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HRIST is made by God a minister, or high-priest, over the spiritual
Israel of God. Not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life (as Heb. vii, 16. and chap. viii. 2.); and he ministers with his Spirit and power unto and in all his. So that he that knows Christ's ministry, knows the power, the life, the Spirit in which he minifters ; but he that is not acquainted with these, is yet to learn to know Christ aright, and to believe in him unto life and salvation, which are wrapped up, comprehended, revealed, and communicated in the power wherewith he ministers. For the very beginning of Christ's ministry is in the Spirit and power of God, whereby he redeems out of the Spirit and power of Satan; and to this men are to be turned, if they will witness falvation by Jesus Christ, even to the light and power of God's Holy Spirit, which breaks the darkness and strength of the kingdom of Satan in the heart. For indeed all literal professions, beliefs, knowledges,
and practices, out of the life and power, Satan can transform himself into, and uphold and maintain his kingdom under, in the hearts of men; but the inward light and power of life breaks it, where the minds of people are by the Spirit of the Lord turned thereto, and subjected under its rule and govern
law, that the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they (that is, the outward Israel, Israel after the flesh) should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts, Mal
. i. 7. And doth not Christ, our Highpriest, and the Apostle of our profession, keep all the people's knowledge ? And are they not all to seek the law of life, the law of the new covenant, at his mouth? Is not he the messenger of the covenant, who brings tidings of the covenant of life and peace; and must not the soul that wilī live hear him? Isa. lv. 1, 2, 3. Is not he the sealed and Sent-One of the Father, to open the blind eye, and to bring the prisoner out of the pit ? Is not he the Shepherd of the spiritual fock? And are not such as are called out of the world (and sanctified by him) his sheep? And are not all his sheep to hear his voice, and follow him ? Is not he the prophet, like Mofes, appointed by God, for all the spiritual Israel to hear in all things ? (Is not his Spirit to teach and lead into all truth? Can any else lead into truth; or can any come into truth unless they be led ?) And they that will not hear the voice Uuu 2
of his Spirit in these latter days (seeing God, in these last days, speaketh by his Son, and faith to all the true disciples and followers of the Lamb, Hear ye him); are they not to be cut off from the comforts of his Spirit, from the pure refreshments of his Spirit, from the life of his Spirit, and from the living Israel, and so to be numbered among the dead and unredeemed?
Chrift faith, I am the way, the truth, and the life. It is he alone that is the living way, which leads to the Father. Now how is Christ the way to the Father? How is he the truth? How is he the life? Is he so by any literal and outward knowledge of him; or by the inward, spiritual
, and living knowledge of him? They that know his Spirit, know the way; and they that walk in his Spirit, walk in the way. This is most certain : they that walk not in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness and life of the Spirit, they walk in the new and living way. How is the letter old; and how is the Spirit new? How is Christ known after the Aesh, and so to be known no more? And how is he known after the Spirit, and fo to be known for ever? Man is but flesh, and his knowledge and understanding of things, of his own fetching from the literal relation and descriptions of them, is but the knowledge of the fleshly part; but there is a new eye, a new understanding, a new heart and mind, to which the Father reveals him; and that knowledge which the new-birth receives of the Father, that is spiritual, true, pure, heavenly, living knowledge. And so the children of the kingdom are to dwell in that light wherein the Father reveals the things of the kingdom ; and this differenceth them from all the literal knowers of the things of God upon the face of the earth. Now this is it which satisfieth my heart concerning my knowledge of the things of God, even that I have so learned to know Christ, and to believe in him (and to repent from dead works, and to obey him, and suffer for him) as I could never have learned, unless the Father himself had taught me. And now seeing and partaking of the difference, I cannot but teftify against all dead teachings, unto the Spirit's teaching, which is living; knowing assuredly, that no other teaching or learning the things of God will amount to true knowledge, or be owned in the day of the Lord, but that which is of and in the Spirit.
VII. A few Words more concerning the Right Way of Knowing, as it is
witnessed unto in the Scriptures, and experienced in the Hearts of . those that truly and livingly know the Lord.
IS DOM is justified of her children, said Christ, Matt. xi. 19. Now, WW
who is wisdom? What is wisdom? Is it not the heavenly mother of all the living? It is the Spirit which begets all, who are truly begotten to the Lord ? Now where, and into what, doth he beget them? In the earthly nature, in the earthly wisdom, in the earthly spirit, or out of it; in and into that which is heavenly.
Now all that are of this heavenly begetting and birth, they know (own and justify) that wisdom, wherein they are begotten. They justify the nature of truth, the light of truth, the life of truth, the power of truth, the appearance of truth in their age and generation. The false birth will own and justify the words of truth which were formerly spoken, and the former apppearances thereof (as the Scribes and Pharisees did Mofes and the prophets, who denied Christ, who was truth, and spake truth beyond them); but the true birth knoweth and justifieth the present words, and the present appearances of truth, which the false birth still Nightech and despiseth.
If any man therefore will judge aright concerning the things of God, he must be sure to be of the true birth (a child of the true wisdom) and that he keep to that nature, Spirit, and birth, to which God giveth the difcerning. For there is an eye of discerning, and a way of discerning, which is a gift; and he that will know aright, and judge aright, must keep to the gift of light, the gift of grace, the gift of the Spirit, the gift of the holy anointing; and be watchful and careful to judge in it, and take heed of judging out of it. For though a man be come to a spiritual state, and hath received the gift of grace, knowledge, and discerning; yet if he be not watchful to keep to the gift, he may easily err, and judge amiss.
