« PreviousContinue »
ver misunderstood 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 everlasting kingdom, where God reveals by his Spirit the mysteries 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 la far come over my soul.
Queft. 2. But how know I this feed, may some enquire ?
Answ. By its nature, by its properties, by its manifesting of itself in my heart. It hath that light, that life, that power in it, which I never met with any-where else. It bruiseth the head of the Serpent at its pleasure, whereby I know it to be the feed of the woman. It daiheth in pieces (thro' subjection 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 scriptures concerning the nature, righteousness, and work of salvation by Chrift, I find formed and springing 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, so far as I am born of this. Here I feel, know, understand, and am acquainted with the substance, the thing itself, that which all the types and figures of the law shadowed out. Here I meet with the circumcision which is without outward hands; the baptism which is without outward water; the fupper of the Lord, which is without outward bread or wine ; and here I know the true Jew, whose nature, spirit, works, and ways, are all of God, in and through his Son Jesus Christ. And here I must profess, I cannot doubt concerning the things of God; but in the light and anointing of this feed, see 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 separation 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 sight 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 shall be the day of his power in others; for darkness or death shall not prevail to bring the life of the risen Son into the fepulchre or grave again ; but he shall ride on conquering and to conquer, fubduing and to subdue, 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,
Doctrines, and Teachings of CHRIST's Spirit.
Quest. OW may a man know the motions, doctrines, and teachings of and workings of a contrary Spirit? And how may a man know concerning the doĉtrines that others teach, whether they speak from Christ, or whether they speak of themselves?
Answ. This is a great matter indeed, and he must first 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 discerning from God, he must receive somewhat of the sheep's ear, somewhat 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 spiritual things and appearances in; and by this balance alone are they truly and rightly discerned and distinguished ; and this balance is in the sanctuary, in the holy heavenly place in Christ Jesus, where the true weight of spiritual things (or things that pretend to be truly spiritual and living, but are not) is given and discerned. But he that weighs without this, he that weighs by his own judgment and understanding, by his own comprehension 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 sense, and in the light, of truth.
Therefore, oh! that men were humble, tender, meek, and sensible of their inability to judge as of themselves, that they might see 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 subjection 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 somewhat 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 some 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 Vol. II.
required of him. For thus the Spirit of the Lord teacheth and requireth of men, even inwardly in their secret parts, secretly quickening and enlivening them in some measure, and giving them a sense of their sin, death, separation from him, misery and danger thereby; for where there is any fight of sin, and any sense of the burden thereof, there is some life, some light, some little stirrings of the life, and some quickenings thereby, without which this sense 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 some little discerning given between the precious and the vile; between somewhat that is of God, and somewhat that is against him? Well then, here is the gift of discerning, though in a poor, low, little, weak measure; and that man who receiveth this, receiveth the beginnings of the gift, somewhat of the gift, whereby he may be able to discern and distinguish a little about spiritual things, so 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 strive afterward to cloud his mind, delude and deceive him, with a false appearance of wife reasonings and disputings of his own, or from other men, to make him believe otherwise. And so 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 instructions 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 discerning, let him mind the present manifestation 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 demonstrations of God's Spirit, but receive the truth in the love of it, even the lowest appearance of truth, about the least and most despiseable things, and give up faithfully to the Lord therein, without murmuring, without disputing, without consulting with flesh and blood. And he that is faithful to the light of the Spirit (and to the discerning which is thereby) in the little, he shall receive more, he shall have his light and discerning thereby increased, as his need requireth. But he that stands disputing, and would have all his way made clear to him, before he sets one step in it; he is far from becoming that child, which the Father teacheth, and administereth an entrance into the kingdom to.
This, in effect, was the very answer which Christ gave to this thing in the days of his fesh, when there were great disputes concerning his doctrine, how to know whether it was of God or no. What was the resolution he gave of this; If any man, faith he, will do his will, he mall know of the doëtrine whetber it be of God, or whether I speak of myself, John vii. 17: Wouldlt thou know of the Son's doctrine? Wouldit 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 fay; oh! that I might know concerning what rises 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 dispute is about the Father's will. Is not the doctrine of the Son the Father's will? Hoza can I do the Father's will, which the Son is to teach me, until I first know of the Son's doctrine.
Answ. 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 also 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 mayest attain to this; how thou mayest come to a certain and satisfactory knowledge herein? Which is, not by entering into reasonings and disputes about these things whereof thou doubteft, but by coming into that wherein and whereby they are made manifest; 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 so little, or the manifestation ever so small), the Father will reveal more, and give to that heart and mind to be sensible of what is of him, and what is of the enemy, so far as is needful for it as yet to know. For wife and absolute judgment in all things, is not necessary 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 present state ; yet if there be need of strength at any time to still 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 sucklings, to the perfecting of his praise. So mind and learn the
ye that are simple-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 consulting with his own wisdom, and weighing things in the balance of his own reason 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 judgment concerning them both, all his days. But he that waits on the Lord in fear, and in obedience to that which is already made manifest, 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 shall know concerning every doctrine his heart delireth to be instructed in, in the Lord's season, and in the mean time the Lord will feed him with food conveQ2
nient, and cloathe him with cloathing convenient; and there shall be no want to him, who boweth before the Lord in what is already made manifeft, and waiteth for his further manifestations 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 mysteries thereof: this is he who always despised and would still 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 wisdom, 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 these.
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 professions of worship and religion) to himself. This flock he hath gathered by a poor, little, low thing in their hearts, exercising them thereby in poor, mean, and contemptible ways to the eye of the world, and to all the professions of man's wisdom; and by this, and concerning this, he testifieth (through those whom he hath gathered) to others. And the testimony 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 seed 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 assent to be drawn so far as to wait inwardly for, and upon this. But now when this begins to ftit and move in them, it is in such a way, and many times about such low, mean, contemptible things in their eyes, that they are very apt to despise it, and enter into disputes against it, and so miss 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 stopt at the very beginning. And so, though they defire much, and hope much; yet all comes to little, because the enemy hath poffessed their minds with a device of his subtilty, as if these were small things and of little concernment. That which they want is the powerful life, the clear light, &c. and so their minds are taken up with thoughts about these great things, and desires after these great things, and they overlook the way wherein and whereby these are to be witnessed and obtained.
For the Lord God, in his infinite wifdom, picked out these contemptible things to exercise his Aock 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 subject to the Lord in these, and how much they bow down and break the earthly and uncircumcised spirit in a man. Now, Friend, thou who defireft life from God, oh! take heed thou dost not beat