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been often affected and filled with a ravishing joy, when I have beheld the heavenly and blessed order and government which the Lord God of wisdom hath already brought forth among us, and guideth us in, to the comfort and refreshment of many, and to the injury and hurt of none, neither without nor within. And indeed we do not defire any greatnefs or authority of man; but only of the Lord our God in the midft of us, that all men may be but his fervants and ministers in the church, and to the church, for the good of the church. No, no; this is the day of the Lord, of the fetting up and exalting of his power in the church, which the church waiteth for, and knoweth the appearance of, and cannot bear the exaltation of man (of man's fpirit, wisdom, power, and authority) inftead of the Lord's. Yet nothing that cometh from the Lord, from his pure life and Spirit in any, must be rejected: and if the Lord please to make ufe of those whom he did make ufe of to gather home to himfelf; I fay, if he hath given them gifts, and please to make ufe of them alfo in building up, and manifefting the holy order of his Holy Spirit and power, the Lord must not be refifted or withstood therein; but whatever comes from him must be received with thankfulness, through what inftrument foever he please to convey


Object, But have 1 not been taught to be fubject to the light in my own heart, and to make that my judge? And is not this another, or new, or different doctrine from that, now to tell me I must fubject to the light of God's Spirit in his church? Suppofe that which the church requires, or orders, or holds forth, be dif ferent from my light, or be not yet revealed to me by the light wherewith God bath enlightened me, must I deny the light wherewith God hath enlightened me, and fubject to the church's light? Or muft I praclife as the church orders, before ! have light and faith in my own particular?

Anf. I fhall answer this question according to the naked and plain sense of truth in my heart.

Firft, God gives power to his church to perform all that he requires of her as a church. Now the church is a fpiritual body, and is to take care of her members, to look after them that they mind the truth, and walk according to truth, and to admonish and reprove them when they do otherwife. And every member of the church ought to hear the church, in whatever the fpeaks unto it from God.

Secondly, Every member hath need of the light, Spirit, and power which God gives his church, and reveals in his church, for the good of the body, and the benefit and advantage of each member therein.

Thirdly, The light, Spirit and power in the church is never contrary to the light, Spirit, and power in any member; but always one with it, and a cherisher and preferver of what God begets, and which anfwers his witness in any. The new Jerufalem, the church of God's building in his own Spirit and power, is a city at unity with itself. The greatest degree of light owns, and is at unity with, the leaft; and the leaft degree of light hath a sense of that which is in degree and measure above it.


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Fourthly, The light in the weakeft, which they are at firft to be turned, and afterwards to be kept to, though there is a fufficiency in it for the particular, yet they are not fo understanding and fenfible of it as thofe whofe fenfes have been long exercised in the living truth, and are grown in the holy experience. Therefore as the elders are to be tender of the younger, fo the younger are to reverence the elders in the Lord, and not to flight their teftimony, experience, or judgment in the truth. When we were first convinced of the truth, were we not in a great degree ignorant and doubtful concerning the rifings and motions of it in the heart, which the eye being yet weak, could not clearly diftinguish? And oh! how helpful to us was the tender care and advice of fuch whom God had made acquainted with those things, and were able to give us true judgment from him, in such cases as our weak minds were apt to be entangled about, and could not fee through?

Fifthly, Great fobriety is needful in fuch cafes, wherein men are too prone to be judging others, especially the church of God. Every man is to take heed of thinking of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think foberly, according as God had dealt to every man the measure of faith, Rom. xii. 3. And the young men (who have not the experience of the aged, and are moft apt to confidence and excurfions) are in a special manner to be exhorted to be fober-minded, Tit. ii. 6. Men may eafily judge that others err, and that they themselves keep to the light and meafure of truth in their own particulars; but it is hard to do it. But they that indeed do it, abide in the humility, and innocency, and lamb-like fpirit, which would give no offence in any thing, neither to Jew nor Gentile, nor to the church of God. If it will go fo hard with him that offends one of Chrift's little-ones, how will it go with him that offends his church, wherein his glory and power riseth, and is established? The church is not apt to be fuch an erring body from the light, Spirit, and power of the Lord Jefus, as many (who mistake concerning the light in their own particulars) are too apt to fuppofe.

Laftly, Ever fince the fall of man, man hath been fecretly, or more ma- .. nifeftly, directed by a light, or the principle within, to direct or guide his ways. To Adam the holy feed was promifed, which was not only to appear outwardly in a body of flesh, but also within in man's heart, to bruise the ferpent's head there. And the holy patriarchs had not the letter outwardly, but God's Spirit inwardly to be their guide and teacher, which did also strive with the wicked old world before the flood. The Jews alfo were directed to the Word nigh in the mouth and heart; and this Word fhewed also to the Gentiles what was good, and what the Lord required of them; and by this Word fuch of the Gentiles as hearkened to it felt fomewhat of the new creation, and of the new nature, by which nature they did in measure answer the holy law of God, and do the things contained in the law, which by the old corrupt nature no man can do. Alfo Chrift preached the king


dom, or feed of the kingdom within. And the apoftles preached the fame word of faith within, which Mofes had teftified of.

