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Query 8. What is the house of the strong nian, where he dwells till he be difpoffesed? Who can dispossess him? How doth he dispossess him? How doth he spoil his goods, and then garnish the house anew? Oh! what a new creation and change within is witnessed when this is done! And who would not wait, and pray, and believe, and suffer the judgings and burnings of the Spirit of judgment and burning, that this may be done thoroughly and effectually ? Luke xi. 21, 22. Isai. xxvi. 9. 2 Cor. v. 17.
Query 9. What is that coming to Christ which none can witness but those that hear and learn of the Father, and are taught by him, in the drawings of the life and Spirit of the new covenant, to come to the Son ? John vi
. 44, 45.
Query 10. Who can confefs Jesus to be the Lord by the Holy Ghost? Can any but they that receive the help of his Spirit, and feel somewhat of his lordship and holy dominion in their hearts ? Isci
. xxvi. 13. Query 11. What is the precious faith, which is the gift of God, which none can obtain but they that are born of God ? John i. 12, 13.
Query 12. Can any rightly believe that Jesus is the Christ, unless they receive this faith, which God gives to his own children, that are born of his Spirit, 1 John v. 1.
Query 13. Doth not this faith give victory over the world? (over the woridly nature and spirit within, over the worldly nature and spirit without allo)? 'Can any other faith give victory? 1 John v. 4.
Query 14. What is the love of God's children ? Whence doth it arise ? How come they to love? Is it not of an heavenly fpiritual nature ? Doth it not arise from God's begetting them, and circumcising their hearts, and teaching them in the Spirit of the new covenant to love him, and one another, yea, and enemies also, I John iv. 7. Deut. xxx. 6. 1 Thel. iv. 9.
Query 15. How come the children of God, who are begotten of him, to obey his commandments ? Is it not from the constrainings of his love, which makes them natural and easy (where the birth and nature is grown up) and not grievous and burdensome ? Matt. xi. 33. 1 John v. 3.
Query 16. What is the fear God puts into the hearts of the children of the new covenant? Is it a fear taught by the precepts of men, or a fear springing from the root of life within ? Can any who receive this fear from God, and who are preserved in the sense of it (and in the holy awe and reverence which it produceth) depart from the holy, tender, living God and Father? Jer. xxxii. 40.
Query 17. What is the law which God writes in the hearts of the children of the new covenant? Is it not the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus? Is it not the law which the isles wait for? Isai. xli. 5. And do the illes wait for it in vain? Oh! blessed be the Lord, by the once distressed and miserable-ones, in this age it hath not been waited for in vain !
Query 18. What is the truth that makes free indeed from the law of fin and death? Is it not the truth as it is in Jesus; the inward truth, which hath virtue and power in it, to work against, and work out that which is contrary to truth, and so deliver and free the mind from it ? For the light, which is truth, can expel darkness; the life, which is truth, can overcome death ; yea, the truth, which is living, holy, and righteous, can overcome and subdue the unholy and unrighteous nature, and break down the strongholds, and bring every rebellious and captivated thought into captivity and subjection, John viii. 32. Rom. viii. 1. Ephef. iv. 20, 21. 2 Cor. x. 4, 5.
Query 19. How doth God cause the children of the new covenant to walk in his statutes, and to keep his judgments, and do them? Is it not by putting his Spirit into them, and by the holy virtue, power, and operation thereof in them? Doth not that make them a willing people in the day of his power? And doth not that give them to do also, and strengthen them with might in the inner man? So that not grieving that, or quenching that, that is a flame of life in them, and fills their hearts with joy; and the joy of the Lord is in their strength, and in this joy and strength they can rejoice, and work righteousness, and remember the Lord and his ways, Isai. Ixiv. 5. Ezek. xxxvi. 27.
Query 20. Can any work righteousness, or do righteousness, but he that is truly righteous, inwardly righteous, in whom the righteousness of God, the righteousness of Christ, is revealed from faith to faith? Must not the tree be good, before the fruit can be good ? Must not the heart be changed, be made holy and righteous, before it can bring forth that which is holy and righteous ? Can any but the plants of God, the plants of righteousness, bring forth the fruits of righteousness? Ifai. lxi. 3. and 1 John iii. 7.
