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Do not say that I, as a man, am infallible, or that any of us as men are infallible; but God's light, God's grace, God's truth, God's Spirit, God's wisdom and power, is infallible; and fo far as we partake of that, are gathered into, and abide in that, we partake of that which is infallible, and are gathering into, and abide in that, which is infallible. And oh! let not men reft in, or be contented with, that knowledge which is fallible, but prefs after unity and fellowship with the Lord in his infallible Spirit; there being no true union nor fellowship with him in any thing that is fallible.
Oh! that Proteftants, Papifts, Jews, Turks, Indians, did all know and own this light, that there might be an end of the dark nefs and mifery, wherewith mankind hath been fo long overwhelmed; and happiness both in particular nations, and in the whole world, might be experienced in the ftead thereof. For mens erring from the light and Spirit of God, hath been the cause of all their misery; and their returning to the light and Spirit of God (from which all have erred) will take away the caufe of their mifery, and in it (as they faithfully fubject to the Lord and travel therein) they fhall find his power, love, and mercy revealed, towards their reftoring unto happiness.
Thirty-firft of the 5th
TIMES and SEASONS,
Both which have Been, and which are yet to Be.
HEN God made man in his own image, placing him in Paradife, and giving him dominion over the works of his hands; then was a time of great joy to Adam and Eve, and fhould have ftill been fo to them, and all mankind, had they continued in the ftate wherein they were created.
When Eve, and by her means Adám, hearkened to the voice of the Serpent, difobeyed the Lord their Creator, afpiring after wifdom, and the knowledge of good and evil, out of God's way; then was a feafon of mifery
Adam and all his pofterity; the holy and heavenly image being loft, and a curfed image gained in the ftead thereof, and fo man thruft out of Paradife, and the bleffednefs thereof, into the earth, which was curfed for man's fake. So in this ftate, fin and the curfe is man's portion, instead of the holiness and bleffednefs, which his Creator had allotted him.
When God promised the bleffed feed, and revealed himself to the fathers in the faith, begetting fons to himself, who heard his voice, obeyed and walked with him; then was a blessed time and feafon to them, though fin and death reigned in the world. But when the fons of God alfo forgat him, and mingled their feed with the corrupted world, then the deluge came, fweeping away all but Noah with his family, and the creatures faved in the ark.
When the Lord chofe the Jews to be a people to himself, from amidst all nations, delivering them by his outstretched arm out of Egypt, destroying Pharaoh and his hoft, and led them through the wildernets, fitting the fucceeding generation for the good land, bringing them into it, bleffing and establishing them in it, while they feared him and walked in covenant with him, then was a blessed time and fealon with that people. But when they provoked God, brought his judgments often, and at last utter ruin and defolation upon themfelves, then were feafons of great misery and diftrefs, and at laft of utter destruction to them.
While the Gentiles were caft off, and were no people, being of the corrupt feed which God hath not chofen, nor had any delight in, and while they knew not the living God, but worshiped ftocks and itones, and fo were liable to the pouring down of his wrath and indignation upon all occafions, and to utter ruin and deftruction, when their iniquities were full, it was a fad time and feafon with them, wherein they were eftranged from the life of God, and his holy covenant of promife, and were without God in the world.
When the Lord preached the gofpel to the Gentiles, by his holy apostles and minifters, manifefting Chrift to them, the hope of glory, the mystery hid from ages and generations, engrafting them into the holy vine and olivetree, giving them to partake of the fweetnefs and fatnefs thereof, even of the riches of his grace and goodness in his Son, who is eternal life, and gives eternal life to all his; then was such a time and feafon of love, grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jefus Chrift (both towards Jews and Gentiles) as had not been known in the world before.
When the Chriftian church apoftatifed, the love in many waxing cold, men minding the name of Christianity, and form of Godliness, but not the life and power, and fo the Lord was provoked against them, to remove their candleftick out of its place, and give up the outward court to the Gentiles, and fo the Spirit was loft or departed from, the life loft, the power loft, the everlafting gofpel hid from mens eyes, and darkness and mens inventions fet up inftead thereof, in nations, tongues, and people, and the
Goncerning the Times and Seafons, &c.
witnesses to any appearances of God's living truth and holy power perfecuted; then was a fad time, then was a feafon of death and darkness reigning over all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, and the cup of fornication drunk by them all, and all generally bewitched by it, except thofe whofe names were written in the Lamb's book of life. This was the greatest time of darkness (wherein the mystery of iniquity moft deeply wrought in the deepest ways of deceit) that ever was in the world.
When the church comes again out of the wilderness, when the Spirit and power of God builds up again the gospel-church in its primitive glory, when the everlasting gospel is preached again to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and languages, in the authority and power of God, when the Spirit of the Lord is poured out plentifully on his fons and daughters, and they prophesy, walk, and live in it, when God dwells and walks in his people, and his true light fhines in them, difpelling the darkness thoroughly, and filling them with the glory and majefty of the Lord, and they ascend up, out of the world's fpirit and nature, into his spirit and nature, even in the fight of their enemies, and the full wrath of the Lamb be poured out on Babylon, and the full glory revealed in Sion; then fhall there be fuch a day of brightness and pure heavenly glory, as fhall dazzle the eyes of all beholders.