Yet in none of thefe difpenfations was any teftimony from God to be defpifed, but his voice to be heard in the prophets, in Chrift, and in the apoftles. And though men are bleffedly and gloriously turned, and to be turned to the light within, in thefe our days; yet they are not thereby taught to neglect or defpife the voice of God, in any whom he fends and speaks by, and pretend it is contrary to their light; but to lie low before the Lord, that in the true humility and holy fear, they may know the voice of the Shepherd, both in their own hearts, and in whomfoever he pleafeth to speak. For the Great Almighty God is not limited, but he may fpeak in and thro' whom he pleafeth. He may fpeak to me from the anointing in my own heart, and the holy anointing may please to speak to me through others; and fo far as I am of God, and fenfible of his appearance, I cannot defpife the voice of the anointing in my own heart, or through others. Yea, truth teacheth that modefty, temperance, humility, tenderness, and fobriety, that I dare not defpife the voice that pretends to the anointing in any, until I have made trial of it. Yea, John Pennyman's voice and teftimony I durit not condemn, until the Lord my God, in the unerring light and pure fpringing life, manifefted unto me that it was not of him, but of the transform ing enemy, who had bewitched and deceived him by his ftrong delufions (he forfaking the rock, which would have been his ftrength), to receive and believe a lie, inftead of the truth.

Oh! bleffed be the Lord for the building up fuch a church, and fpeaking to us through his church! And happy are they that hear her voice, and fo keep to their own, as to know the voice of their own in the church, and are not through temptation prejudiced against it. For it is the Lord's gathering, and the Lord is with it; and the people who have been gathered by the Lord, and are daily taught by him, keep with him. And tho fome may depart from us, and through error of judgment testify against us, yet truth abides, and the Lord's people abide with the truth, and his building goeth on, and the holy government of his Son encreaseth in it, and the Lord appears more and more inwardly in his glory, as the hearts of his people are made capable to receive it from him. And in all the goings out of any, and apoftafies that have been in any, through hearkening to a wrong fpirit, they that have heard and reverenced the voice and teftimony of the church, and God's chofen and blessed miniftry, which he hath raised among us, have ftill been preferved; and they that have gone therefrom, been betrayed. And it is my faith, this church of God's gathering fhall ftill be preferved, and grow in the holy dominion and authority of God's bleffed Spirit; and that all her enemies fhall be found liars unto her, and the fhall tread upon their high places, and fhall grow and profper the more by all oppofition; the everlasting arm and wifdom of the Almighty being with her, to preferve, profper, and blefs her, fo be it. Amen.








Treated and Teftified of

According to the SCRIPTURES of TRUTH,



True Experience felt in the HEART from the GOD of TRUTH.


The kingdom of beaven is like to a grain of mustard-feed, which a man toak and fowed in his field. Which indeed is the leaft of all feeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, &c. MATT. xiii. 31, 32. Being born again, not of corruptible feed, but incorruptible, by the word of God

which liveth and abideth for ever. I PET. i. 23.

Whofoever is born of God, doth not commit fin; for his feed remaineth in him: and be cannot fin, because he is born of God. 1 JOHN iii. 9.

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WOULD fain have (and my foul exceedingly breathes to the Lord for it) difputing about religion come to an end, and the right understanding, practifing, and experiencing the true religion begun and go on in mens hearts. The gofpel-religion, in the apoftles days, did begin in the evidence and demonstration of God's Spirit inwardly; and it cannot rightly begin any otherwise now. Nor can it rightly go on any other way, but according to its beginning: for they that begin in the Spirit, cannot poffibly rightly go on, or be made perfect, by the flesh. Did the apoftles in vain wait for the Spirit and power from on high? Can the Gofpel-miniftry, or gofpelwork in any heart, be carried on without it? Or did they in vain turn men from Satan's power to God? Can the leaft true change be wrought in the heart, without the operation of God's Holy Spirit and power there? And to be turned to wait for, and taught to know, the rifings of the pure power of the Lord inwardly (which is fo neceffary to begin, preferve, and carry on the work), oh! what a precious miniftration of life, and of the gospel, is this from the Lord? The thing that we wanted, and mourned after all our days, in our several strains and ways of profeffion, without the knowledge of this, is now met with; bleffed be the Lord God of Ifrael, who hath caft up and prepared the way (according to his promife) before the face of all people. Whoever hath an ear to hear what the Spirit faith to the churches of his own gathering, or from the angel of his own fending, may now hear the bleffed tidings of the reign of the King of Ifrael, and of Sion his holy hill, and Jerufalem his holy city; and how to wait for the law going out of Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerufalem, and how he may receive the fheep's nature, and the fheep's ear, which hears the voice of the Shepherd, and is not deceived about it. Oh! come out of the vain difputing mind, and thou comeft out of deceit! Come into the true filence and ftilling of the fleshly part thither, where God's voice is heard and understood; and thou comeít into true certainty. There thou comeft to hear


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