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believe ever so much concerning God and Christ, until he feel this, and be changed by the virtue and operation of this, he cannot be saved, but is still in his fins, and under condemnation and wrath, because of sin, whatever he thinks of himself.
Query 6. Whether Christ was not the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; even before he took up the body of flesh, while he was in the body, after he laid down the body, and after he took it up again and appeared in it to his disciples ?
Query 7. Whether Christ, where he inwardly and spiritually appears and is received, doth not discover, shake, dissettle, and remove that nature, which cannot receive the law, and so bring up and bring forth the heavenly seed, which was afore the law (which is appointed by God for a generation to himself) which always doth the will of him who quickens it, and who fills it with life and power from on high?
IV. Some Queries on Coloss. i. 27, 28, 29. (Observe that in ver. 27. whereas it is in our common Translation
rendered, This Mystery among the Gentiles; it is in some other Translations rendered, This Mystery
in the Gentiles; and so it is in the Greek.) Query 1. HETHER there be not a mystery of light, a mysW
tery of life; somewhat of true light hidden, somewhat of true life hidden in the Gentiles ? Whatsoever makes manifeft, is light, faith the apostle, Ephef. v. 13, 14. And that which may be known of God, is manifest in them, Rom. i. Is there not somewhat in the Gentiles, which in some measure discovers somewhat contrary to God in them, and is many times working in their minds against it? Is not this of a precious nature? and hath it not precious virtue and power in it, though it be little took notice of by them?
Query 2. Do not the faints know what this mystery is? Do they not know what is the riches and glory of it? Indeed it hath been hid from ages and generations, so that they knew it not; but is it hid from the saints also in the day of the gospel ? is it not revealed in them and to them?
Query 3. What is this mystery in them in whom it is revealed ? Is it not Christ in them? Is it not the hope of glory in them? Do they not know it to be Chrift? Do they not know it to be the hope of glory? Who can damp the faith, or darken the knowledge, of those who feel the mystery of life revealed in them ? who feel Christ (the hope of glory) living, dwelling, and reigning in the authority and power of the Father, in their own hearts ?
Query 4. Did not the apostles preach this mystery? Did they not preach the word of faith within in the heart? the kingdom within ? Christ, the hope of glory within ?. Did they not preach this message of the gospel (which they had from Christ to carry to men) that God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all?' And did they not preach it to this very end, to turn men, and bring men from the darkness within to the light within ? that in ic they might have union and fellowship with God, who is Light. Can any have fellowship with God, who is Light, but as his spirit is brought out of the inward darkness into the inward light?
Query 5. What did the apostle Paul, and the other apostles aim at, in their warning men and teaching them in all wisdom? Was it not to perfect the work of God in them, and that they might present every man perfect in Christ Jesus?
Query 6. Did not the grace and power of God go along with the apostles, and work in them mightily to this end, even for the perfecting the faints ? And the grace and power of God, working mightily against sin and the power of Satan, is it not able to conquer Satan, and to make him fall like lightening, and to trample him under feet ? Consider ver. 19. and 2 Thef. i. 11, 12. : Query 7. Did the apostles ever preach such a doctrine, that no man could be perfected in this life; but man must always (every day) be committing lin? Nay, did they not speak wisdom among them that were perfect, and say, Let as many of us as be perfect, be thus minded? Did they not distinguish between the weak, and between the strong and perfect ? Do they not speak of fome that had overcome the wicked one, and were born of God, and did not fin? It is a precious thing to feel the power of God regenerating the mind; but it is much more precious to witness it regenerated. But that ftate none know but they that are in it; but this is most certain, that sin is shut out of it, and that all things are new there.
Query 8. Will the mystery of life, where it is received and turned to, ever cease working against the mystery of death, until it hath wrought it out of the mind ? Shall judgment never be brought forth unto victory over sin in the heart? Shall there never be pure and full communion with the Lord here in this world, without the interruption of sin? These things, faith John, I write to you, that your joy may be full. Shall the joy never be full in any ? How can the joy be full , where sin hath power and breaks in
upon the soul, and prevaileth upon the mind, even to the committing of it daily ? The soul that is weary of sin, and grieved at its grieving God's Spirit thereby, can never come to full union and fellowship with the Lord, nor to have its joy full, while it doth that which grieves God's Spirit; for it is impossible but it should grieve the soul also, and weaken its joy and rejoicing in the Lord.
V. Some Queries concerning the Way of Life, and Mystery of the Gospel.
Query 1. S not the way of life, the way of holiness, the way of truth,
the way of peace, one and the fame in all ages and generations ? Was there ever, or shall there ever be another than that which was from the beginning?
Query 2. Is not this way a pure way, a clean way? Can any impure thing walk in it? Is not the gate ftrait, and the way narrow, that leadech unto life? Is it easy finding it? or is it easy entering into it, and walking in it?' Doth not the corruption and unholiness of the hearts of many, hinder them from walking in the holy way of life and peace ?
Query 3. Is not this way a mystery? Can any learn it but those whose eyes are opened by the Lord, and to whom the mystery is revealed by him ? Can any discern or understand it, but the children of the pure heavenly wisdom, whom the Lord teacheth, and whose eyes he openetħ, to see and justify it in every age ?
