Page images

ing gathered, the reft were caft off; and the enfign was carried among the Gentiles, and the great gathering was there among them.

Query. How is it manifeft that the great gathering to Shilob was to be from among the Gentiles?

Anfw. By many exprefs prophecies of Scripture, and promifes to the Meffiah, that he fhould have the Gentiles for his inheritance and poffeffion. When God established his king, the Meffiah, upon the holy hill of fpiritual Sion, notwithstanding all the heathen's rage against him, and the people of the Jews imagining a vain thing (thinking to keep the body of him in the grave, who was the refurrection and the life) what faith the Lord to him? Afk of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy poffeffion, Pf. ii. The Lord faid, in another place, It is a light thing that thou mayeft be my fervant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preferved of Ifrael; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayeft be my falvation unto the ends of the earth, Ifai. xlix. 6. Again the Lord faith further, From the rifing of the fun, even unto the going down of the fame, my name fhall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incenfe fhall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering; for my name fhall be great among the heathen, faith the Lord of hofts, Mal. i. 11. Sing, O barren! thou that didst not bear; break forth into finging, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child; for more are the children of the defolate than the children of the married wife, faith the Lord, Ifai. liv. 1. Who was the married wife? Who was the mother in the days of the first covenant? Was it not the Jerufalem below, who was then defolate and barren? Was it not another Jerufalem, which is free, and the mother of all the spiritual children? Why was the now to rejoice and fing? But because the was to break forth on the right hand and on the left, and her feed was to inherit the Gentiles, and make the defolate cities to be inhabited, ver. 3. The covenant of Mount Sinai did bring forth a great people, whereof Jerufalem, that was below, was the mother. The covenant afterwards made, befides that in Horeb, whereof the Word nigh in the heart and mouth is the foundation (by which Word God circumcifeth) was as yet barren, and did not bring forth a people to the Lord. But this covenant was to have a time; the Jerufalem above was to have a time, wherein her feed fhould inherit the Gentiles; and the Maker, the Hufband, fhould be called the God of the whole earth, ver. 5. Read Gal. iv. and fee how the apostle of the Gentiles expounds the mystery, fhewing which is the free woman, and her free children, and which is the bond woman, and which the bond children, who are caft out in the day of God, and in the fhining of his heavenly light inwardly, and cannot inherit the glorious kingdom of the gofpel, with the children of the free woman. And confider who were the people in the time of the first covenant? Who obtained mercy then? Were they not the Jews? And who were not a people, and who did not obtain mercy, but were left out of the love and mercy of the first covenant?


Were they not the Gentiles? And did not the Lord promise that he would have mercy on them that had not obtained mercy? And that he would fay to them that were not his people, THOU ART MY PEOPLE; and they fhall fay, MY GOD, Hof. ii. 23. compared with Rom. ix. 26. Was not this once gloriously fulfilled in the firft vifitation of the Gentiles? And is it not again glorioufly fulfilled in his now vifiting them again with the fresh found of the everlasting gofpel, as was promised, Rev. xiv. 7.

Oh! what a promife is that concerning the day of God! that in that day there fhall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an enfign of the people; to it fball the Gentiles feek, and his reft fhall be glorious, Ifai. xi. 10. Is not this the day wherein the holy mountain is known, and that nothing can hurt or deftroy there? And doth not the knowledge of the Lord cover his land, his earth, as the waters do the fea? And doth not the root of Jeffe, the rock of life and falvation, stand for an enfign, placed fo by God, and who can difplace it, or fhake them that are built on the inward Mount Sion? Yea, is not the rest of the weary foul, when he comes hither, found to be very glorious? And when this enfign is more fully lifted up, fhall not the Gentiles more abundantly come unto God from the ends of the earth, and bewail their dead and eftranged eftate from God? (faying, Surely our fathers inherited vanity, and things wherein is no profit, Jer. xvi. 19.) And fhall they not turn from all their idols to ferve the living God? Thess. i. 9. And concerning the Meffiah it was promised, that in his name fhould the Gentiles truft, and the ifles fhould wait for his law, and he fhould bring forth judgment to the Gentiles, Ifai. xli. 11. with Matt. xii. 21.

