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power of life, in the living demonstration of truth) is out of his compass; and there abiding, groweth up and remaineth out of his reach.
Quest. 9. How may a man come to the power of the endless life?
Answ. By waiting to feel it. There is somewhat of God near every man; which, his spirit retiring and waiting on the Lord, the Lord will give him to feel in the feasons of his good pleasure. For it is near man, not as a talent always to lie dead and buried, but to work in him, and bring him out of his own sinful corrupt nature into its holy pure nature.
Quest. ro. How may a man feel and know the power of this life?
Answ. By its nature, properties, manner, and end of working in the heart. It enlightens the foul, it quickens to God, it draws the heart from that which is manifestly and sensibly evil without dispute, it opens the eye to see and discern that which is holy and good, inflaming the mind with desires after it. Now this is the appearance of the Holy One, who thus appears and begins to work, to draw the mind from that which is sinful and destroyeth, to that which is holy and saveth. Happy, oh! happy is he who thus feels the drawing, quickening Spirit, and in faithfulness gives up thereto! for he (by the Spirit and power of life) shall feel Cain, the sacrificer according to the flesh, Ishmael the seed of Abraham after the Aesh, Esau the first birth, whose mind is in the earth : he shall feel these, I say, cast out; and Abel the righteous feed, who lives and sacrifices in the true faith ; Isaac the seed of promise, Jacob the wrestler with God, in the power and strength of his own Spirit, with the tears and supplications which are from his own life; he shall feel (I say) this nature, birth, and Spirit raised in him, and his soul in it living to God, and increasing in union and fellowship with him.
Some QUESTIONS answered concerning BLASPHEMY
Quest. 1. HAT is blafphemy?
Answ. It is the reproaching or speaking ill of the truths or name of God, in any of their appearances, or of them whom he hath chosen to bear his name, or hold forth his truth. To reproach the name or truths of God, as they have been held forth in former ages, or as they are held forth in this age; or to speak evil of the instrument he then chose, or now chuseth and maketh use of to hold them forth; this is blasphemy: and the Lord will not hold him guiltless who fo doth, whatsoever he be.
Quest 2. In which respeet are men mot liable to blasphemy? Are they aptest to reproach and speak evil of God's truths, as they have been held forth in former VOL. II.
ages, and the instruments by which God then beld them forth? or are they apter to reproach and Speak evil of the truths of God, as they are held forth in their ege, and the instruments and ministers who then held them forth?
Anfw. Men are not so liable to blaspheme the truths (or name) of God, as formerly held forth, or the messengers and ministers of former ages, as the present truth and the present ministry. Queft
. 3. How cometh that about, or why is it so? Answ. Because the truths of former ages, and the ministry therein, have wrought through the deceit and opposition, which withstood them in their day, and have left a good favour behind them; so that it would be hard and disadvantageous to the evil spirit to endeavour to bring a reproach over them. If men should go about to revile Mofes or the prophets of old, Christ or his apostles, who would give an ear to them ? Surely very few, if any. But to cry up these and their doctrine, and to endeavour to make the present dispensation of truth appear to men, as if it were different from, and contrary to these (of another nature, of another spirit, tending to other ends, and towards the producing of other effects); this is a very subtil device, and an advantageous way of opposing the present truth and ministry with; and this way the enemy hath taken all along. Moses in his day had enemies and resisters, but after his death we never hear him spoken against; but those that withstood the prophets in after-ages, would honour the remembrance of Moses. In Christ's day they would honour both Moses and the prophets ; but Christ, and his disciples and apostles, were reproached as blafphemers and deceivers. After that age, Christ and his apostles were generally acknowledged, as well as Moses and the prophets; but yet they that were in the fame Spirit, in the same life, in the fame nature, have afterwards still been perfecuted and opposed by the present age.
Queft. 4. Who are the great blasphemers in every age?
