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he bears that which in fubftance is the cross of Chrift, which crucifieth the worldly nature and spirit; and as he is truly circumcifed, fo muft he needs alfo be juftified and faved under this yoke. For the Lord God of life, the Father of glory, will condemn none whom he finds in Chrift, fubjected to Christ, one in nature with the image of his Son; and Chrift will condemn none whom he finds in his Spirit, taught by his Spirit, receiving holy laws from his Spirit, and walking in obedience thereto. And indeed I doubt not, but the merciful God hath faved many among the Gentiles, in all ages and generations, by the light of his holy Spirit working their minds into the fense thereof, and into fubjection thereto, according to the manifeftation thereof within them. For it is not the having much knowledge that faves, but the being fubject to the measure of the gift which comes from the Lord Jefus Chrift, the Saviour.
Queft. 3. But how can those be justified according to Paul's gospel, who never beard Paul's gospel?
Anfw. Paul's gofpel is the gospel of Chrift, the everlasting gofpel, the one gofpel, which is the power which faves, which is manifefted in the new covenant within; which is hid in them that are loft, but revealed, in fome measure, in all that are faved. Where-ever the new covenant is, there is the gospel; where-ever the law is in any measure written within, there is fomewhat of the gospel.
If a man believe in that which fhines within, which manifefts the will of God within, he believes in that power which raised our Lord Jefus Chrift from the grave; and if he lay hold on it by faith, he lays hold on God's ftrength, which inwardly vifits to fave the foul; Yea, and if he obey it, he obeys the gospel, and fhall not be condemned for difobedience, when Christ appears in flames of fire, to judge and condemn all the ungodly.
Concerning the Rule of the Children of the New Covenant.
HAT was the rule of the Jew outward, as to their outward state ? Was not the law and teftimony outward? Did not God make the law in the letter? What is the rule of the Jew inward? Is not the law and tef timony inward? Is not the gofpel a ministration of Spirit and power? And is it not a more glorious miniftration than the law of the letter? Under the law, God fpake by Mofes and the prophets; but under the gospel he fpeaketh by his Son: and do not the fheep hear his Son's (the true Shepherd's) voice? We all, like sheep, have gone aftray; but (bleffed be the Lord) are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of our fouls: and fhall we not hear him, and follow him, whitherfoever he goes and leads by his holy and good Spirit? A prophet fhall the Lord your God raife up unto you, like unto me; bim fhall ye bear in all things, faid Mofes. Did Mofes fay, Iii
My words fhall be your rule; or, the words of the prophets fhall be your rule then, in the days of the new covenant? Nay, he did not fay fo; but, him fhall ye bear in all things; and he that will not hear him fhall be cut off; yea, verily, it is fo. He is the minifter of life; and he that doth not hear him, and receive life, virtue, and power from him, he builds but from the letter (from what he apprehends from the letter) but is really feparated and cut off from the miniftry of the life and power. He that hath an ear, let him bear; and he that hath an heart, let him confider.
Now, the true Jew, the Jew inward, in whose heart God writes his law by the finger of his Spirit, he is to read and to meditate on the inward law written in his heart, as the outward Jew was to read and meditate on the outward law. And as, in obedience to the outward law, the outward Jew was bleffed, and free from the curfe, and his outward enemies; fo, in obedience to the inward law (the law of the Spirit of life), the inward Jew reaps the spiritual bleffings, and becomes inwardly free from his inward and fpiritual enemies. Ye shall know the truth, and the truth fhall make you free, faid Chrift to his difciples; and every true difciple in the obedience of the truth witneffeth it.
And here the mystery of all (which was outwardly written and teftified of) is known; the mystery of the law, the mystery of the prophecies, the mystery of the gospel, the mystery of the fellowship in and with the faints in light; the mystery of the faith, which is held in a pure confcience; the mystery of the love, which arifeth from the true and inward circumcifion; the mystery of the hope, which anchors within the veil, and purifies the heart, as he is pure. For the true children, the children of the heavenly wisdom, being children of the hidden life, are begotten in a mystery; for the Spirit of God breatheth upon them no man knoweth how; and thus is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Now as they are begotten in the mystery of life, fo the mystery belongs to them, and is revealed and opened in them; infomuch that they know God not only as outwardly defcribed, but as inwardly revealed and manifested in Chrift, his bright and heavenly image.
