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X. Two Questions anfwered; one concerning others not learning what God
teacheth us; the other concerning the Way of his Teaching us. Quest. 1.
HAT is the reason that others cannot learn nor, become sub
jeet to the same spiritual truths, which God makes manifest 10 us, and Jubjectetb our spirits to?
Answ. The reason is, because they do not learn the same way that God teacheth us; and so, though they have many advantages above us of
parts, learning, &c. and study hard to know much; yet not coming into the right way, wherein God's Spirit teacheth, they never come to learn the truth, as it is there taught.
Quest. 2. But what is the way wherein God teacheth you? may some fay. Answ. Thus God teacheth us, by giving us an understanding to know him that is true, and by opening an ear in us to hear his voice; and so, being kept within the limits of that understanding and ear, we come to hear and know aright.
Take heed (said Chrift) how ye bear. Oh! the Lord hath made us sensible of the weight of that scripture ; and we liave often experienced, that it is easy to hear amiss, and read amiss, and pray amiss, and believe amiss, and hope amiss; but hard to do any of these aright. Therefore, we are taught still to wait for the stirring of the waters, for the moving of God's Holy Spirit upon our spirits ; and then healing virtue and ability is felt and received from him, to perform what he requires.
Thus, when we read the scriptures, our eyes are towards him, and we watch against our own understandings, against what they could gather or comprehend of themselves, and wait to feel how he will open our spirits, and what he will make manifest to them, being opened, and if he drop down nothing, we gather nothing; but if he give light, then in his light we see and receive light. So in praying, we wait to feel the birth of life (which is of the Father, and which the Father hears) breathe in us; and so far as the Spirit of the Father breathes upon it, and it breathes to the Father, so far we pray; and when life stops, we stop, and dare not offer up to God any facrifice of our own, but what the Father prepares and gives us. So in eating and drinking, and whatever we do, our heart is retired to the Lord, and we wait to feel every thing fanctified by his presence and blessing ; and, indeed, here every thing is sweet unto us. And in whatever God enables us to do, we narrowly warch to that direction of Christ, not to let the left band know what the right hand doth. For we are nothing of ourselves, nor can do any thing of ourselves; therefore whatever is done in us, as we feel the grace of God, the virtue and power of his life working all in us; fo it is still given us to attribute all the honour and glory thereto.
And in this temper of spirit we find nothing too hard for us; for the strength of Christ is still at hand, even in the midst of our weakness; and the riches of the kingdom is still at hand in the midst of our poverty and nothingness; and his strength works, and our weakness doth not hinder the glory of him that works through it. So being beaten to it, by constant lense, and daily experience, that it is not by our
willing or running, according to our wisdom and strength, that we can attain any thing; but by God's shewing mercy to us in Chrift; we therefore daily wait at the posts of God's heavenly wisdom, to feel the gate of mercy and tender love opened to us, and mercy and love flow in upon us; whereby we may, and daily do obtain what our hearts desire and seek after, bleffed be the Lord for ever.
And truly here in the springings of love, and openings of mercy from our God, we have fellowship and converse with the Father and Son, and one with another, in the holy Spirit of life, and we testify of these things to others, that they also might come into the same fellowship, and be of the fame faith which flows from, and abides in, and makes living, in the power and life eternal.
The Lord guide all tender, breathing, panting spirits hither, that they may be satisfied in the goodness and loving-kindness of the Lord, and may eat abundantly of the fatness of his house, and drink of the rivers of his pleasures, and not wander up and down any longer in their own barren thoughts, apprehensions, and conceivings upon the scriptures.