Answ. They which profess truth, but are not in the power and life of that which they profess; and among these, those especially who have had any taste of the power : for if these turn from the power, which it pleased God to give them some taste of, they are given up by God to delusion, devilishness, subtilty, and enmity, above all others. For as the blasphemy (which I am speaking of) is above truth and the name of Christ, fo it is chiefly to be found among those who pretend to his name. Those that have the outward name, knowledge, and talk about the name, about Chrift, about the heavenly things; these blaspheme and reproach those who have and are in the thing itself
, who dwell in heaven, and worship in the heavenly place, even in the true tabernacle which God hath pitched, and not man. These bring their knowledge, wisdom, scriptures, experiences, observations, and all that ever they can reap and rend, against the present power and life of truth.
. Quest. 5. How come men, who pretend to truth, and to seek after it, to run into this grievous and dangerous blasphemy ?
Answ. By reason of their not being in that, which demonstrateth the truth in the holy power and nature thereof. They want its light and demonstration, and so understand things out of it; and in this their own milunderstanding turn against that, which should enlighten, fanctify, and preserve them. Now, not being in that (but in another thing); not being in the true Spirit, in the true light, in the true knowledge, in the true sense and understanding, they must needs err and misjudge; and the greater their knowledge, ability, wisdom,' and zeal is, the more desperate and dangerous is their path of error, both to themselves and others. Who erred lo dangerously in that day, as the Scribes and Pharisees; which by their wisdom, knowledge, and skill in the scriptures, would dispute against Christ, prove he was not (he could not be) the Messiah, according to the fcriptures (bidding men search the scriptures, and see if any prophet came out of Galilee, John vii. 52.) judged him, who was indeed the holy one (who loved righteousness, and hated iniquity) an unholy one, a sinner and companion of finners, a blasphemer, deceiver, &c. ?' And in the same spirit the stricter a man is, and the more he knows, and the more confident he is of his knowledge and skill in the scriptures, the more desperately and dangerously will he venture to oppose the appearance of the Spirit and power of the Lord Jesus in this day.
Quest. 6. How come they who have so much literal knowledge of Scriptures, and have had a true sense and experience (Some of them) of the things of God, to be out of that which demonstrateth the truth?
Answ. By their turning from it, and rejecting it. The Scribes and Pharisees rejected the counsel of God, against themselves. There is but one thing can open the eyes, and the Scribes and Pharisees turned against it, believing that their eyes were opened already, by the light and knowledge which they had received from Mofes. Moses, said they, we know God speaks to; but as for this fellow, we know not from whence be is. *And just fo is it
Oh! that ye could read, whose state it is! Queft. 7. Why do they turn from it and rejeEt it ?
Answ. Because it answers not their expectations. That appearance of Christ in fleih in that day, did not answer the expectations of the Scribes and Pharisees. And this appearance of Christ in his Holy Spirit and power after the apoftafy, doth not answer the expectations of many now.
And so, not appearing as what they look for, as what they have expected, according to their apprehensions and understanding of the scriptures, they. cannot (so standing and believing) wait, but turn from it, and turn the scriptures against it, as the Scribes and Pharisees turned the scriptures against that appearance of Christ.
Now, Oh! that men, that have any desires after truth, might not run into this kind of blasphemy, and so thereby provoke and turn that Spirit Y y 2
and power of life against them, which alone is able to save them. For the Spirit and power of the Lord turneth against the other spirit, in all its devices and transformings, and against them who are joined to that spirit. And as the eye of the Lord is chiefly upon his present ministration of truth in the prefent age to mind that, to bless that, to appear in that ; so his Spirit nost turneth against that which opposeth and seeketh to overturn it." Yea, little do men know what they have lost from God; as to themfelves and their own states; and what they are become in his light, by their opposing the present dispensation and ministration of truth; even as little do many know in this day, as the Scribes and Pharisees eid, in their day, what they brought upon themselves and others, whom they infected (by their falle knowledge and wrong expounding and managing of the scriptures) with a prejudiced spirit against Chrift.
