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A true Difcovery of the NATURE and GROUND of the Religion
and KINGDOM of CHRIST, &C.
I. Some Queries concerning the State of the Church as it was in the
. Days, and was to be. afterwards.
Query 1. W glory, in the days of the apostles ? Did the only travail
A , and
after life and glory? Did she not also bring forth ? Did she not witness the kingdom come, the power come, the eternal life come? And did she not partake thereof, and dwell therein? Was she not a woman cloathed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and crowned with a crown of twelve stars? Yea, did she not bring forth the man-child, which was to rule all nations with a rod of iron ? Who can read this state, who is not in some measure a partaker of the same glory? Query 2. Was not this heaven afterwards wrapped up,
and did not this glory pass away? Did not the great red dragon fight with the woman? And did the not fly into the wilderness, and was not the man-child caught up to God? And did not the remnant of her feed (who had the testimony of Jesus, and who kept his commandments) testify and prophefy in fackcloth ? Read the with and xiith chapters of the Revelations.
Query 3. Upon the fight of the true church into the wilderness (when she was thus gone out of light) did not the false church start up; which made a glorious and taking appearance in the world, to the eye of man's wisdom? Did not the sit upon a scarlet-coloured beast (wise and strong) having seven heads, and ten horns ? Was she not afrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, making the kings, nations, and inhabitants of the earth drunk with the wine of her fornication? What do those things mean? What did the wisdom of God thus describe her for ?
Query 4.- What did the true church carry into the wilderness with her, and what did she leave behind her? Did not the temple, the altar, and the true worshippers go along with her? Did not the Gentiles, such as were not true Jews, such as could not come into the temple (but only into the outward court, and worship there), did not these stay behind ?' And had not these Gentiles henceforth (from the true church's fight into the wilderness) the outward court given to them, that they might make use of it (and worship in it) as much as they would ? The virtue, the life, the power,
, the Spirit being taken away, and removed with the true church, which fed into the wilderness, what did God regard the outward ? Leave it out of my, measure, faith the Lord, and give it to the Gentiles, Rev. xi. 2.
Query 5. What is the cup, the golden cup, which this false church hath in her hand, wherein are forceries and witchcrafts, wherewith she bewitcheth people, and maketh them drunk? Is it not a glorious appearance of things without the true life and power? Doctrines concerning God, doctrines concerning Christ, doctrines concerning worship, doctrines concerning sanctity, &c. Yea; but the Spirit, the life, the power, that was in the apostleş days, is wanting. What remains of these is to be found with the true church in the wilderness (the blood of whose feed she drinks) not with her.
Query 6. What will become of this great woman in the end; this rich, this glorious church? Shall she continue for ever? Shall the sit as a queen for ever, and never fee forrow? Shall the true church never come out of the wilderness, to be restored to her beauty and glory again ? Nay, nay; in one day shall her plagues come; death, and mourning, and famine. It is true, she is wise and itrong (and the beast also, on which the fits and rides, who is able to make war with ? faith man's wisdom); but wiser and stronger is the Lord God Almighty, who judgeth her, and who is taking and will take to him his great power, wherewith he will thunder against her, until he hath brought her down, and her flesh be utterly burnt with fire.
Query 7. What shall become of those who drink of her cup, and who believe and worship as she teacheth ? Shall they not all drink of the wine of the cup of the wrath of God Almighty, poured out without mixture ? Shall they not partake of her dreadful plagues, in the hour of her judgment? Read Rev. xiv. 9, 10, 11, and chap. xviii. For these things are to come to pass as certainly as they were foretold ; and when they do come to pass, blessed thall the saints be who have suffered with patience, keeping the commandments and the faith of Jesus; and woe will be to them who have persecuted them, and drunk their blood. Read the xiiith, xivth, xviich, and xixth chapters of the Revelations, which signify of, and testify to, these things. Vol. II.
Now whereas many fay, that the book of the Revelations is such a mystical book, that it is not to be understood ; to what end then was it written? It was the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to fhew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass, chap. i. 1. and would Christ give them forth in such words as could not be understood ? ' Again it is said, ver. 5. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that bear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand. How can any be blessed in reading, or how can any keep what is written therein, without understanding the things contained in it? How can any follow the true church into the wilderness, or avoid being taken with the golden cup of fornications of the false church, or refuse the mark of the beast (that he take it neither on his forehead nor hand, nor have the name of the beast upon him, nor so much as the number of his name) unless he truly and rightly understand these warnings and descriptions of the Holy Spirit of God, given forth in the book, to preserve in the way of truth, in the way of life (tho' thro' great fufferings and tribulations) out of the way of spiritual whoredom and death ? For mystical Babylon, the nations of the earth and great-ones (generally) commit fornication with, Rev. xvii. 2. and xviii. 3. Indeed this book is a mystery to man's wisdom; for it was not given to the wisdom of this world, but is hid from that; but God gave it Christ to give to his servants; and it is not a mystery (but opened and revealed by the Father's Spirit) to the children of the true wisdom, who are instructed and taught of God to escape the bed of whoredom and spiritual fornication, which the earthly wisdom (in the wiseft men of this world) is intangled in.
