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Now they that receive this light, which is teftified of, and witneffed to, receive Chrift; but they that defpife and reject it, reject him; as will be made manifest in the day of the Lord, whatever men, in their wisdom and comprehenfions, judge to the contrary, who know not, nor are able to judge of the appearances of the Lord, or of the glory of this difpenfa
For this difpenfation is indeed most precious, glorious, and living, being a difpenfation of the feed and power of life itself, whereby God translateth out of darkness, and the regions thereof, into the kingdom of his dear Son, and into his glorious image. Which, reader, not that thou mayeft have only notions concerning, but mayeft really come to partake of, is the end of my giving forth these things following; which fweetly, freshly, livingly, and powerfully sprang up in my heart for thy fake, and are in great love presented to thy view,"
By a fufferer for the truth which lives in him,
one therefore that me, John vi. 45. taught of the Lord, greatest of them.
GOD's Teachings, and CHRIST's Law, &c.
Concerning God's Teachings.
It is written in the prophets (faid Chrift) they fhall be all taught of God. Every bath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto For the prophets indeed bad faid, All thy children fhall be and they fhall all know me, from the least of them to the
OW whofe children are they which fhall all be taught of the Lord? And which are they which fhall all know the Lord by the teachings of his Spirit, from the leaft to the greateft? Are they not the children of the free woman, the children of the Jerufalem which is from above, which is the mother of all that are truly living? Now all her children the Father of life begets, and taketh care to teach them the true, pure, heavenly, living knowledge; fo that they indeed know the Lord, being taught by the anointing fo to do; and they indeed know Chrift, the Father revealing him to them: for none knows the Father but the Son, and none knows the Son but the Father, and he to whom the Father reveals him. Flefb and blood bath not revealed it to thee, but my Father which is in heaven (faid Chrift to Peter, Matt. xvi. 17.) And it pleafed God to reveal his Son in me, faid Paul, Gal. i. 15, 16. And how did Paul preach Chrift among the Gentiles? Did he not preach him as a myftery hid from ages and generations, which none but the Father could reveal and make manifeft? And when
he is known and made manifeft, is he not known within, revealed within, made manifest within? Col. i. 26, 27. and 1 John i. 2. Mark: The life was manifefted. Thus they came to know Chrift; and if they would bring others to the knowledge of Chrift, they must bring others to the manifestation of the fame life, and fhew unto them that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifefted unto them, ver. 2. Now that they might do thus, they were to preach the light to them (even this meffage, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all, ver. 5.) and to turn them to the light (Acts xxvi. 18.) in which alone men can fee and receive the life which is eternal. Men may know or comprehend many things concerning the Meffiah from the letter; but they can only know the Meffiah himself in the light which fhines into their hearts, and which he fent his apoftles to direct and turn their minds to. For they directed them to the Word within, light within, life within, Spirit within; to feel after the manifeftation of God within, which was communicated to the very Gentiles, Rom. i. 17. And fo Paul directed the Gentiles to feek after and find God nigh, and not afar off, Acts xvii. 27. Oh! this is precious to find and feel God near, Chrift near; in his light to fee light, in his life to feel and enjoy life! For here (in the place of darkness, in the place of fin and death, in the place where dragons lay, Ifa. xxxv, 7.) is the redeeming power to be felt, and the deliverance of the foul experienced by those that truly believe.
The Scribes and Pharifees had a knowledge that the Meffiah was to come; but how came they by it? Why they had read fo in the letter of the fcripThe profeffors of this age have a knowledge that Chrift is come; how came they by that? Why they have read fo in the writings of the evangelifts and apoftles. But who hath believed the report of life now, and to whom is the arm of the Lord (which is now ftretched forth) revealed? Who hath heard and learned of the Father to know the Son, and fo to come to him, even from the inward revelation of his Spirit, and from the inward living knowledge which is thereby? Every one therefore (faith Chrift) every one of these children, every one that is taught of God (because of what they have heard and learned of the Father) cometh to the Son. Now every one that is thus drawn, and thus cometh, Chrift receiveth, and giveth to all fuch eternal life; and they know him who giveth them eternal life, and who preferveth and maintaineth life in them. Others have but a notional knowledge of him; but do not indeed know him that is true, nor are in him that is true, even in his Son Jefus Chrift, who is the very God and life eternal, 1 John v. 20.
