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God, and stands irreversible for ever, that in his own (in his own knowledge, in his own faith, in his own obedience, in his own righteoufnefs, in his own willing and running, &c.) fhall no flesh for ever be justified in his fight; but only and alone in the nature, Spirit, life, righteousness, faith, obedience, and holiness of his Son. Therefore wait for the feed, that ye may know the feed, feel the feed, the pure feed of life (the leaven of the heavenly kingdom) and may witness it arifing and come in you to do the will, and you in it quickened and enabled to live to and ferve the living God. And when ye know this feed, ye know Chrift; and when ye receive this feed, ye receive Chrift; and if it live in you, Chrift lives in you; and in it (being in it, and abiding in it) are ye heirs of the life, kingdom and power, which hath no end; and shall daily feel the promises and blessings belonging to the feed, flowing in upon your fpirits. But if ye content yourselves with the knowledge of Chrift, which the erring and apostatised spirit of man from the life and power, may gather out of the letter of the fcriptures, and feed thereon; that will not nourish you up to eternal life, but death, and fin, and the gates of hell will have power over you notwithstanding that; but if ye, through the Spirit, receive power over that which is contrary to God, and through him mortify the deeds of the body, ye fhall live. Therefore wait for the manifeftation of the pure power of the endless life, which is now dispensed from on high (bleffed be the name of the living one) and wait to know and be joined to that feed of life, wherein and whereby it is difpenfed, that ye may witness Chrift's kingdom come to you, and the reign of your fpirits with him therein, over all that captivateth from him, loadeth the foul, boweth down and oppreffeth.
A POST SCRIPT,
Concerning DECEIT and being DECEIVED.
HERE is that which deceives (where it is hearkened to) and there is that which is liable to be deceived by it. There is likewife that which deceiveth not; and there is also that which cannot be deceived. So likewise there is a pure fear and watching in the truth against the deceit, left by any means it should enter and betray. As alfo there is a fear that is a fnare (which the true faith preferves out of), whereby many are entangled in the very bowels of deceit, even concerning those very things about which they are afraid they should be deceived. This hath been experienced by thofe, who have been acquainted with the Lord's precious truth, and thereby are come to know and difcern the wiles and devices of Satan; who often hath quenched what the Lord hath kindled, by his stir
ring up a fear, left it should not be of the Lord, but from the fpirit of deceit.
It is true, that in the apoftafy from the life and Spirit of truth, deceit did generally prevail and overwhelm the minds of people. And fo far as people are yet in the apoftafy (not being gathered and redeemed out of it, by the Spirit and power of the Lord), they are yet under deceit; though perhaps they little think fo. Little did we think formerly (and little do they think now, who are now in that state we were then in), that while we fo much feared being deceived, we were already deceived, being fhort of the life and power of truth, which alone is able to make free and preferve from deceit. When the Lord cometh to bring to the primitive light and principle, that he might perfectly deliver out of deceit; what can the enemy do more advantageously towards keeping his hold in the hind (and towards keeping the mind in the deceits wherein he hath already entangled it), than to ftir up and heighten a fear in it, left the precious truth, which God maketh manifeft to deliver the foul by, fhould be deceit? And they that hearken to and let in the voice of the deceiver, muft needs believe it to be fo. And thus with them light cometh to be called darkness, and darkness light. Yea, who is it, at this day, who escapeth this fnare, of calling evil good, and good evil? Surely none but he, whofe foul is led into and lives in the light and power of truth.
For most men take up principles (according to their own, or other mens understanding of the fcriptures), and judge according to thofe principles; and fo the Spirit and light of the Lord judgeth not in them, but they themselves judge according to an affumed knowledge. So that flesh is not filent, the man is not dead in them and brought to nothing, but only lives in an higher region than he did before. Before, he lived in an apparent unrighteousness; now he lives in an imagined righteousness and faith; but not in the Son's righteousness, not in the Son's faith, not in the Son's power, not in the Son's dominion; but at best only in that which he apprehendeth and strongly imagineth to be fo.
