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ing word difcovering any evil to thee, either in thy heart or ways, oh! do not difpute, do not reafon against it; but blefs the discoverer, bow to the Son, become obedient immediately, faithfully following the Lamb therein, left he remove his light from thee, and fuffer darkness and the difputing wisdom to overtake thee.
Chrift is not of the world, and he leads out of the world; out of its vanities, ways, customs, fashions, &c. A man cannot ferve Chrift and the world. Can any man be born of the Father, be begotten by him out. of the spirit of the world, and yet live in that, walk in that, which is not of the Father, but of the world; which came from the worldly part, is of the worldly part, nourisheth and pleaseth the worldly part in man, but pleaseth not the Father? Can that man who is not of the world, but of the Father, do any thing that upholdeth the luft of the flesh, the luft of the eyes, or the pride of life, either in himself or others? Doth not the Spirit of the Lord, where it is hearkened to, draw out of these, and out of all things which are of thefe? Therefore confider well what it will coft, and how hard it is to follow Chrift; that thou who defireft to be the Lord's, mayest receive help and strength from him to be faithful, that in his ftrength thou mayeft overcome all that ftands between thee and life, that so thou mayeft receive the crown, and inherit the kingdom which is prepared for, and given to, the faithful, who labour and fight not in vain; but gain ground and conquer (yea, at length become more than conquerors) through the mercy, love, might, and power of the Lord.
Some fenfible experimental QUESTIONS and ANSWERS. from the Tenth Chapter of JOHN.
THO is the good Shepherd of the sheep?·
The wisdom, life, and power of the Father (which dwelleth in, and is manifeft through, the Son) is the fhepherd. He that is the truth, the way, and the life, he alfo is the fhepherd and bishop of the foul.
Quest. 2. Who are the sheep?·
Anfw. They that are born of this wisdom, gathered by this life, turned to this power, they are the fheep. They who are changed by him into his nature, they are of him; fheep of him, the Shepherd; lambs of him, the Lamb; doves of him, the Dove.
Quest. 3. What is the fold of the sheep?
Anfw. The wifdom, life, and power of the Father, even the fame that is the fhepherd. The Father's hand wherewith he covers them, wherein he incloseth them, that is the fold. For it is the power, wisdom, and life of
the Father, which gathereth the fheep; and he gathereth them into his wisdom, into his life; and that is a wall or fold about them.
Object. Is not the church the fold?
Anfw. This in the church, or the church in this, is the fold; but not out of this. For there is no fafety or prefervation among any fort or gathering of people, but as they stand and abide in this. And ftanding and abiding in this, they have authority and power from the chief bishop of the foul; but none out of this.
Queft. 4. Who is the door?
Anfw. The Shepherd is the door alfo, who lets into the fold, and shuts out, at his pleasure; and none can rightly enter but by him.
Queft. 5. What are they that run before the power, or farther than the power leads and guides them?
Anfw. They are thieves and robbers, and they may deftroy the life and freshness in thofe that are not watchful; but they cannot help to fave or build up, because they themselves are out of that, come out of that, and act out of that, which alone can do it.
Queft. 6. How may the sheep be difcerned from the goats, and from fuch also as put on the sheep's cloathing, but yet are not sheep in nature and fpirit?
Anfw. By their lamb-like nature, by the meekness and innocency in them which is of the Lamb, which none can have but they that are of him; for it is not to be found in man's nature, nor to be attained by his art. They also know and hear the voice of the Word nigh in the mouth and heart, and follow the law of his Spirit, received from his mouth, which none else but his sheep do, or can do; for this is given by him, and it is given by him only to his sheep.
Queft. 7. What doth Chrift the Shepherd (the eternal Word, the wisdom, life, and power of the Father) do for his sheep?