XI. Of the threefold Appearance of Christ; to wit, under the Law, in a
Body of Flesh, and in his Spirit and Power. NIRST, Under the law. Various were the appearances of Christ ;
sometimes as an angel, in the likeness of a man; fo to Abraham, and To to Jacob, when Jacob wrestled with him, and prevailed, and had overcome; fo to Joshua, or the captain of the Lord's hoft, at his besiege. ing Jericho ; fo to Moses in the bush, he appeared as an angel, Acts vii. 35. fo likewise in visions. Those glorious appearances of God to the prophets in visions, were the appearances of Christ; as particularly, that glorious appearance of God fitting upon a throne, and his train filling the temple, and the Seraphims crying, Holy ! 'boly ! boly is the Lord of bosts; bis glory is the fulness of the whole earth! Ifa. vi. This was an appearance of Christ to Isaiah, as is manifest, John xii. 41. where the Evangelift (relating to that place) useth this expression : These things said Isaiah, when he saw bis glory, and spake of him. So he was the angel of God's presence, which. went before the Jews, in all their journeyings and travels out of Egypt, through the fea, and in the wilderness, and in the time of the Judges; and wrought all their deliverances for them, as is signified, Ija. Ixiii
. g. In all
their afflictions be was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them, &c. So with the Three Children, he appeared in the midst of the fiery furnace in a form like the Son of God, as Nebuchadnezzar judged, Dan. iii. 25.
Now indeed the whole law was a shadow of him, who was to come to be the substance of it, and to perform that inwardly in the hearts of his, which the law figured forth, and represented outwardly. Thus Moses and all the prophets were forerunners of him, the great prophet of the spiritual Ifrael of God. All the priests, especially the high-priest, were types and forerunners of him, and to end in him, who is the high-priest over the houshold of God for ever. The judges and saviours were types of him, the great Saviour and Redeemer : for they faved not by their own strength, but by his Spirit and power coming upon them ; so that the yoke (which was made and brought upon them by their rebellion against the Lord, and disobedience to his law) was still broken, because of the anointing.
David, Solomon, and the good kings, were types of him. David, of his conquest over his spiritual enemies; Solomon, of his ruling his Ifrael in peace, after he had conquered their enemies.
Circumcision was a type of his circumcising the heart, that his children, (his holy seed) might love the Lord their God with all their heart, and live.
The passover, and blood of the lamb, was a type of his blood, and sprinkled upon the conscience, which preserveth against the stroke and power of the destroyer ; and fo God pafseth over all such, when he visits for sin and transgression.
The outward fabbath was a type of the pure rest, which Christ gives to those that believe in his name : for indeed they that truly believe in him do enter into rest, and cease from their own labour and workings of themselves, and witness God's working in them, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
The outward law, in the letter, written in tables of stone, was a shadow of the inward, living, pure, powerful, spiritual law of love and life, which God writes in the hearts of his children, which conftrains them to obedience, and enables them to do all that God requires of them with eafe and delight. For truly the yoke of his law is easy, and the burden of his commandments is light; so that they are not at all grievous to them that are under, and in subjection to, his Spirit.
When the mind is gathered, and brought from under the spirit and power of darkness into his Spirit and power, oh! how easy is it to believe, to love, to obey, &c. Indeed there is nothing but love, and faith, and obedience, and life, and righteousness, and holiness, and pure power, and peace, and joy here. For ibe old things are passed away, and all things are become new in Christ, to them that are in the new creation in him.
So Canaan, the Holy Land, represented the Land of life, or country of
living, whom he gathers out of the territories of death and darkness. And the plenty and fullness of the land of Canaan, and the sweet rivers therein, signified the abundance of rich things, and the rivers of God's pleasure, whereof his redeemed-ones drink, as they come to live, and dwell, and walk, and sup in and with him.
Jerusalem, the holy city, was a figure of the new Jerusalem, the spiritual Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem, which is the mother of all them that are born of the Spirit; and the hill whereon Jerusalem was built, signified God's holy niountain, whereon this his city is built; and the inhabitants of the outward Jerusalem signified the inhabiters of the new and inward Jerusalem ; and the temple signified Christ's body, and the bodies of the saints, which are temples, which the Holy One dwells in the midst of. And that altar in the outward temple signified the altar in this inward temple, which all the true, inward, spiritual Jews have right to partake of, and none else. The fire in the outward temple, and the candlesticks, and the lights which were never to go out, signified the holy fire in the spiritual temple, which comes from heaven, wherewith all the spiritual facrifices are to be offered up; and the candlestick is to hold the light (and the priests to keep the lamps burning) or God will remove it out of its place. So the holy garments of the priests signified the robes of righteousness, innocency, and purity, wherewith the people of God under the gospel (who are a royal priesthood to him) are to be cloathed.
