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So to believe in the name of Christ, and to fly to his name, and trust in his name, and to pray to the Father in his name, and to obey in his name and power; these are great matters, and very few of those that make profession of them truly know them: for his name is living (he was dead, but is alive) and his presence, heavenly virtue, and power is in it. They that know his name, know that which is above every name. They know that which hath an authority from God to bring all things under (both in the heart, and also in the life and conversation) that God alone may be exalted.
The gospel state is a great state, an high state, a state not of shadowy things, but of the everlasting kingdom, where the subitance of the things under the law is given to, and possessed by, thole that are there, as they grow up in the gospel power and covenant. There the gospel falt is known, the fait which God hath chosen, which is to loose the bands of wickedness (which bind down the good, even that which is of God in the heart) to take off the heavy burdens, under which, and by which, that which is pure
eis bowed down, and to let the oppressed seed go free. This is the faft which God hath chosen under the gospel; the pure and undefiled fast, even to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep one's felf unspotted from the world. And to those that observe this fast God maketh a feast of fat things; for their light breaketh forth as the morning, and their health groweth up speedily; and their righteousness goeth before them, and the glory of the Lord gathereth them up, or is their rereward; and the Lord is nigh unto them, and is ready to answer them in all that they call upon him for, as was promised, Ifai. Iviii. 8, 9. Now being come to this feast, they are to keep it with unleavened bread, as to the feih, and as to man's wifdom; but with the bread which is leavened with the Spirit, leavened with life; and with the wine of the kingdom ; which Christ eats and drinks with his redeemed-ones, new in the gospel spirit and power, which is his Father's kingdom: for the kingdom of God Itandeth not in meats or drinks, or any other outward thing, no not in good words concerning the things of the kingdom ; but in Spirit, power, and life itself, and in the righteousness, peace, and joy, which is in the Spirit.
The Following appears to have been wrote in answer to
the Queries and ANIMADVERSIONS of an Author not named therein. It is supposed, our Friend ISAAC PenINGTON might have mentioned him in the Title, or pointed him out by some short introductory Address, which, thro' Accident, was omitted by the Printer.
Concerning the Rule of the New COVENANT, or that which
GOD hath appointed to be the Rule to the Children of the
THE way, the truth, the life; the everlasting way, the everlasting truth, the everlasting life; that is the rule in the new covenant.
God sent Christ his Son, the Word of eternal life, a light into the world, and the message and drift of the gospel, is to turn men from the inward darkness to the inward light ; and being turned to it, the manifestation of this light is to be the rule, which manifests the way of light and truth as immediately in the heart, as ever the darkness did the way of deceit and error.
The promise of the new covenant is, I will put my Spirit within them; and this Spirit hath an inward law and testimony, which it writeth in the heart; which inward law and testimony is to be the rule of the heart. And as the outward Jews were to have recourse to the outward law and testimony, so the inward Jews are to have recourse to the inward law and testimony; and to witness the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus revealed in them, and their minds and spirits subjected thereto: and this is near, bright, and powerful in those who receive the Spirit, and with him the law and power of the endless life.
The letter killeth: the Jews understood not the way of life by the letter; therefore, the promise was, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and because
ye are fons, God hath fent forth the Spirit of his Son; and thou shalt hear a voice behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk in it. And this voice is to be hearkened to; this prophet (which God raileth up to the loul in the M m m 2
new covenant) is to be heard in all things : and he that hears his voice, and obeys, lives; and he that hears not is in death, even until now, profess what he will.
In Christ Jesus, neither circumcifion availeth any thing, nor uncircumcifion, but the new creation ; if any man walk according to this rule, peace be upon him, &c. What doth the apostle call the rule here? Oh! wait on the Lord to read in the Spirit, and rightly to understand.
If a man receive the Spirit, and walk in the newness of the light, and quickenings thereof every day, hath he not a rule which is certain and infallible? If any man be in Christ, there is a new creation; and the limits of that new creation (which is the light and power of the endless life, or of God's Holy Spirit dwelling within) are his rule. And within the bounds of that (within the bounds of his light, his life, his motions, his instructions) man never errs; but out of it, deceit, and darkness, and error is always at hand.
Yet (though we do own Christ to be the rule) we do not deny making use of the scriptures to try doctrines and forms of religion by; but know, that what is of God, doth and will agree therewith; and what doth not agree therewith, is not of God; and that our fore-fathers in the faith, were led to batter the superstitions and idolatries of the Papists, by the testimony of the scriptures. And we have also the testimony of the scriptures with us, both to the light and Spirit within, and against forms formerly invented, or now practised, out of the life and power. But we believe the Spirit to be a touch-stone beyond the scriptures, and to be that which giveth ability to try and discern, not only words, but spirits; whereas a man may hold the form of doctrine and godliness, and yet want the power: in which cafe, nothing can try such a spirit, but the Spirit of God, which is in the spiritual
And for calling the scriptures the Word of God, we cannot but look upon it as an improper expression, They being Many Words, not the One Word; and Christ is called in the scripture, not only the Word God, but the Word of God. And if, in the fear of the Lord, and true sense, we keep herein to the expressions of scripture, and its form of words, which are found; surely we cannot justly be blamed for so doing.
