« PreviousContinue »
believe ever so much concerning God and Chrift, until he feel this, and be changed by the virtue and operation of this, he cannot be faved, but is ftill in his fins, and under condemnation and wrath, because of fin, whatever he thinks of himself.
Query 6. Whether Chrift was not the fame yesterday, to-day, and for ever; even before he took up the body of flesh, while he was in the body, after he laid down the body, and after he took it up again and appeared in it to his difciples?
Query 7. Whether Chrift, where he inwardly and spiritually appears and is received, doth not discover, fhake, diffettle, and remove that nature, which cannot receive the law, and fo bring up and bring forth the heavenly feed, which was afore the law (which is appointed by God for a generation to himself) which always doth the will of him who quickens it, and who fills it with life and power from on high?
Some Queries on COLOSS. i. 27, 28, 29. (Obferve that in ver. 27. whereas it is in our common Tranflation rendered, This Mystery among the Gentiles; it is in fome other Tranflations rendered, This Mystery in the Gentiles; and fo it is in the Greek.)
Query 1. HETHER there be not a mystery of light, a myf tery of life; fomewhat of true light hidden, fomewhat of true life hidden in the Gentiles? Whatsoever makes manifeft, is light, faith the apoftle, Ephef. v. 13, 14. And that which may be known of God, is manifeft in them, Rom. i. Is there not fomewhat in the Gentiles, which in fome measure difcovers fomewhat contrary to God in them, and is many times working in their minds againft it? Is not this of a precious nature? and hath it not precious virtue and power in it, though it be little took notice of by them?
Query 2. Do not the faints know what this mystery is? Do they not know what is the riches and glory of it? Indeed it hath been hid from ages and generations, fo that they knew it not; but is it hid from the faints also in the day of the gofpel? is it not revealed in them and to them?
Query 3. What is this mystery in them in whom it is revealed? Is it not Chrift in them? Is it not the hope of glory in them? Do they not know it to be Chrift? Do they not know it to be the hope of glory? Who can damp the faith, or darken the knowledge, of those who feel the mystery of life revealed in them? who feel Chrift (the hope of glory) living, dwelling, and reigning in the authority and power of the Father, in their own hearts?
Query 4. Did not the apoftles preach this mystery? Did they not preach the word of faith within in the heart? the kingdom within? Chrift, the
hope of glory within? Did they not preach this meffage of the gospel (which they had from Chrift to carry to men) that God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all? And did they not preach it to this very end, to turn men, and bring men from the darkness within to the light within? that in it they might have union and fellowship with God, who is Light. Can any have fellowship with God, who is Light, but as his fpirit is brought out of the inward darkness into the inward light?
Query 5. What did the apoftle Paul, and the other apostles aim at, in their warning men and teaching them in all wisdom? Was it not to perfect the work of God in them, and that they might present every man perfect in Christ Jefus ?
Query 6. Did not the grace and power of God go along with the apoftles, and work in them mightily to this end, even for the perfecting the faints? And the grace and power of God, working mightily against fin and the power of Satan, is it not able to conquer Satan, and to make him fall like lightening, and to trample him under feet? Confider ver. 19. and 2 Theff. i. 11, 12.
Query 7. Did the apoftles ever preach fuch a doctrine, that no man could be perfected in this life; but man must always (every day) be committing fin? Nay, did they not speak wisdom among them that were perfect, and fay, Let as many of us as be perfect, be thus minded? Did they not diftinguish between the weak, and between the ftrong and perfect? Do they not fpeak of fome that had overcome the wicked one, and were born of God, and did not fin? It is a precious thing to feel the power of God regenerating the mind; but it is much more precious to witnefs it regenerated. But that state none know but they that are in it; but this is moft certain, that fin is fhut out of it, and that all things are new there.