And the ark signified that which holds the law of the new covenant ; and the pot of manna, with which kind of food God fed and nourished the soul in the wilderness, before he brought it into the Holy Land, must be for an everlasting memorial in the land of the living. For indeed Christ appeared to, and was with, that people in the wilderness, in a cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night; which signified the leadings of God's Spirit in the day of the gospel, Isai. iv. 5. And he was the rock that followed them; and he was the manna of which they did eat, and the water of which they did drink; for they did eat and drink of the heavenly things in a figure, and (as their spirits were at any time opened) had a taste and sense of the true food, in and through the figure; yea, doubtless, at some times, they had all some sense, and did all eat of the fame spiritual meat as we now eat of, and did all drink of the same spiritual drink as we now drink of, 1 Cor. x. 3, 4. for they were not only all under the cloud, and did not only all pass through the sea, but they were also all baptized in the cloud and in the sea, having a sense of the pure power of the Lord, and of his outstretched arm made bare for them; in which sense they sang his praise, though they foon afterwards forgot his works, Psal. cvi. 11, 12. So likewise there was Aaron's rod, that budded, laid up in the ark; which is the evidence of the true priesthood and ministry for ever; and that which is so, is not to be spurned against, but still to be acknowledged and honoured, as of God.
In it also were the tables of the law, in the representative ark; in the true ark are the tables of the law of life, which God writes by the finger of his Spirit, and appoints to be kept in the spiritual ark for ever.
Above the ark was the mercy-Teat, with two cherubims of glory, one at each end of it, spreading their wings on high over the mercy-leat, between whom God dwelt or sat, where God met with and communed with Moses, and the priests under the law, when they came to worship him, and enquire of him; which figured out the true mercy-seat under the gospel, where the true priests (the true circumcision of the spiritual Israel of God) have access with boldness to the throne of grace, that (through the highpriest of their profession) they may obtain mercy and grace, to help in time of need.
So under the law, all the sacrifices (the fin-offering, the peace-offering, the thank-offering, the heave-offering, the wave-offering, the whole burntoffering, the meat-offering, the drink-offering, &c.) signified Christ, the one offering, who comprehends them all; and the holy, spiritual, heavenly offerings, which the spiritual people (the priests of the gospel) are daily to offer up to God: and the sweet spices, frankincense, and odours, signified the sweet seasonings of the gospel facrifices with grace, with salt, with the Spirit, with the fresh breathings of life, with innocency, with meekness, with tenderness, with zeal, with faith, with love, &c. which yields a most pleasant scent in the nostrils of the Lord.
Now in the bullock and goat for the fin-offering, the blood was to be brought into the holy place, to make atonement; and the fat and inwards burnt on the altar ; and the flesh, skin, and dung, carried forth and burnt without the camp. What means this? Oh! how precious is it to read the figures of the heavenly things with true understanding! but to read through the figures (with the eye of life, with the eye of the Spirit) into the invisible substance, this is sweet, precious, and heavenly indeed!
Secondly, Concerning Christ's appearance in a body of flesh. When the time of these shadows drew towards an end, and the fullness of time was come, he who thus appeared in several types and shadows among that people of the Jews under the law, he now came down from the Father, 'debased himfelf, and cloathed himself like a man, partaking of flesh and blood ; and was in all things made like unto us (excepting sin; for he was the Lamb without spot) humbling himself to come under the law, and under the curse, that he might redeem those that are under the law and under the curse) by fulfilling the righteousness thereof, and bringing them through into the righteousness everlasting.
Now while he was in the body, his glory did shine to the eyeof the children of the true wisdom : his disciples (to whom not Alesh and blood, nor the wisdom and knowledge which they could get from the letter, but his Father revealed him) they saw the hidden glory'; they saw through the veil of his flesh, and behéld him as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Ссс 2