II. Some Queries on Chap. xxix, and xxx. of Deut.. compared with
ID not God command Moses to make a covenant with the
children of Israel in the Land of Moab, besides the covenant he made with them in Horeb? Deut. xxix. I.
Quejt. 2. What was this covenant? Was it of the same 'nature with the former, or was it of a different nature? Was not the former the covenant of the law? And was not this the covenant of the gospel? Did not this covenant contain the promise of circumcising the heart? Deut. xxx. 6. Whereas, under the other covenant, notwithitanding all the temptations, ligns, and miracles which they had seen in Egypt, and in the wilderness, about the space of forty years; yet the Lord had not given them an heart to perceive, and eyes to fee, and ears to hear, unto that day. But Moses and Aaron, with Caleb and Joshua, who knew and partook of the other covenant, they were of a better spirit, and understood the leadings and commands of God, and followed after him. Query 7. Whether the Word of faith which the apostles preached, was not the same Word nigh in the mouth and heart which Mofes preached? Is not the Word of life, the Word of faith, the Word of the new covenant, one and the same thing in all ages and generations ? Indeed there are outward sayings and teftimonies after divers manners; but Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And the commandment of life in the mouth and heart changeth not, but is always one and the same.
Query 3. Had the Jews minded this covenant, might they not have been able to keep the other also ? Did any fail in sacrifices, or outward obedience to the law, who kept to this covenant? What an holy man was Samuel, who did not fo much as err in government, but could plead with the people, Whose ox or ass have I taken, or whom have I defrauded or oppressed? Zacharias, and Elizabeth his wife, walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And so the children of God in the gol, pel, who have a new heart, and a new spirit, and walk not after the Aeth, but after the Spirit and law of life in Christ Jesus, they also fulfil the righteousness of the law declared in the Letter, Rom. viii. 4.
Query 4. What is the commandment of this covenant, and where is it written? The commandments of the other covenant are written in the law of Moses, and in tables of stone ; but where is this commandment written, or where is it to be found? Is it in heaven above, to be fetched down from thence; or is it beyond the sea ? &c. Nay, is it not very nigh? Is not the Word of this commandment nigh in the mouth and in the heart? And is it not there placed by the Lord for this very end, that men might hear it and do it?
Query 5. Was not this the Word or commandment of life and good, or of death and evil to the Jews ? (See chap. xxx. 14, 15.) And is it not so also to mankind ? He that hears and obeys the word of this commandment, doth he not live and partake of good ? He that disobeys it, doth he not die, and undergo wrath and evil, tribulation and anguish upon his soul from the hand of the Lord, either poured out upon him at present, or treasured up for him against hereafter ? Read Rom. ii. 5, 6, &c.
Query 6. Was not this other covenant, this second covenant, this new covenant, which God bid Moses make with them then, the fame which God makes with believers in the days of the gospel ? The old covenant had been made with the Jews before; was not this the new? They had had the law in the letter before, wherein the commandment was afar off; but is not the commandment of the new covenant (the law of the Spirit of life) nigh? And had not the people of the Jews the Spirit of the Lord nigh to instruct them, by virtue of this covenant? That they had so, is plain, Nebem. ix. 20. and Ifai. lxiii
. 10.; but whether they had the Spirit nigh to them by virtue of the old covenant, or by virtue of the new (which Moses was appointed by God to make with them, as is afore expressed) let the wise in heart consider. And whether the tender mercies which God all along expressed to them (as is mentioned Isai. Ixiii. 7.) were by virtue of that covenant wherein God had continual advantages and provocations against them, or by virtue of this covenant, from which mercy and redemption is continually springing freely towards the Israel of God?
Query 8. What is the justification under this covenant; or what is that which God hath an eye to in justifying any person here? Is it not the obedience of faith? What doth God condemn but unbelief? And will he not justify faith? For faith flows from life, and life from Christ. So that indeed here the holy root makes all that are of it holy, and the righteous root makes all that are of it righteous; and he that doth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous, 1 John iii. 7. And Christ is here indeed made unto the soul that thus receives him and obeys him as the Word and commandment of life: I say, he is indeed made unto such an one of God wisdom, righteousness, fanctification, and redemption; and blessed are they that do not mistake about this, but come truly to witness it.
Query 1. HETHER there be not somewhat which destroys, which
hath the nature of death and destruction in it, and which leaveneth with death and destruction, as it is let in and received ?
Query 2. Whether there be not somewhat also which faves, which hath the nature of life and salvation in it, and which leaveneth with life and salvation, as it is let in and received ?
Query 3. Whether that which destroys be not near, and whether that which saves be not near also ? (Doth not Chrift stand at the door and knock ? And may not he be heard and let in? See Rev. iii. 20.).
Query 4. Whether this, which is fo near, and so able to save, was not that which saved in all ages and generations, even before Christ appeared in a body of Aesh, and the shedding his blood ?
Query 5. Whether, after Christ appeared in a body of Aesh, and shedding his blood, any can be saved thereby; or by any believing on Christ whatsoever; without letting in or receiving that life and power which faves ? Be not deceived; God is not mocked. He that believeth in the power which raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and is fubject to the power, shall be redeemed and saved thereby. For death came by the souls separation from the power which gave life, and Christ faves by bringing to the power again (so that he that would indeed be saved by Christ, must believe in God through him, and feel the power which redeems). But let a man