Anfw. He doth great things for them, which who can utter? But happy is he that feels and knows them. He gives them a new nature, a new fpirit, a new heart, a new name, which none knoweth but he that hath it; for it is written on the white ftone, which none elfe receives, nor none elfe can read, but he that hath the eye which is of him, what is written thereon. He giveth them eternal life; he leadeth them into the pastures of life; he giveth them to drink of the waters of life. He putteth them forth out of the pri fon-house, out of the chains and fetters, out of the darkness, out of the bonds, and from under the burdens of the foul, into the pure light and liberty of the Spirit, where they taste, know, and enjoy of his freedom, and dwell with him, and reft with him, and lie down with him, and rife up with him, even in the fame eternal life, Spirit, and power, wherein his dwelling-place is. And all this they enjoy fafely, hearkening to the voice of the Shepherd, and turning from the voice of the ftranger, which it is natural to them to do. For being turned from man, born of that which is immortal, and keeping to that; that ear which is there received will
alone hearken to the voice of him who is immortal; and the voice of the ftranger (who fpeaketh of himself) is presently discerned and turned from, by him that heareth with the true ear. The Lord God, who is the spring and fountain of all good, inflame people with defires after the pure life, and boly nature, which is of and from Chrift the feed, his Son, and fatisfy thofe deftres which are fingly and uprightly after him.
LORIOUS was the eftate of the church before the apoftafy, for puof doctrine, for holy order and difcipline, for love to God, one to another, and to all men (even of enemies) for faith in God, for the prefence and power of his Spirit among them (infomuch as the unbeliever coming among them, might find his heart and ftate reached to, and be forced to confefs and report that God was in them of a truth) for fingleness and uprightness of heart, meeknefs and innocency of spirit and converfation, for zeal for God and his truth, fuffering the fpoiling of their goods, imprifonments, ftripes, and many other ways, both from the heathen, and alfo from the profeffing Jews, who had been the church once. Oh! what fhall I fay concerning the beauty and lovelinefs of that ftate? Ye that would know it, oh! wait to feel it in that which gives the true fenfe of it.
But over this glorious ftate came a dark, thick, corrupt night, wherein the kernel was loft, and the fhell defaced; wherein the house, which had been swept and garnished, became again recovered and poffeffed by the wicked fpirit. And how great hath this darkness been! Oh! what a kind of church hath appeared in the world, wherein the fpirit of enmity hath dwelt and acted in men, under the name of Christianity! So that inftead of loving and feeking the good of enemies, they are ready to rend and tear one another for every little difference, and will be lords over mens faith, requiring men to practife things in religion before the Spirit of the Lord teacheth them fo to do, which the apoftles did not. For though they had from God the exprefs knowledge of what was truth, and could certainly instruct and build men up therein, yet they were not lords over mens faith; but if men were otherwife-minded than according to what they knew and taught, they could wait and bear with them, bidding them walk fo far as they had attained, and God in his due time would reveal the rest also. Oh! that men were come to this fpirit again! then they would be Chriftians indeed, and then they might be known to be Chrift's difciples, by their loving: the brethren and fellow-difciples. But without this love, mens religion is but a tinkling cymbal, making a noise and found of fomewhat, but not haveing the true nature or virtue of religion in it.
Now will it not be a glorious day, when the Spirit of the Lord cleanseth away this thick darkness, and caufeth the light of his pure truth to arise and appear again? Why there is fuch a day to be, wherein the true church (which was reproached and driven into the wilderness) is to come out of the wilderness again, and her witneffes ftand on their feet again, and her feed to fpring up in the power of life, following the Lamb, who marcheth on fighting with the fword of the Spirit (the word of his mouth) conquering and to conquer thereby the corrupted antichriftian world, even as he did at firft the corrupt heathenish world. The Lord will purify his temple, and cleanfe the world by the plagues of his angels which he hath prepared, making way for the beauty of his truth, and the church of his gathering; wherein he will bring forth his righteousness, wherein his power fhall appear, wherein his prefence fhall be made manifeft, wherein that which shined before in the primitive church, shall shine again in this new-reared building of his, infomuch as men fhall be forced to fay, This is the church of Christ indeed, God is here of a truth; this is the Gospel-Jerufalem indeed, which is built upon the holy bill of Sion; in which innocency, righteousness, truth, love, fweetness, peaceableness, and the gentle nature and Spirit of the Lamb lives and reigns; and the Lord bless thee, O habitation of Justice, and mountain of holinefs.
