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that the nations of them that are saved must walk in ? Rev. xxi. 24. Yes, this light, this city, and the holy waters of the sanctuary, which flow and stream from the river of life there, were in measure known and experienced in the days of old, which David prayed for, and experienced a sense of, Psal. xliii. 3. and xlvi. 4. Yea, he knew also the blood of the everlasting covenant, praying and waiting to be sprinkled and cleansed therewith, Pfal
. li. 6. For he looked through the outward figure, to what his foul needed to purge and wash it inwardly; which outward hyssop, or outward water of purification, he knew would not do; for he that saw through the outward sacrifices, to the inward, could not chuse but see through these also.
But that power, virtue, and life of God's Spirit, which could create a clean beart, and renew a right fpirit in him, and bring him into God's presence, where he might feel the upholdings of his free Spirit, and partake of the joy of God's salvation and deliverance from that which had defiled him; this was it he prayed for; knowing assuredly, he should here meet with the true hyssop, and water of life, and blood of the covenant, which purgeth the heart and conscience from dead works, and maketh it whiter than the snow in God's fight, ver. 10, 11, 12.
For he that delighted not in facrifice, nor burnt-offerings, neither could he delight in hyssop, or water, or blood, outward or natural; but in that which melteth the heart, and purifieth the conscience, from that which is dead and unclean, in that is God's delight; and in that which is melted, broken, and purified by it, ver. 16, 17
Obferv. Lastly, That there is a sin unto death, a kind of finning for which there is no sacrifice (but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, to destroy and devour the adversaries, ver. 26, 27.), which is a wilful despising this covenant; which he that doth, muft die without mercy; as he that despised Moses's law did, ver. 28, 29. For the Lord will revenge this sin, wheresoever he finds it; and such shall know, that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, when he comes to judge them, ver. 30, 31.
XVIII. A brief Relation of the Estate or Condition the Lord found many of us
in, when he came to vist us, and make known to us the blessed Ministration of bis Spirit and Power, and of some of his Dealings evith us, in instructing and nurturing us up therein ; with a few Words of Exhortation. T
HERE are chambers of imagery in many people ; and strong-holds,
and reasonings, and imaginations, and high thoughts, exalted above the pure seed and measure of life in their hearts. For every true Christian, every true believer, hath received somewhat of Christ's Spirit, fome proportion of grace and truth from the fullness of Christ, which is as leaven and salt, to leaven the heart, and season the mind and spirit with.
But all do not distinctly know this, nor are all that do know it subject to it; so that this doth not lead, and command, and rule in all; but thero is somewhat which holds captive, and the enemy of the soul hath the rule and dominion in many mens spirits, professing godliness; whereby the seed is kept under in them, and their souls kept back from that redemption and deliverance, which they should partake of, in and with the seed. So many talk of the gospel (and speak great words of Christ, and redemption by him) who know not immortality brought to light, nor the dead raised by it, to live to God and praise his name.
Now in these chambers of imagery, in these strong-holds, there are many pleasant pictures, many images of the heavenly things, which men form in their minds, from their own apprehendings and conceivings upon the scriptures. For men reading the scriptures, not in the life, Spirit, and power which gave them forth, but with that which is natural, they come not to the true, pure, heavenly, living knowledge ; but only obtain a natural knowledge, according to which they believe and worship; and so fall down before, and according to, the apprehensions and imaginations of their own minds; and so one believes and worships one way, and another believes and worships another way. And truly, here men worship they know not what; but they that are the true Jews, know what they worship; for salvation is of the true Jews, who worship neither at this mountain, nor at the other mountain ; but only in Spirit, and in truth, even in the life and power of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus it is with all men in their several professions of religion in the darkness, in the apostasy from the true life and power, which all sorts have erred and wandered from, but few have returned to. Ah! few have found the pearl of price, which hath been long loft; but have contented themselves with a literal relation and knowledge concerning the pearl, without knowing and possessing the pearl itself. Yea, indeed, this was the state of darkness the Lord found us all in, when he came to visit us; for the strong man armed had his strong-holds in us, whereby he held us in the bands of death, and kept us captive, and free from that righteous life and power which we thirfted after. But when the stronger than he came, he battered his strength, he assaulted and took his strong-holds; he brake all his reasonings, knowledge, wisdom, and subtilty, wherein he trusted, and made spoil of his goods, and delivered the captives from under his hand.