But what should I mention any more fcriptures unto you concerning this thing, when-as ye have fo large, full, certain, and daily experience of it in that which is pure and living of God, which never deceived nor can deceive any; for ye are begotten by his Spirit into his own image and nature, and have received the Spirit of adoption, wherein ye cry Abba Father to the Father of fpirits. He found you indeed in a ftrange land, under great captivity, and alienation from him. Ye have been in Egypt, in Sodom, in Babylon fpiritually; but the mercy of the Lord hath followed you thither, and the arm of the Lord hath reached to you there, and hath cut Rahab, and wounded the Dragon: yea, he whom the Lord hath given for a light to the Gentiles, hath fhined to you there, in the midst of your darkness. So that God fent among you the prophet like unto Mofes (tho' far above Mofes) and hearing him, he led you out of Egypt, and by the rod of his power did figns, and wonders, and valiant acts there, breaking that power which with a strong hand held you captive there, and oppreffed you. And you have known the travel, trials, and temptations in the fpiritual wilderness, and the falling of the carcafes which were to fall there, and the holy leading by the pillar of cloud and fire through all the entanglements and dangers therein. Yea, and the faithful among you, the tried and prepared among you, have paffed over Jordan (the river of

Oo 2



judgment) into the good land, and come to witness David and Solomon (who are one in Spirit) your king, who rules in righteousness, and ministers to you peace everlafting. And ye have an high-priest there, not after the order of Aaron, but after the order of Melchizedeck, who is made the everlafting high-prieft of God; not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life; whofe lips preferve the knowledge of the law for you, in that endless power of life; who minifters for you, and to you, in the endless power, and intercedes with power and efficacy, and fprinkles the blood of the covenant upon you, which takes away fin from your hearts and confciences. So that ye know the inward Jew's ftate, the inward Holy Land and kingdom, the inward circumcifion, before ye enter into that land; and the inward Lamb, the inward paffover, the inward Mount Sion, and Jerufalem; the inward facrifices and incenfe, the inward tabernacle, temple, and ark of the covenant, the inward fhew-bread, the inward manna, the inward rod that buddeth, the inward candlestick and the lamps, which are never to go out in God's temple. And what should I fay more? All that that people were to be outwardly, in an outward way and ftate, hath God made inwardly in the fubftance; and what God would have been to them outwardly, had they obeyed his voice, and kept his ftatutes and judgments, that he is to you inwardly, who are the called and chofen, and faithful followers of the Lamb; and ye are the enjoyers of their bleffings and promises inwardly. Oh! the glory of your ftate to the eye that is opened to fee it!

Now fomewhat doth remain on my heart unto you.

Oh! be daily fenfible of the tender goodness and mercy of the Lord, which is broke forth among you! What mercy, what love hath the Father fhewn unto you, that ye fhould be thus accounted the children of God! That they which were once nigh, should be removed fo far off; and ye which were fo far off, fhould be brought fo nigh, and should for ever inherit the fure mercies of David! For of a truth the Lord will never forfake you; but his mercy endures for ever towards you, and your flakes fhall never be removed; but this inward building fhall ftand for ever. This Sion is the place of God's reft, where he will dwell for ever; whereof the outward Sion was but a figure.

Secondly, Remember what the Lord promised himself concerning you. When he was weary of that people, and continually complaining of them, oh! what did he promise himself concerning the people he would bring forth by the Spirit and power of the Meffiah in the latter days! Did he not promise himself that they should be an holy people, an inwardly circumcifed people, a people that fhould pleafe him; fheep that should hear the fhepherd's voice, and be healed by him, gathered home to him, and fo follow and learn of him the fhepherd; that they should all know him from the least to the greatest; and that he would forgive their fins, and heal their backflidings, and they should not return to folly, or backflide


any more, as the children after the flesh always did? Is not this the people whom indeed God hath formed for himself, who fhall fhew forth his praise.

