Page images

our neighbours as ourselves, as taught by Mofes and Chrift; yea, the very fubftance of the law written in tables of ftone, he hath inwardly written in our hearts, and taught us to obferve and obey; fo that we have no other God but him, who brought us out of fpiritual Egypt, by his out-ftretched arm and holy power, revealed inwardly for us, as it was outwardly for that people of the Jews, whom God redeemed out of outward Egypt.

Indeed before, other Lords had rule over us, and fomewhat ftill got between us and our God; fo that, when we were without the limits of the pure power, we were idolaters in God's fight, though we then knew it not; but now we make mention of the Lord's name only.

So the Lord hath taught us not to make any image, or likeness of his appearance, or of the heavenly things; not to form any thing in our minds from the fcriptures; but to wait on God, to know his truths revealed in their own pure nature.

The Lord hath likewife taught us to fanctify his name, which he hath made known to us, and not to take it in vain; but to reverence his holy power and Spirit, in every degree of its appearance; for the name of our God is living, and is only fanctified, and not taken in vain, by those that are living.

Alfo the Lord hath taught us to obferve and keep his holy fabbath, and day of reft (even the day of the gospel-rest, for that is the fabbath now), not doing our own works, or thinking our own thoughts, or kindling a fire of ourselves, on his holy day; but ceafing from our own willing and running, and from all the works of the flesh; and waiting to feel him work in us, both to will and to do of his good pleasure; which works in the Spirit (works of faith, of love, of mercy, &c.) break not the gospel-reft or fabbath.

And having thus learned the duties of the first table (the Lord having circumcifed our hearts to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, and to exalt him, his Spirit, his nature, his will, his name, his day in us), the duties of the fecond table are eafy and natural, to us, and we cannot but do to others as we would be done unte; and fo love and honour all men in the Lord, as the Lord teacheth us from the true and holy balance. Therefore, we cannot kill, or commit adultery, or fteal, or bear falfe witness, or covet any thing that is our neighbour's.

Then, for the laws and ordinances of the new teftament; the ministration of the gospel is a miniftration of Spirit and power; even of the light of the everlafting day, which the true ministry was fent to turn mens minds from the darkness to..

And here we see what was taught and required before the apoftafy, while the church was in its firft glory; and what was permitted and practised by permiffion; which were fuch kind of things, as were not of the nature of the kingdom, not of the nature of the light of the gospel-day; but of a lower nature, of an outward nature, of an earthly (elementary) nature,


which were to be fhaken in due time, that that which could not be fhaken (which they fignified of, and reprefented) might remain, and be eftablished in the fpiritual and heavenly Jerufalem (which is the Jerufalem of the gofpel) without any fuch thing as could be fhaken; as is teftified, Heb. xii. 22, to the end: and we understand alfo from God's Spirit, and from the fcriptures of truth, that all fuch kind of things were part of, or belonging to, the outward court; which was fhaken, and given to the Gentiles, when God's Spirit measured what he would have abide with his true, inward, fpiritual Jews; and what he would leave to the profeffing world; who in mind, nature, and fpirit, and in God's account also, are but Gen


Queft. How did God teach you to pray? Surely ye never learned the Lord's prayer; for ye do not practise that among you.

Anfw. As God brought us into a fenfible condition, fo we came to feel our wants, and the need of our fouls, inwardly and spiritually.

Now, waiting on the Lord in this fenfe, when we meet together, and when we are alone alfo, the Lord breatheth upon us, and kindleth in us fervent defires and longings of foul after that which is pure, and to be delivered from that which is impure; and that we might be ingraffed more and more into Chrift; and that judgment and condemnation might pafs upon all that is not of God in us, and that our hearts might be fo united to the Lord, as that we might fear his name fully. For we feel and obferve, that all our life and strength flows from the union of our fouls with the Lord; and therefore, above all things, we cry for that, and for feparation from that fpirit which captivateth into the things of the earth, and in the earthly mind and nature.

So we watch unto prayer, and watch for help from God in our calling upon him; and are deeply fenfible that we have need both of watching and praying continually, the enemy is fo near, and the foul's fnares and dangers fo many.