But the paffing away of this night, and the bringing forth of this day, will be very terrible and dreadful, both in particulars and in nations. The kingdoms of this world muft indeed become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Chrift; but it will require great power to bring it about. The wrath and ftrength of the fpirit of darkness will be working against the Lord and his power to the utmost; and the more it works against the Lord and his power, the more will the Lord's power, and the wrath of the Lamb, be revealed against that spirit, and against all its devices and undertakings against the counsel and power of the Lord. Oh! bleffed are they that are of the Lamb's nature and Spirit, of his righteoufnefs and meeknefs; for the wrath of the Lamb will not be kindled against them, but he will be a munition of rocks unto them, and their inward life fhall be preferved, and they fhall enjoy peace with the Lord in the midst of all that shall outwardly befall them.
Mesborow in Kent, Twenty-
The everlasting gofpel hath been preached in this nation (and also other nations), just after that very manner as it was foretold it fhould, Rev. xiv. 16. Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of bis judgment is come; and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the fea, and fountains of waters.
Now they that have heard this bleffed found of the everlafting gospel, and have learned to fear God with this fear which the. gofpel calls for
(which is the fear of the new covenant, which is not taught by the precepts of men, but which God puts into the heart in the new covenant), and to give glory to him, bowing to him, and learning righteoufnefs of him, in the hour of his judgment upon their fouls, and have worshiped him, and him only, in his Spirit and truth, which is the gofpel-worfhip, or the worship of God according to the everlafting gofpel; thefe are accounted with God knowers and obeyers of the gofpel of our Lord Jefus Christ. Thefe are a peculiar people to God, whom he hath taken an especial care of, and whom he will hide under the fhadow of his wings, and in the fecret of his pavilion, while his wrath is poured out upon peoples and nations.
But others that have not been gathered under the fhadow of God's wings, by the preaching of the everlafting gofpel, who have not known or obeyed the found thereof; when the ftorm comes, when the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodlinefs and unrighteousness of men (whereof this nation is full, and hath had feveral tokens of God's great difpleasure for a long time), they will not find a fhelter, though they flie to the focks and mountains to hide and cover them from the wrath of the Lamb, but will lie open to the stroke of the overflowing fcourge, which useth to overflow nations, after fuch a deluge of fin as hath long overflowed this nation. Oh! that men could hear the voice of the rod, and him who hath appointed it, and feek an hiding place, and enter into the chamber of rest and quietnefs with the Lord, until the indignation be overpaft.
Now unto any whofe hearts are touched with the fear of the Lord, and the fenfe of his righteous judgments and wrath due to this nation (which doubtless have come in part already, and are coming fafter and fafter, and entering into the very heart and bowels of it), and who would efcape the ftroke of God's dreadful hand, and find inward reft and peace with him in the day of outward trouble and fore diftrefs;
To fuch, a few words of advice, very early this morning, lay upon my
First, Seek the Lord (Oh! do not feek the world, but seek the Lord, who redeems out of the fpirit of the world, where the wrath comes, and upon which it is to seize)! And feek righteousness, feek meekness; it may be, ye fhall be bid in the day of the Lord's anger, Zeph. ii. 3.
Secondly, Wait upon God, that ye may learn of him to keep your beart with all diligence, for out of it are the iffues of life. If ever ye know the iffues of life, ye must know them there; and if ye know the iffues of life there, and they sweetly iffue up, and flow into your fouls, they will refresh and delight you in the midst of all the fore afflictions, troubles, and diftreffes, which can befall you outwardly. Read Pfa. xlvi. and confider:
Thirdly, Mind who knocks at the door of your hearts, whether it be the destroyer or Saviour of the foul; for both thefe knock often at the door, but men are not aware thereof. And wait to receive power from God to be faithful door-keepers, that ye may keep the door of your hearts fhut against
the enemy, when he knocks with any temptation, and may open them to
Fourthly, Wait to know, and experience truly, and alfo more and more,
Many have the form of godlinefs, who are not accepted of the Lord; but fuch only as know God's power, and are led by his Spirit, fuch are indeed in Chrift Jefus; for the holy power grafts the foul, mind, and spirit of a man, into the holy ftock and root of life. And fuch know the new creation in Chrift, and the works of the new creation, which they perform and walk in (being God's workmanship, created in Chrift Jefus unto good works). And here the old things pass away (which can pafs away by no other means, but by the revealing of the arm and power of God inwardly in the heart, and by its effectual operation there), and so all things become new. Now, where all things become new, where the heart is new, the mind and spirit new, the defires new, the joys and delights new, the life and conversation new, and the foul walks before the Lord, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, even in the newness thereof; what is there for the wrath of God to feize upon?
Though the Lord be a confuming fire, yet it is to his enemies, to fin, to unrighteousness, to the chaffy, earthly mind and nature; he is not fo to his children, to the wheat, to the holy feed, to them that are new created and cleansed by him, to them that fear him, love him, walk with him, keep his commandments, obey the gofpel of his Son, denying all for him, and following the Shepherd and leader of their fouls, out of all untruth and unrighteoufnefs, into all truth and righteousness, Surely, thefe fhall not only be able to abide, but dwell with the devouring fire, and everlasting burnings; and that fhall be their fafety and fhelter, when the flames thereof break forth to confume and burn up the chaff every-where.
Twenty-fifth of the 6th