here mentions (or two states, which the apostle here fpeaks of) which have not known, nor can know, the way of peace with God, who is an adverfary to them both, and will one day speak trouble to them both, when their fouls and consciences come to be fearched and judged by him.
The one is the profane, or Gentile ftate, which is without the sense of God, not heeding any appearance of his, or any inward voice of his Spirit, or the writing of his law upon their heart. These never knew the way wherein the heart is inwardly and fpiritually circumcised and renewed, fin forgiven, and peace obtained.
The other is the profeffing or outward Jews ftate, who may study the letter, and apply themselves to conform outwardly to the letter, but never were acquainted with the inward Spirit and power. Thefe greatly differ from the Gentile or profane ftate, both in outward appearance, and in their own eye; but are the fame in the ground with the Gentiles, and know no more of the way of peace than the other do.
Queft. But what is the way of peace, which neither the profane, nor any fort of profeffors out of the life and power, ever knew, or çan know ?
Anfw. It is an inward way, a way for the inward Jews, for the inwardlyrenewed and circumcifed to walk in. It is an holy or fanctified way, for the fanctified-ones to walk in. It is a living way, which none but the living can find. It is a new way, which none but thofe to whom God hath given the new eye can fee. It is a way that God prepares and cafts up, and leads mens fpirits into (who hearken unto him) and guides the feet of his faints in. It is a strait and narrow way, which no luft of the flesh, nor wisdom of the flesh can find out, or enter into. Oh! how little, how low, how poor, how empty, how naked, must he be, that enters into this way, and walks therein! Many may feek after it, and may think to find it, and walk in it; but few fhall be able, as our Lord Chrift faid. Here circumcifion outward avails not; here want of that circumcifion hinders not; here bodily exercise profits little. The new creature is all here; the cross of Chrift is all here; the power of God is all here; and he that walks according to this rule, peace is upon him, and the whole Ifrael of God. But he that knows not this rule, nor walks according to this rule, peace is not upon him, nor is he one of the inward Ifrael of God, who receive power to become fons, who receive the law of the Spirit of life in Chrift Jesus, which is the inward rule of the inward Ifrael.
This was the way of peace from the beginning; this is the way of peace ftill; and there is not another. To be new created in Chrift Jefus, to be ingrafted into him, to abide in him, to have the circumcifion of the fleth (the body of the fins of the flesh cut off) by the circumcifion of Chrift (made inwardly in the heart without hands), and to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, even in the newness of the Spirit, here is life and peace, reft and joy for evermore. The Lord of his tender mercy give me a sense of it, and lead me into it more and more. Amen.
The CONCLUSION of the WHOLE.
HERE is a birth which is born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man; but of God, John i. 13. And this birth, which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit, chap. iii. 6. Now this birth, which is born of the Spirit, and is Spirit, hath a life and way of knowledge fuitable to its nature and being; which is very far above man. Its life is in the Spirit, and its walking in the Spirit, and its knowledge is after the way of the Spirit, very far above man's way of conceiving or comprehending. The birth itfelf is a myftery to man, and its way of knowing is a way altogether hid from man. It is indeed in the evidence and demonftration of God's Spirit, in the fhinings of his light in the heart: In thy light fhall we fee light. The birth knows what this means. There is a wife and prudent part in man, from which God hides the fight of his kingdom, and the heavenly glory thereof; but there is a babe to which God
reveals the mystery thereof. Flesh and blood cannot reveal; but the Father can and doth to his children, who is the teacher of them all, from the least to the greatest, in the new and living covenant. There is man's day, and there is God's day. There is man's day of gathering knowledge, after his fleshly manner of comprehending; and there is God's day of giving knowledge, by the fhinings of the light of his own eternal Spirit. In man's day, how doth wife and prudent man beat his brains, and labour in the fire for very vanity! But in God's day, how doth the knowledge of the Lord cover the earth, as the waters cover the fea! When the day-fpring from on high vifits inwardly, when the Lord lighteth the candle inwardly, oh! how clear is the knowledge of the Lord, and how doth it abound then! Oh! what a difference there is between man's apprehenfions and conceivings concerning Christ, and God's revealing