And truly, Chrift, our Lord and mafter, who taught his difciples to pray formerly, hath taught us alfo to pray that very prayer; though not to fay the words outwardly in the will of men, or in our own will; he hath taught our hearts to breathe after the fame things, even that the name of our heavenly Father might be hallowed or fanctified more and more, among all that call upon his name in truth, and especially in our own hearts; and that his kingdom might come more and more, that he might reign more in mens fpirits, and the kingdom of fin and Satan be thrown down; and that his will might be done, even in our earth, as it is done in heavenly places, where all the hofts of God obey him; and that we might have every day a proportion of the heavenly bread, whereby our fouls may live to him; and convenient food and provifion outward alfo, according as he feeth good, who careth for us.



Now, as we are kept in the light, and watch to the light which discovers things, we see what we are kept out of, and what we at any time are entangled in, and fo trefpafs against the Lord; and then we are taught to beg pardon, and to wait where pardon is to be received, through our advocate, even as God hath taught us to forgive.

Yet this doth not imbolden any of the little ones to fin; but they pray that they may not be led (or fall) into temptation; but may witness deliverance from the evil, which the enemy watcheth to betray and infnare them with. And these cries are put up to him, who is ready to hear, and who can anfwer and fulfill the defires of them that love and fear him; and indeed not only fo, but they are alfo put up in faith, that in the way of God the foul fhall obtain and receive what it prayeth and waiteth for.

Now we witnefs this to be true religion, and undefiled before God; and we are fenfible that the Lord hath taught us this, and is with us in our faith, which he hath given us; in our obedience, in our praying to him in the name of his Son, in our watching, in our waiting, in the filence of our fpirits, before his mighty and glorious majefty.

Oh! that ye all knew our God, and his Chrift, in the fame covenant and power of life, wherein it hath pleased him to make himself manifeft to us! Oh! awake hawake! out of your dreams, come out of the night of fin, and darkness, into the light of the day!

Be not offended that I call them dreams of the night, for they are no better before the light of the day. Oh! be not contented with dreams concerning God; with dreams concerning fellowship with him and the faints in light, with dreams concerning remiffion, concerning juftification, concerning peace, concerning fanctification, concerning the help of God's Spirit in prayer, &c.!

Ah! friends, dear friends (for ye, in whom there are any true breatheings after the Lord, are fo to me); oh! let go the dead for the living; away with dead knowledge, dead faith, dead hope, dead prayers, dead understanding of the fcriptures, dead ftrivings after holiness, which ye fhall never obtain, but be ftill bowed down under corruption, when at any time truly fenfible, notwithstanding all these (truly groaning and complaining is your best state here, for your peace here is wrong); and come to feel that raised in you, in the true retired waiting upon the Lord, which fhall certainly obrain in you, as your minds are united to it, and come into the true fenfe and fubjection under it; and then ye fhall obtain in it, and with it, what the hearts of all the upright (whether in captivity, or out of captivity) breathe after!

Oh! therefore, be not any longer prejudiced, by the subtil devices and deceits of the enemy, against that in your hearts, which reproves because of fin; and, likewife draws a leads into that which is holy; for it is no lefs than the pure, heavenly light of God's own Spirit, whatever ye, through


[ocr errors]

through mistake, misunderstanding, or want of true experience, may judge of it.


Concerning the Gospel State.


HE gofpel is a miniftration of the new covenant, or a spiritual miniftration of the fubftance of all that was fhadowed out under the law. There were many things under the law; but in the gospel, God hath gathered all into one; in Chrift there is but one feed, one Spirit, one life, one power, which redeems, one circumcifion, one baptifm, one faith, &c.

[ocr errors]


The law was given by Mofes, and the miniftration thereof continued through the prophets, until the feed fhould come, which was to put an end to the law, and the righteousness thereof (as in the letter) and bring in the righteousness in the fpirit, which should laft for ever.

