« PreviousContinue »
back the beginnings of his life, and the redemption of thy soul, by despising and overlooking the day of small things. Why may not God chuse to lead thee in the way that he hath led the rest of his Rock? Why shouldst not thou also come to deny the customs and vanities of this world (and come into that which is simple and plain), and stand in the will and life of God out of them ? Are not the ways, customs, and vanities of the world, of the spirit of the world, and not of the Father? Did they not come from the corrupt part? Are they not of the corrupt part ? Do they not please the corrupt part ? Must they not be left behind by him that travels into the feed, is one with the seed, and lives in the feed? Why wilt thou stick in these things ? Why wilt thou dispute about these things ? Oh! feel the Father's drawings, first out of the world, first out of that which is not of the Father, but of the world ; that he may draw thee further and further, even into the kingdom and power everlasting, which are many days journey beyond that which thou stickest at.
Now mind and remember this which followeth :
In the days of Christ and his apostles, God chose the foolish things, and the weak things, and things that were not, to hide the path of life, and the mysteries of his kingdom, from the wise searching eye of man in those days. Why may he not chuse the like things now? Why may he not now reveal things to the babes, and not to the wile of this age and generation ? Why may it not be to his glory, to have it now said alfo, Where is the wise? Where is the Scribe (where is the learned man)? Where is the disputer of this world? Can any of them find out that, or any of them discern that, which God revealeth to his little ones ? No, no: They are generally got too high above that little, low, tender, meek, sensible principle, in the faith whereof, and in obedience whereto, the teachings of God are received, and his life and power witnessed. And because of their riches, wisdom, and knowledge out of this, therefore is the entrance into the pure living truth (which cleanseth the mind, and keepeth it clean, which quickeneth it, and keepeth it living), to them fo exceeding difficult.
And as the principle is little, the seed of the kingdom little (like a grain of mustard-feed), the least of all seeds ; so, why may not its appearance also be little, even in low weak things, despiseable to man's eye and wisdom; which man sees nothing in, and may account of no value ? And yet, the power of the cross (which brings down, and Nays the corruptible), and the resurrection of the life, may be witnessed and felt in them. The foolisonefs of God is wifer than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men: and he knoweth what he doth in leading his children in this contemptible path, and by these contemptible exercises, which all that is wise, high, lofty, and aspiring, according to the fielh, may easily overlook and night, but can hardly stoop down and subject to.
· God is the same that ever he was, and he still appears in the way of his own wisdom, and out of man's; and he that will partake of God's wisdom inuft deny and keep out of his own. His touches, his drawings, his teachings, his blessings, his love, his peace, his joy, his sweetness, &c. are lec forth upon, felt, and enjoyed by the foul, in the new creation, in the new sense, in the denial and passing out of the old.
SOM E WHAT
Touching the Gospel-Rest, or SABBATH.
HAT is the gospel-rest? What is the gospel-fabbath? Is it a sha
dow, as that of the law was? Or is it the substance of that which the law shadowed out?
The law was given by Moses. Moses, by the command of God, gave forth the shadows of the heavenly things under the law; But grace and trutb came by Jesus Christ. The true fabbath, the true rest, the law of the Spirit of life, in and to the true Jews, comes by him. The law of Moses had the shadow of the good things to come; which good things themselves the gospel contains, bringing life and immortality to light, and the foul into the enjoyment and possession of the heavenly things themselves.
The apostle disputes the case about both these, Heb. iv. both about the seventh day of rest, and about the land of rest; shewing, that they were neither of them the subftance; they were but the rests which were to pass away. But besides them, there was a rest remaining, a day of reft remaining, a land of rest remaining ; whereof they both (both the outward fabbath of rest, and the land of reft under the law) were figures.
Now, for whom did this rest remain ? Why, it remained for the true Jews, for believers, for the spiritual circumcision in the times of the gospel. And we (said he) who have believed, do enter into rest. The faith gives entrance, the Son's faith; the faith which stands in the power, the faith which is victory, and gives victory over fin and the world, removes the mountains and difficulties which stand' in the way, and gives entrance into the gospelreft. Faith, which is from and of the power of the endless life, puts fin under, brings down self, gathers man into a new principle, brings man forth in a new principle, causeth him to live and act in a new principle, &c. And as man comes thither, and that life riseth and hath power in him, it caufeth him to rest from his own works, and to wait for and experience God, in and through Christ, to work all, and be all in him.
The apostle Peter also speaks of this rest, and declares how it is attained, even by suffering in the Aesh, He that bath suffered (faith he) in the fleth,
bath ceased from fin, i Peter iv. 1. It is the fleshly part, the motions in the flesh, from whence sin ariseth.
Luft, when it is conceived, bringeth forth fin. Now Christ hath prepared and appointed a cross, a fpiritual yoke, to bring down the Aesh, which causeth great suffering in the flesh to him that taketh it upon him. To deny all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, motion, desire, and delight of the felhly mind and nature, there is a fore suffering to the earthly part; but yet this bringeth down the earthly part in all that take it up, and helpeth and causeth to cease from fin. And he that hath taken up the cross wholly, and felt the thorough work of it, and suffered in the flesh the parting with and crucifying all that is of the flesh, that which would caufe him to sin is Nain in him, and he ceaseth from fin. Then he is in the reft; then he keeps the 'rest fully; then he knows the yoke and cross, which was once burdensome to him, to become eafy and delightful, that being worn out in him to which it was painful.
Now he that is in measure delivered, that hath in meafure fuffered, findeth some rest, and may in fome measure keep the fabbath; yea, in the faith, the weakest babe (abiding there) cannot but keep the sabbath, and offer up the sacrifices, and perform the services thereof to the Lord. For the worfhip of the New Testament relates not to outward times or days; but is in the Spirit, in the truth, in the name, in the power, in the substance, on the day, and in the times and seasons which the Lord hath made, and makes, in the spirits of his people.
