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ver mifunderstood in it; but here I have felt given to me, and maintained in me by God, the eye which fees, the ear which hears, the heart which understands the things of his kingdom; and here the entrance hath been ministered into the everlafting kingdom, where God reveals by his Spirit the myfteries of his kingdom, which all elfe are shut out of, but this feed and the birth which is of it. And when the enemy hath at any time in my travels, by any temptation or device, got in any degree between my foul and this feed; then a darkness, a lofs, doubts, fears, troubles, &c. have fa far come over my foul,
Queft. 2. But bow know I this feed, may fome enquire?
Anfw. By its nature, by its properties, by its manifefting of itself in my heart. It hath that light, that life, that power in it, which I never mer with any-where elfe. It bruifeth the head of the Serpent at its pleasure, whereby I know it to be the feed of the woman. It dafheth in pieces (thro' fubjection to it) whatever is contrary to God, and bringeth up his holy nature in me. It fo bringeth me into the very image of his Son, that what I read in the fcriptures concerning the nature, righteoufnefs, and work of falvation by Chrift, I find formed and fpringing up in mine own heart, as I am gathered into, and brought forth in, this feed. Yea, I really feel that I am born of God's Spirit, fo far as I am born of this. Here I feel, know, understand, and am acquainted with the fubftance, the thing itself, that which all the types and figures of the law fhadowed out. Here I meet with the circumcifion which is without outward hands; the baptifm which is without outward water; the fupper of the Lord, which is without outward bread or wine; and here I know the true Jew, whofe nature, fpirit, works, and ways, are all of God, in and through his Son Jefus Chrift. And here I muft profess, I cannot doubt concerning the things of God; but in the light and anointing of this feed, fee both the mystery of iniquity, and the mystery of godliness, and the ways and workings of each fpirit, both inwardly and outwardly; and my unity with the one (through the tender mercy, goodness, love, and power of the Lord, all which are herein revealed), and my feparation from the other.
And this is the true way of certainty and fatisfaction, which is of God, and will ftand, when all the feveral ways of mens inventions will fail of what they promife to men, and fall in the fight of men. For this feed and birth of God are to be acknowledged, and reign in the day of his power, and not another. And it is the day of his power in fome, and fhall be the day of his power in others; for darkness or death fhall not prevail to bring the life of the rifen Son into the fepulchre or grave again; but he fhall ride on conquering and to conquer, fubduing and to fubdue, reigning and to reign, until he hath brought all things under the dominion of the Father's power.
A QUESTION answered about the Way of knowing the Motions, Doctrines, and Teachings of CHRIST'S Spirit.
OW may a man know the motions, doctrines, and teachings of Chrift's Spirit inwardly, from the deceivable movings, appearings, and workings of a contrary Spirit? And how may a man know concerning the doctrines that others teach, whether they speak from Chrift, or whether they speak of themselves?
Anfw. This is a great matter indeed, and he muft firft receive somewhat from God, who is able to do this. He must be born of the wisdom that is from above, he must receive a spirit of difcerning from God, he must receive somewhat of the fheep's ear, fomewhat of the holy understanding, whereby he may be made able to distinguish spirituals, and put a difference between the pure and impure; between the pretender to the things of God, and him which is indeed of God. There is a balance of the fanctuary appointed to weigh fpiritual things and appearances in; and by this balance alone are they truly and rightly difcerned and diftinguished; and this balance is in the fanctuary, in the holy heavenly place in Christ Jefus, where the true weight of fpiritual things (or things that pretend to be truly spiritual and living, but are not) is given and difcerned. But he that weighs without this, he that weighs by his own judgment and understanding, by his own comprehenfion and conceivings; he weighs by that which is uncertain, changeable, and fallible, and turns up and down according to the appearances of things to him, but judgeth not the righteous judgment, which is from the fenfe, and in the light, of truth.
