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night) have bid and covered themselves almost in all sorts of professors of Christianity, under a form of godliness?
Query 2. Is not their time expiring already, and in some degree expired? Was it not to have an end when the light and power of truth, which at first kept it back, did spring and arise again?
Query 3. Is not the day arisen? Is not the darkness already paft? And doth not the true light now sine (and the true power of life now appear) in many veffels? Let the fouls, that desire to know the truth of this, wait to feel that which is of God answer 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 whose eyes are not yet opened to see the light and beauty of the day, which is arisen in the hearts of those 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. IT
T hath pleased the Lord, who is over all, and good unto all, to provide Earth, but as he hath wisdom and power to help it, so he hath tender bowels, and an heart thereunto. And it is not for want of somewhat to be done on his part, that souls perish, but the failing always was, and still is, on the creature's part.
a remedy for the fin and transgression of the creature. For as sin hath abounded unto death, so he hath caused righteousness to abound unto life; yea, the free gift, which is as large and universal as ever sin was, hath more power in it to save, than sin hath to destroy. And there is no ground of discouragement for any (who hath not outsinned the day of his visitation, and so the offer of mercy is over as to him) in reference to God; though the enemy of the foul strives to raise up many discouragements and objections in the minds of many, to keep them from hoping in the Lord, and from giving up to his truth, which saveth all that receive it, and abide in it; Now it is in my heart at this time, from a true sense, to signify somewhat concerning the nature of the Lord (and his real desire to save 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, meekness, gentleness, tenderness, abounding in mercy and loving-kindness, pitying the miserable, and naturally holding forth an helping hand towards them: yea, he is universally thus. There is not one miserable soul, not one perishing creature upon the face of the
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 stands with his love and mercy. He doth not forget himself; he doth not lose his nature in the manifesting of his righteousness, wrath, and severity against sin and sinners.
3. He desires not the death of a sinner, 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 miseries which came upon them thereby ? Nay, did he not desire their good, and their obedient walking with him therein for their good ? Ob! (faid he) that there were such an beart 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 seeketh the salvation of his creatures with his whole heart, and with all his soul. And when he bringeth any to repentance, there is joy in his bosom: and when the enemy breaketh in upon any of his, or by any subtilty draweth them into that which destroyeth, his pure tender Spirit is grieved therewith, and mourneth because of it. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, (said his true living image with tears) how often would I have gathered thee!
4. He would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. God fends his truth, his powerful truth, to save; and he shuts not any one out of it; but seeks (in the way he hath appointed) to gather all into it, that they might be saved by it.
5. He is very patient and long-suffering, waits long, tries long, invites often, touches often, draws often : yea, the very vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, there is much patience and long-suffering exercised towards them, before the Lord can cast 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 Christ) to destroy mens lives, but to save; to give life to them. And this is the proper end of God in every ministration : his end is not death, destruction, increasing of the condemnation of the creature, &c. but to bring it to life thereby, out of that which leadeth into the condemnation and destruction. Did he not for this end bear with the old world? Was not this the end of Noah's preaching tq. them and warning of them ? Did he not for this end bear with the Jews in Egypt, in the wilderness, in Canaan, 83c.? Is not this the proper intent of the goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering of God, that it should lead to repentance ? (Rom. ii. 4.) and repentance leads to mercy, remiflion, and life.
6. The facrifice of Christ had relation to all men. He was sent out of God's univeríal 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, shutteth his eyes against it, withdraweth his heart from it, and so 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, resisted, 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 spirit) exceedingly provoking the Lord, until his Spirit (in its holy jealousy and indignation) turn from them, and give them up to hardness, senselessness, and impenitency, which sealeth up to destruction. But as Ifrael, in that first covenant, could never juftly lay the cause of their destruction on God, but God did most justly lay it on them (O Israel! thy destruction is of thyself, but in me is thy belp); fo neither can any blame the Lord, who perish from, and fall short of, the virtue of the second covenant: for he faileth not in doing his part therein, no more than he did fail in the first. But man turneth from the power which faves, from the light which makes manifest, from the life which quickens; and this is his condemnation, and the cause of his perishing: fo that God will be just 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 somewhat near every man, which had more power in it than fin had, they might have had some plea before the Lord; but the presence of this, the power of this, the working of this in every heart, more or less, leaves all men without excuse, and clears the free-giver and his free gift in the ballance of righteousness
. For this gift of his is faithful to every man upon the face of the earth, never consenting to his iniquities and transgressions in any kind, but still teftifying against them as the Lord pleaseth 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 consider, and so they shall not enter into that depth of judgment and condemnation, which will light on such as have refilted the light and power of life, in its more glorious and bright appearances and strivings with them ; even as Christ said, It shall be easier for Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for Cborazin and Bethsaida, Capernaum and Jerusalem.
