« PreviousContinue »
Scriptures and forgetting the other ; leading theirselves into errors : and as it is written, Cursed is man that trusteth in man and 'maketh flesh his stay; but blessed is he that trusteth in the Lord ; for he will establish our goings; and by our own master we must stand or fall. These things always made me trust in God, and not in man; and now my desire is, for all who read my writings, that they may not only read them without prejudice and partiality, but read them for their own sakes, that they may judge for theirselves, whether they believe the warning that is given to me, from the truths that have already followed, to be a sufficient ground for them to believe that my visitation is from the Lord, to warn men that the KINGDOM of CHRIST is at hand; that they may prepare for the coming of their Lord, and be counted worthy to escape all the evils that will then come, when the Lord cometh in might, majesty, and power, to take out of his Kingdom all that of. fend and do wickedly. It is thus I wish all men to judge for theirselves, and not to pin their faith on the sleeve of others; but let every man consider, it is by his own master he must stand or fall, as well as me ; for I pin my faith no more on a friend than I do on a foe; for were all the men upon earth to tell me, that my visitation was from the Lord, from the truths that have happened, if I had no witness WITHIN of the manner of my visitation, the judgment of men would not make me happy; neither could I rely on their words. So it is by my own feeling of the heavenly joys I often experience, from the visitation of the Spirit, that assures me in my own mind that it is from the Lord; because it is written, The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God, whereby we cry, 'Abba, Father, my Lord and: my God. So if we discern the Scriptures through, the Kingdom of Christ must be SPIRITUAL, as well as temporal; therefore a man chat denieth spiritual visitations, inust deny the king
dom of Christ. And now I shall come to another observation in his letter. He says
“ I should be obliged to men of sense, if they would point out to me any inconsistency in my writings, or if they could convince me of an error, and thank them for it; instead of abusing them, as you have done me ; as I can appeal 60 God and the whole world, that my chief motive in studying the Scriptures is in order io investigate the truih, and expose error to ridicule and contempt.
To his words I shall answer, and refer the readers to iny first letter that I sent to him; in that I an. swered his questions; and pointed out his errors, in his explanation of the 12th chapter of the ReveLation ; and the readers may judge, whether I gave him any abuse in that letter ; but his insolent answer gives his pen the lie; for if he had been as he said, he would have wished to have come to a clearer explanation, that we mnight understand each other, without sending me such an abusive answer. But in answer to his saying, that he is studying the Scriptures to investigate truth and expose error, it is out of his power ; because a man who writes of the Kingdom of Christ, must discern in what manner the Kingdom of Christ will come in, which must be by a spiritual visitation ; for the Lord's judgments, however great they have been, to punish the wicked, or cut them off with the besom of destruction, never brought in the peaceable kingdom that is recorded in holy writ. Therefore we must know the Scriptures, if we would dispel the clouds of error; that it is not a vain and foolish foundation that our faith must be built upon; that it is the destruction of a human tyrant, or the fall of a great monarch will bring in the peaceable kingdom of Christ; or that judgments alone, however severe to sweep a world of sinners, will make those that remain all righteous ; as we may see from the records of the Bible, in the midst of judgments sin hath abounded; and by all
( 47 ) the judgments, and all the sufferings, and all the revolutions that befel the French nation, we may clearly discern it has not brought them to be a religious nation-only greater boasters than before ; neither do we hear of any place where judgments have happened, that they have turned the people from the evil of their ways; and if we look to our own land, with all the national afflictions that have happened here, we cannot see they are a whit the better. For this reason, temporal judgments and afflictions will not cleanse the world of sin, before the Author of Sin is destroyed. Therefore the axe must be laid to the root of all evil; then the cutting off the branches with the root, will cleanse the world of evil, when the Lord beginneth to graft the remnant into the NEW vine, which is CHRIST, for him who is of God made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; so he that glorieth let him glory in the Lord; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God: for the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God; so if we read the Scriptures of Truth we shall clearly be convinced that it is impossible for a man to point out the kingdom of Christ, without pointing out a spiritual visitation from the Lord. Can men vainly suppose, when they survey the world in its present state, and see among every class of people the strife and contention and the cruelty that are in mankind, that instead of studying the happiness of each other, their study is to gricve and wound each other, which we often see amongst great professors of religion, besides all the other cruelties there is in the prophane world-then, in such a state as this, can men look for happiness, or expect the peaceable kingdom of Christ to be established, and his delight to be with the sons of men ? Do not the Scriptures tell us, that:
( 48 ) Our vile bodies must be changed; that our stoncy hearts must be done away; and that new hearts must be given us; and the laws of the Lord written on our hearts ? So we must be changed from nature to grace, and the power of evil destroyed, before this glorious change will take place in man; and all this working, is said in the Scripture, must be done by the Spirit of God, to destroy him that hath the Power of Death, that is the devil, and to bring a newness of life in man. And what says the Apostle Paul ?We shall not all die; but we shall be changed'; for when the Lord appeareth, this change must be a spiritual change, that we may be without sin unto salvation, to be one with God, and God with us. This, it is said in the Scriptures, will be, when Christ's peaceable reign is upon the Earth. Therefore no man can point out the truth of the . Scriptures, or dispel the clouds of error, if he does not point out to man the Visitation of the Lord by his Spirit, that men may be looking and longing for the Visitation of the Lord ; that they may be strengthened by his Spirit, and kept by his power, to be able to guard against the evil day; that when he appeareth, they may be found as the wise virgins, ready to enter in with their Lord, and come to a full knowledge of his mercies and love to mankind.-I do not blame the wisdom of a man, for bringing forward to the world the Scriptures that foretel the end of the wicked, and those who say, Where is the promise of his coming? for, since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the heginning of the creation. This, St. Peter tells us, would be in the last days; therefore I blame no man for bringing forward the Scriptures to shew where the promises stand, that things will not always continue as they are : in this I would sooner commend than blame any man for doing it; but when a man begins to boast of his own wisdom, that he can explain the mysteries of the Bible, and begin to deny
all spiritual knowledge and revelation, bringing forward the Scriptures without any spiritual meaning, filling up people's minds with wrong and foolish notions, only 10 hope in the destruction of a man, that when his power is cut off, our joys will be full. This cannot dispel the clouds of error; it is only shewing the wisdom of a man, that is foolishness with God, as the wisdom of God appears foolishness to him; but let him remember the words of the apostle ; God will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and sill bring to nought the understanding of the prudent; where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world ? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world, that no flesh should glory bi
presence? Therefore it is said, the Lord had chosen things which are despised; yea, things which are not, to bring to nought things that are ; that he that glorieth may glory in the Lord; for the world by wisdom knows not God. Then how can man boast of his wisdom, contrary to the Scriptures, and deny the wisdom that cometh from the Lord ? Can this dispel the clouds of error? Let men read the Gospel through, and they will discern it must be the wisdom of God, and the power of God, and the knowledge of God, that must be revealed to man, of the way our Redemption must come in ; for there is not a place in the Scriptures that will prove this knowledge can come by man; and all men must know that the kingdom of Christ is a Union with God and man.-But as I have drawn so many observations from the Scriptures, that it must be by the visitation of the LORD, to fit and prepare us for his coming, or the day no man could bear, I shall leave this subject, and come to another observation in his letter, which is as follows:
" It is your long letters ; your tedious compositions ; your ariful insolence and craftiness; and the complete jumble of nonsense, so conspictuus in your writings, that have hitherto sheltered you from controversy.