The gospel is by Chrift, by whom God fpake in the laft days, who is the beloved Son, the prophet and high-prieft of God, who is to be heard for ever; who taught his difciples, while he was with them on earth, in that body of flesh which his Father prepared for him; and afterwards by his Spirit (or holy anointing) whereby he continueth teaching his children, and bringing them up in the virtue, life, and power of the new covenant; giving them a new heart and spirit, and caufing the old nature of the earthly Adam to die in them, and pass away from them.

The law was given to the Jew outward, and is against nature in man, which feems forward to obey, but will not.

[ocr errors]

The law alfo is given to check that part (or nature in man) which is above the feed, to which were all the fhadows and types outward.

But in the gospel, which is the power of God to the redemption of the foul, that part is done away, and the feed raised, and comes to live in the foul, and the foul in the power which quickens it, in and through the feed.

And fo, here the life, and virtue, and nature of the feed overshadows all, and changes all in the gofpel-ministration; fo that here is a new heaven, and a new earth, wherein God reigns, and where righteousness dwells; and the old things, wherein unrighteoufnefs dwelt, and wherein the devil reigned, are done away, and fo his kingdom is destroyed, and laid waste in man, and the kingdom of Chrift fet up, exalted, and established.

Then comes the mountain of the Lord's houfe to be known on the top, and above all the mountains and hills; and then is the flowing of the enlightened foul thither, to learn of the Lord in his holy fanctuary, that it may know his ways, and walk in his paths. Then is the voice of the true fhepherd heard, and the law known (the law of the Spirit of life in Chrift Jefus) which cometh out of Sion, and the Word of the Lord (even the Holy


One of Ifrael) which cometh from Jerufalem. Then is the day of the Lord known; the mighty, terrible, fhaking day of the Lord, which is then upon all flesh, filencing it in the dread and awe of him, who is holy and pure; and the feed is then raised to life, and in life and power, and the Lord alone exalted in that foul. For the Son exalted the Father only, in the days of his flesh; and it is fo now, where-ever the fame feed and power of life is made manifeft, and rules.

Then after this fhaking, after the work of this terrible day of the Lord in the heart, when God hath purged away the filth and blood of the defiled foul and fpirit, by his Spirit of judgment and burning, then that which is left fhall be called holy, and dedicated to the Lord, even in every one that is written and reckoned by God among the living in his Jerufalem. And all God's tabernacles and dwelling-places on his holy mountain, and in his holy city, will he cover. with the glory of his prefence; and all their affemblies (by his cloudy pillar, and by his fhining flame) will God be a defence about; before which brightness (and the arifing of his life and power in the midst of his people) Satan with his devices and fiery darts fhall fall like flashes of lightning, and his ftorms and winds fhall not be able to pre vail against the houses or dwelling-places which God builds on this his holy mountain of peace and falvation.

Then the rod of the ftem of Jeffe is known, and the branch which groweth out of his root, and the Spirit of the Lord refting upon him. For grace and truth came by Jefus Chrift; and where the grace and truth which comes by Jefus Chrift is received, and his everlasting covenant entered into, there the fame Spirit is poured forth, and refts (even upon all the fons), and true judgment is fet up in the heart, and the foul established in the righteoufnefs and peace of his kingdom.

So if any want wifdom, let him afk in faith; it is presently given from the Spirit of wisdom, which is poured out upon the feed; which is a Spirit of understanding and knowledge, and of pure heavenly fear, &c. which maketh quick in understanding the fear of the Lord; which fear, (being understood and obferved) keepeth the heart clean, teaching it to avoid and keep out of all that defiles; fo that here is not fo much as a touching the unclean thing by any of the fons and daughters, who are led by God's Spirit, and live and walk in the Spirit; but a following of the law of the Spirit of life in Chrift Jefus fully and perfectly.

Let fin and imperfection received back to Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon, from whence it came; but let holinefs and unftained beauty dwell in Sion; yea, let Urim and Thummim, even God's light and perfection, be with his redeemed people for ever and ever.

Here the wolf dwells with the lamb, and the leopard lies with the kid, and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together, and the little child leads them. Here the lion devours not, but eats ftraw like the ox; and the fucking child, and the weaned child, can play in the hole of the afp, and Ggg



« PreviousContinue »