And fo they that are taught of God, learn of him to repent from dead works, and do repent them thereof; whereas others, through hardness of heart, do not fo much as difcern which are dead works, which not, in matters of worship. Others do not know the true difference between that which is dead and that which is living; but death (unknown to them) lives and reigns in their very knowledge and apprehenfions of things; even in
their faith, in their duties, yea, in all they believe and perform to GodFor as Paul was alive without the law once, even when he walked according to the letter of the law blameless; fo all forts are now dead, in the midt of all their knowledges and practices from the letter (how much alive foever they may feem to themselves therein) till they come to the miniftration of the Spirit. For the letter killeth; but the Spirit quickeneth, or giveth life, 2 Cor. iii. 6. and ver. 3. This therefore is the work of a true minifter, to beget into the Spirit, and into the life; but ah-! how little do men know what dead works are, and what it is truly to witness repentance from them! Men out of God's Spirit, light, and power, are fo far from repenting for them, that they do not fo much as rightly diftinguish and difcern them; but take that for living which is dead; kindling a fire of themfelves, and compaffing themselves about with fparks, thinking the warmth thereof to be the true warmth. Now if men are not come to the true repentance from dead works, much lefs are they come to the true faith towards God; and fo are yet in their fins, yet out of Chrift, having never learned of the Father to come to him; and fo are ftill in Egypt's fpirit, in Egypt's wifdom, and in that hold their religion: and whenever God appears in his Spirit and power, he will not be that to them which they expect, but a dreadful stroke from him will come upon all their ways and worships, which are as abominable to God as they are pleafing to them. But alas! to what end are words to that ear, to that fpirit, which is like the deaf adder, which will not hearken to the voice of the charmer, charm he ever fo wifely! Could the letterlearned Scribes and Pharifees hear the voice of Chrift in the days of his flesh? Nay; they could not, in that gain-faying fpirit. Can the letterlearned profeffors, in the fame fpirit, hear the voice of Chrift's Spirit now? Nay; they cannot. And they that cannot hear the voice of the fecond Adam, the voice of the quickening Spirit, the voice of him who gives life to the foul, how can they live? And if they first receive not life from Chrift, how can they perform any living action to God? How can they worship in the Spirit and in the living truth, who are not gathered into the Spirit and into the living truth? Oh! that men could confider aright of these things, and wait on the Lord for the true understanding of them! For without the true knowledge of God and Chrift (without that knowledge which is life eternal) men muft needs perifh. It cannot be otherwife; for the true knowledge only faves, and therefore they which have it not must needs perish.
Concerning the Law of Christ.
And the ifles fhall wait for his law, Ifa. xlii. 4.
HAT is that law which the ifles were and are to wait for? Is it not the grace and truth which comes by Jefus Chrift, even the grace in the inward parts, the truth in the inward parts? The law outward was given by Mofes to the outward Jews; but grace and truth comes by Jefus Chrift. That is the law of the Jew inward, which the ifles of the Gentiles were to wait for.
The apostle holdeth forth Chrift to be the foul's mafter (he is the Shepherd, Lord, King, and Bishop of the foul), to whom every one must give an account. Now what muft men give an account to him of? Is it not of the grace and truth which comes by him? If any man hath received that, obeyed that, believing the found, report, and voice of that, and fo loved and followed it, will it not be faid unto him, Well done, good and faithful fervant? But if any one hath neglected and defpifed the grace (not improving the talent, but improving his own natural abilities, while God's talent lay wrapped up in a napkin, and hid in the earth) will not that perfon be judged a flothful fervant as to improving the talent, whatever he hath been as to improving his own natural parts and abilities?
Now mind: If Chrift be an inward, a fpiritual mafter, what is his law but the inward teachings of his Spirit? A prophet fhall the Lord your God raise up unto you like unto me, him fhall ye hear in all things; and he that will not hear him, how fecure and confident foever he may feem to himself of his ftate at prefent; yet it fhall come to pass that he shall be cut off and destroyed from among God's people. Are not the words, the voice, the motions, the leadings, the drawings, the commands of his Spirit, the law to all that are fpiritual? Doth he not fay to one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; to another, Do this, and he doth it? Here is the glory of the great Lord and King, and of the great Highpriest, over the houshold of God, in that he giveth forth precepts according to his holy will and pleasure; and all his theep know his voice, and follow him; and all his children and servants observe and obey him.
If we live in the Spirit, let us alfo walk in the Spirit, faid the holy apostle. Here are the limits of the children of the new covenant; here is the law of life (the law of the Spirit of life in Chrift Jefus), the law of the new covenant, written in the heart, which none can read but with the new eye. The children of the flesh may read the letter, and comprehend concerning the letter, and gather rules and obfervations out of the letter; but the children of the new covenant alone can read the law of life in the heart.