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night) have hid and covered themselves almost in all forts of professors of Chriftianity, under a form of godliness?
Query 2. Is not their time expiring already, and in fome degree expired? Was it not to have an end when the light and power of truth, which at first kept it back, did fpring and arife again?
Query 3. Is not the day arifen? Is not the darkness already past? And doth not the true light now shine (and the true power of life now appear) in many veffels? Let the fouls, that defire to know the truth of this, wait to feel that which is of God anfwer in them.
Query 4. Where are the deceivers, and where is the deceit? Is it among those that have embraced the light of life? or among those who abide in their old darkness, and whofe eyes are not yet opened to fee the light and beauty of the day, which is arifen in the hearts of thofe that are quickened and raised by the power of the Lord?
That the Way of LIFE and SALVATION is freely held forth by GOD to all; and there is nothing in him to lett, stop, or discourage any Man from receiving his TRUTH, and giving up to him in the Faith and Obedience of it, but very much to invite and encourage.
T hath pleased the Lord, who is over all, and good unto all, to provide a remedy for the fin and tranfgreffion of the creature. abounded unto death, fo he hath caufed righteousness to abound unto life; yea, the free gift, which is as large and univerfal as ever fin was, hath more power in it to fave, than fin hath to deftroy. And there is no ground of difcouragement for any (who hath not outfinned the day of his vifitation, and fo the offer of mercy is over as to him) in reference to God; though the enemy of the foul ftrives to raise up many difcouragements and objections in the minds of many, to keep them from hoping in the Lord, and from giving up to his truth, which faveth all that receive it, and abide in it Now it is in my heart at this time, from a true fenfe, to fignify fomewhat concerning the nature of the Lord (and his real defire to fave even those that perish), which may conduce towards the removing of objections and letts of this nature out of the minds of men.
1. God is sweetness, meeknefs, gentleness, tenderness, abounding in mercy and loving-kindnefs, pitying the miferable, and naturally holding forth an helping hand towards them: yea, he is univerfally thus. There is not one miferable foul, not one perishing creature upon the face of the
earth, but as he hath wisdom and power to help it, fo he hath tender bowels, and an heart thereunto. And it is not for want of fomewhat to be done on his part, that fouls perifh, but the failing always was, and still is, on the creature's part.
2. God loveth all his creatures, and cannot but be good to them. He is outwardly good, he is inwardly good to them all. He can do nothing against any one of them, but what ftands with his love and mercy. He doth not forget himself; he doth not lofe his nature in the manifefting of his righteousness, wrath, and feverity against fin and finners.
3. He defires not the death of a finner, nay, not of the wicked. How mercifully did he walk with the Jews in the first covenant? Did he ever defire their miscarriages, and the miferies which came upon them thereby? Nay, did he not defire their good, and their obedient walking with him therein for their good? Ob! (faid he) that there were fuch an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep my commandments always, that it might be well with them, &c. Deut. v. 29. How mercifully doth he walk with all in the second covenant, that are in any measure drawn within the limits and compass thereof! He is a Saviour, that is his nature; and he feeketh the falvation of his creatures with his whole heart, and with all his foul. And when he bringeth any to repentance, there is joy in his bofom: and when the enemy breaketh in upon any of his, or by any fubtilty draweth them into that which deftroyeth, his pure tender Spirit is grieved therewith, and mourneth because of it. O Jerufalem, Jerufalem, (said his true living image with tears) bow often would I have gathered thee!
4. He would have all men to be faved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. God fends his truth, his powerful truth, to fave; and he shuts not any one out of it; but feeks (in the way he hath appointed) to gather all into it, that they might be faved by it.
5. He is very patient and long-fuffering, waits long, tries long, invites often, touches often, draws often: yea, the very veffels of wrath fitted to destruction, there is much patience and long-fuffering exercised towards them, before the Lord can caft them off, and give them up utterly to destruction. For mark, destruction is not his work or delight; it is the work of a spirit and nature contrary to his. I came not (faith Chrift) to destroy mens lives, but to fave; to give life to them. And this is the proper end of God in every ministration: his end is not death, deftruction, increafing of the condemnation of the creature, &c. but to bring it to life thereby, out of that which leadeth into the condemnation and deftruction. Did he not for this end bear with the old world? Was not this the end of Noah's preaching to them and warning of them? Did he not for this end bear with the Jewsin Egypt, in the wilderness, in Canaan, &c.? Is not this the proper intent of the goodness, forbearance, and long-fuffering of God, that it fhould lead to repentance? (Rom. ii. 4.) and repentance leads to mercy, remiffion, and life.
6. The facrifice of Chrift had relation to all men. He was fent out of God's univerfal love to mankind, to the whole world; and was made a propitiation by God for the fins of the whole world.