Oh! that people, nations, tongues, and languages, could understandingly, sensiblý, and experimentally, as in God's sight, with the seal of his blessed Spirit, answer every one of these things !
THREE QUERIES more added. Query 1. OST thou indeed know the new covenant? Hast thou in"D
wardly felt the spiritual powerful gathering by the mighty arm and power of the Lord, out of the sinful nature and state, into it? Doft thou abide with God therein ? Art thou daily taught and fed by him there? These are very weighty things. Can any man be safe or happy without experiencing them? Heb. viii. 8. &c.
Query 2. Haft thou experienced the true hunger and thirst after the living waters? Hast thou been called and led to them ? Hast thou eat and drank the bread, wine, and milk which those waters yield ? Haft thou been abundantly satisfied with the fatness of God's house, and hath he given thee to drink of the river of his pleasure ? Hath the Lord opened an ear in thee to hear as the learned ? And hast thou inclined thine ear, and come unto him who gives life, and received him who is life, and gives life in that inward, spiritual
, living appearance of his in the heart, wherein and whereby he gives life? Hast thou known his appearance inwardly, as of a living stone ? Haft thou heard and learned of the Father how to come to him, as to a living stone? And hast thou been new-created and formed a living stone by him? And art thou a living stone, built upon him the living ftone inwardly in spirit, daily living in him, and daily receiving spiritual life and virtue from him ? If it be thus with thee, then surely thou doft know and enjoy the everlasting covenant, even the sure mercies of David, Ijai. lv. 1, 2, 3. Psal. xxxvi. 8, 9. i Pet. ii. 4; 5.
Query 3. Doit thou sensibly and experimentally know how the Spirit of the Father begets the child-like life, love, and fear in the heart; and how the pure fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the living child's treasure ? And doft thou know what the womb is wherein the living child is formed? What 'the Jerusalem above is, which is the mother of all that are truly living? And how Christ is formed in all that are begotten, and born of, and live in the Spirit ? Ijai. xxxiii, 6. Gal. iv. 26. Jobr iii. 6. 8.
Gal. iv. 19.
The C O N C L U S I O N.
H! how miserable is he who is deceived about these things! Oh!
how happy is he who hath received the true understanding from God, which cannot be deceived; wherein he hath the evidence and demonstration of God's Spirit concerning them, and knoweth the truth as it is in Jesus; as it is in his life, in his Spirit, in his power, who ministers after the power of an endless life, unto all his sheep, who are returned to the shepherd and bishop of the soul, who hear his voice and follow him, where-ever he goes or leads, who is an eternal Shepherd, and eternal Door of life to his, and leads to precious pastures, and sweet ftill streams of life, and is giving the sweet food, rest, and pure pleasure of eternal life unto his abundantly; even as it is his will, that after their many sore trials, exercises, and travels (and faithfulness to him therein) they should abundantly poffefs and enjoy it. Glory to the Lord for ever, whose kingdom is set up in the hearts of many, and who already reigns in the hearts of many, and will reign in the hearts of more! Oh! that men might hear the sound of his everlasting golpel, and learn to fear him, and give glory to him, and know the hour of his judgment come in their own hearts, that by his judgment against fin and unrighteousness in them, they might come to know and worship him; and then the worship of the dragon and beast would soon come to an end in their hearts ; and they would worship the begetter of holiness, the begetter of life, the king of faints, who dwells and rules in those that are his
own, as the devil the destroyer doth in those that are his! The Lord God of everlasting power break down the kingdom of Satan (the kingdom of unrighteousness and darkness in mens hearts) and exalt the kingdom and scepter of his own Son instead thereof. Amen.
P O S T S CRIP
Containing fome Queries on Isai. L. 10, 11.
