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power of life, in the living demonstration of truth) is out of his compass; and there abiding, groweth up and remaineth out of his reach.
Queft. 9. How may a man come to the power of the endless life?
Anfw. By waiting to feel it. There is fomewhat of God near every man; which, his fpirit retiring and waiting on the Lord, the Lord will give him to feel in the feasons of his good pleasure. For it is near man, not as a talent always to lie dead and buried, but to work in him, and bring him out of his own finful corrupt nature into its holy pure nature.
Queft. ro. How may a man feel and know the power of this life?
Anfw. By its nature, properties, manner, and end of working in the heart. It enlightens the foul, it quickens to God, it draws the heart from that which is manifeftly and fenfibly evil without difpute, it opens the eye to fee and difcern that which is holy and good, inflaming the mind with defires after it. Now this is the appearance of the Holy One, who thus appears and begins to work, to draw the mind from that which is finful and destroyeth, to that which is holy and faveth. Happy, oh! happy is he who thus feels the drawing, quickening Spirit, and in faithfulness gives up thereto! for he (by the Spirit and power of life) fhall feel Cain, the facrificer according to the flesh, Ishmael the feed of Abraham after the flesh, Efau the first birth, whofe mind is in the earth: he fhall feel thefe, I fay, caft out; and Abel the righteous feed, who lives and facrifices in the true faith; Ifaac the feed of promife, Jacob the wrestler with God, in the power and strength of his own Spirit, with the tears and fupplications which are from his own life; he fhall feel (I fay) this nature, birth, and Spirit raised in him, and his foul in it living to God, and increafing in union and fellowship with him.
Some QUESTIONS anfwered concerning BLASPHEMY and BLASPHEMERS.
HAT is blafphemy?
Anfw. It is the reproaching or speaking ill of the truths or name of God, in any of their appearances, or of them whom he hath chofen to bear his name, or hold forth his truth. To reproach the name or truths of God, as they have been held forth in former ages, or as they are held forth in this age; or to fpeak evil of the inftrument he then chofe, or now chuseth and maketh ufe of to hold them forth; this is blafphemy: and the Lord will not hold him guiltlefs who fo doth, whatsoever he be.
Queft 2. In which respect are men mot liable to blafphemy? Are they aptest to reproach and speak evil of God's truths, as they have been held forth in former VOL. II. YY
ages, and the inftruments by which God then held them forth? or are they apter to reproach and speak evil of the truths of God, as they are held forth in their age, and the inftruments and minifters who then held them forth?
Anfw. Men are not fo liable to blafpheme the truths (or name) of God, as formerly held forth, or the meffengers and minifters of former ages, as the prefent truth and the prefent ministry.
Queft. 3. How cometh that about, or why is it fo?
Anfw. Because the truths of former ages, and the miniftry therein, have wrought through the deceit and oppofition, which withstood them in their day, and have left a good favour behind them; fo that it would be hard and disadvantageous to the evil fpirit to endeavour to bring a reproach over them. If men fhould go about to revile Mofes or the prophets of old, Christ or his apostles, who would give an ear to them? Surely very few, if any. But to cry up these and their doctrine, and to endeavour to make the prefent difpenfation of truth appear to men, as if it were different from, and contrary to thefe (of another nature, of another fpirit, tending to other ends, and towards the producing of other effects); this is a very fubtil device, and an advantageous way of oppofing the prefent truth and ministry with; and this way the enemy hath taken all along. Mofes in his day had enemies and refifters, but after his death we never hear him fpoken against; but thofe that withstood the prophets in after-ages, would honour the remembrance of Mofes. In Chrift's day they would honour both Mofes and the prophets; but Chrift, and his difciples and apoftles, were reproached as blafphemers and deceivers. After that age, Chrift and his apostles were generally acknowledged, as well as Mofes and the prophets; but yet they that were in the fame Spirit, in the fame life, in the fame nature, have afterwards ftill been perfecuted and oppofed by the prefent age.
Queft. 4. Who are the great blafphemers in every age?
Anfw. They which profefs truth, but are not in the power and life of that which they profefs; and among thefe, thofe efpecially who have had any tafte of the power: for if these turn from the power, which it pleased God to give them fome tafte of, they are given up by God to delufion, devilifhnefs, fubtilty, and enmity, above all others. For as the blafphemy (which I am fpeaking of) is above truth and the name of Chrift, fo it is chiefly to be found among thofe who pretend to his name. Thofe that have the outward name, knowledge, and talk about the name, about Chrift, about the heavenly things; thefe blafpheme and reproach those who have and are in the thing itself, who dwell in heaven, and worship in the heavenly place, even in the true tabernacle which God hath pitched, and not Thefe bring their knowledge, wifdom, fcriptures, experiences, obfervations, and all that ever they can reap and rend, against the prefent power and life of truth.
Queft. 5. How come men, who pretend to truth, and to feek after it, to run
Anfw. By reafon of their not being in that, which demonftrateth the
Queft. 6. How come they who have fo much literal knowledge of fcriptures,
Anfw. By their turning from it, and rejecting it. The Scribes and Pharifees rejected the counsel of God, against themselves. There is but one thing can open the eyes, and the Scribes and Pharifees turned against it, believing that their eyes were opened already, by the light and knowledge which they had received from Mofes. Mofes, faid they, we know God speaks to; but as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. And juft fo is it now. Oh! that ye could read, whofe ftate it is!
Queft. 7. Why do they turn from it and reject it?