VIII. Concerning Christ's Righteousness, which is the Righteousness of all
bis Saints. HRIST is the head, his saints the body; and do they not all partake C
of one nature, one Spirit, one virtue, one life, one righteousness ? Doch not Chrift give them of his own righteousness
, even of the righteousnefs which his Father gave him? And is not that righteousness which Christ giveth them, their righteousness? What was Christ's righteousness ? Was it not the righteousness of God revealed in him, communicated to him, and made his ? And what is their righteousness? is not the fame righte
ousness revealed in them, communicated to them, and made theirs, in and by Christ? Are not they made partakers of the divine nature, in and thro' him, and made the righteousnels of God in him ? Christ trusted his Father, and obeyed his Father in all things. Now was not that an effect of the righteous nature and Spirit of his Father in him ? He became obedient unto decib, even the death of the cross. And, Oh! how was his Father pleased therewith! Did not he lay to him, as to Abraham in the like case ? Because thou hast done this thing, in blessing I will bless thee; and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed; and thoir Malt see of the travail of thy soul, and be satisfied : for thou shalt not only gather the dispersed of Israel
, but inherit the Gentiles also; and have the uttermoft parts of the earth for thy polesion.
Consider now seriously, in God's fear; Is Chrift's obedience to the law of Moses the saints evangelical righteousness ? Or is his righteousness revealed in them, from faith to faith? Was his being circumcised outwardly
, their circumcision? Or is his inward circumcising them, their circumcision? Which of these is the gospel circumcision; the circumcising of his felh outwardly, or the circumcising of their hearts inwardly? Again, was his being outwardly baptized, their baptism? Or is the inward baptism of the Spirit, the gospel-baptism ? Doth le not fulfill the righteousness of the law of the Spirit of life in them, who believe in his Spirit and power, and walk not after the Aesh, but after the Spirit ? Was not Christ justified in the Spirit ? And are not all his justified in the Spirit also? Whatsoever is of God, whatsoever is wrought in God, doth not God justify? Is not the person here justified, the faith justified, the works justified with the justification of life, and of God's Holy Spirit, from whence they proceed? And here Christ's words are verified, He that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his deeds may be manifest, that they are wrought in God, John iii. 21. And are not his deeds then justified? He that is united to the Spirit of God (and acquainted with the Spirit of God, and knows his voice) hears, and sees, and feels, and understands what God condemns, and also what he justifies; who never condemns any thing that ariseth from himself, and is wrought in himself; but only that which cometh from the flesh, and is wrought in the flesh. And here he sees in the true light) what faith is imputed for righteousness
, and what faith is shut out; and what works are accounted righteous, and what works are shut out: and low Enoch walked with God in the righteous Spirit and life, and was therein justified ; and how Noah built an ark in the faith, being moved with fear, and was therein with his family saved. So Abel facrificed in the faith, By wbich he obtained witness that he was righteeus, God testifying of bis gifts, Heb. xi. 4. Mark; his facrifice, his gift
, came from a righteous Spirit, and so the righteous God teftified of his gift ; and such are all the facrifices now, that are offered up in God's Spirit, and in the true faith. And so we also see how Abraham (the father of the faithful) was justified by works, James ii. 21. and how God was pleased with him, because he had done that thing of offering up his only fon at God's command. Also Phinehas's zeal for the Lord, in executing judgment, was highly esteemed of the Lord, and was counted to bim for righteousness, unto all generations for evermore, Psa. cvi. 30, 31.
But alas! How do men mistake about the righteousness of Christ, about the gospel-righteousness; and, in effect, make it but the righteousness of the law, but the righteousness of the old covenant, performed in the perfon of another for us, and imputed to us ? Whereas it is the righteousness of another covenant, even of the new and living covenant, which the Lord Jesus Christ worketh, both in us and for us. Now whoever receiveth this righteousness from him, and is cloathed with it by him, he findeth it to be the righteousness of the gospel, the new and living righteousness, the true and everlasting righteousness, both of the Father and Son, which the souls of those that truly believe, partake of in them and with them.
Now consider a scripture or two, to evidence this further.
The apostle faith, 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18. The Lord is that Spirit (the Lord Jesus is the second Adam, the quickening Spirit) in whom the veil is done away, ver. 15. And so the true Christian (in whom the veil is done away, who is come into the true liberty of the Spirit) with open face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, is changed into the same image.
Now mind: if man be changed into the heavenly image, if he partake of Christ's image, is he not made righteous, and become truly righteous therein ? Was not the image of the first Adam holy and righteous ? And is not the image of the second Adam holy and righteous also? And are not they that are changed from the image' of sin and Satan, into Christ's image, holy and righteous in that image ? Are they not changed from unrighteouf, ness to righteousness? And is not this image, whereinto they are changed, and wherein they are new created by God, their righteousness ? Whoever is ingrafted into Christ
, is he not ingrafted into righteousness? Cut off from unrighteousness, and ingrafted into righteousness; even into the righteous nature and Spirit of the Lamb ? And doth he not partake of the righteousness of the vine or olive-tree, into which he is ingrafted ? And doth not that become his righteousness ? If the root be holy, then are also the branches; and if the root be righteous, so are also the branches; and that is the righteousness and holiness of the branches, which they have from the
The other scripture is that of Eph. iv, 22, 23, 24. which speaks of putting off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts ; and of being renewed in the spirit of the mind, and putting on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Mark; here is the new creation. Now consider well, what is the holiness and righteousness of the new creation ? Is not that which is put off
, old, corrupt, unholy, unrighteous ? Is not that which is put on, new, holy, righteous; even the image before spoken of, Christ the heavenly image, the new