Oh! happy is he, who is come through all his own imaginings and conceivings about the things of God, and his own apprehenfions about fcriptures and promises, and is come into the thing itself, into the Spirit of life (into the truth and into the power), and who walks with God therein, daily witneffing the redemption which is of him through his Son Jefus Chrift, who is known and partook of in the pure quickening Spirit, and not otherwise. And he that is truly begotten of God, and dwells with him in the light which is eternal, knows that he is of God; which others may ftrongly imagine they are, but none elfe can truly know it, but may eafily err and be entangled in the deceits of the enemy (about the new birth, and other weighty things) while they are greatly afraid of being deceived by him, and fo (through that fear) Ay the pure truth, which frees from deceits, left it fhould deceive them.
A BRIEF ACCOUNT of my Soul's Travel towards the Holy Land, and how at length it pleased the LORD to join my Heart to his pure, holy, living Truth; wherein I have witneffed the New Covenant, and Peace with the Lord therein. With a few Words concerning the Way of Knowing and Receiving the Truth: which is not done by Disputes and Reasonings of the Mind about it; but in waiting aright for the Demonstration and Power of God's Spirit to open the Heart and Understanding, and by fubmiffive Obedience to it, even in its lowest Appearances in the inward Parts.
Y heart from my childhood was pointed towards the Lord, whom 1 feared and longed after from my tender years; wherein I felt, that I could not be fatisfied with (nor indeed feek after) the things of this perishing world, which naturally pafs away; but I defired true fenfe of, and unity with, that which abideth for ever. There was fomewhat indeed then ftill within me (even the feed of eternity) which leavened and balanced my fpirit almoft continually; but I knew it not diftinctly, fo as to turn to it, and give up to it, entirely and understandingly. In this temper of mind I earnestly fought after the Lord, applying myself to hear fermons and read the best books I could meet with, but efpecially the fcriptures, which were very fweet and favoury to me; yea, I very earnestly defired and preffed after the knowledge of the fcriptures, but was much afraid of receiving mens interpretations of them, or of faftening any interpretation upon them_myfelf; but waited much, and prayed much, that from the Spirit of the Lord I might receive the true understanding of them, and that he would chiefly endue me with that knowledge, which I might feel fanctifying and faving. And indeed I did fenfibly receive of his love, of his mercy, and of his grace, which I felt ftill freely to move towards me, and at feasons when I was moft filled with the fenfe of my own unworthiness, and had leaft expectations of the manifeftation of them. But F was exceedingly entangled about election and reprobation (having drunk in that doctrine, according as VOL. II. it
it was then held forth by the ftricteft of those that were termed Puritans, and as then feemed to be very manifeft and pofitive from Rom. ix, &c.), fearing left, notwithstanding all my defires and feekings after the Lord, he might in his decree have paffed me by; and I felt it would be bitter to me to bear his wrath, and be feparated from his love for evermore; yet, if he had fo decreed, it would be, and I fhould (notwithstanding these fair beginnings and hopes) fall away and perifh at the laft. In this great trouble and grief (which was much added to by not finding the Spirit of God fo in me and with me, as I had read and believed the former Chriftians had it), and in mourning over and grapling with fecret corruptions and temptations, I spent many years, and fell into great weakness of body; and often cafting myself upon my bed, did wring my hands and weep bitterly, begging earnestly of the Lord, daily, that I might be pitied by him, and helped against my enemies, and be made conformable to the image of his Son, by his own renewing power. And indeed at laft (when my nature was almost spent, and the pit of defpair was even clofing its mouth upon me) mercy sprang, and deliverance came, and the Lord my God owned me, and fealed his love unto me, and light sprang within me, which made not only the fcriptures, but the very outward creatures glorious in my eye, so that every thing was fweet and pleasant and lightfome round about me. But I foon felt, that this eftate