So here the one truth is known, even as it is in Jefus; the one way is known; the one name of the Lord (which is and was the ftrong tower in all ages and generations, which the righteous did, and do ftill, fly unto and are fafe) is known; here the one baptifm is known; here the one fupper is known yea, here the One God is worshipped, as Father and Son, in the One Spirit and truth. So that here is no dreaming in the night, by mens comprehendings and conceivings upon the fcriptures; but here is feeing with the true eye, in a measure of the light of the everlafting day, which is given to the children of light, who live in the light, and walk in the light, and in the true light (which now shines) fee the pure and eternal light daily more and more.
Who would not count all drofs and dung (even all the knowledge he can gather and comprehend of himself) for the excellency of this knowledge which God gives to thofe that are turned to the light and power of his Spirit, from the darkness of their own thoughts, reafonings, and conceivings upon the fcriptures, and do wait upon him therein, even in his holy temple, night and day? For all under the gospel are to be priefts to God; and all his priests are to wait upon him, and worship him in his holy temple; and to watch diligently that neither the fire go out, nor the lamp go out, nor the falt be wanting to feafon and keep the heart melted and broken, that it may be a continual acceptable facrifice to the Lord.
Time was, when we alfo did believe that the scriptures were the only rule of faith and practice; and fo bent ourselves to fearch out and observe what we found written therein, hoping thereby to have attained to that, which our fouls defired after. But we found all the directions thereof weak as to us, through the flesh, and fin had ftill power over us; and we knew not what it was to be made free by the Son; free by the truth, free indeed from that which stood near to tempt and draw us into fin. But when the light of God's holy Spirit fhined upon us, and our minds were by him turned thereto, and his law written on our hearts, in and by the new covenant, which he revealed in us, and made with us, in and through his Son; then we felt the miniftration of the power of the endless life, and were experimentally affured, that in the gospel-administration, which is an administration of the Spirit and power, nothing less than Spirit and power can be the rule.
Mark; In the old covenant, letter (or outward directions) was a rule; but the living commandment, or Word in the heart, is the rule in the new covenant; living laws; laws livingly written; laws that give life to them in whom they are written; they are the living, powerful, and effectual rule.
Nor do we undervalue the fcriptures, in thus giving honour to Christ and his Spirit; for it is their honour to teftify of Chrift and of his Spirit, who is the pure, certain, infallible rule of the new life, and who gives to fulfill all the holy directions, which are written in the fcriptures, concerning the way of life.
A man, at a distance, may eafily fpeak uncertainly; but let a man be joined to God's Spirit, and feel his holy nature, movings, leadings, and guidings, he cannot but acknowledge them to be his certain and infallible rule; for nothing is more certain than God's Spirit, than the holy anointing, which is truth and no lie, and leads into all truth, and out of every lie and deceit.
Some Queries concerning the Law, or Word; Statutes, Teftimonies, Judgments, &c. which David was fo delighted in, and prayed fo earnestly for.
AVID faid, Thy Word is a lantern to my feet, and a light to my paths. He found it fweeter than the honey, and the boney-comb. He defired to be taught God's ftatutes, and to learn the way of his precepts, &c. as may be abundantly read, Pfal. xix. and in other places.
Query 1. What was this Word or Law, which there was fuch an earnest defire in David after; by obferving whereof he became wifer than his Teachers? Was it the law of Mofes, the law outward; or was it the Word and Law of life inward?
If it be faid, It was the law of Mofes; then I query in the second place : Query 2. What rule had David from the law of Mofes to say, That God defired not facrifice, nor delighted in burnt-offerings? Did not God defire and require of his people under the law that they fhould perform these things? And did he not accept of them, and delight in them, when they performed them aright in faith and obedience to him? Was not the Lord pleafed with Abel's facrifice? And did not God smell a fweet favour in Noah's facrifice? How could David fay in truth, and from a true Spirit, that God did neither defire them, nor delight in them?