For, indeed, when the mighty day of the Lord came upon us, and his pure heavenly light thone in our hearts, God searched Jerusalem as with candles, discovering the most hidden things of Efau's nature inwardly; and then all the knowledge and wisdom, all the understanding and experiences, which were treasured up in us out of the pure life, out of the truth, which VOL. II. Fff
lives and abides, they were found dead, and condemned as dead in us, and fo cast forth, as the treasures of Egypt and Babylon, and thrown to the batts and moles; who either creep up and down in the earthly nature, or foar aloft in the dark dreams and imaginations of the night of darkness and apostasy. A
For when the true light shines; it discovers what the day is, and what the night is; and the things which are of the day, and the things also which are of the night.
Now when she Lord thus appeared unto us, and caused the light of his Son to shine in us, many of us quickly came out of Egypt, turning our backs upon the darkness; and went willingly into the wilderness, to travel along with the Lord, and to be exercised and fitted there for the good Jand, the land of the redeemed, the land of the living, the land which Hows with milk and honey (which is pure heavenly food), whither they that comę, find the excellent vine, which bears the heavenly grapes, of which is the wine of the kingdoin, and the true olive, which yields (weet oil; and houses which they built not, wherein are many mansions of reft and pure glory; and vineyards which they planted not, wherein the living plants grow, and.spring up in the presence of the Lord, who dwells among his, and walks in the gardens and holy plantations.
But there were others, who were loth to come out of Egypt, or to forfake the idols and way of worship in Egypt and Babylon, whom the enemy long held captive in their thoughts and reasonings, and in the disputings of their minds.
Now these suffered much, and felt many of the strokes and dreadful judgments of the Lord, poured out upon that spirit in them, which held them captive, and upon them for their hearkenings and joinigs to the sub- , til twinings, and entangling reasonings and suggestions of that fpirit. For the enemy useth all his strength and subtilty to the utmoft, to bold his captives in subjection to him, and under his power, as long as ever.. he can. He keeps every hold, he strengthens every reasoning, and every thought and imagination of the mind against God's call, against the appearances of his Spirit in the heart. Do not go yet (saith the enemy); thy way is not yet plain before thee, thy light is not yet clear enougb ; tbe : reafors or confideration which is obječted, is not yet fully answered. Tbou art to try all things; but there is this, or that, or the other consideration, which thou haft not yet tried, or considered of. fully, and satisfactorily to thy own beart.
Thus many pure drawings of the Father (in which there was light fufficient for the soul to follow) have been loft, and the soul thereby hath miled of the hand which was put forth in the tender love of the Lord) to help and save it.
Queft. But some may say; What have ve learned of the Lord more aban we, or more than ye knecv before, when ye walked among us, and practifed tbe ordinances whirl que practise? Have not we good directions from the scriptures?
Do not we praktise them? And is not the Spirit of God in the scriptures? are they not joined together ; and so, having the scriptures, we have the Spirit of God too ?
Answ. It is not in my heart to enter into difpute now, though I am sensible of the darkness from whence this objection ariseth: and oh! that it were removed from their hearts in whom it is; for truly, we ourselves were once there; and when we were there, we knew not the scriptures aright, as we ought to know, nor the power of God! But to answer plainly and directly to the thing itself:
There are three things I shall mention (besides many others, which might be mentioned) which the Lord hatli taught us, since his Spirit and power hath appeared to us, and led us out of the darkness, towards, and into, the land of light; which are these. He hath taught us to believe, he hath taught us to obey, and he hath taught us to pray to him in the name of his Son.
Object. Why; did ye never learn these beforé ?