Thirdly, Remember what a covenant God hath prepared to make with you, as ye incline your ears to him, and are led by him into the holy agreement with him; even a covenant which is not weak, as the old covenant was; but is full of virtue and vigour, to enable you to do whatever God requires of you. Mark what it contains, putting God's fear into you: not the fear which is taught by man's precepts, which man may get into his carnal mind; but which God places as the treasury of life in the heart; as it is written, The fear of the Lord and his treasure, Ifai. xxxvi. 6. And oh! who knows the precioufnefs of his treafure! How it cleanseth the heart, and keepeth it clean, and will not fuffer the mind that is feasoned with it, and kept to it, to depart from the living God! It fenceth from unbelief, it fenceth from difobedience; it will not fuffer the foul so much as to meddle with any appearance of evil. Oh! precious, glorious, bleffed treasure! happy is the man that feareth always with this fear! Another precious thing this covenant contains, is the law written in the heart, that it fhall be as near, yea, nearer than fin is, in the heart that is made tender, and hath the law of the Spirit of life written in it. Who knows what it is to have the law of love, the law of life, the law of the Spirit, the law of faith, the law of new obedience, livingly written by God in his heart! Surely none can but they in whom God writes it! And fuch cannot but defire to have it written in their hearts by his bleffed finger daily more and more. But this covenant contains yet more, even the putting of his own Spirit within them, to be a fountain of life there, a fountain of strength and wisdom there, to make them more and more willing in the day of his power, and to cause them to walk in his ways, and keep his ftatutes and judgments, and do them, that the Lord their God may blefs them, and delight in them.

Oh! who would not long after, and take up the cross and fhame, to enjoy the glory of this ftate! Oh! what hath God done for a poor despised remnant among the Gentiles! Oh! who would not defire to keep this bleffed covenant with the Lord, that he might fully enjoy the Lord, that the marriage with the Maker might be witneffed in his loving-kindness and everlasting righteousness, and all unrighteoufnefs and uncleannefs might be put away, removed, and feparated from the heart for ever. Ah! the virgin fpirit which the Lamb loves, and delights to marry with! He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit, and he must part with all that is old, evil, unclean, and corrupt in him, that would be joined to the Lord, and become one Spirit with him. Oh! who would lofe the precious fear of the covenant, which is clean, and endureth for ever, and keepeth clean and chafte to the Lord for ever! And who would mifs of one law which God hath to write in the hearts of his children, when every law is a law of

life, and changeth the mind into the nature of the law-giver! And who would grieve God's Spirit, which is our Comforter? Or quench that which kindles the pure flame of love and life in our hearts? Much lefs can any of his dear and tender children be willing to vex him, by manifeft carelefiness and disobedience, who giveth us to drink of the river of his pleafure!

Oh! my dear friends, ye do not know the great travail of my heart, that all the children of the Lord might walk before him in all well-pleafing, that we might come all into covenant, into the full covenant, and walk fully with him in the covenant, that his anger might be for ever turned away from us all, and he might never be wroth with, nor rebuke any of us any more. It is written on my heart the breaking forth of this glory would reach the Jews: and though they be caft off as to their outward ftate, and not fo to be owned, or come into that glory any more; yet there is a day of mercy and love for them, as to that inward state of life and redemption, which their outward ftate typified: and the breaking forth of the full glory of the Gentiles, and the manifeftation of God's mighty power and presence with them (they being made by God a people to him, and fo walking with God, as none poffibly can but those who are created anew, and fo made by him), this might provoke the Jews (the poor, fcattered, forfaken Jews) to feek after the Lord their God, and David their king, inwardly to be revealed in them, and rule among them.

The Lord God of our life and tender mercies, carry on to perfection this bleffed work of his, which he hath fo mightily begun, and fo mightily hitherto carried on; and keep us in the fenfe of his good Spirit, and in tender and holy fubjection thereto, and in unity together in the life, wherein we have been gathered and preferved, and in pure judgment over all the workings of the enemy every-where, and in the gofpel love one to another, and to all men, even our greatest enemies, that we may seek the good of all men, even the refcuing and preferving all out of fin and wrath, as much as in us is poffible; that the pure light wherewith our God and heavenly Father hath enlightened us, may fhine in us; and the life wherewith he hath quickened us, may live in us, and we may feed on nothing but life, and grow in nothing but life and truth, to the great glory of our heavenly Father, and to the great joy of our hearts. Amen.

A few

« PreviousContinue »