Query 3. Ought not David to try this Spirit, which fpake thus in him, whether it was of God or no? Should he receive a teftimony from any Spirit fo directly contrary in appearance to the foregoing teftimonies of God's Spirit in the holy fcriptures, without a full and certain evidence and demonftration that it was the Spirit of God?
Query 4. How was David to try, or how might he certainly try this Spirit, whether it was of God or no? Was he to try it thus, whether it fpake according to the teftimony and law of Mofes, according to what Mofes had fpoken in this matter, which certainly was of God, and was given by God for a law or rule to that people the Jews? If he had tried it thus, would he not have judged it a spirit different from the Spirit of Mofes, speaking contrary to the law and teftimonies which God gave forth by him? For facrifice and burnt-offering was ftrictly required there, and God often teftified his acceptance thereof, and delight therein. So that God did accept and did delight therein in one respect, and did not accept nor delight at all in them, in another refpect; but his aim was at another thing, and at other facrifices, which David clearly faw. And fo David's eye, mind, heart, and fpirit being gathered inward, even thither where God's eye and heart was, he there had a clear fight, and gave a certain found concerning what was acceptable in the eye of the Lord, and what not; and fo faith, God did not de
fire facrifice, nor delight in burnt-offering, Pfal. li. 16. Though the language of the law of Mofes fpeaketh far otherwife, where circumcifion, facrifices, and fuch outward things are expreffed as of great value with the Lord, and as great and high privileges, which were beftowed upon that people in that day.
Query 5. May not the fame Spirit, or the children of God in the fame Spirit, fay to the Lord in this day, concerning things of the fame outward nature, Thou defireft not fuch outward things, elfe would we perform them. Thou delighteft not in outward fhadows of the things of the kingdom. Thou defireft not outward washing the body with water, or eating and drinking of outward bread and wine, which avail no more than circumcifion and the paffover. If thy delight were in things of this nature, and thou didst require them of us, how willingly would we be found in the practice of them before thee: But thy delight is in that water which washeth the foul from its filth, and in the fouls that are washed therewith. And thou defireft to fee thy children feeding on the living bread, the bread which comes down from heaven, and to drink of the wine which refresheth, and maketh glad the heart both of God and man.
Query 6. If any of the children of the Moft High fhould in this feel the life wherewith God hath quickened them open in their hearts, and fuch a testimony arising from his Spirit in them, how fhould they try whether this spirit and voice were of God or no? Should they look into the writings of the evangelists and apostles, to fee whether baptifm with outward water, and eating of outward bread, and drinking of outward wine, was ever commanded and practifed in the apoftles days? And if they fuppofe ftrongly that it was commanded, or find it was practifed, may they thereupon fafely conclude that it is a wrong fpirit, and wrong voice, that teftifieth thus in them, and not the voice and Spirit of the Lord? Had David tried and judged thus, might not he have judged and condemned the Spirit and voice of God in his day? And if we try and judge in this manner, may not we judge and condemn the Spirit and voice of God in our day? David faw clearly that outward facrifices were not the abiding thing, but fignifications of that which was abiding; and this fight greatly fhook them in his fpirit. The Lord hath likewife fhewn us clearly that outward water, bread, and wine are not the fubftantial, the fpiritual, the heavenly water, the heavenly bread and wine; but of the nature of fuch things as were to be fhaken, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain in the gospel state and kingdom.
Oh! therefore, let men take heed how they build, or how they judge concerning the appearances of God, by their own apprehenfions upon the letter of the fcriptures. But let every one be careful to build upon the rock Chrift; upon his Spirit, his life, his power inwardly revealed, which the birth which is of him knows; and that birth being kept to, reveals in and to us but no man, by his own conceivings and apprehenfions upon the letter, ever knew, or can know, the Spirit and voice of the Lord.