Therefore, O all men upon the earth, know the day of your visitation ! Make peace with the Lord, O transgressors ! lay hold on his strength, that
ye may make peace with him. Believe not the liar, who would put you out of hope, but believe the voice of his love and tender Spirit. Turn in, listen after him, watch if he do not call, mind if he do not draw; and do not say, I want power ; but wait in humility, meekness and fear, until his power arise. Bear his judgments, wait upon him in the way of his judg. ments. Do not fly from him because thereof; for therein is the
life and salvation. Be not hasty, but wait long, believe long, hope long, feel the patience of the Lamb, learn the mysterious path of life from the inward teacher, that ye may certainly know it, and find your feet guided by his Spirit into it.
Is not the voice gone forth from him that is true ?' Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, &c. and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. And is not he near who causeth the thirst, and giveth the will? Whom hath the Lord excluded ? Why should any man exclude himself? The call is universal, the way is set 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 soul, O man! is the Lord's. It is very precious in his eye: he seeks to save it, and hath sent somewhat into thy heart to gather thee from that which would destroy it. And this which he hath sent, 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 forsake thy own wickedness, and the wicked spirit, and to turn towards him who is life, righteousness, and peace to the soul, 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 PHARISE E S.
Queft. 1. HAT kind of spirit was the spirit of the scribes and pha
rifees? Answ. A strict, zealous, righteous spirit, according to their understanding and apprehensions of the letter. They fasted much, they prayed much, they gave alms, they were great contenders for the circumcision and ordinances of Moles.
Quest. 2. What kind of spirit was the Spirit of Christ ?
Answ. 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.
Quest. 3. What did the scribes and pharisees judge of Christ according to their apprehensions and understanding of the letter ?
Anfw. They judged him a sinner and transgressor of the law of Moses, a loose person, an eater, a drinker, a friend of publicans and sinners; one, who taught not his disciples to fast and pray, but rather to break the law of God, and transgress the sabbath; yea, one who was a blafphemer, and a deceiver of people, &c.
Quest. 4. How came the scribes and pharisees thus to judge of Christ?
Answ. Because they were in that spirit, nature and mind, which giveth -wrong judgment. For it is not a gathered knowledge from the letter, which makes able to judge of spirits, 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 Christ judge of the scribes and pharisees according to bis knowledge of them from the Spirit and power of life?
Answ. That they were hypocrites, painted-walls, and sepulchres, which made a fair shew in the flesh, but were not of nor in the truth. Quest
. 6. Is the Spirit of the scribes and pharisees to be found now in the world?
Answ. There is nothing new under the sun. The spirit of wickedness and deceit is always the same, in all ages and generations; and the Spirit of holiness and truth is the same also. So that Cain, Ishmael, Esau, the scoffer and persecuter of the prophets (of Christ's apostles and holy martyrs) are to be found in every age (the same in Spirit and nature with them): and lo are Abel, Enoch, Ifaac, Jacob, &c.
Queft. 7. Where is the spirit of the scribes and pharisees now to be found?
Answ. They in all professions (gatherings and walkings) that are strict, zealous, and righteous, according to their
own understandings and apprehensions of the letter, and not according to the Spirit and power of the endless life, they are of and in that spirit ?
Quest. 8. How may a man come out of the spirit of the scribes and pharisees, and into the Spirit of Christ?
Answ. By coming to the power of the endless life wherein Christ's miniftry is, wherein his Spirit is felt and ministereth. This shuts out all the deceits and devices of that spirit which lieth in wait to deceive. He may entangle the mind about the letter, about the understanding of scriptures, and practices and ordinances there : but he that begins in the Spirit (in the