Anfw. Becaufe it anfwers not their expectations. That appearance of Chrift in flesh in that day, did not anfwer the expectations of the Scribes and Pharifees. And this appearance of Chrift in his Holy Spirit and power after the apoftafy, doth not answer the expectations of many now. And fo, not appearing as what they look for, as what they have expected, according to their apprehenfions and understanding of the fcriptures, they cannot (fo ftanding and believing) wait, but turn from it, and turn the fcriptures against it, as the Scribes and Pharifees turned the scriptures against that appearance of Christ.
Now, Oh! that men, that have any defires after truth, might not run into this kind of blafphemy, and fo thereby provoke and turn that Spirit Y y 2
and power of life against them, which alone is able to fave them. For the Spirit and power of the Lord turneth against the other fpirit, in all its devices and transformings, and against them who are joined to that fpirit. And as the eye of the Lord is chiefly upon his prefent ministration of truth in the prefent age to mind that, to bless that, to appear in that; fo his Spirit moft turneth against that which opposeth and feeketh to overturn it. Yea, little do men know what they have loft from God, as to themfelves and their own ftates; and what they are become in his fight, by their oppofing the prefent difpenfation and miniftration of truth; even as little do many know in this day, as the Scribes and Pharifees did, in their day, what they brought upon themselves and others, whom they infected (by their falfe knowledge and wrong expounding and managing of the fcriptures) with a prejudiced spirit against Christ.
The Lord did promise that he would become the Shepherd, and gather his sheep himself, after the cloudy and dark day. He is come to feek out, to gather, to heal, to bind up, to comfort, to preferve, &c. He is known, he is witneffed, he is received; his life, virtue, healing and faving power is felt. Let men reproach and revile it ever so much, yet it is known to be the thing, the pearl, the feed of the kingdom, &c. Yea, and he that receiveth it, and is born of it, knoweth that he is of God, and hath the true nature of life, and true language from God; which that, which knoweth God, heareth; but that which is not of God, cannot hear.
A QUESTION concerning MIRACLES anfwered. Quest.
F this be a new difpenfation of the life and power of God, even of the preaching of the everlasting gospel again after the apoftafy, why is it not accompanied with outward miracles now, as formerly it was? I fay outward miracles, because it is accompanied with inward miracles. For the lame (that could never fet step in the path of life) do now walk; the eyes that were blind, are opened, and do now fee; the ears that were deaf, have been unstopped, and do now hear; the lepers inwardly (who were all overspread with fin and corruption) have been washed, cleansed, and healed, by the pure power; yea, the dead inwardly have been quickened, raifed, turned to him that lives for evermore, bave received life from him, and do live in him and with him. Now thefe are mighty things, wonderful miracles, even the fubftance of the miracles which were wrought under the law, and which Chrift himself wrought outwardly. For it was not the outward bealing, which is falvation, life, and power chiefly aimed at therein, but to point men by that to the thing which was to work the inward; that they might take notice of it, know it, come to it, and wait upon it, to be made par
takers of the inward health and falvation by it. Yet feeing in that day Chrift did then pleafe to put forth his power outwardly, to point to, and witnefs of, the inward, why doth be not do so now?
Anfw. The nature of the prefent difpenfation doth not require it. For the prefent difpenfation of life, is to bring men to the principle of life which is within them (which is the fum and fubftance of all former difpenfations); and to bring them to this, there doth not need any thing of a miraculous nature outwardly; but the witness, demonftration and enlightening of the Spirit inwardly. Now when the outward law was to be received, then the Lord faw need of outward miracles to confirm it; fo alfo in the prophets days, while that difpenfation held, till towards the coming of Chrift. And. when Chrift came, in the body prepared by the Father, it pleased the Lord to confirm (by outward vifible demonftrations of his power in him) that this was he. Likewise afterwards, the apostles having the doctrine concerning that appearance to preach and teftify to the world, the Lord was also pleased and faw good to confirm it by miracles. But now there is not any new doctrine to be preached. The doctrine concerning Chrift is the fame that it was, the very fame that the apoftles preached. Neither is there any need of confirming it now; for it is generally believed among profeffors of all forts; as Chrift's birth, preaching, living holily, dying (offering himself up as a facrifice for fin), rifing, ascending, fitting at the right hand of the Father, who doubts of these things? But under all this knowledge men hide their fins, their lufts, and corruptions, ferving not the Lord (not truly fearing, believing in, and obeying him) but his enemies, and are become corrupt like unto the Heathen; being in words Chriftians, but as to the holy converfation and power of the endless life, as far from it as the very Heathen. Therefore hath the Lord vifited the world in this state, and fent forth what he judged meet for it in this ftate; to wit, not a miniftry to preach over that doctrine, under which the Chriftian world had corrupted themselves; but to point to the principle of life, wherein is the light and power to difcover, lead from and wash away this corruption. And with this miniftry there goeth a power, to reach the heart and raise the witnefs, in all that hear in fear, and in the fenfe and dread of God; fo that the witness prefently answers, and the mind is inwardly fatisfied, knows the thing, and turns to it. Now this (and the effect of this) is beyond miracles, and the fatisfaction or affurance which they can afford. For miracles leave a difpute in the mind (notwithstanding all the miracles Chrift fhewed, there was yet a dif pute and diffatisfaction. in the minds of many concerning him). But he that feels the thing itself in the true principle, where the demonftration and certainty of the Spirit's affurance is received; he is paft difpute, and is gone a degree, in the nature of things, beyond that fatisfaction which miracles can afford. He is out of that. ftate and mind which afketh a fign, or feeketh confirmation by a fign. So that men ought to take heed how they expect or call for miracles now, as the Jews did to Chrift: