« PreviousContinue »
A few Words to ENGLAND, my Native Country.
Oh! Land of my Nativity! Oh! my
dear Countrymen !
HE pure power of the Lord is upon me, and the springs of life
open in me; and among many other things, I am melted in love and desires after your welfare. And this is in my heart to fay to you: if I now testify to you in truth of a pearl, a heavenly pearl, an everlasting pearl, will
not hear me? If I tell you your heart is the field, or earth, wherein it is hid, will ye not consider of it? If the everlasting gospel be preached again, which contains true tidings of redemption from fin, will ye not listen after it? If the kingdom of God, and righteousness of Christ, be to be revealed within, would ye not willingly learn to wait for it there, and beg of God that the eye may be opened in you, which alone can see, it when it doth appear. Indeed God's visitation is upon this nation in an especial manner; his light and power is breaking forth in it, against the darkness and power of the spirit of Satan, which hath captivated and still captivateth many. Ye desire outward liberty, and the enjoyment of your outward rights; would ye not be free inwardly? Free from the base, earthly, selfish nature and spirit, which man, fallen from God, and the glory wherein he created him, is degenerated into ? Oh! is not the power of God, and life of Christ, able to restore man to this? He that created man at first so glorious in his own image, is he not able to create him anew? Oh! hear, my dear countrymen! the power is revealed which createth anew; and they that receive it, and are as clay in the hands of the great potter, given up to be formed by it, aré daily created (by the operation of it) anew, into an holy, heavenly, innocent, living, tender, righteous frame day by day ; and are made willing, daily more and more, to be the Lord's, in this day of his power; and do receive power to become fons, and strength againit their soul's enemies: and the glorious work of redemption which God hath begun in them, the arm of his strength mightily carrieth on in them, to their comfort and his everlasting praise.
There is a spiritual Egypt and Sodom, as well as there was an outward; and there is a spiritual wilderness, and Canaan also; and the arm of God's power inwardly and spiritually hath been revealed in this spiritual Egypt, wilderness, and Canaan, as really as ever it was in the outward. Do ye not read of a Jew inward, and a circumcision inward, and the leaven inward, and keeping the feast of unleavened-bread, even of bread that is not leavened with lin? And he that eats of the unleavened bread, it unleavens him of sin, and leavens him with life and holiness : for it is an holy bread,
and a living bread. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, which they that feed upon live, and they that live feed upon. - And though they be many, yet feeding upon this bread, they become one bread, one living body, consisting of a living head, and living members; for the same life and pure heavenly nature which is in the head, is communicated by him to the members.
But how shall we find this ? may some say.
I will tell you how we found it, and how none can miss of it, that sweep the house, and make a diligent and faithful search after it. That in the heart of man which turns against fin, discovers sin, draws from sin, wherein God ministers help against fin, that is it
. against sin, that is it. That is the pearl hid; that is the kingdom hid; in that is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, in all that receive and give up to this holy leaven. This is of the nature of God and Chrift; this is a measure of his light, of his pure life; this is the law and commandment everlasting, which God writes in the hearts of his spiritual Israel. For the inward Jew hath inward tables, where the inward law is written, for the inward eye to read.. Oh! how nigh is God inwardly, to the inward people, in this our day! Oh! the pure glory is broke forth! But alas ! men are in their several sorts of dreams, and take no notice of it. What shall the Lord do to awaken this nation? In what way shall his power appear, to bring down unrighteousness, and to bring up righteousness, in the spirits of people? Do ye not think the Lord hath been at work? How could deceit be so wasted inwardly, and truth so grown inwardly, and overspread more and more, and gain ground in the nation, if the hand and power of the Lord were not with it, blessing it. Oh! take notice of the handy-work of the Lord, ye children of men, and wait to feel truth near, and to partake of the living virtue and power of it, that ye may feel your hearts creating anew, and the old heavens and earth may inwardly pass away, wherein dwells unrighteousness; and the new heavens and the new earth may be inwardly witnessed, wherein dwells righteousness. Oh! that this nation might become a paradise of God! Oh! that every one might be sensible of his presence, and power, and kingdom, and righteous government inwardly in the heart, from the king that fits on the throne, to the beggar on the dunghill ! Surely man was not made for himself! Surely he was not made such a creature as now he is ! but in the holy image of God, with love in his heart to God above all, and to his neighbour as to himself. Oh! what are the religions and professions of several sorts where this love is not found! The Lord is restoring his image, and bringing forth the true pure religion again. The pearl, the truth, contains and comprehends it. Oh! buy the pearl ! oh! buy the precious truth! sell all that is contrary to it for it'; take up the cross to all that is evil in thee, as the light in thee maketh it manifelt, and thou shalt have the free possession of it in thy heart, and feel it a root of life, a treasure of life, a well of life, out of which the living water will be daily springing up in thee unto life everlasting. Amen. The 22d of the 7th month, 1676.
THERE is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city
of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. Query 1. Which is the river, and what are the streams thereof, which make glad the city of God? And which is the city of God which they make glad? which are the tabernacles of the Most High ? and which is the holy place of those tabernacles? Oh! my dear countrymen, that every one in this nation did understand and enjoy these things! For the Lord is ready to beget a will, to beget a thirst in the hearts of the children of men; and whosoever thirsteth, whosoever will, is called to the waters, and may come to the waters, and take of the water of life freely (Isai. lv. 1. Rev. xxii. 17.) yea, to the full satisfaction of their souls. For indeed this is the day of God's power, wherein he doth make his people willing to come to him, and to abide with him in the fountain of living waters; and those that do come to him, and abide with him, he abundantly satisfieth with the fatness of his house, and giveth them to drink of the river of his pleasures, Psal. xxxvi. 8, 9. Mark, God is the fountain of living waters, with him is the fountain of life, a river of pleasures, a river whose streams make glad the whole city, even the holy place of all the tabernacles of the Most High; and he giveth his citizens to drink of it; and whosoever drinketh of it, it maketh them glad, it refresheth their life. Oh! that more knew what this means!
