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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 so 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 rest in, or be contented with, that knowledge which is fallible, but press 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 Protestants, Papifts, Jews, Turks, Indians, did all know and own this light, that there might be an end of the darkness and misery, wherewith mankind hath been so long overwhelmed ; and happiness both in particular nations, and in the whole world, might be experienced in the stead 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 cause of their misery, and in it (as they faithfully subject to the Lord and travel therein) they shall find his power, love, and mercy revealed, towards their restoring unto happiness.
TIMES and SEASONS, Both which have Been, and which are yet to Be.
HEN God made man in his own image, placing him in Paradise,
and giving him dominion over the works of his hands; then was a time of great joy to Adam and Eve, and should have still been so to them, and all mankind, had they continued in the state wherein they were created.
When Eve, and by her means Adam, hearkened to the voice of the Serpent, disobeyed the Lord their Creator, aspiring after wisdom, and the knowledge of good and evil, out of God's way; then was a season of misery Rrrr 2
Adam and all his posterity ; the holy and heavenly image being loft, and a cursed image gained in the lead thereof, and so man thrust out of Paradise, and the blesiedness thereof, into the earth, which was cursed for man's fake. So in this state, fin and the curse is man's portion, instead of the holiness and bleffedness, which his Creator had allotted him.
When God promised the blessed seed, 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 seafon to them, though lin and death reigned in the world. But when the sons of God also forgat him, and mingled their feed with the corrupted world, then the deluge came, sweeping away all but Noah with his family, and the creatures saved in the ark.
When the Lord chose 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 wilderness, fitting the succeeding generation for the good land, bringing them into it, blessing and establishing them in it, while they feared him and walked in covenant with him, then was a blessed time and season with that people. But when they provoked God, brought his judgments often, and at last utter ruin and desolation upon themselves, then were feasons of great misery and diftress, and at laft of utter destruction to them.
While the Gentiles were cast off, and were no people, being of the corrupt feed which God hath not chosen, nor had any delight in, and while they knew not the living God, but worshiped stocks and itones, and so were liable to the pouring down of his wrath and indignation upon all occasions, and to utter ruin and destruction, when their iniquities were full, it was a fad time and season with them, wherein they were estranged from the life of God, and his holy covenant of promise, and were without God in the world.
When the Lord preached the gospel to the Gentiles, by his holy apostles and ministers, manifesting Christ 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 sweetness and fatness 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 season of love, grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Chrift (both towards Jews and Gentiles) as had not been known in the world before.
When the Christian 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 so the Lord was provoked against them, to remove their candlestick out of its place, and give up the outward court to the Gentiles, and so the Spirit was lost or departed from, the life loft, the power lost, the everlasting gospel hid from mens eyes, and darkness and mens inventionis fer up instead thereof, in nations, tongues, and people, and the witnesses to any appearances of God's living truth and holy power persecuted; then was a sad time, then was a season 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 those whose names were written in the Lamb's book of life. This was the greatest time of darkness (wherein the mystery of iniquity inost 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 sons and daughters, and they prophesy, walk, and live in it, when God dwells and walks in his people, and his true light shines in them, dispelling the darkness thoroughly, and filling, them with the glory and majesty of the Lord, and they ascend up, out of the worl's spirit 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 shall there be such a day of brightness and pure heavenly glory, as shall dazzle the eyes of all beholders.
But the passing 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 must indeed become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ; but it will require great power to bring it about. The wrath and strength of the spirit 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! blessed are they that are of the Lamb's nature and Spirit, of his righteousness and meekness ; 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 shall be preserved, and they shall enjoy peace with the Lord in the midst of all that shall outwardly befall them.
Mesborow in Kent, Twenty
Second of the 6th Month,
The everlasting gofpel hath been preached in this nation (and also other nacions), just after that very manner as it was foretold it should, 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 blessed found of the everlasting gospel, and have learned to fear God with this fear which the gospel 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 righteousness 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 gospel-worship, or the worship of God according to the everlasting gospel; these are accounted with God knowers and obeyers of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
. Thele are a peculiar people to God, whom he hath taken an especial care of, and whom he will hide under the shadow of his wings, and in the secret of his pavilion, while his wrath is poured out upon peoples and nations.
But others that have not been gathered under the Madow of God's wings, by the preaching of the everlasting gospel, who have not known or obeyed the found thereof; when the storm comes, when the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (whereof this nation is full, and hath had several tokens of God's great displeasure for a long time), they will not find a shelter, though they fie to the rocks and mountains to hide and cover them from the wrath of the Lamb, but will lie open to the stroke of the overflowing scourge, which useth to overflow nations, after such 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 seek an hiding place, and enter into the chamber of rest and quietness with the Lord, until the indignation be overpast.
Now unto any whose hearts are touched with the fear of the Lord, and the sense of his righteous judgments and wrath due to this nation (which doubtless have come in part already, and are coming faster and faster, and entering into the very heart and bowels of it), and who would escape the stroke of God's dreadful hand, and find inward rest and peace with him in the day of outward trouble and fore distress ;
To fuch, a few words of advice, very early this morning, lay upon my heart.
First, Seek the Lord (Oh! do not feek the world, but seek the Lord, who redeems out of the spirit of the world, where the wrath comes, and upon which it is to seize)! And seek righteousness, seek meekness; it may be, ye shall 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 ibe isues of life. If ever ye know the issues of life, ye must know them there, and if ye know the issues of life there, and they sweetly ifsue up, and flow into your souls, they will refresh and delight you in the midst of all the fore amictions, troubles, and diltresles, which can befall you outwardly. Read Psa. xlvi. and consider:
Thirdly, Mind who knocks at the door of your hearts, whether it be the destroyer or Saviour of the soul; for both these 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 the Lord, when he knoęks with any motion or pure stirring of life.
Fourthly, Wait to know, and experience truly, and also more and more, the Christian Spirit and state, the state of a servant to the Father, and his Son Christ, the fate of a soldier, the state-of a pilgriin and holy traveller; to be doing the Lord's work (the Lord's will, and not your own), to be fighting the Lord's battles, against his and the soul's enemies, and to be travelling farther and farther out of the spirit, mind, and nature of this world (wherein the kingdom of darkness stands) into God's Spirit, where the kingdom of the dear Son is known and entered into, by thole that deny their own wisdom, and become as little children.
Many have the form of godliness, who are not accepted of the Lord ; but such only as know God's power, and are led by his Spirit, such are indeed in Christ Jesus; for the holy power grafts the soul, mind, and spirit of a man, into the holy stock and root of life. And such know the new creation in Christ, and the works of the new creation, which they perform and walk in (being God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works). And here the old things pass away (which can pass 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 to all things become new. Now, where all things become new, where the heart is new, the mind and spirit new, the desires new, the joys and delights new, the life and conversation new, and the soul 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 seize upon ?
Though the Lord be a consuming fire, yet it is to his enemies, to fin, to unrighteousness, to the chaffy, earthly mind and nature; he is not so 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 gospel of his Son, denying all for him, and following the Shepherd and leader of their souls, out of all untruth and unrighteoulness, into all truth and righteousness, Surely, these shall not only be able to abide, but dwell with the devouring fire, and everlasting burnings; and that shall be their safety and shelter, when the fames thereof break forth to consume and burn up the chaff every-where,
Twenty-fifth of the 6th