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his stirrings and movings, and taught of God to distinguish them from the evil spirit, its stirrings and movings; and so doth not quench the Spirit of God, nor grieve it when it moves; nor give way to the other spirit, when it moves and allures.
Now the spirit of deceit allures and guides men not so much by outward rules, as by an inward evil nature, and by the law of fin and death. So the Spirit of truth leads into truth, by the newness and power of its own life revealed in the heart, by the pure instinct of life within, and by the law of God written in the nature of the new creature, which is nearer than words without. For God blots out of the hearts of his what Satan had written there, and writes by the finger of his Spirit what he would have the newbirth read there ; and indeed there is a kingdom of life, of righteousness, of true peace, and joy (yea, of the holy power and wisdom of the Most High), for his children (which are born of his Spirit, and spring up of the immortal feed) to read.
Oh! why should mens eyes be closed, and their hearts hardened against the truth! Why should they cry up Christ in words, and cry out against his life and power where it is revealed! Is this to kiss the Son ? Can such chuse (who are guilty of this) but perish in the way of their souls travels ? And how many must needs perish in their resisting the power of truth, and precious testimony of God's Holy Spirit (in this our day) tending to their rescue and salvation from that which captivates and destroys ?
Christ came to destroy sin, he having received power from his Father so to do.
He knoweth it to be of a destroying nature, and that it will destroy the soul, where it is not by the power of life consumed and destroyed in the foul. Oh! most precious to us is that visitation of truth, light, life, and power, which searcheth out and discovereth sin to the very root, and also destroys it! Oh! glorious is that axe of the Lord Jesus Christ which is laid to the root of the corrupt tree, and is daily hewing at and cutting it down, that it might cumber the ground no more; but that the heart might become good earth, sanctified earth, circumcised by the Lord to bring forth good fruit, good grapes, a good increase of the good seed of life to the good husbandinan, who is worthy to reap, even in this world, the grace and mercy, love and goodness, wisdom and power, &c. which he plentifully soweth in the spirits of bis daily. Glory to his name over all for ever, who hath exalted, exalteth, and will exalt, that which the several forts of high profeffors, in their wisdom, trample upon and despise.
S it not the will of God that his people and children should be sanctiñed
throughout, in foul, in body, in spirit ? Is it not the will of Christ that his disciples should be perfect, as their heavenly Father is perfect ?
Did he not bid them pray, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven ? And would he never have them believe and expect that it should be done in earth, as it is in heaven?
Doth not he who hath the true, pure, living hope (which anchors within the veil) purify himself, even as He is pure ?
Is not this the way to enjoy the promises of God's holy presence (who tabernacleth in his people that are cleansed and sanctified) to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of Aesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in God's fear? Will God dwell in an unholy temple? Will he dwell where sin dwells ? He may indeed to such, when at any time they are tender, and truly melted before him, be to them as a wayfaring man that carries for a night; but he will not take up his abode there, walk there, sup there, and give them to lup with him!
Hath not Christ received all power both in heaven and earth from his Father? Is not this the end of receiving his power, to bring down the foul's enemies, and to purify and fanctify his church, that it may be without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing?' Is he not the captain of our salvation, anointed to fight the battles of the Lord ? Where is the fight? Where is the strong man to be found, cast out, his goods spoiled, and the house emptied of him, and all that belongs to him? Is not Christ the author of faith, the finisher of faith; and doth not he carry on the work of faith with power? And what is the work of faith? Is it not to fight with, and overcome, sin; to be too hard for the enemy at all his weapons ? Is there not a whole armour of light, life, and salvation prepared ? What is it prepared for? Is it not that the children of light should be wholly armed with it? Were there never any, wholly armed with it; or can the enemy prevail on those that are wholly armed with it? Are those that are armed with it afraid of the enemy, his power, his snares, bis wiles? Or are they bold in the faith, following on, in the spiritual battles, him who rideth before them, conquering, and to conquer ?
Oh! that mens eyes were opened by the Lord! then might they see the glory of truth, in the pure light which shines from God's holy mountain ; and such dark doctrines of the night (which tend to the dishonour of Christ, his power, and love, and to the upholding of the enemy's kingdom) would pass away, and prevail no more in the hearts of any that truly fear the
Lord; but they would quietly wait and hope for his falvation, that by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, they might be made free from the law of sin and death, and not always be subject thereto! For all whom the Son maketh free, they are free indeed; and being made free by him, may serve God in freedom of Spirit, without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of their lives. And then they know the power and virtue of the new covenant, and the defence which is thereby, where the wing of the Almighty overshadows, and his salvation (revealed therein) is experienced for a fufficient wall and bulwark against the enemy.
III. Concerning the true Christ, bow it may be certainly and infallibly
known which is be.