him inwardly; and between man's coming to Chrift, according to his own apprehenfions, and his coming to Christ in the heavenly drawings and teachings of the Father! John vi. 45. Oh! that the begettings of life and the birth thereof were felt in mens hearts, that in it men might know the day of God, and the kingdom of God, and the treasures of wifdom which are hid in Christ, and will ever be fo, but as Chrift is inwardly revealed and formed in the heart! Many may have notions of Chrift being formed in them; ah! but to feel it inwardly! there is the sweetness, there is the affurance, there is the life, there is the peace, there is the righteousness of the Lord Jefus Christ, and there is the joy of the true Chriftian for ever. Come, oh! come, all forts of tender profeffors, out of yourselves, into God's Spirit, into God's truth, that ye may know what it is to be in the Spirit, and in the truth, and what it is to live there, and to know things there, and to worship there, and to have fellowship with the Father and Son there. The poor receive the gospel, the poor receive the kingdom, the poor receive the power, the poor receive the righteoufness and falvation of our Lord Jefus Chrift. Ye are too rich in comprehenfions and gathered knowledge from your own literal conceivings, to learn to wait aright, to receive of him his gold, his raiment, and his eye-falve. What pleasure is it to us to teftify against you? Were it not for obedience to our God, and love to your fouls, we would never do it. We are content and fatisfied to be of the little defpifed flock, which the fhepherd feeds, giving to every one his proportion of daily nourishment, life, peace, righteousness, and joy. It is our love to you that we would not have you lay out your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which will not fatisfy the truly hungry and awakened foul, but might come to feed on substance, on the life itself, on the fweetness and fatness of God's house, where nothing that any of his children can need or long after is wanting. Oh! that ye had the fenfe of our love! If ye had the true understanding and fenfe of God's love, ye could not but have a fenfe of our love alfo; for it comes from him, and it flows towards you in his will and tender movings. Do ye love God? Are your hearts circumcifed to love VOL. II. God?
God? If not, ye do not truly love. And if ye loved him that begets, ye would love them that are begotten by him. Your love is to your own notions and apprehenfions of God, not to his nature; for if ye loved his nature (that holy, heavenly, fpiritual nature as it is in him) ye could not but love it in his children alfo. Well, our God is love, and taught us to love even our enemies, and to wrestle with our God for them, that, if it be poffible, the Lord may remove the fcales from their eyes, and give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth as it is in Jefus, where it is more living and powerful, more effectual and operative (inwardly purifying, fanctifying, yea, and juftifying alfo) than any but those only that are born of God (and kept alive by him), yet ever knew, or can know.
Containing a few Words concerning the Doings and Sufferings of that defpifed People called QUAKERS, which are both mifunderstood and mifreprefented by many: With an Exhortation to true Christianity.
IRST, their doings are looked upon by many to be from a natural principle, and according to the covenant of works, and not from the free grace and gift of God's Spirit.
Now concerning this I can speak fomewhat faithfully, as having been long experienced in the principle, and as having had experience of the grace and tender mercy of the Lord from my childhood. And indeed thus it hath been with me from my childhood; whatever hath been done in me, or by me, that was good, I have felt to be from God's grace and mercy to me, and have cried grace, grace, mercy, mercy, to the Lord continually therefore. And when I was turned to his truth in the inward parts, I found it was God's grace and tender love to me to turn me to it, and to preferve mė, being turned; and to caufe it to fpring in me day by day, and to give me ability through it. Ah! none knows but they that have had experience how we have been weakened in the natural part; how poor we have been made, that we might receive the gospel, and how poor in ourselves we are kept, that we might enjoy the riches and inheritance of the kingdom. And this we daily experience, that not by the works of righteoufnefs which we had done, but according to his mercy, he faved us, and doth daily fave us, by the wafhing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghoft. Yea, God's writing his law in our hearts, and placing his fear there, and putting his Spirit within us, to enlighten and quicken, and cause us to walk in his ways, and to keep his ftatutes and judgments, and do them, and all the mortifying of fin, and denying of the lufts of the flesh, and performing