Query 4. Is not the whole vision of God, the whole vision of life, the whole vision of peace, a book sealed to all sorts (both learned and unlearned in every age and generation) but those to whom the Lord unseals it? Query
, 5., May not such as are not at all acquainted with the mystery of godliness, the mystery of life, the mystery of redemption, read what the fcriptures say concerning these things, and get a great deal of knowledge (from the letter of the scriptures) into their minds, and be able to raise doctrines, reasons, uses, &c. and back all by scriptures very plentifully ? But are not those who teach not from the mystery of life, and gift of the Spirit, but only what they have gathered and formed from the letter ; I say, are not fuch blind leaders of the blind? and is it possible but that they themselves, and such as follow them, should fall into the ditch ? For it is only the mystery of life and redemption (not a literal knowledge and wisdom, though with an endeavour to practise according thereto) which preserves out of the ditch. Oh! that this were duly considered of! for it is tenderly and weightily proposed.
Query 6. What is the knowledge of Christ which saves ? Is it a knowledge of him after the letter, or a knowledge of him in the Spirit and
power of the endless life? Can he be known truly, livingly, and savingly, without the Father's revealing him in man? Or can any truly call him Lord, but they that are first taught by the Father to discern his spiritual and heavenly glory, and to receive him and bow to him in Spirit ?
Query 7. What is it to kiss the Son ? Can any do so but those who discern and receive the light of his Spirit ?
Query 8. Can any truly know the Father, unless the Son reveal him? or can any know the Son, unless the Father reveal him? I know men may get notions out of the scriptures concerning God the Father and his Son: but can they get true knowledge of either without the inspiration of the Almighty which giveth understanding ?
Query 9. Can any person fear God and depart from evil (any-where upon the face of the earth) without some visit of the Lord Jesus Christ to his soul, and without receiving somewhat of life and power from him? He is the wifdom of God, he can teach this ; but can any else teach it? If none else can teach it, then he that learned it, must needs learn it of him. Is not this (to wit, to fear God and depart from evil) the path of wisdom, which is hid from all living, but such as are taught by Christ, who is the wisdom of God? Read Job xxviii. 12. to the end of the chapter, and consider. For doth not the Spirit of Christ, which convinceth of sin, reach to all men, and minister to all men, inwardly and spiritually, in some days of instruction about fearing God and departing from evil?
Query 10. Can any be acquainted with the fear of God, and be sensible of the hour of his judgment, and give glory to him and worship him, but they must know and receive the everlasting gospel ? They that are sent to preach this after the apostasy, are they not sent to preach it as the everlasting gospel? Read Rev. xiv. 6, 7. and consider. For come to life and power in any doctrine, which Christ sends his messengers to preach towards the salvation of mens souls, a man comes to the gospel presently; but read and assent to, and practise all the things (as well as men can) related in the fcriptures, without the life and power, and so acknowledge and believe all. that is said concerning Christ; yet for all this, and in the midst of all this, a man may miss of the gospel; for the gospel is an hidden mystery of the life and power, see Colol. i. 26, 27.
Query 11. Is not the message of the gospel, That God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all ? Doth not the Spirit of Christ preach this, more or less, to all people under heaven? Yea, is not the gospel preached in every creature, and hid in those that are lost, whom the god of this world blindeth ? For is not the Spirit of God, in some measure, every-where convincing men of sin, and drawing them out of darkness into the sense and obedience of light? And will not this be the general and universal condemnation of the world, that they did not bring their deeds to the light, but turned from it and hated it, loving the darkness more than it, because their deeds were evil, and they had not a mind to part with them, but to remain and abide in them?
Alas! alas ! men jould pass through the knowledge of things after the letter, into the knowledge of things after the Spirit and power of the endless life; but instead thereof, men stick in their apprehensions of the letter; and if
any man be taught of God, and have the things of his kingdom, and the mystery of the scriptures, revealed to him in the Spirit, and to signify of them in the words which God's wisdom teacheth; yet so men know them not, but oppose and resist the ministration of life and power in their day and generation! And this will be bitterness in the latter end, even as bitter to the professors of this age, as the former denying of Christ's appearance in the filesh was to the professors of that age.
was an old covenant under the law ? Query 2. What did the old covenant require ? Did it not require obedience to the law of Mofes ? What doth the new covenant require? Doth ir not require faith in Christ and obedience to his Spirit ? Doth it not require faith in the grace, and obedience to the grace which bringeth falvation, teaching to deny ungodliness and worldly lufts, &c.?
Query 3. What is the righteousness or justification in the old covenant? What doth God justify in the old covenant? Doth he not justify the obedience thereto, and condemn all disobedience? What is the righteousness or justification of the new covenant? What doth God justify in men under the new covenant ? Doth he not justify their faith in Christ, and their obedience to the law of his Spirit? Is not whatsoever is not of faith sin, and condemned; and whatsoever is of faith holy, and justified ?
Query 4. What is faith? Is it not the gift of God? What is obedience ? Doth it not flow from faith? Is it not performed by the power and in the newness of the Spirit ? and is not that justifiable, and always justified in the sight of God? Doth it not spring from the new tree, from the holy root of life in the heart? and whatsoever springs therefrom, is it not holy and righteous ? And is not whatsoever is truly holy and righteous, juftified and accounted righteous by the holy and righteous God?
Query 5. To what end was Christ made under the law, and did fulfill the righteousness of the law? Was it not that he might accomplish and fulfill that righteousness, and so make way for the bringing in of the everlasting righteousness, even of the righteousness of his own nature and Spirit, which is everlasting? Is not this the righteousness which the children of the new covenant experience in the new and living way? Is not this far beyond the righteousness of the law, if they could fulfill it ever so exactly from the letter? For I feel a vast difference between that righteousness which would belong to me from the law, and the righteousness which flows into my heart from the nature and Spirit of Christ revealed in me, and which floweth up in me from my union with him: for this is absolutely a righteousness of another nature, of another kind, of another root. Vol. II, B bb