7. There is no man perisheth for want of power; for there is power in the free gift which comes upon all. There is power in it to quicken, to give faith, to preserve in the faith, to do all that is to be done in the foul; and it doth all every-where, as it findeth place and entertainment in the soul. But man refuseth, man loveth the darkness, hateth the light, fhutteth his eyes against it, withdraweth his heart from it, and fo beateth back the purpose and counsel of God's love and good-will towards him. For as the Jews outwardly, in that outward covenant, almost always rebelled, refifted, and brought wrath upon themselves, to the grief of God's heart and of his holy prophets; fo do men in reference to the inward covenant (in that nature and fpirit) exceedingly provoking the Lord, until his Spirit (in its holy jealoufy and indignation) turn from them, and give them up to hardness, fenfeleffness, and impenitency, which fealeth up to deftruction. But as Ifrael, in that firft covenant, could never juftly lay the cause of their deftruction on God, but God did most justly lay it on them (O Ifrael! thy deftruction is of thyself, but in me is thy help); fo neither can any blame the Lord, who perifh from, and fall fhort of, the virtue of the fecond covenant: for he faileth not in doing his part therein, no more than he did fail in the firft. But man turneth from the power which faves, from the light which makes manifeft, from the life which quickens; and this is his condemnation, and the caufe of his perifhing: fo that God will be juft and clear of the blood of all men, and the blood of them that perish will lie upon their own heads. Had there not been fomewhat near every man, which had more power in it than fin had, they might have had fome plea before the Lord; but the prefence of this, the power of this, the working of this in every heart, more or lefs, leaves all men without excufe, and clears the free-giver and his free gift in the ballance of righteoufnefs. For this gift of his is faithful to every man upon the face of the earth, never confenting to his iniquities and tranfgreffions in any kind, but ftill teftifying against them as the Lord pleafeth to open its mouth. But who hath believed its report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Yet greater will the condemnation be upon them, upon whom the Lord hath more abundantly shined; and many will have a plea in respect of them, which the Lord will hear and confider, and fo they fhall not enter into that depth of judgment and condemnation, which will light on fuch as have refifted the light and power of life, in its more glorious and bright appearances and strivings with them; even as Chrift faid, It shall be easier for Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for Chorazin and Bethfaida, Capernaum and Jerufalem.
Therefore, O all men upon the earth, know the day of your visitation! Make peace with the Lord, O tranfgreffors! lay hold on his strength, that
ye may make with him. Believe not the liar, who would put you
Is not the voice gone forth from him that is true? Ho, every one that thirfteth, come ye to the waters, &c. and whofoever will, let him take the water of life freely. And is not he near who causeth the thirft, and giveth the will? Whom hath the Lord excluded? Why should any man exclude himfelf? The call is univerfal, the way is fet open to all. That is at hand which hath life and power in it, and is ready to work in all. This commandment hath it received of its Father; and it is faithful which hath received it and all that come to the Father here, in this gathering of life, the Father is ready to receive. Thy foul, O man! is the Lord's. It is very precious in his eye: he feeks to fave it, and hath fent fomewhat into thy heart to gather thee from that which would destroy it. And this which he hath fent, hath in it of the Father's love, of the Father's mercy, of the Father's power, of the Father's light, of the Father's life, of the Father's wisdom, righteousness, &c. and will gather thee out of the world into the Father's nature and Spirit, if thou wilt hearken to him with the ear which he will create in thee, and receive him with the heart which he will give thee: yea, he will help thee to turn from and forfake thy own wickedness, and the wicked fpirit, and to turn towards him who is life, righteousness, and peace to the foul, that is gathered unto him; do but give up thyself (in the faith and obedience which he is creating in thee) in the way of his quickening and renewing life..
Some QUESTIONS answered concerning the SPIRIT of CHRIST, and the Spirit of the SCRIBES and.
Queft. 1. WHAT kind of spirit was the spirit of the scribes and pha
Anfw. A ftrict, zealous, righteous fpirit, according to their understanding and apprehenfions of the letter. They fafted much, they prayed much,
they gave alms, they were great contenders for the circumcifion and ordinances of Moles.
Queft. 2. What kind of spirit was the Spirit of Chrift?
Anfw. A righteous, ftrict, and zealous Spirit, according to the power of the endless life. He was in that from which the righteousness of the law came, and which brought it forth and fulfilled it in his veffel.
Queft. 3. What did the fcribes and pharifees judge of Chrift according to their apprehenfions and understanding of the letter?
Anfw. They judged him a finner and tranfgreffor of the law of Moses, a loofe perfon, an eater, a drinker, a friend of publicans and finners; one who taught not his difciples to faft and pray, but rather to break the law of God, and tranfgrefs the fabbath; yea, one who was a blafphemer, and a deceiver of people, &c.
Queft. 4. How came the fcribes and pharifees thus to judge of Chrift?
Anfw. Because they were in that fpirit, nature and mind, which giveth wrong judgment. For it is not a gathered knowledge from the letter, which makes able to judge of fpirits, and about the things of God; but a receiving and being born of the Spirit. For from the Spirit alone is the right understanding of the letter, which the Spirit hath to give, and giveth to the true birth.
Queft. 5. What did Chrift judge of the fcribes and pharifees according to bis knowledge of them from the Spirit and power of life?
Anfw. That they were hypocrites, painted-walls, and fepulchres, which made a fair fhew in the flesh, but were not of nor in the truth.
Queft. 6. Is the Spirit of the fcribes and pharifees to be found now in the world?
Anfw. There is nothing new under the fun. The spirit of wickedness and deceit is always the fame, in all ages and generations; and the Spirit of holinefs and truth is the fame alfo. So that Cain, Ishmael, Efau, the fcoffer and perfecuter of the prophets (of Chrift's apofties and holy martyrs) are to be found in every age (the fame in Spirit and nature with them): and fo are Abel, Enoch, Ifaac, Jacob, &c.
Queft. 7. Where is the spirit of the fcribes and pharifees now to be found? Anfw. They in all profeffions (gatherings and walkings) that are strict, zealous, and righteous, according to their own understandings and apprehenfions of the letter, and not according to the Spirit and power of the endless life, they are of and in that spirit?
Queft. 8. How may a man come out of the Spirit of the fcribes and pharifees, and into the Spirit of Chrift?
Anfw. By coming to the power of the endlefs life wherein Chrift's miniftry is, wherein his Spirit is felt and miniftereth. This shuts out all the deceits and devices of that fpirit which lieth in wait to deceive. He may entangle the mind about the letter, about the understanding of fcriptures, and practices and ordinances there: but he that begins in the Spirit (in the