was too high and glorious for me, and I was not able to abide in it, it fo overcame my natural fpirits; wherefore, bleffing the name of the Lord for his great goodness to me, I prayed unto him to take that from me which I was not able to bear, and to give me fuch a proportion of his light and prefence, as was fuitable to my present state, and might fit me for his fervice. Whereupon this was presently removed from me; yet a favour remained with me, wherein I had sweetness, and comfort, and refreshment for a long feafon. But my mind did not then know how to turn to and dwell with that which gave me the favour, nor rightly to read what God did daily write in my heart, which fufficiently manifefted itself to be of him, by its living virtue and pure operation upon me; but I looked upon the fcriptures to be my rule, and fo would weigh the inward appearances of God to me by what was outwardly written, and durft not receive any thing from God immediately, as it fprang from the fountain, but only in that mediate way. Herein did I limit the Holy One of Ifrael, and exceedingly hurt my own foul, as I afterwards felt and came to understand. Yet the Lord was tender to me, and condefcended exceedingly, opening fcriptures to me, freshly every day, teaching and inftructing, warming and comforting my heart thereby and truly he did help me to pray, and to believe, and to love him and his appearances in any; yea, to love all the fons of men, and all his creatures, with a true love. But that in me which knew not the appearances of the Lord
in my fpirit, but would limit him to words of fcriptures formerly written, that proceeded yet further, and would be raising a fabrick of knowledge out of the fcriptures, and gathering a perfect rule (as I thought) concerning my heart, my words, my ways, my worship; and according to what I thus drank in (after this manner, from the fcriptures) I practifed, and with much seriousness of fpirit and prayer to God fell a helping to build up an Independent congregation, wherein the favour of life and the presence of God was fresh with me, as I believe there are yet fome alive of that congregation can testify.
This was my ftate, when I was fmitten, broken, and diftreffed by the Lord, confounded in my worship, confounded in my knowledge, ftripped of all in one day (which it is hard to utter) and was matter of amazement to all that beheld me. I lay open and naked to all that would enquire of me, and strive to fearch out what might be the cause the Lord fhould deal fo with me. They would at first be jealous that I had finned and provoked him so to do; but when they had scanned things thoroughly, and I had opened my heart nakedly to them, I do not remember any one that ever retained that fenfe concerning me. My foul remembereth the wormwood and gall, the exceeding bitterness of that state, and is still humbled in me in the remembrance of it before the Lord.. Oh! how did I wish with Job, that I might come before him, and bowingly plead with him; for indeed I had no fenfe of any guilt upon me, but was fick of love towards him, and as one violently rent from the bofom of his beloved! Oh! how gladly would I have met with death! For I was weary all the day long, and afraid of the night, and weary alfo of the night-feason, and afraid of the enfuing day. I remember my grievous and bitter mournings to the Lord; how often did I fay, O Lord, why baft thou forfaken me? Why baft thou broken me to pieces? I had no delight but thee, no defire after any but thee. My heart was bent wholly to ferve thee, and thou haft even fitted me (as appeared to my sense) by many deep exercifes and experiences for thy fervice; why doft thou make me thus miferable? Sometimes I would caft mine eye upon a fcripture, and my heart would even melt within me; at other times I would defire to pray to my God, as I had formerly done; but I found I knew him not, and I could not tell how to pray, or in any-wife to come near him, as I had formerly done. In this condition I wandered up and down from mountain to hill, from one fort to another, with a cry in my fpirit, Can ye tell news of my beloved? Where doth be dwell? Where doth be appear? But their voices were ftill ftrange to me, and I should retire fad and oppreffed, and bowed down. in fpirit, from them.
Now furely, all ferious, fober, fenfible people, will be ready to enquire, how I came fatisfyingly to know the Lord at length; or whether I do yet. certainly know him, and am yet truly satisfied?