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receive you, &c. 2 Cor. vi. It is true, I seek you for worshippers, and I call you to the gospel-feast of fat things, and I will receive you if ye come; but ye must first come out from among all the false ways and false worshippers, and depart from (and not so much as touch) that which is unclean (the unclean spirit, his unclean ways and worshippers) and then I will receive you, and own you as my sons and daughters, and be a Father to you; not elfe. Mark now; The Jews outward (in their day) must be separate from all the Heathen outward, if they would be judged and owned by God for true worshippers according to the law. The primitive Christians were to feparate from both Heathen and Jews too (even their temple, priests, and ordinances, which were once of God) if they would be worshippers, true worshippers under the gospel, worshippers of God's seeking. And the Christians, after the antichristian corruption and darkness, must come out of Babylon; that is, out of all forms of religion, and buildings out of the life and power (for that is Babylon, the city of confusion, which is built, ftands out of, and practiseth out of, the order and unity of the Spirit), if they will be found worshippers in the day of restoration; after the long darkness of the apostasy, they must not worship the beaft (nor worship God, as the beast teacheth and requireth ; for in fo worshipping, God is not worshipped, but the beast) nor bear his name, nor receive his mark, either on their forehead or right hand, nor be of the number of his name. Now the command is as express to come out of Babylon ; that is, to separate from all antichristian ways and worships; as ever it was to separate from the Heathen and Jews; and there is no being a true worshipper in God's fight, but in the true way of separation from all false worshippers
, who worship in forms and appearances of godliness, out of the life and power.
Now, oh! how precious it is to feel God's seeking, God's gathering, God's separating, God's teaching, leading, drawing into the truth, and true way of worship! For there are self-feparations, which are out of the true Spirit, life and power. Yea, God may begin the separation, and another wildom may step in, and carry it on, out of the limits of the sweet, innocent Spirit, life and power. Oh! blessed is he who is feparated by the Lord from all that is not of him! But he that is but sensual, and hath not the Spirit, but only by a literal knowledge separateth himself, he differeth from others but in the outward form and appearance of godliness; but is one in nature and ground with those whom he feparateth from. Thus the Papifts, and all pretended Christians (of the fame fpirit) who feel not the true Spirit, power, and life, are but one in the ground, how great foever their difference outwardly seem. And those that separate further and further (even to the utmost extent outwardly, or in way of appearance) being not separated by the Lord from that nature and spirit wherein the enmity lodgeth, they are still inhabitants of one and the same city (for the city of
Babylon Babylon is very large) and daughters of one and the same mother, even of the wisdom which is from beneath; which wisdom, in its highest exaltation, is far beneath the nature and true excellency of the pure and heavenly wifdom, even in its lowest and most contemptible appearance. Oh! blessed is the religion, the worship, the separation, the fear of the Most High God, the faith, the knowledge, which begins in the Spirit and power (even in the evidence and demonstration of God's own Spirit), and which stands and abides therein! For herein are the children of light distinguished, and kept distinct (by God Almighty, who hath made the difference) from all the children of darkness,
1671, About the 12th month,
By ISAAC PENINGTON,
A TRE A
Prisoner at READING-Gaol for the Testimony of Truth.
They also that erred in spirit shall know understanding, and they that
murmured shall learn doctrine. Isa. xxix. 24. Blessed be the Lord, it is so. This Prophecy is sensibly and experimentally fulfilled, and fulfilling daily more and more.
Τ Η Ε
P R E F A CE.
HRIST, who came from the Father, and knew the way of truth
and life everlasting, and was to guide men to the Father, being the only way unto him, preached the kingdom, and bid men seek the kingdom; teaching and instructing them in many parables concerning it, and directing them where and how to find it.
The apostles likewise (who succeeded Christ in the fame Spirit and power wherein he ministered) preached the same kingdom, declaring and describing what it was, and wherein it consisted ; namely, not in word, but in power (even in the power which shakes all that is to be shaken, but cannot be shaken itself, nor the kingdom which is in it, 1 Cor. iii. 20. and Heb. xii. 28.) Nor was the kingdom of God meat and drink (or any outward thing); but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, Rom. xiv. 17.
And they preached not in vain ; for the life was inwardly revealed in many, the power inwardly revealed, and the righteousness, peace, and joy thereof felt. For such as truly believed and obeyed the gospel, received the kingdom which could never be shaken, and had an entrance ministered to them thereinto, according to their diligence and carefulness in the truth.
Now afterwards a great darkness came over, and this glorious kingdom was again veiled, and the kingdom of darkness and deceit overspread the profeffors of Christianity; and in this time notions and outward knowledges took with men, instead of the life and truth itself, wherein the kingdom and power stands.
But, blessed be the Lord, the light of life again shines out of and over the darkness, and the kingdom is again received, and the entrance into it again known; and from what is seen and heard (and in measure enjoyed and possessed) is a faithful testimony given forth. And blessed are they who hear the joyful sound; for it is no less than the found of life itself, the power itself, the gospel itself, the Spirit himself, manifesting himself in, and Speaking through, vessels according to his pleasure.