Query 8. Will the myftery of life, where it is received and turned to, ever ceafe working against the mystery of death, until it hath wrought it out of the mind? Shall judgment never be brought forth unto victory over fin in the heart? Shall there never be pure and full communion with the Lord here in this world, without the interruption of fin? These things, faith John, I write to you, that your joy may be full. Shall the joy never be full in any? ? How can the joy be full, where fin hath power and breaks in upon the foul, and prevaileth upon the mind, even to the committing of it daily? The foul that is weary of fin, and grieved at its grieving God's Spirit thereby, can never come to full union and fellowship with the Lord, nor to have its joy full, while it doth that which grieves God's Spirit; for it is impoffible but it should grieve the foul also, and weaken its joy and rejoicing in the Lord.
Some Queries concerning the Way of Life, and Mystery of the Gospel.
S not the way of life, the way of holiness, the way of truth, the way of peace, one and the fame in all ages and generations?
Was there ever, or fhall there ever be another than that which was from the beginning?
Query 2. Is not this way a pure way, a clean way? Can any impure thing walk in it? Is not the gate ftrait, and the way narrow, that leadeth unto life? Is it eafy finding it? or is it eafy entering into it, and walking in it? Doth not the corruption and unholinefs of the hearts of many, hinder them from walking in the holy way of life and peace?
Query 3. Is not this way a mystery? Can any learn it but those whofe eyes are opened by the Lord, and to whom the mystery is revealed by him? Can any difcern or understand it, but the children of the pure heavenly wisdom, whom the Lord teacheth, and whofe eyes he openeth, to fee and juftify it in every age ?
Query 4. Is not the whole vifion of God, the whole vifion of life, the whole vifion of peace, a book fealed to all forts (both learned and unlearned in every age and generation) but thofe to whom the Lord unfeals it?
Query 5. May not fuch as are not at all acquainted with the mystery of godliness, the mystery of life, the mystery of redemption, read what the fcriptures fay concerning these things, and get a great deal of knowledge (from the letter of the fcriptures) into their minds, and be able to raise doctrines, reasons, ufes, &c. and back all by fcriptures very plentifully? But are not those who teach not from the mystery of life, and gift of the Spirit, but only what they have gathered and formed from the letter; I fay, are not fuch blind leaders of the blind? and is it poffible but that they themfelves, and fuch as follow them, fhould fall into the ditch? For it is only. the mystery of life and redemption (not a literal knowledge and wisdom, though with an endeavour to practife according thereto) which preferves out of the ditch. Oh! that this were duly confidered of! for it is tenderly and weightily proposed.
Query 6. What is the knowledge of Chrift which faves? Is it a knowledge of him after the letter, or a knowledge of him in the Spirit and power of the endless life? Can he be known truly, livingly, and favingly, without the Father's revealing him in man? Or can any truly call him Lord, but they that are first taught by the Father to difcern his fpiritual and heavenly glory, and to receive him and bow to him in Spirit?
Query 7. What is it to kifs the Son? Can any do fo but those who difcern and receive the light of his Spirit?
Query 8. Can any truly know the Father, unless the Son reveal him? or can any know the Son, unless the Father reveal him? I know men may get notions out of the fcriptures concerning God the Father and his Son: but can they get true knowledge of either without the infpiration of the Almighty which giveth understanding?
Query 9. Can any perfon fear God and depart from evil (any-where upon the face of the earth) without fome vifit of the Lord Jefus Chrift to his foul, and without receiving fomewhat of life and power from him? He is the wifdom of God, he can teach this; but can any else teach it? If none else can teach it, then he that learned it, muft needs learn it of him. Is not this (to wit, to fear God and depart from evil) the path of wisdom, which is hid from all living, but fuch as are taught by Chrift, who is the wisdom of God? Read Job xxviii. 12. to the end of the chapter, and confider. For doth not the Spirit of Chrift, which convinceth of fin, reach to all men, and minifter to all men, inwardly and fpiritually, in fome days of inftruction about fearing God and departing from evil?
Query 10. Can any be acquainted with the fear of God, and be fenfible: of the hour of his judgment, and give glory to him and worship him, but they must know and receive the everlasting gofpel? They that are fent to preach this after the apoftafy, are they not fent to preach it as the everlasting gofpel? Read Rev. xiv. 6, 7. and confider. For come to life and power in any doctrine, which Chrift fends his meffengers to preach towards the falvation of mens fouls, a man comes to the gospel presently; but read and affent to, and practise all the things (as well as men can) related in the fcriptures, without the life and power, and fo acknowledge and believe all. that is faid concerning Chrift; yet for all this, and in the midft of all this, a man may miss of the gofpel; for the gospel is an hidden mystery of the life and power, fee Coloff. i. 26, 27..
Query 11. Is not the meffage of the gofpel, That God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all? Doth not the Spirit of Chrift preach this, more or less, to all people under heaven? Yea, is not the gofpel preached in every creature, and hid in thofe that are loft, whom the god of this world blindeth? For is not the Spirit of God, in fome measure, every-where convincing men of fin, and drawing them out of darkness into the fenfe and obedience of light? And will not this be the general and univerfal condemnation of the world, that they did not bring their deeds to the light, but turned from it and hated it, loving the darkness more than it, because their deeds were evil, and they had not a mind to part with them, but to remain and abide in them?
Alas! alas! men should pass through the knowledge of things after the letter, into the knowledge of things after the Spirit and power of the endless life; but instead thereof, men stick in their apprehenfions of the letter: and if any man be taught of God, and have the things of his kingdom, and the mystery of the fcriptures, revealed to him in the Spirit, and fo fignify of
them in the words which God's wisdom teacheth; yet fo men know them not, but oppofe and refift the miniftration of life and power in their day and generation! And this will be bitterness in the latter end, even as bitter to the profeffors of this age, as the former denying of Chrift's appearance in the flesh was to the profeffors of that age.
Some Queries concerning Righteousness or Juftification.
S there not a new covenant under the gospel, as well as there
Query 2. What did the old covenant require? Did it not require obedience to the law of Mofes? What doth the new covenant require? Doth it not require faith in Christ and obedience to his Spirit? Doth it not require faith in the grace, and obedience to the grace which bringeth falvation, teaching to deny ungodliness and worldly lufts, &c.?
Query 3. What is the righteousness or juftification in the old covenant? What doth God justify in the old covenant? Doth he not juftify the obedience thereto, and condemn all difobedience? What is the righteousness or juftification of the new covenant? What doth God justify in men under the new covenant? Doth he not justify their faith in Chrift, and their obedience to the law of his Spirit? Is not whatfoever is not of faith fin, and condemned; and whatsoever is of faith holy, and juftified?
Query 4. What is faith? Is it not the gift of God? What is obedience? Doth it not flow from faith? Is it not performed by the power and in the newness of the Spirit? and is not that justifiable, and always juftified in the fight of God? Doth it not fpring from the new tree, from the holy root of life in the heart? and whatsoever fprings therefrom, is it not holy and righteous? And is not whatfoever is truly holy and righteous, juftified and accounted righteous by the holy and righteous God?
Query 5. To what end was Chrift made under the law, and did fulfill the righteoufnefs of the law? Was it not that he might accomplish and fulfill that righteoufnefs, and fo make way for the bringing in of the everlasting righteousness, even of the righteousness of his own nature and Spirit, which is everlasting? Is not this the righteousness which the children of the new covenant experience in the new and living way? Is not this far beyond the righteoufnefs of the law, if they could fulfill it ever fo exactly from the letter? For I feel a vaft difference between that righteousness which would belong to me from the law, and the righteoufnefs which flows into my heart from the nature and Spirit of Chrift revealed in me, and which floweth up in me from my union with him: for this is abfolutely a righteousness of another nature, of another kind, of another root.