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pea, his tenderness is beyond imagination or comprehension, and he hates putting away. The poor mourning souls that cry unto him, feeling their need of him, and galping after him, he cannot cast off; no, nor any that come unto him in the truth of their hearts : but the wise, the confident, the conceited, from their apprehensions of scriptures, that think themselves safe by virtue of the covenant, and yet are enemies in their minds to the light of the covenant, these are out of the thing at present in their own imaginings and conceivings), and are in the most danger of any I know. The Lord in mercy cause his light to shine, his life to arise, his power to be manifest, and thereby lead into, and preserve in, his everlasting covenant, according to his good pleasure. Amen.
A Question or Two, relating to Election, answered.
Quest. 1. OW may a man make bis calling and election fure ? Answer, By making Chrift fure to him, in whom the calling and election is; for the Lord chuseth only in him, and refuseth or reprobateth only out of him.
Queft. 2. How may I make Christ sure to me ?
Answ. By receiving him, giving up to him, parting with all for him, and waiting upon him in the way and path of life, till I feel the power of that broken in me which would separate from him. For what danger is there then, when the soul is naturally become the Lord's, rooted in his love, circumcised in heart to love the Lord above all, even with the whole heart and soul? Certainly the love of the Lord cannot but fow in great strength to that soul, and what can come between ? But now, while there is fomewhat ungiven up, somewhat yet standing, in which the enemy hath a part, and by which he may enter, the state of that soul is not fully sure ; but there may be a going back from the saving life into that wherein is the perdition and destruction of the foul; and whoever goes thither, meets with perdition and destruction, fo far as he travels that way. For in the path of death there is death, which is met with by all that enter into, and walk therein; as in the path of life there is life. "God is no respecter of persons ; but he is a respecter of his feed, and of his eternal covenant of life, which ftands firm in his seed for ever. Here is life for every soul that feels the drawings of the Father, and comes to his Son for life, and abides in him; and there is death for every foul that comes not to this, and departs from this through the heart of unbelief. So the way of God is eternal and immutable; he cannot deny himself. He that believeth in the Son, hath life; he that believeth not, is in the death and condemnation which belongs to the unbelief. Now wouldst thou know thy election, wait to know
and distinguish between Jacob and Esau, Isaac and Ishmael, in thyself; for they were outward figures, and allegories of somewhat inward. Feel Efau, the profane-one; Ishmael, the scoffer at the wisdom, way, and feed of God: féel, I say, these (that are cast off by God) cast out of thee; and then feel Isaac, the seed of the promise ; Jacob, the plain birth of life, raised up in thee, living in thee, and thou in it. And then thou feelest the election, and art in the election. And as his feed is fure to thee, and thy union with it, and standing and abiding in it sure, so thy election is fure. Election is a deep mystery, and none can read the scriptures about it (which indeed are hard to be understood, but easy to be wrested) but they that understand the thing; that can read in the seed, life, power, and openings of the Spirit of the Lord, they read things as they are; but other men only read things as they apprehend and conceive them to be. So that the knowledge that God hath given his people is above all the knowledge that can be learched out, gathered, or comprehended by all the men upon the earth; whereby they know God better, the things of God better, the words and scriptures of truth better, than they themselves otherwise (or any else) could possibly attain to.
W fcriptures ?
A Question answered concerning the Ground of Mens
misunderstanding and wresting of Scriptures. Quest. HAT is the ground of mens misunderstanding and wresting of Antw. 1. Want of acquaintance with God's Spirit, and the right way
of waiting upon him to receive the understanding of them. For though men may go thus far, as to know and confess that the Spirit of the Lord is the only revealer of the things of God, and the alone right interpreter of his own words; yet that man, who thus confefseth, may not certainly and distinctly know the Spirit of the Lord, and when he receiveth the interpretation of a scripture from him, or when from his understanding, or a spirit that is contrary to him. For there is another fpirit near man, whose nature, work, and delight is to cause man to misunderstand, and mis-walk by the very scriptures; and will bring things as warmly, and (as it were) clearly to him, as he can from scriptures, purposely to deceive and millead him. Now he that hugs and receives every thing that thus risech in him, easily runs into, and is surely caught in the fnare of the enemy. Therefore a man must watch, and wait, and fear, and pray that he may distinguish between the nature and voices of spirits in himself, that fo he may know in the light of the Lord) when the Lord speaks, and also when the mysterious spirit of deceit strives to speak like the Lord. Now man cannot know this of himself; but as he is taught by the Lord, at the very time when the snare comes: and he must not determine hastily; but wait to feel that wherein the Lord appears and speaks to him, and wherein the enemy cannot speak. Thus feeling the birth of life in his heart, the seed which is of the Father, which hath an ear that knows the voice of the Shepherd, and sinking into this, and listening in this (out of his own thoughts, reasonings, and whole course of his own wisdom), he also hath his ear opened to hear the true voice, and findeth ability here to distinguish it from the voice of the stranger, let him counterfeit ever so deceitfully. For the eye of the Lord, the eye of truth, the eye of life, the eye of the Spirit, pierceeth through, and discovereth all deceits to the soul that feareth before him, diligently waiteth upon him in his seed, and desireth to walk faithfully therein.
2. Want of acquaintance with God's truth in the love, life, and power of it. For he that knows truth, that hath received from God the thing the scriptures speak of, how easy is it to him to understand the words that speak of that thing? But he who hath the knowledge of the thing but from the words, how easy is it for him to misunderstand the words ? As for instance: he whom God hath justified, he who hath received the righteousness of the Son, he who daily feeleth the blood of sprinkling, &c. how easy and natural is it unto him to understand the words of scripture, which speak of these things ? But he that hath not received this, nor thus knoweth the thing, how easy is it for him to misunderstand the words; and so, from misunderstanding of the words, to set up another righteousness for the righteousness of Christ, than that which the Spirit of God intendeth in the scriptures ?