Therefore, oh! that men were humble, tender, meek, and fenfible of their inability to judge as of themselves, that they might fee their need of this gift of God, and wait upon him for it; being in the mean time as the weaned child, not meddling with things too high for them, but keeping and abiding low in fear and fubjection to that which the Lord hath already made manifest to them. For what man is there, to whom the Lord hath not already (in his tender mercy and goodness) made fomewhat of himself manifeft? Who is there, who by the light of the Spirit of God in his conscience, knoweth not fome evil which he ought to leave undone, and fome good which he ought to do? Now this is the way of God, and the work which man should be exercised in, to feel his mind gathered into that which teacheth this, that he might receive power from the Lord to cease to do the evil which he is thus warned by him of, and to do the good which is thus
required of him. For thus the Spirit of the Lord teacheth and requireth of men, even inwardly in their fecret parts, fecretly quickening and enlivening them in fome measure, and giving them a fenfe of their fin, death, feparation from him, mifery and danger thereby; for where there is any fight of fin, and any fenfe of the burden thereof, there is fome life, fome light, fome little ftirrings of the life, and fome quickenings thereby, without which this fenfe could not be. Now mark.
Are not here the drawings of the Father? Are not here the teachings of the Father, though but in a little measure; yet true, yet living? Is not here fome little difcerning given between the precious and the vile; between somewhat that is of God, and fomewhat that is against him? Well then, here is the gift of difcerning, though in a poor, low, little, weak measure; and that man who receiveth this, receiveth the beginnings of the gift, fomewhat of the gift, whereby he may be able to difcern and diftinguish a little about fpiritual things, fo far as the light and ability of the gift in him extendeth.
Now this is man's work (and in this lies his fafety), to come hither, abide here, and grow here. Not to judge out of this; to judge no farther concerning the things of God, than this judgeth in him; to keep the judgment which he hath from this; not hearkening to the fubtil devices of the enemy, which will ftrive afterward to cloud his mind, delude and deceive him, with a falfe appearance of wife reafonings and difputings of his own, or from other men, to make him believe otherwife. And fo keeping what ground he hath gained, he is to wait for more of this light, more of this life, more of this virtue, that his foul may grow up and increase therein, that his eye may be strengthened to fee further, and his ear to hear further, and his heart to embrace more of the inftructions and directions of the Spirit of the Lord, unto and in the way of the kingdom.
Therefore the man that would meet with, and receive from God, the gift of difcerning, let him mind the prefent manifeftation of God's light from his Spirit in his heart; embrace that, fall in with that, take heed of the reasonings of the mind against the convictions and demonftrations of God's Spirit, but receive the truth in the love of it, even the loweft appearance of truth, about the least and most defpifeable things, and give up faithfully to the Lord therein, without murmuring, without difputing, without confulting with flesh and blood. And he that is faithful to the light of the Spirit (and to the difcerning which is thereby) in the little, he fhall receive more, he fhall have his light and difcerning thereby increased, as his need requireth. But he that ftands difputing, and would have all his way made clear to him, before he fets one step in it; he is far from becoming that child, which the Father teacheth, and adminiftereth an entrance into the kingdom to.
This, in effect, was the very answer which Chrift gave to this thing in the days of his flesh, when there were great difputes concerning his doctrine, how to know whether it was of God or no. What was the refolution he gave of this; If any man, faith he, will do his will, he shall know of the
doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself, John vii. 17. Wouldst thou know of the Son's doctrine? Wouldst thou know whether it be the doctrine of the Son indeed, the doctrine of him who comes from the Father? Yes, very fain, will the upright heart say; oh! that I might know concerning what rifes and opens in my heart, whether it be from the Spirit of God, or from the root of deceit in me! Why this is the way; do the Father's will.
Object. Do the Father's will; why what an answer is this! The difpute is about the Father's will. Is not the doctrine of the Son the Father's will? How can I do the Father's will, which the Son is to teach me, until I first know of the Son's doctrine.
Anfw. It is true, the Son's doctrine is the Father's will, and thou canst not do the Father's will but as thou receiveft the Son's doctrine. But mark; There are disputes in thy mind about somewhat of the Son's doctrine, whether it be his doctrine or no; fomewhat alfo about inward motions, workings, and stirrings in thee, which thou wouldst fain know whence they are. Now the question is concerning the way how thou mayeft attain to this; how thou mayeft come to a certain and fatisfactory knowledge herein? Which is, not by entering into reafonings and difputes about these things whereof thou doubteft, but by coming into that wherein and whereby they are made manifeft; and that is by coming into obedience to the Father in that, which he hath already made manifeft; for in that light (to them that believe in it) and in obedience thereto (be it ever fo little, or the manifestation ever fo fmall), the Father will reveal more, and give to that heart and mind to be fenfible of what is of him, and what is of the enemy, fo far as is needful for it as yet to know. For wife and abfolute judgment in all things, is not neceffary for a babe, but sense to know the breaft, and to receive from it the milk, by which it is to be fed that it may grow. This is enough in its prefent ftate; yet if there be need of ftrength at any time to ftill the enemy and the avenger, the Lord will reveal it in the heart, and bring it forth out of the mouths of the babes and fucklings, to the perfecting of his praife.
So mind and learn the way, O ye that are fimple-hearted (and truly defire after the Lord, and the purity and power of his kingdom), and take heed of the wrong way; take heed of man's way, which is by confulting with his own wisdom, and weighing things in the balance of his own reafon and understanding; and thus he may weigh fcriptures written in former ages, and the appearances of God in this age, and err in heart, mind and judg ment concerning them both, all his days. But he that waits on the Lord in fear, and in obedience to that which is already made manifeft, not defiring knowledge from God in his own will, time, or way, but in the Lord's, who perfectly knows every one's state, and what is fit for him, he fhall know concerning every doctrine his heart defireth to be inftructed in, in the Lord's feafon; and in the mean time the Lord will feed him with food conve
nient, and cloathe him with cloathing convenient; and there fhall be no want to him, who boweth before the Lord in what is already made manifeft, and waiteth for his further manifeftations and appearances. But the wife hunter after knowledge before the Lord leads, and further than he leads and teaches; this is the first birth, which is excluded the kingdom and the myfteries thereof: this is he who always defpifed and would ftill kill the heir, that the inheritance might be his; but the inheritance is appointed for, and given to, another; even to the Lamb's nature, the Lamb's Spirit, the Lamb's innocency, the birth of another wifdom, which is a foolish weak birth in his eye, and not worthy at all to inherit; but it is the Father's pleasure to give the kingdom and inheritance of life everlasting to thefe.
To speak yet a little more plainly, and bring it yet a little closer to the heart, if it may be. It hath pleased the Father, in this day of his love and power, to gather a little flock out of the world (and all worldly profeffions of worship and religion) to himself. This flock he hath gathered by a poor, little, low thing in their hearts, exercifing them thereby in poor, mean, and contemptible ways to the eye of the world, and to all the profeffions of man's wifdom; and by this, and concerning this, he teftifieth (through those whom he hath gathered) to others. And the teftimony doth evidence itself (through the power of the Spirit) to all that wait upon God for an ear, and hear in the fimplicity thereof.
Now when we tell men of a divine principle, of a feed of God, wherein their religion is to begin, and from which it is to grow, and whereof they are to be born; this will enter into many, yea many will affent to be drawn fo far as to wait inwardly for, and upon this. But now when this begins to ftit and move in them, it is in fuch a way, and many times about fuch low, mean, contemptible things in their eyes, that they are very apt to despise it, and enter into difputes againft it, and fo mifs of the entrance, and can never thus enter into it; but instead thereof are filled with doubts about the leader and his motions, and puzzled and entangled in their minds, and ftopt at the very beginning. And fo, though they defire much, and hope much; yet all comes to little, because the enemy hath poffeffed their minds with a device of his fubtilty, as if these were small things and of little concernment. That which they want is the powerful life, the clear light, &c. and fo their minds are taken up with thoughts about these great things, and defires after these great things, and they overlook the way wherein and whereby these are to be witneffed and obtained.
For the Lord God, in his infinite wifdom, picked out thefe contemptible things to exercise his flock by, and to lead them in. And whatever men may think of them, yet none knows (but they who experience it) how hard it is to follow and fubject to the Lord in these, and how much they bow down and break the earthly and uncircumcifed spirit in a man. Now, Friend, thou who defirest life from God, oh! take heed thou doft not beat