HILE people were in expectation and mused in their hearts
concerning John, whether he were the Christ or no, John answers the case, and tells them how they might discern and know the true Chrift. It is not he that baptizeth with water, but he that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost and with fire. He whose fan is in his hand, wherewith he cometh thoroughly to purge bis floor, gathering the wheat into his garner, and burning the chaf with fire unquenchable. Now he that knoweth him that doth this work, and experienceth him doing this work in him, doth he not know Chrift? Oh! is it not precious to be baptized by him whom God hath appointed to baptize? Oh! the fan, the precious fan, wherewith Christ (who is the power and wisdom of God) separates the precious from the vile, severs the wheat and the chaff, gathers the wheat into the precious treasury, and lets out the unquenchable fire upon the chaff! Our God is a consuming fire, faith the apostle. To what is be a consuming fire? Is it not to the chaffy, earthy, drolly nature in men and women? Why bring the chaff near to the fire, will it "not burn it up? And then (as that is burnt up and consumed) that which is pure, that which is upright, that which is tender, that which is born of God, can dwell with, and delight in, the devouring fire, and everlasting burnings. For God is not terrible to the child which is born of him, to him who is brought forth in the image and Spirit of his Son ; 'bur to the transgressing nature, to the seed of evil-doers, which are naturally inclined to do evil, and every day doing evil, he is terrible for evermore. Oh! blessed are they who believe in that power, and experience that power near, which raised Christ from the dead, and are baptized with his baptism! They have access to God : for fo the true Jews have been inwardly. cleansed and kept clean; but the unclean, who have only a notion of Christ's blood, and of his righteousness, but are not washed thereby, nor cloathed therewith, nor ever knew what it was to put off the filthy garment, and to put on the white raiment, they may pray in their own wills and spirits; but they know not what it is to draw nigh. to. God in the Spirit and life of his
Son, and so are yet to learn what it is to pray to the Father in the name of Chrift. For none truly know Christ, but they who truly know and are led by his infallible Spirit. They that have not the Spirit of Christ are none of his g and they that have his Spirit, have that which is infallible. It is one thing to have words spoken concerning Christ, or formerly by Christ; another thing to have the infallible Spirit itself; to be infallibly born of the Spirit, and brought up in the light and life of the Spirit, that he may certainly know, the Shepherd's voice from the voice of every strange fpirit.
Some Queries to such as affirm the Scriptures to be the only Rule, and
deny the Spirit, the Seed of the Kingdom, the new Covenant, the boly Leaven of Life, the Law written in the Heart, to be the Rule
of the Children of the new Covenant. Query 1. OW are the scriptures the rule; or which of the scriptures
are the rule? Are the whole fcriptures the rule, from the beginning of Genesis to the Revelations? Or are some parts of them the rule, some others not? If fome parts of them be the rule, and some not, which parts are the rule, and which are not the rule? As to instance, in the book of Job; his friends spake many words concerning God, which were not so right as Job's, Job xlii. And also Job himself, in some of his words and speeches, darkened counsel by words without knowledge, as he himself confeffed, Job xlii. 3. Now which of Job's friends words are the rule, and which not; and which of Job's words are the rule, and which not?
Query 2. Mofes was the minister of the old covenant (for he ministered to the Jews the old covenant, which was glorious in its day); but he was not the minister of the new covenant. Now the new covenant, and ministration thereof, exceeds the old in glory. The writing of the law inwardly in the tables of the heart, is a more glorious ministration than the writing of it outwardly in tables of stone. Now were Moses's words to the Jews under the old covenant intended by God to be the rule of the children of light under the new covenant ? Shall the words of that ministration, which was to pass away, be the rule of the children of that ministration which is to abide for ever?
Query 3. Did Moses say, That when Christ came, my words which I speak or write shall be your rule, or part of your rule? Or did he not rather fay, When God raiseth up that prophet, bim Mall ye bear in all things? Is there any one that is truly a sheep, who is not so made by him who gives life to the foul? And after he is made alive, and knows the shepherd's voice, is he not to hear his voice for ever, who gives life eternal, and who leads into the pastures of life, and to the pure still waters, all that hear his voice and follow him ? Read Jobn xiv. 3, 4. and Arts iii, 22. and consider.
Query Query 4. Was not John as great, if not greater than Moses? Had ever any the honour besides him to be the immediate forerunner and
of the way, and to point to the Lamb of God as he did? And yet was not he to decrease in his ministry (it being not the gospel ministration of the Spirit and power, as Christ's was) and Christ to increase in his gospel-ministration is not the least in the kingdom greater than John? And are not all that are quickened by Christ, and follow him, led by him into the kingdom? And who can give the rule of life in the kingdom but the king thereof? In the last days doth not the Lord speak to his people by his Son? And is not he faithful in all his house, as a lon, to give the law and rule of life to them in Chrift?
Query 5. Are not all that are soldiers and subjects under Christ to follow hin, their Lord and Captain, whithersoever he goes or rules? How can they know whither he goes or rules, but by an inward eye and ear fixed upon, and open to him? So that when once they know his Spirit (the voice of bis Spirit, as his true sheep do), his movings, his drawings, his leadings, his going before, is their rule to follow. And they are not to grieve or quench his Spirit, in drawing back from any thing that he leads and draws them to.
Query 6. Is not Christ the way, the truth, the life; the living way, the living truth? Is not the living way the rule to them that live? Is not the truth itself the rule of all that are true? What should rule and guide the fpiritual man, that is born of the Spirit, but the wisdom of the Spirit, but the oracle of God manifested in his temple and fanctuary? That which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit, in which the Spirit is to dwell; and he in whom he dwells is to be ruled by him.
Query 7. What is that which the apostle calls the rule, Gal. vi. 15, 16. which if a man walk according to, peace will be upon him ? Is it not the Word, power and wisdom of God? Doth not he that walketh according to that, walk in the newness of the Spirit? Doth not he that walketh out of that, walk in the oldness of the letter at the best? Doth not he that believeth according to that, hopeth according to that, prayeth according to that ; I say, doth not he believe, hope, and pray according to the rule ? Doth not he that believeth, hopeth, prayeth otherwise (though ever so zealousy and affectionately), yet, at best, can any better be said of it, but that it is but in the oldness of the letter, and so is not in the right way which God requires in the gospel-covenant ?
Query 8. Is not the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus the law of the new covenant ? And is not that the rule to the children of the new covenant ? Is not the truth which makes free, the way and rule to them who are made free by it? Is the letter or Spirit the rule under the ministration of the Spirit? Let that which is sensible, and which feels and knows the truth and way of life (as it is in Jelus) answer. Men may search the scripVol. II.