Who is among you that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice of bis servant,
that walketb in darkness, and hath no light? It is rendered in another translation: And no light shineth upon him (which was Job's case in his great affliction, as is signified by him, chap. xxix. 2, 3.) Let him trust in
the name of the Lord, and stay upon bis God. Ver. 10. Bebold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass about with Sparks, walk in the light
of your own fire, and in the sparks ye bave kindled, this ye shall have of mine
band: ye shall lie down in forrow. Ver. 11. Query 1. OTH not the tender and 'merciful God many times, in the
bowels of his love and mercy, bring darkness and great distress upon mens spirits, that they might wait for his healing and redemption ? Yea, doth not this befall some who fear the Lord, and are found in the holy reverence and obedience to him? And is it not good that it should befall them?
Query 2. Should not men, in such a condition of darkness and distress, trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon him till he cause light to arise out of obfcurity, and comfort them that mourn in Sion; giving them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness?
Query 3. Are not persons very prone and liable, in time of darkness and distress, instead of waiting upon God for his help and falvation, to be kindling a fire, and compassing themselves about with sparks ?
Query 4. Are there not some who cannot be content without heat and warmth in their religion and performances, and yet, instead of waiting for God's kindling the fire, and his causing the sparks of life to arise, kindle a fire of themselves, and compass themselves about with sparks of their own kindling?
Query 5. May not men, after they have kindled a fire and sparks, walk in the light thereof? And may not God, in his just judgment and fore difpleasure against them, leave them to themselves, and give them up fo to do?
Query 6. What will God do in the end, or what in the end shall befall them from God, who kindle a fire and sparks, and have continued walking Vol. II.
in the light thereof, and have been heated and warmed thereby ? Will not God cause them at length to lie down in forrow? Oh! that persons that are serious in religion, might not thus err, and so provoke God to give them up to walk in the light of the fire and sparks of their own kindling!
Query 7. When do men kindle a fire and sparks of their own? Do they not first forget the God of their salvation, and become unmindful of the rock of their strength ? And do they not then plant pleafant plants, and set strange flips ? (And where do they plant and set them ?) But what will the harvest be in the day of inheritance, when they come to reap. and inherit what they have planted and sown? (For what a man foweth, that must he also reap). Will it not be a heap for the fire of God's jealousy to take hold on, in the day of their tribulation, anguish, and desperate forrow of heart? Ifai. xvii. 10, 11.
Query 3. In what light do men build up a wall inwardly, and daub it with untempered morter, to secure themselves from the wrath to come? Is it not in the light of the fire and sparks of their own kindling? Will any wall or defence built up in the light of this fire or sparks secure men? Will not the wrath of God, in the day thereof, break forth upon all the workers of iniquity, whatever their faith or hope be to the contrary ? Will any wall defend the soul from the overflowing storm of wrath, but the wall of God's salvation ? And can any enter within that wall, but the righteous nation that keepeth the truth? Isai. xxvi. I, 2. The name of the Lord indeed is a strong tower; but can any run into it, and get shelter in it, but the righteous ? Prov. xviii. 10.
Query 9. Who is he, who, when he falleth, shall arise again ; and after he hath fat in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto him? Is it not he that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice of his servant, that in the time of his darkness and distress trusteth in the name of the Lord, and stays upon his God? Yea, is it not such an one as is willing to bear the indignation of the Lord, because he hath sinned against him, until he plead his cause, and execute judgment for him? Will not the Lord bring forth fuch an one to the light, and shall not such an one behold his righteousness ? Mic.
Query 10. When shall persons light arise in obscurity, and their darkness be as the noon-day? When shall their light break forth as the morning, and their health spring forth speedily, and their righteousness go before them, and the glory of the Lord' gather them up? And when shall the Lord' be their continual guide,, and satisfy their soul in droughts, and make fat their bones, and make them like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not? Are not these promises belonging to the gofpel state? And are they not fulfilled in the gospel state, as people come to know and keep the gospel fast, and the gospel fabbath? Read Ijai
. Iviii. 6.
vii. 8, 9.