Verse 5. God is in the midt of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early; or when the morning appeareth, or from the morning appearing
Query 2. How is God in the midst of this city? Is it not more gloriously in an inward way, than ever he was in the temple in the outward Jerufalem, in an outward way? How is she built? How is she founded and situated ? How comes it about that she shall not be moved? How is God her refuge and strength, and present help in the time of trouble ? After what manner doth God arise inwardly, and scatter his enemies? How doth the morning-light help her? After what manner, when the enemy cometh in like a flood, doth the Spirit of the Lord lift up a standard against him? Ah! blessed are they that know and experience, and live in the enjoyment Vol. II. Рp
of these things! Oh! that this whole nation did fo! Were it not worth the suffering of much, the denying of much, and the bearing of much judgment, to come to this?
Verse 10. Be fill, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among (or in) the beatben: I will be exalted in the earth.
Query 3. What is that stillness wherein God is known to be God, not outwardly in notion, but inwardly in the heart? Where is that filence of mind, wherein God teachech his Israel in the new covenant, to know him as he is; even all of them, from the greatest to the least? How will God come to be exalted in the heathen, and in the earth? Is it not by the light of his day, breaking forth and shining in them? Where this day breaks forth in any heart, doth it not break down and destroy the kingdom of darkness inwardly? And doth not the King of Glory consume the man of fin, the wicked one that was exalted in the temple before (which temple belonged of right to God) with the Spirit of his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming or appearing? Isaiah xi. 4. 2 Tbels.ii. 8. Then is the day known wherein the Lord alone is exalted. Oh! that this day were more known; and the Lord, who is indeed worthy, were more exalted, and all flesh become his footstool for ever!
Concerning the true Church and Ministry under the
Gospel, and the Maintenance thereof; some few Questions answered in Truth and Plainness of Heart, , and left to the Witness and Testimony of GOD in other Mens Consciences.
Quest. 1. W according to the
new covenant ? For there was an old cove
nant, and a church according to that, under the law: and there is a new covenant, and a church according to that, under the gospel.
Answ. For the clearing of this to the hearts and consciences of people, let us enquire and consider what the new covenant is, and then it will more easily appear which is the church according to the new covenant.
The new covenant, according to plain fcripture, and according to manifest experience in this blessed day of the shining of the gospel-light in mens hearts, is a covenant of God's putting his law in the inward parts of people
, and writing it in their hearts, and of his becoming their God and making them his people, and of teaching them all to know him (inwardly and experimentally) from the least to the greatest, and of being merciful co their
unrighteousness, and remembering their fins and iniquities no more, Jer. xxxi. 33, 34. Heb. viii. 10, 11, 12.
Now if this be the new covenant, the covenant of the gospel-church, then they are the gospel-church who are the people of God according to this covenant, who have the law put by God into their inward parts, and writ in their hearts; and so according to this law and covenant, have God to be their God, and are his people, and are taught by him to know him (as it is written, All thy children hall be taught of the Lord, Isaiah liv. 13. and John vi. 45.) and whose unrighteousness God hath been merciful to, and whose fins and iniquities he remembereth no more, being washed away from their consciences by the blood of the everlasting covenant, which the blood of bulls and goats could never do: so that this is the New Testamentchurch (or gospel-church); a church of Jews inward, as the law-church was a church of Jews outward : a church of inward worshippers, of worshippers in Spirit and in truth, John iv. 23. as the law-church was a church of wor- . shippers outward : a church of inwardly circumcised ones, as the law-church was a church of outwardly circumcised oncs, Rom. ii. 29. · A church of such as are inwardly holy, as the law-church was to be a church of such as were outwardly holy: a church of such as offer inward incense and facrifices, as the law-church was a church of such as offered outward incense and facrifices : a church of inwardly-redeemed ones, from the inward Egypt, from the inward darkness and power of Satan, as the law-church was a church of such as were redeemed from the outward Egypt, and the power of Pharaoh outward : a church that hath the inward ark (Rev. xi. 19.) the inward presence, the inward manna, &c. as the outward church of the Jews had the outward.
Quest. 2. Which is the true gospel ministry, and who are the true gospel ministers?
Answ. Those whom Christ fends forth, in the Spirit and power of his Father, to gather and build up this church. Christ had all power in heaven and earth given him, even to this very end, to gather, defend, and build up his church: and he bid his apostles wait for the fame power ; and sends forth his ministers in the fame power, that they may be able ministers of the gospel, which is not words but power, even the power of God unto falvation, Rom. i. 16. The new covenant stands not in the letter, but in Spirit and
power; and they that are the ministers of it, must receive life, Spirit, and power from Christ (the head) and minister in that Spirit, life, and power to the members, or they cannot nourish and build them up; yea, they must preach and minister to the world in it, or they are not able to gather out of the world into it. Christ, the Lord of his church, the foundation of life in his church, the everlasting rock, is a living stone; and his church is built of lively stones : and how can any minister life unto them, or build them up in the life, Spirit, and power, but who are in the life, Spirit and power, and who receive life, Spirit, and power from the head, to