Answ. No, not so as the Lord hath now taught us. There was indeed. some true faith from the true feed in us, and some true obedience, and some pure breathings to the Father, in the days of our former profession; but we knew not the root from whence they came, so as to turn it, and abide in it; and so the holy desires, and true sense in us, were often made a prey of, and we still in want and penury in a strange land, and could not enjoy (poffefs or retain) what was freely given us of our God and Father in Chrift; but still a feshly wisdom, a feshly comprehension, a Heshly nature, mind, and knowledge (which in that day went with us for spiritual
, as well as it doth fo with others now), pecked up over it; and so Hagar was in the house, and would be mistress there, but was not cast out with her feed. Oh! who can read, and truly understand this ! But when the Lord turned us to the light of his Spirit, and by the light and power of his Spirit brake the bonds and chains of darkness in us; then we could believe in him who appeared, and (in the strength and virtue received from him) we could obey him, yielding our members inftruments of righteousness to do his will; and in the Spirit of the Son (which we then received in the faith, even the heavenly Spirit, the most excellent Spirit) we could pray to the Father; first, fighing and groaning before him, afterwards pouring out our requests and supplications to him, with giving of thanks. Quest
. How did the Lord teach you to believe? Or what' did be teach you to believe now, more than before ?
Answ. It is written in the prophets, all thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and in the new covenant it is promised, they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest.
Now, as we were brought by the Lord into the light of this covenant, we were taught thus to know him, and to believe in him; and his Son, as thus made known. So that we knew the Father revealing the Son, and the Fff 2
Son revealing the Father; and our hearts were drawn to believe in both, as they were both revealed in us, and to us, and the revealing was in the Spirit of both, in the light of both, in the life of both, in the power of both; which Spirit, which light, which life, which power is one ; so that hę that indeed knows the Son, knows the Father also; and he that indeed knows the Father, knows the Son alfo.
Very deep and weighty was that answer of Christ. to Philip, when Philip said ; shew us the Father, and it sufficeth. Hast thou not feen me, Philip? said Christ
. How is it that thou sayest, shew us the Father? He that bath seen me, bath seen the Father also. Are they not one nature, one wisdom, one power, one pure eternal being ? Can the one possibly be seen, and not the other ? Though they may be distinguished in manifestation, in the hearts where they are received ; is it possible they should be divided and separated the one from the other?
Those that thus apprehend, plainly manifest, that they never received the true knowledge of the Father and Son; but have only notions and apprehensions of man's wisdom concerning them.
So now to us there is but one God and Father, Of wbom are all tbings, and we in him ; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we bing bim; and but one Spirit and power of life, which we have received of the Son and Father, through which we believe, and lay hold on the pure eternal power and strength of the Almighty, which redeems and saves the soul; and so believing on him, who raised up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, here we meet with justification, and are at peace with our God, laying hold on his strength, and being held by it.
And so here, in the new covenant, under the teachings of God's Spirit, we witness that scripture fulfilled in our hearts, Ifa. xxvii. 4, 5.
Quest. How did the Lord teach you to obey? Ye do not obey the ten commandments; ye neither learned, nor teach them : but all that ye obey is all light and spirit within ; wbich may be a spirit of delusion, for augbt we know; and we believe it is so, because we do not find it agreeing with the scriptures, nor you in the practice of the ordinances of Christ, according to the scriptures. Answ. That harsh spirit, which in this manner objecteth, is not very
fic nor likely to receive or embrace information, from the meek and tender Spirit of the Lamb; but there are some, who are broken and tendered, and fit to receive impression and information from the Holy Spirit and power of our God; and to them, and for their fakes, are my answers given forth and directed. So, for their fakes, I shall proceed in plainness, and evi: dence of truth, answering, as the Lord shall open my heart.
Truly, the Lord hath taught us obedience, so as we never learned before ; putting his laws into our minds, and writing them in our hearts, and giving us his good Spirit to dwell in us, to quicken and help us to obey and perform his holy laws. And those two commandments on which the whole law and prophets hang); to wit, To love God with all our bearts, and