But whereas ye affirm the scripture to be the rule ; consider seriously, and answer me this question. How is it a rule? Whether it be a rule, as it is literally understood? Or, Whether it must not be interpreted, before it can be understood as a rule ? If it must be interpreted, What must be the interpreter ; whether must it be the Spirit of God, or a man's wisdom ?
As to that question, Wbetber the writings of any now be of equal weight with the scriptures; I have this to say:
The weight of the words which are from God's Spirit, is according to the strength of life which he pleaseth to cloathe them with. He fent forth Moses, the prophets, the Son in' that body of Aesh, the apostles, in his name and authority; and the angel that he sends with the everlasting gol
pel, after the apoftafy, to preach to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, he sends not without his authority; yea, the message that he thus fends in any age, hath a peculiar reference to the state of the world, and the state of the people of God in that age; and none can Night it (whether it be signified by word or writing) without dashing against God's authority, and despising him that speaketh in these latter days. Yea, the immediate word of the Lord, spoken and declared at this day, by any man to whom it pleaseth the Lord to commit the same, is of no less authority, nor more to be Nighted now, than it was in his servants in the days past, by whom the scriptures were given forth.
ther before the world was; who in the full appointed time took up the body of Aesh, prepared by the Father, to do the will in, and did the will in it, fulfilling all righteousness, to the satisfaction of the very heart of the Father; for whose name's fake the sins of believers are pardoned. And this same word of eternal life, and no other, which took that body of Aesh upon him, is also manifested, and dwelleth in the hearts of his faints; who (as they receive him in the faith which is of him) dwells in them richly, manifesting in the vessel the treasures of his divine wisdom and knowledge. Now, this is the precious knowledge of Christ indeed; and this is it every one is to wait for, to find a measure of the same life, the fullness whereof dwells in him bodily, dwelling in our mortal bodies, and making us like unto him, in spirit, nature, and conversation. And he that knoweth not, but opposeth this (in any of its appearances, or operations), either in himself or others, is so far of the dark antichristian spirit.
Concerning the Form of Sound Words.
the heavenly things themselves, have been miserably loft, and buried in the ruins of the great apoftafy. And though God hath oftentimes touched men's spirits, and given them some sense of the antichristian state of darkness; yet have they not had that regard thereunto, so as to be led thereby out of the state of darkness, but are found in Babylon, by the Spirit of the Lord, at the very time of his coming to destroy her. For though the Spirit of the Lord call out of Babylon; yet there is great danger of not observing and following the call; but of abiding still there, and partaking of her plagues.
Now, though men have had the scriptures, yet wanting the Spirit of God, and not knowing how to turn their minds thereto, and distinguish his voice from the voice of their own spirits and reafonings (yea, of the enemy
also, who liech in wait to steal into mens ininds false apprehensions from the scriptures), they have not come into a clear understanding, either of the things or words of scripture; but with that knowledge, and those apprehensions of things, which they have gathered, they have many times been ready to figlet racher against Christ than antichrift; and so their confessions of faith, and expositions of scriptures, have been mixed things; rather suiting to their own beliefs and apprehensions, than the true nature of the things themselves: yea, by this gathered knowledge, they have been in great danger of a delperate opposing the pure administration of God's truth, from and in the light and power of bis own Spirit. Likewise the churches they have gathered and built up, they have done in a way of imitation of what was done once formerly by the power, and in the authority, of the Spirit ; but not in the same power, life, and, authority. I might say the same about their ordinances and duries; wherein the Lord (God knoweth) hath manifested to others, and can manifest to them, that they have erred very much.
It is true, ye have rejected some wood, hay, and stubblę; and we acknowledge the Lord's goodness to you, in that ye have gone so far. Yea, but there is yet more to be rejected; and all imitations, and knowledges, and interpretations of scripture out of the pure life, are to be laid aside; and the Spirit of the Lord waited upon, in the light which is of him; to which the mind is to be turned from the darknels, and in which it is to abide. Now here ye are very short; not fo much as come to the outward owning or understanding of the way; so far are ye from walking therein. That ye seek to find the power and operation of Truth in your hearts
, I do believe it concerning divers of you; and do bless the Lord in reference to any of you that it is so with you, and from my heart desire for you, that your hearts may be answered by the Lord therein, and that ye may feel preservation through that which is of him in you; though distinctly ye know it not, nor how to have your minds turned towards, and to wait upon, the Lord in it.
So to seek to have Christ formed in you, and to know union with him, and a real implanting into him ; to know him as a vine, as head, a living stone, a root, as meat indeed, and drink indeed, &c. this is precious indeed to desire, but much more precious to witness: and oh! that
allo knew the way, the living way, wherein God communicateth these things abundantly, to those who once fat in the desolate and barren places, mourning and forely crying out for the want of them ; for then ye would not oppose us for turning people from darkness to light, but be one with us therein !
The integrity which is in any of you, is of God; and though the foul miftake about a duty or ordinance, yet the cry therein after him is not wholly rejected and despised by him. But ye would know much more of him, if ye were acquainted with him in his own way, and worshipped him