Now of a truth this work is begun. The times of refreshment are come from the prefence of the Lord. The Lord hath heard from heaven, pitying the cries of his feed, and hath vifited their fouls, caufing the light of life (even the pure light of the everlasting covenant) to fhine upon their tabernacles. But whoever would know thefe things, and partake of them, must come in at the door, by the guidance of the Spirit, through the light which is with him. And he that would enjoy the full light (even the shinings forth of the fun at noon-day) must begin with its glimmerings, even that in the heart, which discovereth and draweth out of the corrupt ftate of the world towards the Father. Oh! hear and live. Do not difpute about it, but wait to feel it; upon the feeling of it, defpifing the fhame, and taking up and enduring the crofs, and fo bearing the reproach and fufferings of Chrift in thy age and generation. And as thou obeyeft, thou fhalt know of its doctrine; but out of the pure faith and obedience, there is no true, found, deep, rooted knowledge; but all of that kind must be parted with, for the knowledge which is of the faith, and which is made manifeft and increased in the obedience; which knowledge is of a far more excellent kind and nature, than that which thou art to part with for it. The Lord guide thy mind, and stretch forth his hand to help thee, who from the leaft touch of a true nature and fpirit, defireft after the pure truth and way of eternal life. Amen.
This teftimony (here held forth) is faithful and true, and (I know) the witness of God in many hearts will anfwer to it; and happy is he that maketh a right ufe of it. For, fo doing, his foul will not fall fhort of the pure liveing truth, nor fet up any thing elfe for truth which is not.
To such as are not fatisfied with a Profeffion, without the true Life and Power, but have fincere Defires in their Hearts after the LORD himself, and a Willingnefs to be acquainted with his pure living Truth, and with the Soul's true Guide and Leader; this Experience is in my Heart to exprefs unto you, which we have all along witnessed in our Travels out of the dark corrupt Land, into the Land of Life and Purity.
E have ftill found the willer, the runner, the self-striver, the wife comprehending part, &c. left behind; and the grace of God alone able to lead towards him, and the birth which is of and by grace ftill to obtain the mercy. And Chrift is our life, and in the union with his Spirit lies all our ability and ftrength; and that knowledge of Chrift, which we witness to be life eternal, we did not meet with whilft we thought to have it in the fcriptures, but it hath been all along revealed to us by God's Spirit; fo that we can truly fay flesh and blood did not reveal the Son to us, but the Father. Yet that which the fcriptures teftify concerning Chrift is exactly true according as it is there related, and is fo acknowledged and really owned by us; though we obtained not our knowledge of Chrift by the letter, but by receiving a principle of life from God; and coming into union with his Spirit, we came to the true knowledge and owning of the letter; which as it came from the life, fo can it only be rightly read and understood in the life from which it came: fo that he that is out of that, cannot but err concerning the letter, and misjudge concerning the things of God; whereas he that is guided by, and lives in, God's Spirit (receiving his knowledge there) cannot err concerning the Spirit, or concerning the letter; but hath that within him, which gives to him, and preferves him in, the true sense and understanding of both.
Now, friends, this is an excellent thing indeed, to come to, and be acquainted with, and receive that, which the scriptures teftify of; to wit, to receive Chrift, to feel union with him in his Spirit, to enter into the new and holy agreement with God, into the everlasting covenant of life and peace, to feel the partition-wall broken down, and the wall of falvation reared up, and the defence which is thereby; to find the law of God, the law of life, the law of the new creation, written in the heart; the pure fear planted there by God, which keepeth the mind and spirit from departing from him; to G