3. The opinions, apprehensions, ways, and practices of men, which they have taken up in the dark, and in which their minds are engaged, are a great lett in their way from the right understanding of scriptures, or the testimony of truth from others according to the scriptures. For there hath been a cloudy and dark day, or a great night of darkness upon the earth, wherein the light (which leadeth to the foul's rest) hath not shined clearly in mens spirits; and so in this cloudy darkness men have wandered from mountain to hill, seeking their resting-place. Now some have fixed and pitched on one mountain, fome on another; some on one hill, fome on another, faying, here is the resting-place. So when the Spirit of the Lord comes and cries, Depart ye, depart ye; this is not your resting-place, for it is polluted; they cannot hear. Why fo? Because they have already believed otherwise, and in that belief took it up ivr their rett; and fo cannot rightly understand or believe thoie scriptures, or those living testimonies from the Spirit of the Lord, which declare it not to be so; but are ready to wrest the one, and reproach the other,
Some QUESTIONS, ANSWERS, and QUERIES,
concerning Deceit and Deceivers; as what they are, what discovers them, how Man may come out of them, and be preserved from them, &c.
N the truth there is no deceit; and they that are in the truth, are out
of the deceit; and abiding there, are out of the reach of deceivers : but they that are out of the truth, are in the deceit already, and are liable daily more and more both to be further deceived, and to help to deceive others.
Quest. 1. What is deceit, and who are deceivers?
Anw. That which appeareth like truth, but is not; that is deceit: and they which are in a form of godliness, but are without the Spirit, life, and power of it, they are deceivers.
Quest. 2. Who are most liable to deceit?
Answ. The simple, the heedless, the careless, the credulous ; those that wait not upon the Lord in the light, power, and demonstration of his Spirit, to try things; these (with good words and fair speeches, and appearances of things) are easily led aside from the truth itself into some likeness or resemblance of it.
Quest. 3. Which is the time of deceit ?
Answ. The night; the cloudy, the dark time, when the enemy hath raised his fogs and mists in the minds of men, then is his time of deceiving their hearts.
Quest. 4. Is it now night or day?
Answ. It is night with some, day with others. Where the light is arisen, there it is day; where the darkness covereth and poffefseth the minds of men, there it is night. Queft
. 5. How may a man know whether it be night or day with him? Answ. By waiting to feel fomewhat of the life of God arising in him, by turning and hearkening to his witness. That will faithfully discover how it is with him, and where he is.
Queft. 6. How may a man come out of the darkness of the night into the light and brightness of the day?
Answ. By joining to the first glimmerings and breakings forth thereof upon him. The least light of truth hath the same nature, virtue, and properties with the greatest. Though not the fame in degree, yet the fame in kind; and he that will come to the greatest, must begin with the least. Light makes manifest; the day discovers both the things of the night and
of the day. Haft thou any discovery of either kind? Either of that which is good, or of that which is evil ? Either of that which is of the worldly nature and the evil one, or of that which is of the heavenly nature and the Holy One ? Join in immediately in the virtue, strength, and power of that which makes the discovery, and thy spirit therein will find an entrance into the light of the day; and going on faithfully thus, it will daily more and more break in upon thee, even until it hath gathered thy spirit out of the blackness, darkness, and deceit of the night, into the beauty, brightness, and truth of the day.
Queft. 7. How may a man be preserved from deceit and deceivers ?
Answ. By abiding in that which discovers them to him, and preserveth out of them; by dwelling in that light, in that life, in that power, in that truth, into which they cannot enter : by keeping to, and in, the elect of God, which never was deceived, nor can be deceived: for it is of God, it is his feed, of his nature, in which the wicked one (the deceiver) finds nothing, hath nothing in him to enter at; and he that abides in him, is safe in him. But he that goes forth out of the life, out of the light, out of the seed, out of the power which preserves, out of the holy anointing, which keeps the eye open, he easily runs into, and is entangled in the deceivableness of unrighteousness, judging it (for want of a true discerning) righteousness; and then having judged that to be righteousness which is in its own nature but unrighteousness, he must needs allo judge that which is the true righteousness to be but unrighteousness; and then (having passed this judgment in himself) he grows wise, confident, and strong in his deceit, both believing himself, and also endeavouring to convince and persuade others, that it is the truth. Oh! who knoweth the security of the little ones of God, who have a being and standing in his truth! The arm of his power is stretched round about them, and he is a defence and strength unto them against all that would break in upon them (to make a prey of their life, or to shake their standing in his truth), either inwardly or outwardly. Oh! bless his name, sing high praises to him, ye that feel it, over all deceit or deceivables, over all the devices of the dark spirit, which entangleth others, and would also entangle you, but that his goodness, mercy, tender love, and powerful arm is stretched out over you.
So to him be the praise, and the bowings of that foul, which feels his powerful and merciful preservation, for ever and ever.
Now it is in my heart to add four queries, which, rightly weighed and resolved, in and according to truth, may further open mens minds into the true sense and right understanding of this thing.
Query 1. Have not the last days, the perilous times (the times foretold of by Christ and his apostles) been a long while upon the earth, wherein iniquity bath abounded, and the love of many waxed cold, wherein men have been lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, &c. ? Hath there not been a long night of darkness, wherein these things (with many other fruits and effects of the
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