And here that scripture is witnessed to those that are born of the Spirit, and live in the Spirit, and walk after the Spirit : fin shall not have dominion over you ; for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Who are not under the law, but under grace? Why they that are gathered by the grace, that hear the voice of God in the grace, drawing and enabling them to follow; they whom the grace overshadows from the power and dominion of sin; they are under it, they are sheltered, saved, and preserved by it.
He that is born of God finneth not, but obeyeth the grace ; but he that commitceth sin, is the fervant of fin, and not yet made free by the grace and power of the Son from it. Yea, the Son gives that freedom in his day from sin, and the power of Satan, as they that are out of the light of his day cannot fo much as believe ; but they that are gathered into, and walk in the light thereof, they witness the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, making them free from the law of fin and death. What is the stronger than the strong-man come, with his law and power of the endless life, and shall not he manifeft his dominion in the heart over the law of fin and death? Yea, as it is received, and let in, it works out, overcomes, bears down, over-runs the law of fin and death, and that promise is witnessed, fulfilled, O death! I will be thy death.
And if God, by the power and breath of his Holy Spirit, with the living powerful laws thereof, kill sin and death in the heart, what shall make them
alive again? No, no; then they are dead indeed, and the kingdom and reign of Christ is witnessed in that soul.
Then the birth of life is witnessed; then the man-child is witnessed, ruleing with a rod of iron, dalhing in pieces all motions and temptations to corruption, and all that would defile, so that they cannot enter the mind; and guarding it in the pure peace, unspeakable joy, and rest of the Son continually. And there it is as truly witnessed inwardly (as ever it was at any time enjoyed or hoped for by the Jews outwardly) that this horn of salvation, which God hath raised up in the house of his servant David, breaks all the horns of the oppressors, and gives rest to the soul from them round about, that, without fear of them any more, it may serve him in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of its life.
There are some good desires in many people, for which blessed be the name of the Lord; but there is great error of judgment, and wandering up and down from the truth, for want of that which is able to stay the mind
upon the Lord, and to guide it in the right way. Some run to this mountain, and sacrifice there; others to that hill, and offer there ; but few know the true resting-place, or the place of the true worship. Now in these their errors they can witness no acceptance with the Lord. Oh! that they knew the acceptable thing, the acceptable way of worship, and might appear before, and be found of the Lord therein! Then might they begin in that which is substantial (in the gospel Spirit, life, and power) and come to inherit and sit down in that which is substantial and everlasting.
TO SUCH As complain of Want of Power to become the Lord's,
and serve him; and who are not yet so acquainted with the Truth as to witness the Cleansing by it, and
ceasing from Sin. Query 1. "W
AS not Christ made a king and priest after the power of
an endless life? And doth he not communicate of the power of that endless life to all that rightly believe in hin, receive the truth as it is in him, and obey his gospel ?
Query 2. Was it not the end of Christ's coming to destroy sin in the heart, and to set the soul free therefrom, that it might serve the Lord in the liberty, life, and power of his Spirit ?
Query Query 3. To them that believe in and receive him, doth not Christ give power to become fons to God? And to them that are fons, doth not the Father give the Spirit of the Son ? And hath not the Spirit of the Son power over the contrary spirit ?
Query 4. Were not the deliverances of the Jews under the law real deliverances from their outward enemies? And are not Christ's deliverances as real from the inward enemies? Whom the Son maketh free, are they not free indeed ? Free from fin, free from Satan, being under the shadow of the wing of the Almighty, which preserveth out of the darkness, and guardeth the mind from the evil and danger thereof?
Query 5. Is not Chrift stronger than the strong man, whom he cometh to dispossess ? Are not his weapons stronger than the weapons of the enemy? Is not he able to dispoffess him, to cast him out, to spoil him of his goods and strength? And when he hath gained the house, is not he able to cleanse it, and garnish, and keep it clean and pure in the way of his covenant, against all the enemy can do?
Query 6. Doth not Christ dwell in the heart by faith? And is not Christ's nature and Spirit pure, and will he dwell in any thing that is impure? Is not the spiritual temple under the gospel to be as pure inwardly as ever the outward temple under the law was to be pure outwardly, or by way of representation Must not they be cleansed from all filthiness of Aesh and spirit, who witness the Father dwelling in them, and walking in them?
Query 7. Who offer up the incense and the pure offering in the times of the gospel ? Can any do it but the fons of Levi, whom the Lord hath purified ? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Who can compass the altar of the Lord, or offer up an acceptable offering there, whose heart and hands are not washed in innocency?
Query 8. Is not the worship of the New-Testament to be in spirit and truth? Is not the Spirit pure, the truth pure ? Can any unclean thing enter into it? Can any be in it, can any worship in it, but they which be cleansed, purified, and changed by it?
Query 9. How did the apostle express the right manner of drawing nigh to God in the spiritual gospel-worship? Was it not to be thus, with the heart cleansed from an evil conscience, and the body washed with clean Water ? And is not the presence, power, and acceptance of God witnessed by them that appear before him and worship him thus ?
Query 10. Had not other lords dominion over the heart, to subdue it to un, and defile it, before Christ was known and received in his Spirit, and power? But when Christ is known and received in his Spirit and power, have the other lords power to do so still? Is not Christ's law, the law of his Spirit of life, able to bring under, and make the soul free fro:n the law of sin and death? Insomuch as now it may be said in truth, by the souls whom he hath set free, O Lord, our God! other lords besides thee have VOL. II.,