The Lord did promise that he would become the Shepherd, and gather his Theep himself, after the cloudy and dark day. He is come to seek out, to gather, to heal, to bind up, to comfort, to preserve, &c. He is known, he is witnessed, he is received; his life, virtue, healing and saving power is felt. Let men reproach and revile it ever so much, yet it is known to be the thing, the pearl, the seed of the kingdom, &c. . Yea; and he that receiveth it, and is born of it, knoweth that he is of God, and hath the true nature of life, and true language from God; which that, which knoweth God, heareth; but that which is not of God, cannot hear.
A QUESTION concerning Miracles answered. Queft. I
F this be a new dispensation of the life and power of God, even of
the preaching of the everlasting gospel' again after the apostasy, why is it not accompanied with outward miracles now, as formerly it was? I say outward miracles, because it is accompanied with inward miracles. For the lame (that could never fet step in the path of life) do now walk; the eyes that were blind, are opened, and do now see; the ears that were deaf, have been unstopped, and do now hear; the lepers inwardly (wbo were all overspread with sin and corruption) have been washed, cleansed, and healed, by the pure power; yea, the dead inwardly have been quickened, raised, turned to him that lives for evermore, bave received' life from him, and do live in him and with him. Now these are mighty things, wonderful miracles, even the substance of the miracles which were wrought under the law, and which Chriji himself wrought outwardly. For it was not the outward bealing, which is salvation, life, and power chiefly aimed at therein; but to point men by that to the thing which was to work the inward; that they might take notice of it, know it, come to it, and wait upon it, to be made partakers of the inward health and salvation by it. Yet seeing in that day Christ did then please to put forth his power outwardly, to point to, and witness of the inward, why doth be not do so now ?
Answ. The nature of the present dispensation doth not require it. For the present dispensation of life, is to bring men to the principle of life which is within them (which is the sum and substance of all former dispensations); and to bring them to this, there doth not need any thing of a miraculous nature outwardly; but the witness, demonstration and enlightening of the Spirit inwardly.' Now when the outward law was to be received, then the Lord saw need of outward miracles to confirm it; so also in the prophets days, while that dispensation held, till towards the coming of Christ. And when Christ came, in the body prepared by the Father, it pleased the Lord to confirm (by outward visible demonstrations of his power in him) that this was he. Likewise afterwards, the apostles having the doctrine concerning that appearance to preach and testify to the world, the Lord was also pleased and saw good to confirm it by miracles. But now there is not any new doctrine to be preached. The doctrine concerning Christ is the same that it was, the very fame that the apostles preached. Neither is there any need of confirming it now; for it is generally believed among professors of all sorts ; as Christ's birth, preaching, living holily, dying (offering himself up as a facrifice for sin), rising, ascending, sitting at the right hand of the Father, who doubts of these things ? But under all this knowledge men hide their fins, their lusts, and corruptions, serving not the Lord (not truly fearing, believing in, and obeying him) but his enemies, and are become corrupt like unto the Heathen; being in words Christians, but as to the holy conversation and power of the endless life, as far from it as the very Heathen. Therefore hath the Lord visited the world in this state, and sent forth what he judged meet for it in this state ; to wit, not a ministry to preach over that doctrine, under which the Christian world had corrupted themselves ; but to point to the principle of life, wherein is the light and power to difcover, lead from and wash away this corruption. And with this ministry there goeth a power, to reach the heart and raise the witness, in all that hear in fear, and in the sense and dread of God; so that the witness presently answers, and the mind is inwardly satisfied, knows the thing, and turns to it. Now this (and the effect of this) is beyond miracles, and the satisfaction or assurance which they can afford. For miracles leave a dispute in the mind (notwithstanding all the miracles Christ shewed, there was yet a dispute and dissatisfaction. in the minds of many concerning him). But he that feels the thing itself in the true principle, where the demonstration and certainty of the Spirit's assurance is received; he is past dispute, and is gone a degree, in the nature of things, beyond that satisfaction which miracles can afford. He is out of that state and mind which alketh a sign, or seeketh confirmation by a sign. So that men ought to take heed how they expect or call for miracles now, as the Jews did to